Talk about luck. The most affordable Honda on sale today is also one of the most fun cars around. The Brio is a small car developed for specific Asian markets where the entry level Jazz was considered too expensive. It was developed as a low cost platform with a basic petrol engine, but this being Honda, the end result was good. The car got a huge fan following in India, Thailand and Indonesia where the tuning community saw huge potential in the combination of small dimensions, cheeky handling and feisty engine. Very soon fan clubs sprung up and nice builds were happening everywhere. The Brio Club in Kochi was no different and has quite a few gems in it too. We meet Arjun Rajendran and Rishal P K two friends who got up modifying their little Hondas.
Let’s start with Arjun’s car, which looks the less outlandish of the two. No stretched tyres, no overtly wide rims, we can see he was after a race car look when he built this. The wheels are almost lined up with the fenders and the lowering is just right. It rides on Yellowspeed coilovers from Superbee, so adjusting the ride height and damping is rather easy. The wheels are quite rare Rota Grid series from UrbanR, wearing 205/40 R17 Falken Ziex tyres.
Built to be driven it might be, but this Brio is no less of a show car either. Look closely and you will see the paint has the deepest lusture you will ever see on any Brio. Arjun has repainted his car in this jet black colour because he thought the original black paint wasn’t dark enough. Talk about obsessive compulsive disorder among car enthusiasts!
What you see is actually the third iteration of this car in just over a year. Arjun got his car in July 2015 and his first mod was a set of 16 inch BBS replica 8.5 J alloys. Later towards October that year, he switched to 17 inch Enkei Kojin rims in glossy black and opted for a set of Vogtland lowering springs. This was around the same time he chose to have the interiors done up at Vanquish. The front seats have been reshaped to hold you tighter and the dashboard and door trims were painted black. A Simota intake was added to the engine too. And in June 2016, Arjun switched to the Rota Grid wheels you see and opted for coilovers for the ultimate in handling and adjustability.
A quick spin in his car and the compliance of the coilovers was immediately noticeable. The ride isn’t that bad for something so low and running such low profile rubber, and the extra grip helps confidence in the corners. The intake adds to the breathing of the engine, which is quite lively for an automatic. Arjun’s future plan is to upgrade the tyres to Bridgestone Potenzas and plonk in the headlamps and bumper from the Mobilio RS.
The showcar look of Rishal’s car is rather captivating too. The deep concave rims stick out of the body at all four corners make the Brio look even more aggressive. They are huge 17X9J rims with Hankook Ventus tyres stretched mercilessly across the width of the rim. The car rides on Vogtland springs for that tuned look.
Rishal who hails from Malappuram, works abroad and since he doesn’t have the time to sort out the car, he turned to Arjun. They had a common friend and all three were part of the Brio club. Arjun agreed to do the mods for him and have it ready for when he returns. This is a 2013 model Brio with manual transmission. Like Arjun’s car, it also has blacked out front grille, red grill horns, tinted windows, stickers, a front lip among minor mods. In addition to the Simota air filter, his car also has a full stainless steel exhaust system. The accompanying sound track has a big car feel to it in addition to improving top end performance. The car also has rally seats and Takata 4 point seatbelts.
The two cars are so remarkably similar yet so different. One verges on show car lines while the other is a daily driven automatic. That you can take the basic car Honda sells in India, upgrade a few parts and make it even more fun is what excites them the most.