Honda’s northern exposure
To acquaint ourselves with its sub-compact wonder, Honda Cars Philippines Inc. (HCPI) organized a ride and drive event from May 22 to 24 that encompassed the northern territories of La Union, Baguio and the Clark Freeport Zone. Taking center stage was the all-new Honda Brio, which was launched early this year to counter the rising costs of fuel and to introduce an affordable car for first time buyers and millennials.
Immediately after the flag off ceremonies held at the Bonifacio High Street in Taguig City, media participants got behind the wheel of six Brio variants that included the two new models, namely the 1.2 RS Black Top CVT and 1.2 V CVT. This writer was paired up with Ulysses Ang of Carguide.PH/Philippine Star and Randy Peregrino of Business Mirror in Brio No. 4. Despite being a sub-compact, the Brio was designed around Honda’s “Man Maximum, Machine Minimum” as three of us were able to fit in comfortably with head and leg room to spare.
The 60 millimeter (mm) extended wheelbase and 90 mm extended cargo depth allowed ease of egress and ingress, as the long drive from Manila to La Union was amazingly pleasant.
Up front, the Brio boasts of a sporty front fascia with strong character lines that highlighted the honeycomb grille design and multi-reflector halogen headlamps with LED parking light guides. At the rear, the all-new Brio now features a new rear design as compared to the large glass panel found in its predecessor. This allows the all-new Brio to maintain an excellent rear visibility and provide improved body rigidity, while providing safety for passengers. Day two of our Brio experience allowed us to drive the top tier RS variant that had a sportier exterior featuring the RS Gloss Black Grille, wrap around body kit and 15-inch alloy wheels. You can differentiate the RS from the middle and entry level variants by its exterior and interior accents that had body color dashboard trims, an RS gauge and a touch screen audio monitor with Bluetooth capability. The RS version also has a rear deck spoiler and rear bumper garnish.
The Brio comes in three levels of trims and all variants are powered by a 1.2-liter 4-cylinder SOHC iVTEC engine with an estimated 90 bhp on tap. The engine is mated to a continuously variable transmission (CVT) developed on Honda’s Earth Dreams Technology. Passenger and driver safety is assured by dual front driver and passenger SRS airbags, and anti-lock braking system. The Brio carries a Four-Star Asean NCAP safety rating and boasts of Honda’s G-Con technology. Price for the Brio starts at P585,000 for the entry level 1.2 MT (manual transmission) and P732,000 for the 1.2 RS Black Top NAVI CVT.
The Brio is perfect for city driving and flat surfaces. If you plan to drive up to Tagaytay or Baguio, this writer would suggest that you pack light and travel with just a partner. The Brio struggled up Marcos Highway and overtaking can be frustrating. Although for a small car, the Brio is stable at high speeds and the noise, vibration and harshness levels are superb. Cargo space is also commendable considering that engineers had Peter Dinklage in mind when they designed it. Surprisingly, the pint- sized Brio has excellent leg and head room, which is good for average- sized Filipinos.
Day three of Honda’s ride and drive saw us testing the refreshed version of its top-selling Civic variant at the Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga along a route prepared by race veterans George and Louis Ramirez of Ramirez and Cutter events company. Powered by a 1.5-liter iVTEC turbocharged engine, the refreshed Civic RS has a new front bumper, larger 18-inch Belrina Black RS alloy wheels, and 16-inch alloy wheels for the 1.8-liter S CVT version.
The Civic S CVT variant is the entry-level version among the Civic fleet. As the entry variant, the Civic 1.8 S CVT provides customers the best value for money proposition in the C-Segment Category. The New Civic 1.8 S CVT sports a new halogen projector headlights with integrated daytime running lights, 16-inch two-tone alloy wheels, and a seven-inch touch screen display audio system, that still brings the sporty DNA of the Civic. The New Civic 1.8 S CVT variant would be hitting the dealerships this June.
Prices of the Civic starts at P1.115 million for the entry level S CVT model and P1.608 million for the RS Turbo CVT.
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