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Old 4th March 2015, 22:48   #1
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Default The baby leopard - My Red Honda Brio VX Automatic

Note1: I know am 7 odd months late in posting this but better late than never!

Note 2: While I have driven loads of cars (my friends') this is the first time I have owned car. Hence some of my observations and delights might be common place and something I didn't observe while driving in other people's cars simply because I didn't look hard enough. Kindly bear with this folks!

Note 3: Fair warning-his is a long read. Hope you have patience to go through it all. See you on the other side folks!

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A teaser-

The baby leopard - My Red Honda Brio VX Automatic-wp_20140730_001.jpg

My father had been a top notch corporate slave for most of the 25 years i have known him. And a perk of that was that we were always entitled to the latest cars provided by the job. Right from the good ol' Amby to the amazing Cielo to the butch Tata Estate to the rugged 4x4 Gypsy... we had them all (and so many others) and boy did we misuse them!

But for the past 9 years we have been puttering around in a busted Indica that he had bought for himself after starting his own business. So when in Aug 2013 my dad suddenly said that we were getting 2 brand new spanking cars for the household i was justifiably excited. He had selected a Vento for himself and entrusted me with the task of selecting the second car for my mum. Without hesitation i selected the Honda City.

So off we went to the Honda Capital showroom at Meenambakkam near Chennai airport. We reached at roughly 8 p.m and though they were closing up they graciously agreed to stay open for a few more minutes for us. My mum saw the City and agreed it looked amazing. While we were there I even convinced my parents to take a short test drive of the City AT just to see how AT cars drive. While they appreciated it was easy enough to drive they later remarked it was too expensive to maintain (the same ol' prejudice we Indians have against AT). Now, coming back to our purchase - since my dad had given me quite a wide budget I opted for the AVN Variant (basically the top V variant along with an Audio Visual Navigation touchscreen) and on top of it i added about a dozen OEM accessories. Under spoilers all round, boot spoiler,windon sill, illuminated door steps.... the full works. The total cost of the accessories alone was around 1L, not to mention the snazzy after market alloys i had my eyes on! We paid the customary 10k booking amount and finalized everything. Alas, it was not to be - just 2 days before we were to pay the ex-showroom amount, disaster struck.

My dad experienced certain issues in his business that caused him to cancel the car(s) plan. And there went my dream of owning a wonderful car (yes, i know it was to be my mothers car but i was going to get a share of the pie)!

Fast forward to February 2014. My mum showed me an article in the papers about the Celerio AMT being released. It sounded interesting- an AT car that's not expensive to maintain? I am sure a billion other Indians were just as surprised as us! We went to ABT Maruti in Guindy for a test drive. The test drive vehicle was a bright yellow Celerio. I drove it effortlessly. Then suddenly my dad said he wanted to check it out as well. And once he did, even his normally impassive face broke into a grin and he agreed it was pretty easy to drive. But, the the best part was my mum driving. Now earlier when we were getting the City she had been hesitant about driving it as she was afraid of stalling the car in Chennai's infamous bumper to bumper traffic or accidentally sideswiping/rear ending someone since the City is the biggest car she had driven till date. But now in the Celerio she seemed almost.... relaxed! And that, my fellow Team-BHPians, is when my family fell in love with automatics. The price was rather sweet. Just 5.6 OTR for the top variant was a steal in our eyes!

A quick discussion with my mum showed that she was all for the Celerio but then the safety fanatic in me saw that it was the manual version that came with ABS and airbags. Disaster! I asked the Maruti people if they would be willing to install ABS and airbags for 40k extra. They politely said no.

And so with a heavy heart i convinced my parents to not go for Celerio. I had a discussion with my parents and gave them long lectures on safety being paramount. I even used emotional blackmail - my dad had had an accident long ago in the good ol' HM Contessa. During an emergency evasive maneouvre he hit a light pole at 60+ kmph. And no he wasn't wearing seatbelts. He split the the entire car's bonnet into two but walked away with a broken nose, ribs and headaches for a few months (ofcourse post this incident he became a seatbelt fanatic).

So started the search again. Now because of my father's accident I wanted to see if we could find a car that had collapsible steering (this feature would have prevented most of his injuries had it been present in the Contessa) when I came across the Brio VX AT. Honda + ABS + EBD + 88 BHP + Airbags = Shut up and take my money!

Oh wait- the car costed 7.4 L on road. So I again had a discussion with my parents and convinced them to bump up the budget. As you can guess my father pretty easy to get on board.

The next day i called up Sundaram Honda asked for a TD. Now i was told that since Brio AT test drive vehicles were not available. I could TD with an Amaze AT since "Don't worry sarrrrr. Basically they are basically the same car with just the difference of a dikey". I reluctantly agreed. But nonetheless the drive was amazing. The acceleration was nothing like the horror stories I had heard about AT cars. And the ease of driving in the HORRENDOUS traffic near Kathipara flyover in evening while other drivers around you are struggling with their clutch and first/second gear clinched it for me. And the cherry topping was that the government cut excise duties in May *cue me blowing a kiss to the heavens*. We quickly booked a silver metallic Brio AT.

