Honda Brio Amaze 1.3 V A/T Modulo


June 29, 2016 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Hotseat


Honda Brio

Like Obama’s Take on a Gospel Standard, Quirky But Soulful

Spending time in the Honda Brio Amaze is very much like a [USA president] Barack Obama rendition of a gospel classic.

Meaning, you can nitpick on the man (or the car for that matter), but the take on a particular segment is very much impressive.

You can argue that the outside styling is homely, given that it’s a Honda Brio hatch that grew a few inches of derriere. But the Modulo body kit – which includes a trunk spoiler, side skirts and a chin spoiler – makes the car look faster than how it really goes, which makes it a great conversation topic.

You can argue that the car barely fits four average Filipinos, and can go down to three occupants if those seated in front are six-footers. But the Brio Amaze is entry level transport, and trying to shoehorn more than four in the car increases fuel consumption (and reduces the rear shocks’ longevity). Plus, the cabin amenities are at par (or even better) than most basic private transport – including Arctic cold air conditioning (A/C)even at the blower one setting, in car entertainment/ICE sound that’s good bordering on great (with faithful replication to the source audio at the treble and mid-treble levels), and comfortable khaki fabric for all seats.

To further expound on the A/C positives, it takes just 10-13 seconds for trapped heat to dissipate quickly from the cabin, and the A/C controls have large read outs, knobs, buttons and levers (with easy to rear and understand icons). With regard to the ICE sound, bass and mid bass tones could use an amplifier, but sound overall is generally great – especially if you’re playing instrumentals, classical music or standards like Simon Park Orchestra’s “Eye Level.” Also, the ICE controls are easy to understand and use, but certain aspects – especially customizing your preferred 12 FM/12 AM radio stations and navigating through your iPod or smartphone via the head unit – require some seat time with the Brio Amaze being stationary. However, there are Brio Amaze versions with satellite navigation/satnav systems (P729,000 for the manual transmission and P769,000 for the automatic transmission variant).
You can argue that the cabin limitations also extend to storing items within the Brio Amaze’s confines. You’d be surprised, however, that the cargo bay can fit a single DHL Jumbo Box and a small travel bag. Also, front occupants get four cup holders (one in each door, and two behind the automatic transmission stick or A/T stick), while rear denizens have storage bins within each door (plus a cup holder behind the parking brake handle).

You can argue that the rather punitive output (100 hp, 127 NM) requires a heavy right foot to get into the narrow power band. But the Brio Amaze is a purely urban vehicle, which means that its natural habitat is any local metropolis – and as such requires more of going further on a single liter of gasoline than going faster off a red light-to-green light situation. Reinforcing the aforementioned notion is what Honda calls an “Eco” (short for fuel economy) mode, which lights up a green “Eco” icon at the rightmost side of the gauge cluster once you take your foot off the throttle and let the car coast. What this means is the power train operation is reduced, along with activating the A/C re-circulation mode for extended fuel economy.

You can argue that there are some letdowns on lateral performance, such as pronounced body roll, numb steering feedback (a by-product of the car’s electric power steering/EPS), narrow side mirrors (up to one and a half lanes of sight on either lateral flank), and noticeable brake fade. But there are niceties too, such as light steering feel (another by-product of the car’s electric power steering/EPS; this makes steering effort easy during parallel parking), bright exterior lighting, grippy tires (Michelin Energy XM2 175/65R14s on the demo unit) and ride comfort that’s a toss-up between stiff and pliable.

The Honda Brio Amaze may have serious and subtle downers, but the car carries itself with an amazing grace so nice it has to be praised twice – like a US president’s take on a gospel song.

Specifications

Vehicle: Honda Brio Amaze 1.3 S A/T Modulo
Type: Super subcompact passenger car (four door sedan)
Engine type: 16-valve SOHC 1.3L inline four cylinder gasoline, with Intelligent Variable valve Timing and lift Electronic Control (i-VTEC), Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI) and drive-by-wire technology, naturally aspirated
Transmission: Five speed automatic, front wheel drive
Price as tested: P 689,000

Rating: 7 / 10

Pull quotes:

The car’s Modulo bodykit – which includes a trunk spoiler, side skirts and a chin spoiler – makes the car look faster than how it really goes, which makes it a great conversation topic.

The cabin amenities are at par (or even better) than most basic private autos.

The cargo bay can fit a single DHL Jumbo Box and a small travel bag.

You can nitpick on a lot of what the Brio Amaze has to offer, but it’s great basic transport.

Captions
(For exterior)
Modulo modified. The Honda Brio Amaze 1.3 S CVT’s Modulo body kit gives the car a dint of sportiness, which makes it attractive to potential buyers.

(For cabin)
First car live-able. Amenities such as cold air conditioning, external MP3 player ready in-car entertainment, numerous storage bins and comfy fabric seating make the Brio Amaze a great first car for college students or rookie yuppies.

(For engine)
City cruising only. The Brio Amaze is a purely urban vehicle, which means that its natural habitat is any local metropolis – and as such requires more of going further on a single liter of gasoline than going faster off a red light-to-green light situation.

Text and photos by Jude Morte
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