First Drive: Honda Brio Sedan

Honda South Africa has grown its small car offering with the introduction of the Honda Brio sedan. The sedan follows in the footsteps of the Brio hatchback that was launched late last year and which has garnered appeal among its 18 to 24 year-old target market.

Honda Brio Sedan

The Brio sedan takes advantage of those traits that have seen the hatchback make a successful entry into the A0-segment of our market, with drawcards being Honda’s reputation for quality, reliability and the backing of a service plan as standard.

The sedan follows the Brio hatchback’s design closely and the Honda engineers have managed a not-unattractive job of expanding the car’s rear end. The sedan has a slightly different front fascia, which includes a colour-coded lower section around the fog lights and air intake. The radiator grille also has a with a a twin slat design instead of the single item seen on the hatch. Other than these small differences, it is the obvious addition of the boot that sets the sedan apart.

Honda Brio Sedan

In order to accommodate the boot, the Brio’s wheelbase was extended by 55 mm, which has resulted in a slightly roomier cabin and a considerable 405-litres of cargo area. The sedan offers almost two-and-a-half times the carrying capacity of the hatch. Honda say this increased space will appeal to young families seeking an affordable and versatile vehicle. Despite the increased dimensions, the Brio sedan is just 30 kg heavier than the hatch, meaning performance doesn’t suffer.

The Brio sedan is powered by the same 1.2-litre, 4-cylinder, i-VTEC engine that produces 65 kW at 6 000 r/min and 109 Nm of torque at 4 500 r/min. The engine won’t set the world alight with its performance figures and while it did cruise amicably on the extra-urban parts of our driving route, it didn’t have much power in reserve when it came to hills and overtaking. One can’t hold it against the Brio, however, as it performs as expected. In the stop/start confines of Stellenbosch, the Brio felt at home and required little effort to get up to speed. Honda claim a 0 – 100 km/h acceleration time in the “mid-12 second bracket”.

Honda Brio Sedan

As with its hatchback stablemate, the Brio’s suspension is comfortable and deals with the usual urban obstacles, such as speed bumps and manhole covers, without fuss. The power-assisted steering is light, but is speed sensitive and firms up proportionately on the open road.

The 5-speed manual transmission provides an accurate enough and hassle-free shift. A 5-speed automatic transmission is also available, but we didn’t have the opportunity to sample it at launch. The 1.2-litre engine requires an average of 6.1 L/100km when paired with the manual transmission.

The cabin layout is identical to that of the hatch in front. The drivers instrumentation covers the basics such as a speedometer, tachometer and warning light cluster, along with a trip computer and electronic fuel gauge. The seats are comfortable, offer enough support and the front items look good too with their integrated head restraints. Unfortunately the impractical and uninspiring beige two-tone interior persists.

Honda Brio Sedan

Honda have paid attention to the aperture of the rear doors, which make for easy entry and exit from the car. The base of the rear seat is set at a steeper angle than on most cars and coupled with a backrest that sits at a more reclined angle too. This rear seat design helps to create more leg and headroom, while giving an improved feeling of support.

Despite its size, the Brio is built well and doesn’t leave occupants feeling vulnerable to the myriad of trucks, busses and bakkies on our roads. Adding to peace of mind and the very real aspect of safety are ABS brakes matched with EBD, dual front airbags and Honda’s Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure ensuring the best body rigidity for occupant safety.

Honda Brio Sedan

Honda have seen success with the Brio hatchback and Graham Eagle, director of automobiles at Honda Motor Southern Africa, says “… the expanded Brio range will provide an affordable, economical and visually vibrant option for young family buyers seeking a spacious, contemporary and well-equipped four-door saloon.”

Pricing (Incl. VAT and CO2 Tax)
Honda Brio Sedan 1.2 Trend M/T R128 900
Honda Brio Sedan 1.2 Comfort M/T R136 900
Honda Brio Sedan 1.2 Comfort A/T R146 900

All models feature a 3-year/100 000 km warranty and 2-year/30 000 km service plan.



About Scott Hayes

Scott Hayes is the publisher and editor of the SA Car Fan website, which he founded in early 2009. Scott is a member of the SA Guild of Motoring Journalists and works behind the scenes on a daily basis to ensure you remain up-to-date with the latest motoring news. Follow Scott on Twitter.

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