But then the demons of indecision rose by pointing me towards i10 AT and i10 Grand AT. i10 was quickly discarded for being too boring looking and plus it had a reputation of being too much of an oil guzzler. The grand i10 AT stole my heart with its looks and a dashboard that was infinitesimally better than Brio's. Unfortunately, the AT variant did not have the safety I was looking for. I did think of the i20 but never considered it seriously. I was unaware of Nissan Micra, so never looked at it. So I was back to my Brio.

But then a couple of problems with the Sundaram Honda sales team arose (lack of updates, I had to call up sales person a million times to confirm my booking and other such issues... basically I had to run after these useless chaps to convince them to take my money) and I thought of switching to Olympia Honda. Unfortunately, they ended up even worse than Sundaram Honda. So i went back to Sundaram after a lot of cussing. Of course, I did lodge a complaint with Honda India about both the places (got a prompt follow up as well). These incidents almost made me swear off Honda and I came across the i20. The sunroof variant of the i20 (Asta Optional), albeit a MT, was just 40k more than Brio AT.

So we, once again, went on a test drive.

Oh boy, the sheer opulence of i20 Asta (O) blew us away! It has to be seen to be believed. One would almost think he is in a car 2-3 segments higher. And my family, who were laughing at the practicality of a sun roof, were suddenly in love with it! Things started moving fast in favour of Hyundai (and I would like to point out that it was more due to the Honda sales personnel's' behavior than any deficiency in their products) and I was to put in 40k of my money and we were almost about to book the i20 Asta (O) when i confirmed with my mother one final time if the i20 was what she wanted. After a lot of cajoling she confessed that while she loved the car she didn't like the idea of a gear stick. She said that the car was fine and she would be fine sitting in the passenger seat and have me drive around. The only reason she said yes to the car was because of how much I loved it (mothers and their love... sigh). Now my main priority was to make my mother independent and enable her to drive about on her own. And having a MT would just shift her dependency from my dad to me.

Instead of shifting back to the Brio right away (I was still pissed with Sundaram Honda), we looked at the i20 AT. A sweet SWEET 1.4 L engine, ABS, driver airbag. Sounds good right? Well the price was 9L OTR. Almost twice the cost of Celerio that started it all and almost same as the City! I was about to push my parents to bump up the budget when I found out that i20 didn't have a passenger airbag. That I could have lived with but the main deal breaker - no driver seat adjuster. I mean COME ON HYUNDAI, you make a 9L car and can't put a driver height adjuster? Now at 5'10 i didn't find the i20 seat height a problem, but for my mum who is 5'3 it certainly was. So that ended my dream of an i20... all thanks to a 50-rupee height adjuster (I hope you are reading this Hyundai... read it and weep).

Polo AT did come up briefly, but then after reading about Mr. Harish's travails with Skoda I decided to not go near VW (or its subsidiaries') cars even with a 15 ft broom (and yes, i am convincing loads of my relatives to do the same... we are with you sir. Shame on you Skoda). And so we were AGAIN back to the Brio.

I was pretty morose about the whole thing. One day when I was going to my office, I saw a Red Brio. Boy did it look dapper compared to the plain-jane silver I was going for. So with a heavy heart i went back to Sundaram Honda and after threatening them that it was their last chance I asked them to book a Red Brio VX AT. I was informed that it would take a month and half for the car so with a heavy heart i started my wait.

I spent the next one month on Team-BHP reading up on ALL cars present in Indian market just to distract my mind. Plus, I started window shopping for accessories (idle mind is a devil's workshop) that I thought would be needed for the new car. The following I purchased -

1) Jhopasu duster (a must have in dusty indian conditions) -
The baby leopard - My Red Honda Brio VX Automatic-wp_20140509_003.jpg

2) Jumper cables
3) 3.5 Ton towing cable with hooks attached at end (blue bag)
4) Emergency tool all in one-seatbelt cutter, window breaker, emergency light (yellow-coloured thing) -
The baby leopard - My Red Honda Brio VX Automatic-wp_20140519_001.jpg

And after a month more of agonizing waiting on 26 May 2014 the car reached showroom. I rushed there with my parents. I had the Team-BHP PDI checklist and spent around 20 odd minutes checking the car. I verified the VIN number as well and saw that the vehicle was May-manufactured. I asked them when the registration would be done. They said 30th May. But it unfortunately it got delayed till 3rd June.

So on 3rd June 2014 after office I rushed to the showroom all alone and nervous with excitement. First the money had to paid.

