2020 best selling Japanese cars in Asia

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Honda City 2020
Honda City 2020

New Delhi : With developing countries in Asia gathering more and more wealth, the buying power in the automotive sectors shows an uphill trend, despite the sudden blow that the coronavirus pandemic has had on the globe. Thailand and Indonesia have shown elevated interest in Honda City and Honda Brio, respectively, so let’s have a look at these two bestselling Japanese cars in the area. 

Honda City 2020

One of the most sought-after models of the Japanese automaker, Honda City was designed specifically for the Asian market, filling a gap that was left by other automakers. It’s obvious that VTEC systems weren’t exactly known or sought-after during the late 90s when Honda introduced the City model in Asia. However, the introduction did plant a seed that was going to grow and flourish for the decades to come.

Over the years, Honda City grew not only as a premium, spacious sedan, but as a model that would constantly build on its strengths and do considerable efforts to ail its weaknesses. Thanks to its refined powertrain, great dynamic behavior and plenty of comfort features, Honda City reigned the sedan segment in Thailand for almost two decades. Let’s see how the 2020 iteration manages to follow along on the well beaten path of its predecessors. 

The fifth generation Honda City has now some competition to compare against. The Toyota Vios. With both automakers aiming to take advantage of the Ecocar II privileges, particularly a 12% rate for engines below 1.3-liters and exhausting less than 100g of CO2 per kilometer, we were given to see smaller power units, yet boasting more horses than previous generations. 

The 2020 Honda City brings along a 1-liter Turbo VTEC engine which is strong enough to seldom require a full throttle during city driving. The car goes up in speed without too much hassle and with even less noise, as the new 3-cylinder unit doesn’t share the classic VTEC noise when getting close to the redline. Power goes through the already existing CVT transmission and spins the front wheels. 

In terms of chassis, the Honda City 2020 remains an easy to drive car, although feeling a little wavy when reaching highway speeds. It is after all, a city car. 

On the inside, the 2020 Honda City scores well in boot space and the overall interior finishing gives a pleasant Mazda 2 inspired look, although one could argue that the lack of premium materials would feel like a downgrade.  

Honda Brio 2020

Having gathered not too many years under its belt since launch, Honda Brio is the smallest one in the Japanese automaker’s family. Particularly of interest with Indonesian public, the 2020 Honda Brio brings on a sub-compact body that seems to tick all the boxes for its class. 

Once you lay your eyes on the outer design, it’s obvious that Honda has replaced the previous, clunkier lines with a more matured view. It draws inspiration from other Honda models, particularly the Mobilio MPV, but brings along even more space for the driver and the passengers. The enlarged headlights complimented by the thick grille chromed lines bring out a more imposing stature for the 2020 Honda Brio. 

On the not so bright side, we’re looking at a downsized engine. The 1.2-liter petrol unit isn’t the laziest of its bunch but has a bit of difficulty reaching segment’s average output. On the good side though, it is capable of almost 25km/l when driving in Eco mode. 

On the inside, there are plenty of cabin elements taking directly to the Mobilio or the 1st gen Brio. Even so, the dashboard and electronics bring quite a bit of spec to what you would normally expect to see in a small city car. Seats are covered in decent quality fabric; plastics are painted in a pleasant dark nuance and the steering wheel is just the right size. 

Even thought the Honda Brio 2020 brings extra 60mm of wheelbase, fitting three grown people into the car will still be a bit of a challenge, although there have been improvements in terms of legroom. Meanwhile, you will be able to fit a few overnight bags or a very large bag in the boot.


Being the brand’s most welcomed models in Thailand and Indonesia, both the 2020 Honda City and 2020 Honda Brio come with novelties to better fit the needs of prospecting customers, increasing available space and delivering new power units to match regulations while still providing decent amounts of power for day to day city driving.