Honda Brio 1.2S MT 2019 First Impressions and Review

 

Disclaimer:

  • I am not a car expert. I see a car as something to transport people, goods, pets etc. from point A to point B. I’ve ridden a few different types of vehicles so this review is not more about specs but how it performs based on my day to day usage.

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I’ve hated Honda Brio before. Purely because aesthetically it looks ugly to me. It looks like a rat with the Honda emblem resembling a rat’s front teeth. (Yes yes I’ll look in the mirror and I’m ugly). This is the reason, back in 2015, we decided to get Mirage instead of Brio or Wigo, because at that time, Wigo was relatively new, and Brio looked like a rat. Again, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I apologize to those who don’t share the same sentiment as me. And, finally, Mirage’s UAAP advertisement worked on me. It was on literally every UAAP game multiple times. I think this is the reason why my dad decided to get one as well.

You want to know what is cool? The Honda Jazz! Ever since college way before the show Community’s S06E07 Advanced Safety Features I have fancied the Honda Jazz. Especially the yellow one. But since it is too expensive, we settled on the aforementioned Mirage Hatch. Yes I know prior to 2014 Jazz also looked like a rat too but it was a cute rat. Rattata is to Jazz as Raticate is to Brio one. I’m very sorry older gen Honda Brio. 😦

Fast forward to 2019, a few things have cropped up.

  • Our Mirage decision back in 2015 proved to be the a good one as it is still alive and well
  • Ateneo, which has just 5 peated in 2012 has 3 peated once again leaving UST 0-4 in the UAAP Finals since 2012 beating UST twice along the way
  • Our 2006 Isuzu Crosswind XT has gotten long in the tooth which will be know throughout the review as Cruisewind (because I had it repainted to look like an FJ Cruiser)
  • And Honda had face-lifted Brio into one of the best looking car in the segment. A true ugly duckling story. Ugly pupling? (baby rats are called pups)

The other prominent facelift I was impressed by was the 2016 Innova, which I on doing a long term review on as well.

Cruisewind's Final Pic

Cruisewind’s Final Pic

I did not want to have our Cruisewind sold because it was our first 1st hand car, and the first car I drove. You know, the feels. But alas, moving on was all but inevitable.

Initially, my dad was adamant on getting the Suzuki Celerio. I have nothing against Suzuki but come on, I’m pretty sure at least 90% of people, if not 100%, would agree that Honda is the more reliable brand especially down the line. Have you seen how much a 2009 Jazz cost compared to a 2009 Suzuki Swift? I convinced him to not get Celerio and fortunately he came to his senses and ultimately bought the Red Honda Brio 1.2 S MT. Why not the top of the line Brio? Well, our family is not a fan of Automatic Transmission so we tend to only get Manual Transmission cars. (Planning to do a write up about our late 2014 EcoSport as well)

So after digressing for too long, I can now finally get into amateurly reviewing the Honda Brio 1.2 S MT 2019

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It just looks so damn sexy

First of all. I cannot believe how good this car looks. This segment has gotten extreme facelifts over the past few years. Toyota Wigo, Mitsubishi Mirage, and Suzuki Celerio to name a few, but none hold a candle to Honda Brio. I’ve mentioned how I adored the Honda Jazz for almost a decade now and Honda basically, at least aesthetically speaking, made one minus Php300, 000. I don’t know about you guys but Php300k is a lot. That is almost 2, 000 Coco/Macao/Serenitea/Dakasi/Gong Cha!!! That is 5 years’ worth of diabetes MilkTea!

When looking at the 2016 model vs the 2019 one. The only visible change I noticed right away was the headlight. I know there is more but since I only rely on pictures I can’t exactly pinpoint what else has changed.

With my drooling out of the way we look inside. The driver seat fits me perfectly and passnengers do not have any qualms so we move to the trunk. I saw somewhere how versatile the Jazz is with respect to trunk space and seat adjustability. And immediately, Brio can’t compete with its higher priced brethren. At the very least, you can flip the back seat for more space. So, let’s call this a win.

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Bluetooth Connectivity!

Since this is the cheapest model, I expected nothing in terms of stock car stereo. I was pleasantly surprised to see the KENWOOD brand on the car stereo that offers Bluetooth capability. This got me giddy! Why? Because the Hyundai Accent Hatch (at least the 2016 model) does not have Bluetooth and it is way more expensive. (I know it is Diesel, blah blah blah, but come on skimping on a bluetooth car stereo even back in 2016 is just pathetic).

