After driving the prototype version of the Honda Amaze in Montegi, Japan last year we were impressed with the packaging of this sub 4-metre sedan.
It came to us as a surprise the manner in which the Japanese manufacturer worked its way through in just four months, we were driving the Indian production spec ready car.
The drive in Japan was short and we were waiting to get our hands on the Amaze to do an extensive driving test and share our review.
Amaze is based on the Brio platform and there is no hiding about it, as majority of the metal panels, headlamps, fenders are shared with its little sibling—the Brio . The snout gets some differentiating factors like the new twin-slat horizontal chrome grille and a redesigned bumper, giving it a premium look when compared to the hatch— which has a more funky-sort of styling. The alloy wheels on the Amaze are different from that of the Brio , while even the petrol and diesel variants get different designs.
Amaze is the Brio till the B-pillar, after which the extended wheelbase means a bigger rear door. A new crisp line rises gently from the rear door all the way to the tail lamp.
The boot doesn’t look like an after thought or post design work, but it can be seen that Honda had planned the Brio and Amaze twins connection before beginning to sketch. The rear reminds of its elder brother City.
Honda Amaze gets black and beige combination interiors. The fit and finish is fine, while the feel and quality of the plastics is good. The instrument panel design is ergonomic as there are minimal buttons making its more easier to operate.
The three-dial instrument binnacle is easy to read with the orange backlit even in harsh daylight. The front row seats have decent space for your head and your legs, with adequate support for thighs.
At the rear, the extended wheelbase frees up ample of knee room even for people as tall as six feet. The headroom is a bit tight at the rear and even the thigh support could have been better.
Honda ’s man maximum, machine minimum strategy has taken us aback as not only is the rear seat space good, but even the boot has a capacity of 400 litres.
All this has been packed in a sedan that is less than 4 metres, unlike some competition that has a boot for namesake.
Honda is offering two mills on the Amaze, one being the 1.2-litre petrol and the second is the 1.5-litre diesel. The 1.2-litre motor churns out 88bhp of power and also powers the Brio . The iVTEC from Honda makes driving bliss. This is another fine example of Honda’s engine craftsmanship. This perky engine is easy to drive with a strong mid-range. The exhaust note sweetens as you rev it and the engine being eager to spin faster even when it closes to red-line. It is available with five-speed manual and automatic transmissions.
Honda has high hopes from this diesel engines and it is definitely pick amongst the diesel lot. The 1.5-litre diesel produces 98bhp of power and 200Nm of torque. It is the lightest diesel engine in its segment, due to its all aluminium construction. Honda uses its specifically developed diesel oil for the Amaze that has low viscosity reducing the friction and heat losses. This engine weighs 152kg and as per the ARAI figure, it returns 25.8km/l making it the most fuel efficient car in the country— very close to the figure we had predicted after the Japan drive. On paper this engine has impressed us, but in the real world?
Crank the engine and it also has the diesel clatter melodrama. Cabin has good insulation as the noise on the inside is less and this is what matters. The power delivery is linear and the engine pulls relentlessly even at low speeds. Overtaking, pottering in city, cruising on open roads, this engine does it with ease. Honda has a game changing diesel engine in their court. The diesel engine comes only with a five-speed manual transmission, those waiting for automatic diesels, still have to hang on, as the Japanese automaker hasn’t spoken of anything about diesel automatics.
The ride of the Honda Amaze is settled and composed. The ride suppleness is as good as any good. However, when compared to the Brio the rear dampeners are softened for a better ride and due to the extended wheelbase. There is some amount of roll, but it isn’t that bad.
The handling of the Amaze is decent and even the steering wheel is lighter. The Amaze isn’t that peppy to chuck around the bends like the Brio, but it is definitely good to drive around.
The driving is effortless as the steering wheel; clutch and shifts are light and easy, reducing driving fatigue.
The light steering wheel feels a bit vague at high speeds, especially while correcting a manoeuvre.
The diesel version of the amaze has a longer turning radius than the petrol by 0.2m as the suspension had to be moved further for the heavier diesel engine.
Honda has a winner in its hand, as the Amaze ticks all the correct boxes. The vehicle is compact on the outside, and spacious on the inside, power is good and fuel efficiency is unbelievable, the boot is also large and the quality is good too.
Now, all depends on how aggressive is the pricing strategy by Honda. We expect it to be 20-30 thousand bucks more than the current best seller, Swift Dzire . Even with this extra moolah, the Amaze is a better buy.