Honda Brio: Quick Drive Page 2

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Honda Brio minicar

Honda Brio minicar

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No Magic Seat here, but some smart packaging

Honda hasn't worked anything close to the same kind of packaging magic they have with the Fit here—it's basically a standard subcompact interior in this respect, too—but the cargo floor is especially low, which we imagine would allow you space to double-stack grocery bags behind the back seat without them getting in the way of visibility.

From the inside, and from a passenger standpoint, the Brio feels like a surprisingly roomy car, with pretty good outward visibility. Switchgear is very basic, including lock-and-window switches that look raided from a parts-bin.

Everything in the Brio—from the seatbacks to the dash to the doors themselves—feels thin and minimized. While we'd rather have thicker doors for side impact and better-contoured seats, we can understand the approach.

The materials used for the dash itself don't seem any worse than those in the 2012 Honda Civic, although we grabbed the climate-control switchgear and it also felt retro-1980s econocar—likely in an unintentional way.

Cheap and charming, but off-bounds for the U.S.

This all makes a little more sense when you consider how much the Brio costs. With a starting price, in India, of just 406,000 rupees—a straight conversion to less than $8,000—it's a deal, here or there. That's several times the price of a Tata Nano.

With tougher regulations on safety and higher demands for refinement, the U.S. is no longer a possibility for a model like this; yet we have a feeling Americans would find the Brio's back-to-basics approach (and price) quite charming.


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