A duel between the ultimate budget daily driver sedans in Bangladesh

Budget oriented fields are competitive in general and when it comes to cars, it’s no surprise either. If looking for a JDM midsized sedan within 20-22 lacs, the country top choices are the Toyota Axio or the Honda Grace and since these cars go neck on neck with each other, we are going to talk about the quirks and features as Doug De Muro says, and see how each of them stake up with each other.

If you have a budget 20-22 lacs and you are planning to buy a mid-sized daily driver sedan to get around the city and get your groceries perhaps, you either have to seek the second-hand market for old premallions which is always a gamble to buy or, you could play a bit safer and get your hands on reconditioned vehicles such as the Toyota Axio or Honda Grace which are very reliable and are getting more and more common around the roads of Dhaka city. Since this segment is called “Recon Talk”, we are going to discuss the reconditioned options thoroughly and hopefully help you out to make your next big decision.

Honda or Toyota?

This a very tricky part to lay a discussion about as the country is very biased on Toyotas as resale values are always high and most tin-shed mechanics can work on these vehicles as taking a sip of your favourite cold coffee on a hot summer day but what Honda is offering on the Grace at this price range, makes the common customer’s head scratch on what to get ultimately as the Grace is a direct competitor and the features provided are very close, if not better.

Options and Specifications

To keep this comparison as parallel possible, we are going to compare the new shaped Axio (2015 and later facelift model) with the 2014-2015 models of the Grace. Now when it comes to actual comparison, both cars are mid-sized sedans with an FF layout and both come with a hybrid and the Axio only comes with petrol option. Both the Honda Grace and the Toyota Axio have an optional AWD and in terms of engine size, both have a 1.5L four-banger where Toyota uses its infamous VVT-I technology and Honda uses its Variable valve timing and Lift Technology, which in short is called VTEC. These cars seem to be very similar right? But wait, these are just the basic specs. You will see later that these vehicles are very different and distinct from each other.

Design and exterior

When it comes to looks, the Grace looks a bit more bold and well thought out. The exterior is a bit larger than the Axio and overall looks more “Mature”. Whereas, the Axio is a bit smaller, more sporty and agile looking. The rear end of the Axio though is a bit questionable and it is an “either you love it or hate it” type of thing as the trunk does not sit flush with the bumper and taillights where it looks like something is missing. The rear end of the Grace, on the other hand, is put through nicely and everything is flush and nothing sticks out like a sore thumb. Nonetheless, both the vehicles are well designed and at the end of the day everything narrows down to personal choice.

Interior and infotainment system

 

Since both of these cars are daily drivers, the interior space is important for both the driver and the passengers riding in it. The Axio has slimmer, more open seats compared to the Grace where the seats are bigger and have larger bolsters which provide better support when taking turns. Both the Axio and Grace have leather steering wheels and have an analogue Speedometer with an additional display to show miscellaneous information about the vehicle. The infotainment system in both cars are basic and provide necessary features such as Bluetooth pairing for hands-free calling, music and both cars have backup cameras. Overall, the features and materials are nice and neither of the companies skimmed on the interior.

Engine and fuel consumption

Both the cars come with 1.5L engines as standard with a CVT gearbox but sometimes if you look out hard enough in the limelight, you could find a 5 speed manual Axio out in the wild. Nonetheless, those models are extremely rare in our country and it’s very hard to get your hands on one of those.  The petrol models come with a 1NZ engine which is honestly no surprise at this point packing 109hp and 138Nm of torque and the hybrid version, unfortunately, loses additional power where it comes to 74hp and 111Nm of torque.  The grace, on the other hand, comes with a hybrid only L series engine with the Honda “Earth Dreams” hybrid technology paired with a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission packing more power than the Axio averaging at 110hp and 132Nm of torque. Fuel consumption is comparatively low as these are hybrid vehicles where the Axio averages at 20-22kmpl in the city and 26-28kmpl on highways. The Grace averages at 18-20kmpl in the city and 20-22kmpl on highways.

Conclusion

Overall both of the vehicles offer overwhelming options for the price they have been set for but when push comes to shove, it all depends on personal choice and what you are looking for. Toyota offers superb resell value and a slightly better fuel economy but Honda is providing better materials and in my opinion, the Honda Grace is just a better-looking car than the Axio. If I was given the option, I would have taken the Grace graciously with my eyes closed.