Honda Amaze Review
by- Nitin Sharma
In the last few years the compact sedan segment has been one of the hottest in the Industry. We have been seeing a number of new launches and the biggies like the Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai are constantly updating their cars to be the number one in the segment. In April 2013 Honda too jumped in the battle with Amaze and it was the first car from the manufacturer to feature a Diesel motor. Now Honda is quite famous for the refinement of their Petrol engines but it was never known for the Diesel mills. It was one of the first Diesel engine Honda manufactured and soon the shortcomings started to show up. It wasn’t refined, there was loads and loads of turbo lag and the engine becomes vocal even when idling. On the contrary the competition like the Maruti Suzuki has some ultra refined Diesel motors.
It is 2018 my friends and Honda had put a lot of effort to make their Diesel motors better. With the 2018 Honda Amaze just launched it was time to take one for a spin.
The first time when you’ll come across the car, you’ll notice this isn’t an evolution over the previous generation but a revolution. Honda designers went back to the designing board and started from scratch. Unlike all other companies which first design a Hatchback and then in order to make a compact sedan paste a boot on the same, Honda gave this car a character of its own. Amaze is a completely new car though there are some elements you’ll see on expensive honda cars too. Like the broad chrome strip that houses the ‘H’ logo and also joins the two headlamps and then flows into them neatly like eyebrows which Honda says has been taken from the 10th generation Honda Civic and which can also be seen in the current Honda City. The overall proportions of the car are a bit bulky and boxy and all you see are sharp lines, no smooth curves. Now the looks can be subjective and some might not like the beefed up stance as we are much used to sedans which look smooth and flows well. The sharp lines continue to dominate the side profile of the car too but then the roof has been done nicely and it tucks into the back quite neatly. Its proportions makes it look more like a full grown sedan than a compact saloon. To the rear we have wraparound C shaped tail lamps which people at Honda says has also been designed considering the 10th generation Civic in mind. Honda wanted this car to look much premium than it really is and we must admit it does the job really well.
When you hold the door handle and open the door, you’ll notice that the opening is much wider than other cars from the segment. This makes the ingress and egress widely easier. As you step inside the cabin you won’t find a lot of changes, though everything here is new. The interior design is a bit more evolutionary thing. You get a new steering wheel with piano black accents. The top of the dash has nice soft textured plastics and the quality of the interior is top notch. The interior is typical Honda, minimalistic yet elegant. Though there are some hard plastics around the lower dash and the lower part of center console, still it’s not something like a deal breaker. The center stage of attraction is the Digipad 2.0 with 17.7 inch touchscreen which now also is Android Auto and Apple Carplay compatible. Now this is something what even Honda City and WRV lack. It also has satellite navigation and is voice command activated. The touchscreen is responsive and the best thing is one press button for navigation. The front seats offer quite good under thigh support and also the cushioning is just perfect and the long drives would be so much comfortable. The glass area is also huge and it makes the cabin feel airy. The rear seats of Amaze are now far more better than they used to be. The wheelbase is now nearly 60 mm longer than the previous gen and this shows up. Even with the front seats completely back, there is plenty of knee room for the rear passengers and the head room is more than sufficient. The seat cushioning is soft and the back rest is reclined to a near perfect angle and you will love being chauffeured here. Even a six footer won’t feel claustrophobic or squeezed here. The foot board is also nearly flat and the front armrest also don’t intrude into the rear space thus three people can easily fit here.
Honda Amaze is packed with all bells and whistles and many first in segment features like CVT with Diesel, Paddle Shifters in Petrol CVT. Dual front airbags, ABS, EBD and rear parking sensors comes as standard across all variants. For child safety isofix mounts are also present. Other features include one touch up and down for driver side window with anti pinch, rear parking camera, auto climate control, push button start/stop, cruise control, LED DRL, power folding ORVM with turn indicators, keyless entry and many others. There are two 12v sockets one at the front and one for the rear passengers. All the doors can hold 1L water bottle each and there are plenty of storage spaces to keep your knick knacks. Also it boasts the best in class boot space of 420L.
The new Honda Amaze comes with four powertrain options. Petrol manual, Petrol CVT and Diesel manual, Diesel CVT. Petrol engine is a 1.2L i-VTEC motor producing 90PS of power at 6000 rpm and the Diesel motor is a 1.5L i-DTEC unit producing 100PS at 3600 rpm in manual and it has been detuned for CVT and produces 80PS with it. Now the talk of the town is Diesel CVT as this is the first in the segment so we decided to drive this first. First impressions, it is a lot refined than the previous generation honda engines. You barely hear any noise at idle and even at low speeds you can easily get confused between it being a diesel or petrol. Even the turbo lag is well contained and you hardly feel any lag. The motor pulls quite linearly and the best thing is whenever there is a lag, the gearbox is just so quick to respond to it that all you feel is an incredibly smooth pull toward the redline. Now the only hard thing is when you go past 3000 rpm mark the engine starts to get extremely vocal. Also when you put the car in sports mode and put your foot hard down, the engine clatter is just unavoidable. In comparison to it the petrol motor combined with the CVT is like a match made in heaven. It is incredibly smooth and makes driving so very effortless. The engine is very much refined and you barely hear any noise unless you put your foot hard down. The steering is an electric power unit and though the car is quite easy to manoeuvre, it feels quite numb and disconnected to the road sometimes. The suspension is a bit firm for our road conditions and at low speeds it tend to thrash a bit over broken tarmac but then the high speed handling is exceptionally well and you barely feel any roll. The car rides on 15 inch alloy wheels with 175 section tires so glides over most of the small pot holes. Now at the back you can’t feel any movement getting filtered inside and ride is mostly flat and composed. But then when you hit a set of corners you get to throw around a bit at the rear. Honda claims fuel efficiency figure of 19.5kmpl for the petrol and 27.4 kmpl for the diesel which to us seems quite promising.
Honda has priced Amaze very competitively with the base model starting from 5.6 lakh and goes upto 8 lakh for the Diesel CVT trim but here is a catch. The CVT is not available with the top end VX trim so either you have to part with CVT or have to do without Digipad 2.0 touchscreen, rear camera and many other features exclusive for the top level trim. The choice is on you.