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Review: Honda Amaze
Driven April 2013
If you ever dreamt of owning a compact sedan with Honda badge stuck in its grille and a diesel engine under its hood, it's time to get that chequebook out and head to your nearest Honda dealer for the new Honda Amaze.
The much talked about 1.5-litre i-DTEC engine churns out 99bhp and 200Nm. And the good news is that the turbo lag is controlled nicely and all of those 99 horses start making their presence felt at as low as 1500rpm. And once the needle passes the 2000rpm mark, there’s abundance of power. It’s even got a lot of juice in the mid-range. The vibrations from the engine are kept well in check but the motor is still audible in the cabin. The engine is made from aluminium to keep the weight low.
The Amaze is also available in a 1.2-litre petrol engine. It’s the same engine that powers the Brio. The power output is also the same at 87bhp and 109Nm. This one is a typical Honda and loves to spin at high revs.
The diesel engine is mated to a five-speed manual gearbox that transfers the power to the front wheels. The shifts are smooth and precise, and clutch is well weighed too. The company claims that the diesel-powered Amaze will go 25.8kilometres to a litre.
The petrol engine comes with an option of either a five-speed manual or a five-speed auto transmission. Again, it’s the same transmission that you find in the Brio. We’ve driven the automatic Brio a few weeks back and come out smiling. Expect the same with the Amaze.
The ride of the Amaze is not as soft as the Chevrolet Sail. It doesn’t absorb the bumps as well as the Sail but body roll is not too bad around corners. Despite it not being too soft (compared to its rivals) it does the job well of filtering the undulations to the road to reach the cabin.
The suspension of the Amaze is tuned more for handling than outright bump absorption. The steering is light but accurate and driving it hard won’t scare the daylights out of you. The weedy, low-resistance tyres help in returning good efficiency but rob the fun while high-speed cornering. There’s lots of understeer that’s caused because of the thin tyres. The brakes have a decent feel and manage to get you to a dead halt in a respectable distance, but the braking distance could be further reduced with better-griping tyres.
Honda has not changed the Amaze much from the Brio on the inside. It gets the same three-tone dashboard with a mix of beige, black and brown. The beige though doesn’t look too elegant and the plastic quality too is strictly decent. It’s also got some sharp edges.
The front seats are quite spacious and the driver seat gets height adjustment. The width of the front seat-back has been shaved to create more room at the back. The rear seats have sufficient room for three decently-built adults. Honda has added additional cushioning to the rear seats to increase the comfort levels.
The top-of-the-line segment gets electrically-foldable mirrors, steering-mounted controls, ABS and airbags. It also gets a multimedia system with AUX and USB ports. But there’s no option of playing CDs.
Honda has announced the prices of the Amaze. The Amaze petrol starts at Rs 4.99 lakh for the E variant and goes up to Rs 6.60 lakh for the VX. If you wish to have an auto ’box, it’ll set you back by Rs 6.62 lakh. And if you want an oil-burner under the hood, you’ll have to shell out Rs 5.99 lakh for the base E variant and the top-end VX variant is pegged at Rs 7.6 lakh. All prices are ex-showroom, Delhi.
Diesel – 4 cylinder, 1498cc, 99bhp, 200Nm, 5M, FWD
Petrol – 4 cylinder, 1198cc, 87bhp, 109Nm, 5M, FWD
Dimensions – 3990x1680x1505mm, boot capacity: 400litres
The Amaze gets the right recipe for a compact sedan with a long enough list of features, decent comfort and good driving dynamics. Honda’s first diesel for India doesn’t disappoint in any way and packs enough juice for your needs. Just hope Honda doesn’t spoil the fun with long waiting periods.