Even though both cars can be looked upon as serious competitors in a very demanding small car category, on paper the Honda Brio is a step ahead of its Korean rival in several departments
Exactly a year after the introduction of the latest generation Hyundai i10, Indian small car buyers have indeed been charmed by the arrival of a hatchback that finally possesses the true characteristics of a quintessential small ‘city car’ for Indian roads. The Honda Brio (Read : First Drive), which marks the Japanese car maker’s foray into India’s entry level hatchback space holds the potential of becoming a segment leader.
Even while the future of the Honda Brio here in India seems to look bright, Hyundai’s commanding presence in India’s automobile market cannot be ignored. With a few years head start over its Japanese competitor, the Hyundai i10 (Read : First Drive) has certainly built a strong reputation for itself as a maker of trendy looking, reliable small cars with all the necessary gadgetry that one can expect from a value for money segment that they represent.
Features like a Tilt Steering, Rear View Mirror mounted indicators, an In-Car Entertainment System with all possible connectivity options (USB, AUX, CD player) and even the option of a Sunroof makes the Hyundai i10 a very desirable small car. But being a fresh entrant in a segment well evaluated by its maker, the Honda Brio offers you most of these features, but in a far more unconventional, but rather fresh, layout. It’s ultimately up to the end user to decide which interior ‘look and layout’ among the two suits his driving needs and choose accordingly.
Moving on to performance, the Hyundai i10 with its 1197cc petrol engine produces a healthy 80 PS of power and 114 Nm of torque. But despite being the heavier of the two, the 1198cc i-VTEC petrol engine on the Honda Brio (same as the one on the Honda Jazz) gives it that extra bit of muscle, which at 88 PS of power and 109 Nm of torque makes it one of the most powerful hatchbacks till date in India.
While seating and luggage capacities are closely matched on both cars, the transparent boot lid on the Honda Brio appears to be a nice touch at first glance, but may invade privacy when over inquisitive peeping toms are in the vicinity.
Probably the only major drawback as we can see with the Hyundai i10 are its fuel efficiency figures, which runs as low as 9.37 km/ltr in the city, but shoots up to 17.27 km/ltr on the highway. The Honda Brio on the other hand returns an overall fuel efficiency in excess of 18 km/ltr, and this is where the neat packaging and overall dynamics of this new small car trump all others in the game.
Finally, in the safety department, the Hyundai i10 provides for all the basics like an ABS system and two Airbags that come as standard. While, the Brio offers all of the above, the addition of an EBD (Electronic Brake-force Distribution) system to its neatly cut body makes it an even safer car in motion.
The Hyundai i10 has many years behind its name, and the Honda Brio will have to do a lot of things right to establish its outright superiority as a product that offers customers more than they already have. The facts and figures are all in favour of the stunning new Honda Brio, but the experience of the i10 model and the familiarity of the Hyundai badge in India will be hard to checkmate in a single move.
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