Costs:

Ex-showroom price: Rs. 6,09,500
Bumper to bumper Insurance: Rs. 20,912 (decided to get through Sundaram Honda)
Registeration & Incidentals: Rs. 70,250
Extended warranty (4 years) + RSA: Rs. 10,250

Total: Rs. 7,10,912 This was rounded off to: 7,10,000

Corporate Discount: Rs. 3000

(While i was writing this I just realized that the corporate discount was never included in my bill and i ended up paying Rs. 7,10,000 instead of Rs. 7,07,000. I just sent them a mail with all scanned images of the various bills. Let's see what happens will keep you guys updated. Thanks to Team-BHP I will get my 3k which I wouldn't have remembered otherwise )

Accessories:

I wanted to purchase 4 OEM Honda accessories. In brackets I am mentioning the rough costs for each accessory as given in Sundaram Honda's accessory price list -

- Side Door protector (painted in red to match the car) (Rs. 4500)
- Boot protector (this is to cover the exposed metal part of the loading lip of the boot (Rs. 700)
The baby leopard - My Red Honda Brio VX Automatic-img_0003.jpg

- Alloy wheel for the 5th (spare) wheel (Rs. 8000)
The baby leopard - My Red Honda Brio VX Automatic-img_0024.jpg

- Rear spoiler (trust me it does improve the rear profile of the car) (Rs 9000)
The baby leopard - My Red Honda Brio VX Automatic-img_0004.jpg
The baby leopard - My Red Honda Brio VX Automatic-img_0005.jpg

I spoke to Mr. Mohammad (the team leader) and said that since i was offered only corporate discount and not given anything with the car I wanted the above 4 accessories for 20k. After a lot of bargaining he agreed.

On the day of delivery they had installed Side door protector + Boot protector. I paid: Rs. 4,044 (this was decreased from Rs. 4,782 as i managed to convince them to waive the labour and other charges. Heh heh heh.)

Since they didnt have stock I got the spoiler after a month in June 2014. I paid: Rs. 8468(inclusive of painting and installation charges)

Alloy Spare wheel i got even later- in November 2014. I paid: 3465 ( inclusive of tyre swapping charges)

Total cost of the 4 accessories according to brochure: ~23k
What i paid for them actually: ~16k


Ok enough talking for today. I'll let the delivery pictures speak for now-
The baby leopard - My Red Honda Brio VX Automatic-wp_20140603_003.jpg
The baby leopard - My Red Honda Brio VX Automatic-wp_20140603_002.jpg
The baby leopard - My Red Honda Brio VX Automatic-wp_20140603_006.jpg

With Mr. Mohammad the team leader -
The baby leopard - My Red Honda Brio VX Automatic-wp_20140603_014.jpg

My Love-o-matic car Please note this picture was taken before i had the spoiler installed. The side door protector is visible though -
The baby leopard - My Red Honda Brio VX Automatic-wp_20140608_001.jpg

Ok that's enough for today. My fingers ache. More details and pictures to follow in next post! Stay tuned.

Last edited by Aditya : 9th March 2015 at 18:24. Reason: Spacing
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Old 5th March 2015, 00:01   #2
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Default Re: The baby Leopard- My red Brio VX AT

Ha, this was so much fun to read! Your negotiation skills are impressive! Congrats on the red Brio - it looks amazing in that colour. Please keep the thread updated!
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Old 6th March 2015, 15:43   #3
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Default Re: The baby Leopard- My red Brio VX AT

Post Delivery:

Other than the Honda accessories i purchased the following as well-
1) CR 70 sunfilm for front windshield - Rs 6689
2) CR 70 sunfilm for side windows- Rs 9561
3) Anti corrosion rubber coating on underbody as well in wheel wells (5 years warranty)- Rs 2689
4) 3M nomad mats (Beige)- Rs 4803
5) Scotchguard protection film on Bumpers- Rs 10203
The above items i got from 3M. Total price i paid- Rs 30074 (decreased from Rs 34943)
6) Red and Black non-leather seat and steering cover - Rs 10000

The baby leopard - My Red Honda Brio VX Automatic-img_0014.jpg

The baby leopard - My Red Honda Brio VX Automatic-img_0015.jpg

7) Scuff plates with 'Brio' embossed on them (ordered off ebay and installed them myself)- Rs 700 (set of 4)

The baby leopard - My Red Honda Brio VX Automatic-img_0011.jpg

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So far I have covered 10000 odd km in the car and the following are my observations-

Driveability:

Fellow Team-BHP ians we buy European cars for their tank like build, bragging rights. Koreans for their features. And Honda cars for their driving experience. And that's what the Brio delivers in oodles ! It's amazingly easy to drive inside the city and on the highway. My mother has finally started driving after a gap of 10 years, albeit hesitatingly, and I strongly believe that it could have been possible only due to the Brio.
'nuff said.

Another good quality is that once you slot into 'D' there is decent accelerator input even without you pressing the accelerator. Without any input the car will putter on it's own at ~10 kmph. So even if you start the car on an incline unless it EXTREMELY steep, the default accelerator input is enough to stop the car from rolling back. Very nifty for first time and woman drivers i must say.

Looks:

Now this might be a bit subjective but i honestly feel that the Brio is among the best looking hatchbacks on the market today. Though in all fairness I would have to declare the Orange Grand i10 Asta the winner with a Red Brio as a close second. My baby is absolutely gorgeous on the outside. Period. And the bright shiny red colour definitely helps.

The baby leopard - My Red Honda Brio VX Automatic-img_0020.jpg

The baby leopard - My Red Honda Brio VX Automatic-img_0021.jpg

The front and back are equally proportioned and nothing looks quirky.

The baby leopard - My Red Honda Brio VX Automatic-img_0019.jpg

Yes, some people have a problem with the large glass back door but I personally seem to like the look of it ever since I saw a Brio for the first time.

