Honda's small car for India unveiled and christened Brio

Honda has finally taken the wraps off its new small car for India, uninspiringly named the Brio, in Thailand. The Brio is actually the production version of the New Small Concept (2CV) showcased at the 2010 Delhi Auto Expo. What strikes you initially on seeing the Brio is its completely polarizing design, both inside and outside. You will either love it or hate it and nothing in between.

Coming to the most important factor and the one in which Honda always loses miserably in India, the pricing, there are very strong indications that the base price for the Brio would be less than the all-important 5 lakh rupee mark. If it comes at the promised price, expect people to flock to the Brio, irrespective of its looks, features and performance. Honda’s brand image is so strong in India to let these factors affect the success of its new model.

When viewed from the front, the Brio, with its huge chrome strip with the “H” at the center looks quite attractive. The smoked headlights and wide air dam in the bumper lends it a touch of aggression too. But the design of the profile and the rear is where things have started taking a different turn. The tipped-forward stance, the high-set and small rear windows, the big difference in sizes between the front and rear doors all combine to give the car a distinctive and unattractive profile. The rear end, though will give a new definition for the word ‘polarizing’. It’s either ridiculously ugly or distinctively stylish. For me, unfortunately its the former and I still cant believe that this is coming from the company that designed stunners like the Civic and the City. The glass hatch at the rear instead of the tailgate though, is a unique feature that cuts on weight and costs.

Step into the interiors and it’s the same episode all over again, well almost. The instrument cluster is attractively designed and so are the circular AC vents. The central console, if it can be called so, is weird with the music system apparently placed nearer to the passenger rather than the driver. Apart from that, a major dosage of beige and white lends the interiors an up market touch and Honda, being Honda, we can expect the interior fit, finish and quality to be top notch. Powered by the 1.2 liter engine which is also powering the Jazz, Honda can rest assured of success, if and only if the Brio is priced right.