Here at DTW we like to find out about what´s on sale around the world.
We´ve looked at some Japanese and Chinese market cars. Today we go to South Africa and peer at a Honda Brio, just to see.The Honda Brio is not on sale in Europe, being intended for emerging markets. It comes in two forms, hatchback and saloon. Since tiny saloons are held in almost complete contempt, we present the saloon. What is it that we find of most interest?
The engine. It´s not a three cylinder but a four cylinder 1.2 unit which delivers 87 PS and comes with a five speed gearbox or CVT. And that´s it. The boot holds a remarkable 405 litres. The rather less large fuel tank holds 35 litres. At the official MPG rating of 46 mpg, your Brio will travel 358 miles between refills.
Car Magazine of South Africa tested the Brio against the Suzuki Swift saloon. They said “The Brio’s set of attributes is strongly attuned to the needs of buyers (including rental companies) in this segment: it has a large boot (360 dm3 bests some larger competitors’), ample rear leg- and headroom, the ride is as comfortable as you can reasonably expect, and it comes with the considerable peace of mind engendered by the Honda badge”. However, Car SA was not so impressed with the quality of the interior, having experienced more than one example with an badly fitting glove box lid and various rough edges around the interior. In their conclusion, CAR SA decided the Suzuki was the better car, particularly in terms of dynamics and front passenger room. In contrast, Top Car, another SA magazine said “the Brio’s enthusiastic 1.2-litre four-pot delivers peak power and torque outputs of 65kW and 109Nm respectively. The whole car weighs just over 900 kilograms so you would expect it to be quite zippy. Around town it’s a wasp, darting into gaps in traffic, happy to fly along at city speeds. Out on the open road though, the Brio lacks the torque for blitzing overtakes but will run with the pack without too much of a problem.”
What would be instructive is to see how this compares with the new Ford Ka saloon, another small four door for emerging markets. What is clear is that Asian and African markets are long past being served up ancient European cast offs.