So what’s wrong about the Brio? Bearing the torch as Honda entry level car, the Brio carried the burden laid by the old Honda Fit/Jazz. The Fit/Jazz was everything a compact car could have been. An agile handling, a responsive but frugal engine, high utility function with the fold flat seats and best of all, entry level pricing. The Brio on the other hand covers everything but left one thing wanting, especially the utility part. With a cargo space barely fitting a backpack that can fit 15″ laptop sideways, what happened? Many cars in the Brio class has superior cargo space, in fact, it can be argued that the Brio has the smallest cargo space in the class.
Size wise, the Brio is quite compact, but not as compact as the other car in the segment. Let’s pull a size comparison with the Daihatsu Ayla, just from Wikipedia.
Brio LxWxH : 3.61 x 1.68 x 1.47 Meter
Ayla LxWxH : 3.6 x 1.6 x 1.52 Meter.
Volume wise the Brio basically is about the same with the Daihatsu offering, however how come the cargo space for Agya is so much bigger than the Brio?
This is where the platform sharing fell short for the Brio. Size is never anything. There are plenty of consideration needed to size a car based on its dimension. For example, the wheelbase. The Brio has a short wheelbase, at only 2.34 Meter, compared to Ayla 2.45 Meter. Does 13 Centimeter is a lot? Well yes… For a front wheel drive cars, wheelbase means exactly the interior space a car has for its occupants and cargo if it’s a two box design cars, which underlies station wagon, hatchbacks and anything without a trunk/boot.
So the Brio has a bad length to wheelbase ratio, because it suffers from the platform sharing stigma. The car length was attributed to the fact that the platform caters engine to its biggest size, the 1.5L turbocharged diesel i-DTEC engine available in India. No matter how you sugarcoat the i-DTEC engine, a combination of turbocharger, intercooler and extra pipings necessitate a bigger engine bay than necessary. Brio engine bay fits the L15 i-VTEC like a champ, and it’s actually one of the most popular modification for those who want to get power and stay on this spectrum of naturally aspirated engine.
Lucky this issue only affects the utility side of the car. The Brio is still a blast to drive, even with a dinky 1.2L engine. Short wheelbase does impart the go kart like driving sensation, and with a marginally wide and low slung body, daily driving may be exciting, if the law allows it.
So what can be done with the utility issue for the next generation of Brio? Sadly… Nothing the engineers can do with it if the next car is based on the same platform sharing. What they can do is to design the car with a more aggressive styling like the current Brio RS. Move away from the wide eyed look of the current car, and be more like a smaller Jazz with H wing fascia. The engineers can also design a boxier looking car, but at the expense of making a dorky looking car. I know it’s hard to design the perfect car, since engineers and designers always headbutt their conversation any way they can.