Nissan played the cards quite nicely when it rolled out the country's first Ecocar, knowing that Honda would have been the second player to follow suit with an eco-friendly car.
Now that B-segment hatchbacks ranging from the Honda Jazz to the Ford Fiesta are busy attracting buyers with some 600,000-700,000 baht in their pockets, it& #039;s only wise to move below that price bracket with A-segment alternatives.
But Nissan didn't exactly do that. Rather, it took the March (generally labelled as a B-segment car in world markets), took advantage of Ecocar promotional privileges and priced the five-door hatchback in the 400,000-500,000 baht sector.
However, the Brio doesn't win all-out in financial terms. You need at least 500,000 baht for the top-line version that offers dual airbags and an automatic transmission. In the March, you can get that spec for roughly the same amount while also netting more creature comfort features.
The top-line March, as tested here at 537,000 baht, gets even more frivolous items like automatic airconditioning that can't even be found in most B-segment cars. In terms of equipment and price balance, the March holds the edge.
This also means there is a higher level of perceived quality in the March, since cost-cutting isn't as excessive on the eyes as in the Brio. But for how cheaper the Brio may feel, the interior is still utterly easy to use and the (cost-effectively designed) seats are cushier than in the March.
As a pure transport tool for urban use, the Brio makes more sense than the March. The Honda is easier to steer, has a livelier (and more frugal) engine and offers slightly higher levels of cabin comfort for two.
The March, on the other hand, appeals with a bigger and more spacious package that doesn't necessarily backfire on driving agility. And even if it isn't better to drive that the Brio, the March is more than 75% as capable.
Which, in the end, makes the March a better all-rounder than the Brio, despite the latter's city concept that can make up as a second car in your garage.
But for most Thais who still aren't on wheels yet, the March's extended abilities make it the more appealing choice with better value-for-money factors. The March wins, mainly on logical terms.