The baby leopard - My Red Honda Brio VX Automatic-img_0022.jpg

Internally the centre dashboard in the chink in the armor. It's too damn drab. So drab that it took all the awesomeness of Honda's i-VTEC engine to get me to select the Japs over the Koreans. Come on Honda how hard is it to make a decent looking dashboard ??? Otherwise the car looks nice with a beige and black interior. The steering and Speedometer are all handsome looking as well.

Features:

Ah. The achilles heel. Now while safety wise I have nothing to complain (i-SRS airbag for driver, ABS, EBD, passenger airbag) . Heck it is probably the only hatchback that comes with collapsible steering (please correct me if wrong folks) which was something important for me especially in light of my father's accident. Kudos to Honda for this.

But it's the creature comforts where I have a bone to pick. Now i can live without ACC and auto folding mirror (unnecessaryIMHO) but no rear wiper Honda seriously ? Heck even 4-5 Lakh cars have that.But then i guess i should be grateful i have a rear defogger unlike the previous generation Brio owners :\

And no auto locking doors is a HUGE oversight. Infact it actually caused us a problem ,when, at a signal someone opened one of the front doors. Only post that did we all started locking the doors before we start driving. But i will never forgive Honda for omitting a simple feature from a car that i paid 7L+ OTR.

And while I like the steering controls I feel a mute button should definitely have been part of it.

Handling:

Fantastic. I kid you not, after I had been driving the car for a while I went go karting and I almost felt I was in a smaller Brio ! The steering is spot on and I love it. But the acid test for me would be the ease for my mum- She finds the car easy to handle in city traffic and tight parking spots. Good enough for me.

I don't know about high speed turns since I have never, and hopefully never will, try that but changing lanes even at tripe digit speeds doesn't make me feel nervous. And it surprises me how stable the car is at 100+ kmph on highways considering how small it is. Well done Honda !

NVH:

Despite having a petrol engine in the Brio, Honda decided to install cladding underneath the bonnet (pics attach below). This means that when at standstill you cant tell if the engine is running and I have ended up cranking the engine despite it already running.

Even at 80kmph the engine and wind is so silent that only noise I get is that of the tyres on the road since she has

..partial cladding in front wheel wells...

The baby leopard - My Red Honda Brio VX Automatic-img_0050.jpg

..but none in rear wheel wells..

The baby leopard - My Red Honda Brio VX Automatic-img_0049.jpg

(Slightly OT: due to lack of cladding in rear wheel well I decided to get 3M's rubber coating done in rear wheel well as well as front wheel well. For those of you wondering if it helps- Yes it is does. BUT not as much as you'd think. I unfortunately went for the rubber coating assuming it would bring down the noise from 100 to 40. While in reality the rubber coating bought it down to 85-90 only. So go for the rubber coating if you want and if your car doesn't have cladding in wheel wells, just dont expect too much out of it ! )

The engine sound IS heard when you are pushing triple digits but it doesn't sound bad, though wind sound does start around the A-pillar but i guess that is expected at those speeds.

So overall Brio is refined but there are a few weakspots- Since the VX variant has dual horn if you keep the horn pressed for more than few seconds the vibrations filter down to accelerator. And if you keep your horn pressed for 30 seconds (not that i recommend such noise pollution !) your toes will get numb if you are the sensitive kind.

Engine & Transmission:

Ah the coup-de-grace of the Brio. In one word- A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Honda engines are renowned and for a reason. I am at home driving the car at traffic and while blowing past small and medium sedans on highway. Once you get used to the AT gearbox of Brio you will be surprised what this "little automatic car" can accomplish.

Small example: One early morning i went to an empty by-road near Marina beach. 4 people in my car and 5 people in a Grand i10 (manual). We raced both the cars from a standstill till 60kmph and the Brio pulled away from the Hyundai effortlessly ! That should give you a indication of how good this little car is. (note: it was an empty road, early in morning. We all wore seat belts and the roads were dry. I do not support drag racing or other dangerous behaviour and this was just a small test of the Brio under as safe circumstance as could be)

While this car is certainly no drag racer if you need to accelerate from standstill quickly its best to slot into the D3 gear and then punch the accelerator hard. Once you reach 60kmph shift into 'D' gear. You would be how surprised how fast the Brio is under these circumstances. Not to mention the engine sound under hard acceleration is not a tortured whine of a cat but rather the angry growl of a baby leopard (hence the title !) Music to my ears. Ofcourse since i love her too much i don't torture her frequently and thus i rarely accelerate that hard, but the 4-5 times that I did, well, my ears weren't complaining exactly !

Also, forgive me if this is fallacious since this is based on my observations, once the Brio is slotted into D3 and the acceleration pushed to medium (or heavy if you want that) the low end power delivery is amazing. Infact with the above setup and moving away from standstill I have moved ahead of much larger sedans on the IT corridor at signals. Ofcourse the lead I have is only till roughly 40 kmph after which the sedans move past. But ,nonetheless, you CAN humiliate quite a few expensive cars at signals, at least for roughly 50-60 odd metres until you reach 40 kmph, if you are so inclined !

