A few years ago Honda decided to restructure their product portfolio
to reach a larger number of customers. The focus changed from premium
offerings like the Civic and Accord to smaller cars like the Brio and
Amaze. This was a smart move since the volumes lie in the smaller car
segment when it comes to India. The Brio, by itself, may not have done
too well for the Japanese manufacturer but more than half of Hondas
products are based on the same platform. (Amaze, Mobilio and the
upcoming Honda BR-V). Indian regulations of excise benefits to sub
4-metre cars and the love for 3 box design has made compact sedans
very popular and Honda entered this challenging segment with the
launch of the Honda Amaze in 2013.
With so many compact sedans out there in the market, what really sets
the Honda Amaze apart from the rest is the design. To be more
specific, we are talking about proportions which are pretty sedan like
contrary to the trend which makes compact cars look rather ungainly.
Honda’s ‘Man Maximum Machine Minimum’ principle is clearly highlighted
here with abundant space available in the cabin. The compact engine
bay has translated into one of the roomiest cabins in the segment.
Quality levels are pretty Honda like throughout. With the odometer
reading nearly 10,000 kms, there was no rattle or squeak from any part
of the car.
The Honda Amaze gets a major change on the inside. It gets an all new
glossy black dashboard with centre console resembling the Honda City.
This new dashboard gives the car a premium feel. Now, there is a new
in-dash music system layout and even climate control too. A new
instrument cluster too has been added to the Amaze., however the same
steering wheel is retained. The new Amaze facelift comes with a
similar set of features like integrated music system with bluetooth,
steering mounted audio controls, dual airbags, ABS, climate control AC
being some of them.
Where the Honda Amaze has an advantage over the competition, it is the
rear seat space. The rear seat knee room and head room are one of the
best in its segment. The Amaze with its 400 litres of boot space is
one of the largest in its segment. The Amaze is a practical compact
sedan and this is what works in its favour
ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE
Under the hood the Amaze still uses the same 1.2-litre petrol and
1.5-litre diesel engines as before. We got to drive the manual petrol
version, and the petrol engine in the Amaze has always been a likeable
unit with its refinement. I would have expected some more pep from the
motor but that’s not saying it doesn’t feel lively in its current
avatar, offering 88PS and 109Nm of torque. The Amaze feels adept at
its job of being a compact, zippy car to drive, especially in the
city. We got to experience it in South Delhi’s traffic, which can be
quite a challenge even in the afternoon. And that’s the typical domain
for the Amaze, since most buyers will spend most of their time driving
in traffic. The five-speed manual transmission is as slick as ever,
offering precise shifts.
The ride quality is plush as before and the suspension continues to
offer a likeable blend of handling and comfort. The Amaze is indeed a
comfortable car if you are a family of four with its kind of space
inside as well, which is another important reason behind the car’s
success. Further, Honda is claiming NVH levels on the diesel version
of the Amaze are better than before now, but sadly we did not get to
experience the car thanks to the petrol getting allotted to us. The
1.5-litre diesel engine offers 100PS and 200Nm of torque, which is
impressive for the segment. I did not get a chance to drive the
CVT-equipped version either – something I was keen on experiencing
since Honda is saying the transmission has been worked upon
extensively to offer good efficiency.
Honda is also offering dual airbags as an option even on the base
variant of the Amaze, and in fact will offer dual airbags as standard
on all its cars to be launched the next financial year onwards.
Finally, pricing for the new Amaze begins at Rs 5.30 lakh ex-showroom
New Delhi for the base petrol variant. The VX (CVT), the top of the
line petrol costs Rs 8.20 lakh ex-showroom. The base diesel variant of
the Amaze is priced at Rs 6.41 lakh, while the top of the line diesel
version, though manual, costs the same as the CVT petrol at Rs 8.20
lakh. That might be a small premium over the older car, but is
negligible when you consider the new features and the enhanced feel
inside, which makes it feel more upmarket. It is nice to see how a
rather mild facelift and the addition of new-age features have brought
the Amaze back in the game.
RIDE AND HANDLING
Because of the suspension’s long travel, the saloon handles larger
bumps and craters very well, but because it is a bit stiffly set up,
smaller undulations do unsettle it slightly. The relatively small
14-inch wheels don’t help either. To find a middle ground, Honda
engineers tuned the springs for stiffness and the dampers for comfort,
and added a stabiliser bar at the rear. The front dampers and springs
have also been retuned for the diesel Amaze to cope with the extra
weight of the bigger engine, but the difference is barely perceptible.
The suspension itself is pretty quiet, but the car’s poor overall
sound insulation means you will hear a lot of road and wind noise –
the downside of Honda’s interior space maximising efforts.
All this suspension work has not come at the expense of handling,
however. In fact, the longer wheelbase only adds confidence as you go
faster, and when you’re going around corners. The electrically
assisted steering is very accurate, and although it’s very light at
low speeds, it does weigh up a little when you go faster. The diesel’s
steering has been given added power assistance to handle the greater
weight in the nose, but it still feels a touch heavier, and more
reassuring, than the petrol.
Honda’s claim of 25.8kpl for the i-DTEC engine is rated on the Indian
Driving Cycle test. The good news is this engine still performs
admirably in real-world conditions. Our tests returned 15.2kpl in
urban conditions and 20.8kpl out on the highway, which is way ahead of
its rivals. Honda says this engine’s efficiency belies its cubic
capacity thanks to an ultra-low friction design, lightweight internals
and a special ultra-low-viscosity engine oil developed specially for
Honda will finally be able to take the fight to the diesel club with
the Amaze. I expect Honda to announce competitive prices ranging
upwards approximately from Rs. 5.1 lakh for the base petrol and Rs.
6.2 lakh for the base diesel variant. The new Amaze diesel could also
manage a mileage in the region of 14 kmpl to 20 kmpl depending on
driving conditions and styles.
For now, hold on to your questions about whether there will be an
automatic transmission variant of the Amaze and whether the new
1.5-litre i-DTEC diesel engine could be used in Honda’s other cars
like the Jazz and the City. We will get answers to those questions
Honda Amaze Ex Showroom Price in New Delhi ranges from 5,50,519/- (Amaze E MT Petrol) to 8,40,627/- (Amaze VX MT Diesel) .Honda Amaze has 14 Variants of Petrol are available in India. Honda Amaze comes in 6 colours, namely Majestic Blue Metallic,Alabaster Silver Metallic,Carnelian Red Pearl,Golden Brown Metallic,Urban Titanium Metallic,Taffeta White.