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Honest motoring on a tiny budget - Honda Brio


THIS IS the Honda Brio sedan, or at least that’s what it’s called in South Africa. In other parts of the world it’s known as the Amaze, which seems a bit strong, doesn’t it?

To date I’ve driven a few Ferraris, a McLaren and two Aston Martins and all of them were more or less amazing. But a Brio? Not really. People in other parts of the world must be really easily amused if they willingly accept Honda’s smallest sedan’s bootlid jargon.

Still, it’s tough not to love the latest addition to Honda’s line-up. Except for the optimistic nomenclature, it’s an honest machine that does exactly what it says on the box. In many ways, it delivers even more than you’d expect.

Let’s start with the basics. Obviously the sedan is almost exactly the same as the Brio hatch, but with added boot space. That, in theory, should make the sedan an entry-level best buy, as the hatch’s lack of space in the back was the only real criticism I could think of when I drove it months ago.

In the sedan you get 405 litres of packing space, which makes the Brio a viable option for a family that’s just starting out. The wheelbase of the sedan is also 55mm longer than the hatch, so rear passengers get more space to stretch out. The result is a relatively spacious interior that won’t give its occupants cabin fever on a long journey.

The added metal hasn’t had much of an impact on the Brio’s zippy performance. You have to work it hard in certain situations, but this is made easy by the slick five-speed manual ’box.

More of its inherent Honda-ness is evident on the inside. It feels solidly put together and seems like it will last a lifetime. This is the kind of car you buy so it can stay in the family for many generations.

I don’t particularly like the turmeric-inspired seats, but the rest of the interior trim is perfectly acceptable and it has all the necessary luxuries included as standard. The sound system, with its oversized buttons, was a joy to use and the air conditioning had no problem coping with the arrival of summer.

This is all to be expected from the modern entry-level vehicle, so there’s still no real reason to be amazed by the Brio. If I had to choose one thing that I do find amazing though, it’d be the amount of refinement you get at the price.

NVH levels are surprisingly low and it rides beautifully. The Brio may retail at A-segment prices, but you definitely get B-segment refinement.

The Brio sedan is cheap and cheerful motoring at its best. Apart from the overambitious label on the bootlid, it’s an honest car that does exactly what it’s supposed to.

Actually, I don’t even blame Honda for calling it the Amaze, because something like ‘impressive small sedan with legendary Honda build quality and reliability’ wouldn’t fit. Amaze is simply a short and sweet replacement for everything you really need to know about Honda’s littlest sedan.

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