A small negative is the slight confusion in selection of gears by the slushbox if you give medium input (i believe it was mentioned in the review as well) but once you get to know the gearbox you can work around it. Nothing major. Plus once you get to nkow how to trick the gearbox you will learn how to press accelerator to stick to a gear and how to go to a higher gear as well.

Basically this area is where Brio shines. Top notch refinement, driveability in city is fantastic. Surprisingly driveability in highway is good as well as the gear ratios are good. 100 kmph is roughly 2000 RPM while 120 kmph is 2500-2800 RPM (cant remember accurately folks sorry). And no harshness whatsoever even when you torture the engine and gearbox. I bow to thee Honda...

Suspension:

Now since this is my first car I pamper her as much as i can. And that means NO potholes. 95% of the times I drive around potholes or such that it passes under the centre of the car, between the wheels. And the remaining 5% of the times that I am forced to go through potholes I ensure that i do so at crawling speed. And at these speeds the car gets very bouncy. And there is a lot of horizontal movement. Of course this once time I was forced to go through a couple of potholes at a higher speed I saw that the car was more stable and less bouncy. But then it breaks my heart to take the car through potholes at higher speeds so i accept the slow speed bounciness just so my baby isn't hurt

Also while travelling at 100+ kmph in uneven highways the rear end gets pretty bouncy for rear passengers. People who get travel sickness please note. Though in all fairness I must add that at no point does it feel that the car is out of control. Just slight motion sickness. If you dont have that (like me) you can enjoy Brio at even 120 kmph on highways (assuming its safe enough to do so)

Audio:

While i love my songs am not a audiophile. The song quality is pretty good.Even at high volume, though then the door panels start vibrating like crazy to the tune of the bass beats. There is Aux in (which i use) and USB in. Please note the USB in does not charge your phone( i thought it would like it does on my PC !). The control buttons on steering are absolutely spot on and do the job perfectly.

Air-Conditioner:

Chennai has horrid summers and for someone like me who is a Polar Bear (i prefer extreme cold. And i CANNOT tolerate heat let alone Chennai heat). With the sunfilms installed and the AC at blower speed 3 and both vents directed at me I can survive the summers here. IF there are passengers at back and they want vents directed at them well then getting into a hot car during summers will be tough for me. That being said the ac is enough for majority of the population who aren't polar bears. Currently since the weather is decent with the blower speed as 1 or 2 it is enough for me.

The ac is pretty quiet at speeds 1,2 while 3 and 4 are noisy. Also if you select the foot and head option for the air flow it is more noisier than it is when you select just the head option. Also once you close the air vents no air leaks through.

Ergonomics, Mirrors:

Absolutely spot on for most part.

+ves:
At 5'10 when i adjust the seat for my comfort everything from the gear stick to the ac controls fall into hand. Even my 5'3 has same comfort once she adjust the seat according to her comfort.
The ORVMs are big and properly positioned. Plus have thick, body coloured casing protecting them

The baby leopard - My Red Honda Brio VX Automatic-img_0035.jpg

Their internal electrical adjuster is positioned perfectly and once you get used to it can be operated easily even without looking.

The baby leopard - My Red Honda Brio VX Automatic-img_0016.jpg

The steering wheel controls are very easy to use and pretty apt.
The armrests are useful for everyone and power window switches positioned correctly so that while resting your arm you dont touch them.
The rear hatch has hyrdaulic strut so it is pretty easy to open and close it.

-Ves:
Moving in and out of car is not exactly a cake walk. While getting into drivers seat first i put my left leg in, then my lower torso, then upper torso and then right leg. And if i move steering wheel to the lowest tilt position well lets just say I will have to bade my knees goodbye.
Backseat legroom is enough for my 5'5 father and 5'3 mother. But a family of 4 where everyone is more 5'10 might not be able to travel in the car in extreme comfort.

Braking:

Front: Disc
Rear: Drum

Since i drive carefully and always anticipate moves of others I have never had the chance to brake hard at high speeds. The most was from 50 kmph and that was a rare ocassion. Heck i have never managed to light up ABS even once in my 10000km of driving. The brakes provide good feedback and are not spongy and i rarely have to press them fully. On par for the job plus i guess ABS+EDB will help if they ever come into play (touch-wood that situation will never arise !)

Wheels:

She comes with R14 175/65 tyres mounted on 10 spoke alloy wheels.

The baby leopard - My Red Honda Brio VX Automatic-img_0034.jpg

I know an upgrade was recommended in the official Team BHP but honestly I never felt the need. To be fair it could be because i haven't experienced the superior grip that is supposedly offered by 185 rubber but then i will never subject my baby to fast turns so i guess that's fine.

The alloy design is ok. Nothing great but not boring either. Am planning to get them painted black though.

The tyre pressure recommended by Honda is 29/26 (F/B). I experimented with various pressure combinations and for past 5 months been using 32/29 (F/B). The difference in acceleration has to be seen to be believed folks ! When i gave car for service they returned the car with 29/26. This difference in acceleration was so visible i thought they had messed up the engine !! You can imagine my relief when i went to a petrol pump and got the pressure checked! Ofcourse at such high pressure the ride is slightly bouncy but then I dont mind it because I anyway avoid potholes for the most part and the difference in pick up makes it all worth it as well.

