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Is Honda Brio AT better than Maruti Celerio AMT? Find out...

July 07, 2014 09:42 IST

Is Honda Brio AT better than Maruti Celerio AMT? Find out...

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For years manufacturers have been rooting for cars equipped with automatic gear transmission (AT) to help manoeuvre through the traffic on urban roads. But the value propositions offered by ATs have long eluded buyers.

For one, ATs almost always came dearer by over Rs 100,000 than comparable variants with manual transmission systems.

The lower fuel economy of automatic transmission models has also been a disincentive for consumers exploring options in the segment.

Tuned in as ever to the needs of the Indian buyers, Maruti Suzuki sought to address both (and with considerable success we are told) with the debut of the Celerio.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Maruti Suzuki

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We take a spin in the latest offering from the Japanese giant to see for ourselves if it scores over its close rival, Honda's Brio.

The styling of the Celerio is clean and inoffensive; it is designed to appeal to all types of buyers looking for an automatic in the small car segment.

Yet, despite its compact dimensions, what strikes you about the Celerio is its roominess. The rear cabin offers ample leg room as in the Brio.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Maruti Suzuki

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The cabin space in the Brio too is well-appointed and the seats are super snug. Honda's efficient 1.2 litre i-VTEC petrol engine adds to the comfort of a stable smooth ride.

The Celerio comes strapped with a three-cylinder 1.0-litre K10 petrol engine. The car is easy to drive and offers a fuel efficiency of 16.7 kmpl in stop-and-go city traffic. The engine is responsive and offers decent power even at low speed.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Honda

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Maruti Suzuki undoubtedly scores in its claims of having created a more fuel efficient set of wheels in the Celerio. The Brio, in comparison, lags with an average mileage of 12 kmpl in city traffic.

The automatic manual transmission technology (EZ Drive) that Maruti Suzuki debuted in the Celerio means there is no clutch and you can start driving by simply slotting the gear into the 'D' mode.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Maruti Suzuki

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The EZ Drive responds pretty well to traffic conditions. However, a slight drag is noticeable on upward shifts.

In the AMT/automatic mode, one can navigate the car effectively by changing to reverse (R) and neutral (N) slots. The Celerio also offers the driver the option of shifting gears manually using the 'M' mode.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Maruti Suzuki

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The lever can be pushed forward for a downshift and pulled back for an upshift. While it takes getting used to, the gearbox in manual mode is quite nice.

The Brio, on its part, has an additional 'P' mode for parking apart from the similar D, R and N modes. After parking, you can securely lock yourself out of the car. There are also options to drive the Brio in first or second gear.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Honda

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The gear shift in the Celerio is reasonably smooth, though you may require a marginal extra effort to change slots when compared with the Brio. The ride quality of the Celerio is everything to write home about.

As in the Brio, the steering is light to the touch and the suspensions absorb shocks even at low to medium speeds. However, the Brio seems more poised and balanced on the highway at higher speeds compared to the Celerio.

The Honda car also offers better visibility during reversing through its wider rear windscreen. The driver's position in the Brio is also better.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Honda

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The dashboard in the Celerio is well-spread out and functional. But the overall finish falls short of expectations. The VXi AMT does not come with an integrated audio system and speakers.

This is where Celerio scores over the Brio, which lacks a proper central display console. So while the Brio's dashboard is well-built, it does look slightly bare.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Maruti Suzuki

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The Celerio is offered in three variants. Air-conditioning and power steering are standard on the base LXi.

The VXi model comes with a rear parcel shelf, power windows, central locking and internally adjustable rear view mirrors. The high-end ZXI is visually distinguishable by its alloy wheels and body-coloured door handles.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Maruti Suzuki

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The boot space in the Celerio is decent at 235 litres. The VXI AMT has foldable rear seats to accommodate more luggage.

What distinguishes the Brio VX AT is that it comes loaded with premium features such as alloy wheels, front fog lamps, integrated audio player with USB, front and rear speakers, steering controls for the audio system, driver's and passenger's side airbags, ABS and a rear defogger - which are not available in the Celerio VXi AMT.

The steering wheel in the Brio has mounted audio control to help navigate through the music files as you drive.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Honda

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Despite its automatic gears, the Celerio VXi AMT is priced attractively at Rs 443,641 (ex-showroom, Delhi), way lower than Brio VX AT, which is tagged at Rs 599,900.

The Maruti Suzuki vehicle is a well-rounded car that seems custom-made for Indian buyers. It may not be exciting to look at, but it is spacious, easy to drive and efficient.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Maruti Suzuki

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However, if one has extra cash to spare, the Brio comes loaded with features and speaks well of the engineering prowess of Honda, only falling behind the Celerio in pricing and fuel economy.

Maruti Suzuki Celerio

Engine: 998 cc  

Power: 67 bhp @ 6000 RPM    

Torque: 90 Nm @ 3500 RPM   

Fuel economy: 16.7 kmpl

Price: Rs 440,000 (Ex-showroom, Delhi)

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Photographs: Courtesy, Honda

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