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Darker Tints at Night. Beware of Ghosts 👻

As taught in driving school, one of the first thing to do is check your mirrors. And immediately notiecable, especially at night, the stock tint is of a darker shade. It is hard to see anything on your rearview mirror or side mirror at night especially if you are on an area where lamp post are scarce to non-existent. A minor nitpick but something valid to point out nonetheless.

Starting the engine makes little to no noise compared to Innova’s loud engine. Starting Innova at 4am in the morning is obnoxious. I don’t know why it sounds so loud given Cruisewind isn’t as loud. Brio takes a definitive win here even against the Mirage.

A few notes going from idle to running, I don’t really have a problem with Gas engines but I find them more cumbersome to start to run. Whilst I rarely get our cars to turn off, inclines included, I find gas engine harder to find the gas-clutch pedal balance to start the drive. On our Innova, Accent, Cruisewind, this was never a problem, but on our mirage, expect me to floor more gas than I should. It is no different in the Brio though I find it easier here (maybe new car jitters or I am just a better driver now 😜 ).

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What Gas engines lack in idle to start it comes back with insane Acceleration. Comparing diesel (Accent, Cruisewind, Innova) to gas cars that I’ve used (Mirage, EcoSport), I found gas engines to accelerate faster with a substantially smoother ride. Brio is no different. I love that quick kick of speed.

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Stick feels somehow different. It feels better

And probably the best minute detail that I love about the Brio is the stick. That stick feels so good to shift. I never thought I would find the shift stick to be a good point but damn. All previous sticks that I’ve used now feels like crap. Brio’s stick has a small head with a thin body that makes the Mirage’s and Innova’s shift seem atrociously large.

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Brio vs Humps

As I drove around the village, I specifically passed through streets with egregious humps. I was fairly happy to not hear the internals of the car not clash with the humps but one hump did and it was painful. So in terms of ground clearance. Brio is definitely better than Accent but still pales in comparison to the Mirage.

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The penultimate point against the Brio would be its inability to close the windows on its own. Cruisewind shuts the window after a click but Brio requires you to pull the button until it is closed.

The final point I would like to deduct Brio on is NO AUTOMATICALLY LOCKING THE DOOR.

This specific feature is the bane of our Hyundai Accent. And I am disappointed bordering on infuriated that this minor feature was left out of the 2019 Honda Brio. I cannot rattle my brain as to why Honda and Hyundai made this inexplicable oversight. Honda Brio is replacing our lower tiered Cruisewind from 2006 and it has auto lock feature. Why is automatic door lock not a standard feature?! This is a very minor issue and I should not get too triggered especially since the solution is just to lock the door before I step on the gas.

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Moving on to the Fuel Efficiency, no verdict yet. I’m not hoping for Accent levels of Fuel Efficiency but if it is anything as good as Mirage. I would be fine with it. I’ll update this after a few more weeks with this one.

So after all the ramblings, the impressions, with no actual specs review, where does that leave us with this the Honda Brio?

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I find it hard to give a definitive conclusion because, aside from the fact that I am an amateur car reviewer, I tend to compare every aspect of the Brio to everything. As with everything else, when you go looking for a product especially a long term investment such as a car, you should do your research, do test drives and weigh in on the minutia of details each car brings to the table. You wouldn’t want to spend your hard earned cash to buy something which will breakdown in 2 years’ time correct? So it would be natural to me and should be to you to weigh in on your options.

In this price segment, I can argue that Honda Brio takes on the Mitsubishi Mirage, Toyota Wigo, Hyundai Eon, and Suzuki Celerio. Of the four mentioned, I’ve only driven Mirage and comparing this 2019 model to a 2015 one isn’t exactly a fair comparison.

I can’t even conclude via ‘for the money I spent’, since this is my Dad’s car I spent nary a peso for this one.

So let me just say ask you a few questions.

Does the Honda brand inspire value, reliability, and resaleability to you?

Do you like the Honda Jazz but do not have the extra dough?

Do you like respectable ground clearance, fuel efficiency, acceleration?

Do you like to bluetooth connectivity from your stock car stereo?

Do you like your car to not automatically lock your doors while driving?

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If you said yes to all, then Honda Brio will probably serve you well!

But before you do, go out and test drive for yourself first!

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