Feel-good-factor-

Now this is slightly subjective but i believe that it's important that an owner has to feel glad about his/her car. Whenever i walk towards the Brio i do feel that. She is beautifully sculpted and the shiny red paint accentuates it. And when i look at her, regardless of the angle, I fall in love again.

When i open the door and sit inside the feeling does continue. The roof covered with soft lining till A pillar, the nice chunky steering wheels, the big ORVMS all make me feel swell.... BUT some of the facts about the interior let me down-

1) Centre console- as mentioned before it is drab and I was in serious doubt about Brio becuase it looked too drab. Over the past few months i have gotten used to it and started appreciating it's simplicity but that dosent mean I like it. Probably never will. It's like an ugly wart on a Miss Universe. Almost ruins a beautiful creation of god...

2) The gear indicators on the gear shift are not illuminated. While the gear selected is indicated to right of speedometer how hard is it to put 5 rupee bulbs under the gear indicator Honda? It would have made the car look ever better at night. But you just had to be lazy and directly lift the gearbox from City without any changes didnt you ?

3) The same complaint as above is for the power window switches. While i have learnt their position from memory since i drive so much, for a new driver it IS a problem finding the correct switch in the dark, not to mention the difference in the looks of the car at night. Seriously Honda learn a thing or two from Hyundai -.-

Finish and Build Quality:

Score for Honda. Unlike the 4th Gen City (sorry present owners am basing this on the various threads on Team BHP) Brio is made for international markets hence i guess Honda pays more attention to detail. Everything is put together well. Even after 10000 km even today if I drive on bad roads i cant hear a single squeak (touchwood). The shiny paint obviously looks good though requires a bit of maintenance. The gap lines are consistent, decently tight for the most part with a few exceptions-

Passenger airbag compartment-

The baby leopard - My Red Honda Brio VX Automatic-img_0027.jpg

Glovebox-

The baby leopard - My Red Honda Brio VX Automatic-img_0039.jpg

Mileage:

The car is used 90% times for going to office and 10% for outings. The route i traverse is mainly within city/at city borders, though interspersed with few decent open stretches.

I average around 12-13 kmpl with ac on all the time and a relatively light foot. The secret to getting such a mileage is understanding the difference between a manual and an automatic.

Tip- coasting increases mileage right ? So if you see a signal ahead and take your foot off the accelerator in an manual car it would probably take you, say, 'x' meters to coast to a stop. Well in the automatic it will take you 1.5 -2 'x' meters to coast to a stop. So according to that you can take your foot off the accelerator.

Things like these plus the fact that I am good at adaptive driving (i.e I can tell if someone is about to brake well in advance, so i take my foot off accelerator early and coast to a stop behind them with minimal use of brakes) help with the mileage. Oh and I also switch the car off at signals where I have to stop for more than 45 seconds.

But then this doesnt mean I dont like accelerating slightly on open stretches or signals. Just that I drive relatively lightly roughly 70% of the times and drive sensibly.

Last edited by Aditya : 9th March 2015 at 17:11. Reason: Spacing
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Old 6th March 2015, 18:16   #4
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Default Re: The baby Leopard- My red Brio VX AT

Miscellaneous:

View of the driver's armrest -
The baby leopard - My Red Honda Brio VX Automatic-img_0045.jpg

The dash with anti glare material. Not very effective at cutting out glare when the sun is overhead. I would rate it as 6/10 -
The baby leopard - My Red Honda Brio VX Automatic-img_0046.jpg

When you turn on the car the stereo displays 'Welcome to Honda' message -
The baby leopard - My Red Honda Brio VX Automatic-img_0048.jpg

The ORVMs can turn 180 degree backward. A blessing on our roads with the maniacal bike drivers. And helped me save repair money more than once -
The baby leopard - My Red Honda Brio VX Automatic-img_0052.jpg

The width once it's folded in -
The baby leopard - My Red Honda Brio VX Automatic-img_0053.jpg

Rear tow hook...
The baby leopard - My Red Honda Brio VX Automatic-img_0054.jpg

... and front -
The baby leopard - My Red Honda Brio VX Automatic-img_0056.jpg

Dual front horn. Notice the lack of dog bar -
The baby leopard - My Red Honda Brio VX Automatic-img_0033.jpg

View of the rear suspension -
The baby leopard - My Red Honda Brio VX Automatic-img_0055.jpg

Side view of the spoiler -
The baby leopard - My Red Honda Brio VX Automatic-img_0051.jpg

View of the front passenger's armrest. Compare this with the driver's arm rest where there is only one nook for keeping things -
The baby leopard - My Red Honda Brio VX Automatic-img_0044.jpg

Both driver and passenger get vanity mirror on sun visor -
The baby leopard - My Red Honda Brio VX Automatic-img_0043.jpg

The rear defogger button next to the fog light switch -
The baby leopard - My Red Honda Brio VX Automatic-img_0041.jpg

