Brio turns on the style

Bobby Cheetham

HONDA has an enviable reputation for building quality cars with unbreakable engines and living up to that is the company's new offering. The Honda Brio sedan and hatch are funky, fun vehicles that won't break the bank, yet is not yet another "cheapie" model pitched at first-time buyers.

The sedan joins the Brio entry-level hatchback which strengthens the model line-up.

The hatchback has won many admirers (and buyers) and the four-door sedan builds on the vehicle's trademark bright and bold design language, linked to zippy performance, good efficiency and value.

However, the sedan adds the practicality of more interior space and a large luggage compartment to the successful Brio formula.

By extending the Brio wheelbase by 55mm, Honda's engineers have achieved an even roomier cabin with good rear legroom, while the boot has a 405l capacity.

That additional space and practicality will appeal to young families.

Although slightly larger and significantly more spacious than the hatchback, the sedan's kerb mass has increased by only 30kg, which means that it retains its zippy, energetic character.

Power comes from the same engine as the hatch and is a compact four-cylinder engine which produces 65kW of maximum power at 6000rpm, accompanied by a torque peak of 109Nm at 4500rpm.

Drive is to the front wheels via a five-speed manual gearbox. An efficient five-speed automatic gearbox is also on offer in the Comfort sedan model – an option that will be particularly appealing to urban commuters who have to regularly endure heavy traffic.

The vehicle is no slouch either in the performance department.

It will get you to 100km/h from rest in about 12 seconds in the manual model.

Honda gives the fuel consumption figures as 6.1 l/100 km for the manual-gearbox Trend 1.2 model.

What impresses World of Wheels is the amount of space there is in the small vehicle.

The rear leg room in the sedan as well as the hatch is good and is even better than most competitors in this segment.

The interior finish is spartan yet practical and has a good feel to it.

The front layout is identical to that of the hatch, with an ergonomic approach that prioritises occupant comfort and driver appeal.

The layout of the instrument dials and controls is intuitive, and generous equipment levels, even on the entry-level Trend model, ensure a high degree of comfort.

The wide-opening rear doors ensure easy access to the roomy rear bench seat.

A rear centre armrest with integrated cup holders adds a further touch of luxury to the vehicle.

Both active and passive safety are comprehensively addressed, with the likes of ABS brakes, dual front airbags and Honda's Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure ensuring excellent occupant safety in both sedan and hatch models.

The Brio range is yet another quality, affordable, reliable car from the Honda stable. It's worth looking at if you are in the market for a car in this segment.

Brio Sedan prices:

1.2 i-VTEC Trend Manual R128900

1.2 i-VTEC Comfort Manual R136900

1.2 i-VTEC Comfort Automatic R146900

Brio Hatch prices:

1.2 i-VTEC Comfort Manual R119800

1.2 i-VTEC Comfort Automatic R129800

The prices include a two-year/30000km service plan, and a three-year/100000km warranty, while services are at 15000km intervals.