View of entry for rear passengers. You won't win many friends here -
The baby leopard - My Red Honda Brio VX Automatic-img_0040.jpg

Glove box is ok size. The blue coloured pouch on the right is the first aid kit provided by Honda -
The baby leopard - My Red Honda Brio VX Automatic-img_0038.jpg

Thank god Honda covered the hideous exposed metal in door from previous generation Brio -
The baby leopard - My Red Honda Brio VX Automatic-img_0036.jpg

A closer look -
The baby leopard - My Red Honda Brio VX Automatic-img_0037.jpg

On the left (from the driver's perspective) the front hood has the air intake...
The baby leopard - My Red Honda Brio VX Automatic-img_0032.jpg

... and cladding on the right -
The baby leopard - My Red Honda Brio VX Automatic-img_0029.jpg

The star of the show -
The baby leopard - My Red Honda Brio VX Automatic-img_0031.jpg

The lack of underbody protection is best demonstrated by the fact that if you look carefully you can spot my floaters (chappals) underneath the car -
The baby leopard - My Red Honda Brio VX Automatic-img_0030.jpg

The 3 jet washer blends into the black plastic on the bonnet. Neat -
The baby leopard - My Red Honda Brio VX Automatic-img_0028.jpg

Rubber stopper on the cover for spare wheel to prevent rattles -
The baby leopard - My Red Honda Brio VX Automatic-img_0023.jpg

Front door speaker and...
The baby leopard - My Red Honda Brio VX Automatic-img_0018.jpg

... rear door speaker -
The baby leopard - My Red Honda Brio VX Automatic-img_0017.jpg

Head light level adjuster. You can use it to move the high beam level p or down to compensate for additional weight in the car -
The baby leopard - My Red Honda Brio VX Automatic-img_0012.jpg

Honda seems to have heeded the complaints of lack of driver seat adjuster in previous generation Brio -
The baby leopard - My Red Honda Brio VX Automatic-img_0010.jpg

A look at the rear defogger that Honda took so long to add -
The baby leopard - My Red Honda Brio VX Automatic-img_0009.jpg

Flap to help with under body airflow in front of the rear wheels...
The baby leopard - My Red Honda Brio VX Automatic-img_0006.jpg

... and the front wheels -
The baby leopard - My Red Honda Brio VX Automatic-img_0007.jpg

X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X

Conclusion:

Positives:
-Engine+gearbox combo
-Looks
-Safety (especially collapsible steering)

Negatives:
-Lack of rear wiper
-Boring center console
-No auto locking doors

Overall I believe that Honda Brio is hands down the best automatic hatchback in the Indian market for under 10L. It has Honda reliability and performance along with adequate safety and comfort of driving.

Hope my thread proved informative for you folks. Congratulation on having patience for reading till the end. Peace out

Last edited by Aditya : 9th March 2015 at 17:05. Reason: Spacing
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Old 7th March 2015, 23:14   #5
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Default Re: The baby Leopard- My red Brio VX AT

Update on Maintenance Costs:

Other than for the 1000 km and 10000 km services I have taken the car to workshop on three occasions -

For repairing a VERY deep scratch on right door - Rs. 5000
Repairing a puncture on one of the tyres - Rs. 250
Getting accessories (spoiler and alloy spare wheel)

Since I purchased from Sundaram Honda I have continued with them for all servicing matters. Surprisingly my experience with them w.r.t. service has been better than my purchasing experience. Other than the high cost (for painting) the service personnel are very polite, well informed and keep me regularly updated on the progress of service and when the car will be ready. I would rate them them 9.5/10 in this regard. Well done!

For the 1000 km service I paid to have my engine oil changed other than that no costs. For 10000 km service I have wheel balancing done (Rs 400) and waxing cum washing (Rs 2000). Other than that no costs.

Overall I must say am impressed with Honda's service so far. If it weren't for the cost I would say I have experienced service on par with Maruti's if not better. Hope it continues (touch wood). Keep watching this thread for more updates !

Last edited by Aditya : 9th March 2015 at 16:55. Reason: Spacing
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Old 9th March 2015, 11:01   #6
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Default re: The baby leopard - My Red Honda Brio VX Automatic

Thread moved from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing
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Old 9th March 2015, 13:03   #7
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Default Re: The baby leopard - My Red Honda Brio VX Automatic

Congratulations and enjoy your Vtec steed. I have had the pleasure of the Vtec gush for about 29k kms in less than 3 years so far.

OT: I have spent significantly less money maintaining my Brio, than my RE Thunderbird
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Old 9th March 2015, 15:19   #8
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Default Re: The baby Leopard- My red Brio VX AT

Congratulations on buying one of the cutest cars available on sale today. You have superbly compiled the review with a really neat attention to detail. Hats off to your patience Sir!. Your review is surely going to help many serious Brio AT buyers.

Wish you many joyful kms. with your first very own car. The VTEC will take care of the on your face for a long time to come. Hope the car is 'loving you back.'


Quote:
Originally Posted by Rollingwheels26 View Post
Miscellaneous:



Overall I believe that Honda Brio is hands down the best automatic hatchback in the Indian market for under 10L. It has Honda reliability and performance along with adequate safety and comfort of driving.
Agree to disagree.
For me, the GT TSI will be the best AT car below 10 lakhs. Reduce the 10 lakhs to maybe 8 lakhs and the Brio can secure the title.

Last edited by petrolhead_neel : 9th March 2015 at 15:25.
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Old 9th March 2015, 16:05   #9
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Default Re: The baby leopard - My Red Honda Brio VX Automatic

Since you focused on safety so much, were you not bothered by the rear glass from a safety perspective ?
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Old 9th March 2015, 16:38   #10
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Default Re: The baby Leopard- My red Brio VX AT

Quote:
Originally Posted by adityasiera View Post
Congratulations and enjoy your Vtec steed. I have had the pleasure of the Vtec gush for about 29k kms in less than 3 years so far.

OT: I have spent significantly less money maintaining my Brio, than my RE Thunderbird

Thank you ! And Honda is surprisingly cheap to own despite popular perception


Quote:
Originally Posted by petrolhead_neel View Post
Congratulations on buying one of the cutest cars available on sale today. You have superbly compiled the review with a really neat attention to detail. Hats off to your patience Sir!. Your review is surely going to help many serious Brio AT buyers.

Wish you many joyful kms. with your first very own car. The VTEC will take care of the on your face for a long time to come. Hope the car is 'loving you back.'


Agree to disagree.
For me, the GT TSI will be the best AT car below 10 lakhs. Reduce the 10 lakhs to maybe 8 lakhs and the Brio can secure the title.
Thank you for the encouraging words kind sir ! Hope you enjoyed reading the review as well. And while i confess to being a fan of the GT twins ( every time i pass by the GT TDI in my apartments i stop to gaze at her lovingly with a vacant expression on my face ) and their blazingly fast performance at the end of the day we all want a car that is reliable. And the slushbox of Brio has been around in India more than a decade (in City) without issues while the DSG does have reliability concerns. So for now my vote goes to Brio.

Ofcourse if the DSG proves itself to be reliable 5-6 years down the line I will demote Brio to the second spot willingly !!

Last edited by Rollingwheels26 : 9th March 2015 at 16:47. Reason: Typo
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Old 9th March 2015, 16:45   #11
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Default Re: The baby leopard - My Red Honda Brio VX Automatic

Quote:
Originally Posted by psankar View Post
Since you focused on safety so much, were you not bothered by the rear glass from a safety perspective ?
Not really. In a rear collision the safety of a car does not depend on the amount of sheet-metal sitting between you and the point of impact but rather the chassis itself. Just as how the stability of a 5 storey building depends not on the 4th floor but how strong it's foundations are. And Brio's body structure is certainly better than most of the hatchbacks available on the market (since it is exported to Thailand , Indonesia which have stricter crash test regulations compared to India).
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Old 9th March 2015, 18:56   #12
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Default Re: The baby Leopard- My red Brio VX AT

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rollingwheels26 View Post
Update on Maintenance Costs:


For the 1000 km service I paid to have my engine oil changed other than that no costs. For 10000 km service I have wheel balancing done (Rs 400) and waxing cum washing (Rs 2000). Other than that no costs.

!
You got your oil changed at 1000 kms? When I took my Brio for the 1st service, the service adviser said you don't need to change the engine oil, even though I was insisting on one. He even showed me the condition of the oil and it just looked new out the can. No surprise with a Honda engine. So, I am a bit surprised as to why you opted for one?
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Old 9th March 2015, 19:02   #13
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Default Re: The baby Leopard- My red Brio VX AT

Quote:
Originally Posted by SnS_12 View Post
You got your oil changed at 1000 kms? When I took my Brio for the 1st service, the service adviser said you don't need to change the engine oil, even though I was insisting on one. He even showed me the condition of the oil and it just looked new out the can. No surprise with a Honda engine. So, I am a bit surprised as to why you opted for one?
Hi SnS,


Actually even my service advisor advised me against changing and said it was unnecessary. But let me direct your attention to the following point mentioned in the Team BHP article on running in a new car-

"Team-BHP recommends that you change your engine oil after the first 1,000 km. As with all new engines, you will find that some metal slivers have found their way into the oil. From this point onward you can stick to the manufacturer recommended intervals."

This made sense to me so I spent around 1000-2000 bucks to get the oil changed. This is a small price to help engine longevity wouldnt you say ?


P.Sthe dipstick test won't show the metal slivers since they are too heavy to cling to the stick...

Last edited by Rollingwheels26 : 9th March 2015 at 19:05. Reason: added p.s
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Old 9th March 2015, 20:21   #14
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Default Re: The baby leopard - My Red Honda Brio VX Automatic

Hey there, congrats on your new car. Brio is typical Honda, nice and peppy.

By the way, 10K for Non-Leather seat covers ? Were they branded ? Seems to expensive for PU seat covers. I got my Liva seats covered for about 4.8K.
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Old 10th March 2015, 08:42   #15
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Default Re: The baby leopard - My Red Honda Brio VX Automatic

Wow
Wonderful review.
Thanks for sharing.
I have covered almost 25k km during a year in my Brio AT.
Its smooth and peppy to drive. Loving it.
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