Honda Amaze Facelift First Drive Review
- October 27, 2019
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Honda Amaze Overview
When the compact sedan segment was born a decade ago, we knew it wasn’t just a flash in the pan. These cars distorted the idea of a sedan for many considering how manufacturers simply slapped a boot onto existing hatchbacks, though we knew the second generation onwards most would become full-fledged, cohesively designed cars. And that’s exactly the case with the second generation Honda Amaze.
The all-new Honda Amaze was first showcased at the 2018 Auto Expo, where it garnered attention for how radically different the design is from the previous generation Amaze. It also boasts higher equipment levels as Honda wants to offer a richer, more premium feel to the compact sedan buyer. And while the previous generation Amaze was the first Honda to use a diesel engine in India, the second generation Amaze is the first diesel to come mated to a CVT. A quick spin behind the wheel of the petrol and diesel versions on the outskirts of Bengaluru helped us acquaint ourselves with the car.
Honda Amaze Style
The previous-generation Amaze was based on the Brio hatchback and that reflected in its overall design. However, this second-generation model has been developed from scratch and its platform will serve as a base for future Honda models. The new car sheds 40-60kg due to the use of high tensile steel that’s lighter yet stronger than conventional pressed steel panels. Honda claims that the overall structure has been further strengthened, cross sections have been beefed up and crumple zones are stronger now, making the car ready to meet all upcoming crash test regulations.
Like the older generation, the dimensions of the Amaze have been restricted to sub-four-metres, qualifying it for a lower tax structure. It is 5mm longer and 15mm wider than the car it replaces, and the front and rear track have increased by 23mm and 28mm, respectively, so its stance feels more planted and proportionate than before. The wheelbase has gone up by a significant 65mm to 2,470mm.
The overall design is very different from the older car – it is smart, stylish and doesn’t look like a compromised compact sedan; instead, it looks more expensive now. A talking point of the Amaze’s design – and one that divides opinion – is the vertical grille that looks like the car has rammed into a wall. But to many, the chunky chrome grille looks really good. Even though the wheels are an inch larger than before, at 15 inches, they appear a size smaller and don’t fill the large wheel wells nicely and the design seems bland, especially when compared to what Maruti offers. Unlike the distinctive two slashes on the older car, the waist line now is subtle. The biggest change, however, is at the rear where the ‘C’-shaped tail-lamps give the car a mini-Civic-like look.
Honda Amaze Space
Honda’s conservative approach, particularly when it comes to equipment levels has seen buyers complain, but the new Amaze should change that. But first, let me tell you about the interior design. The dashboard looks clean, sans the busy-ness seen in a lot of new-age cars. It is a simple layout with a mix of matte black and piano-black plastics. The central air-conditioning vents sit at the top of the centre console, below which is the 7-inch touchscreen for the infotainment system (on offer only in the top, VX variant).
The steering wheel is new and looks and feels nice with its revised controls. The seats and lower half of the cabin are beige-hued, making for a nice contrast with the black finish of the top half while also offering a roomy feel. A definite highlight inside is the amount of space you get courtesy the new chassis. Honda has spaced the front and rear wheels further apart from each other to increase the wheelbase by 65mm. The car is 5mm longer at 3995mm and 15mm wider at 1695mm which means there’s more shoulder room, legroom and kneeroom and Honda says there’s an additional 25mm of space between the front and rear seats. What’s more, the new Honda Amaze gets a rear arm rest complete with two cup holders now, which adds to the car’s premium feel as well as passenger comfort.To know more details on Honda Amaze check Incmanifesto
Honda also tells us rear headroom has been increased, but at 5 feet, 11 inches I had my hair brushing against the roof which means six footers will not be comfortable. Honda also claims the air-conditioning system is more efficient thanks to the revised placement of the vents and a quicker cooling system, but temperatures in excess of 40 degree Celsius meant we did feel warm at the rear, especially since the Amaze does not get rear AC vents. The VX variant offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity via the touchscreen, which also integrates Wi-Fi to access navigation or browse the internet via your smartphone.
The VX also sports two USB ports one with a 1.5 Amp output to charge and connect phones and a second one with a 1.0 Amp output only for charging. Lower variants only get a single 1.0 Amp port for connectivity/charging. The VX also comes equipped with cruise control and a reverse camera, while lower variants only get rear parking sensors. The keyless entry system integrates touch sensors now so you simply need to touch the door handle to unlock the car. The new Amaze also boasts a larger boot now as the volume is up to 420 litres (up by 20 litres).
Honda Amaze Gearbox
Honda offers the 1.2 petrol with the CVT and manual transmission options. This 1199cc, 4- cylinder engine still makes 90PS of power and 110Nm of torque. Yep, same as before. However, Honda has tweaked the internals to improve efficiency and smoothness.
The 1.5-litre diesel engine is also rated at 100PS and 200Nm for the manual. However, to reduce noise and vibration the block stiffness has been increased, a new layer of damping material has been added on top of the head cover and there are new engine mounts too. Then, to be doubly sure, Honda has gone crazy with sound deadening blankets in the engine bay. Under the hood, on the firewall, under the engine and inside the cabin too, there’s more absorption material to improve the in-cabin experience. The manual gearbox is a new five-speed unit that is lighter and more efficient too. The diesel is also offered with a CVT automatic gearbox, for which the engine’s output is capped at 80PS and 160Nm.
Yep. That’s a bit of a sore point. This engine just isn’t peppy enough for anything more than city commuting. We drove only the manual version on the drive, and light throttle inputs give you the desired results. But, put your foot down for anything brisk or speedy and you better be prepared to shift down and rev to high heaven. Expect this to be somewhat annoying when tackling ghats, and plain annoying if it is loaded with passengers and luggage.
On the upside the changes to the engine make it feel smoother and quieter now. Honda claims fuel efficiency to have increased by 1.5 kmpl, to 19.5kmpl.
No boom. Or thunder. Or roar. Believe it. The first surprise is at startup. The low hum from the engine bay makes you wonder: Is this the i-Dtec? A leopard changes its spots! Sure, it isn’t whisper quiet, but its not annoying any more. Even when you accelerate hard, the diesel rumble is low enough for us to wonder: Is it as low as the competition now? In our books that is a massive win for Honda, especially when you package in the excellent drivability on offer from the i-Dtec.
In the city you will appreciate the gusto with which it responds to taps of the accelerator. The new five-speed gearbox has a short throw and is super slick to use. On open roads the Amaze revs up without faltering and gobbles kilometres. Yes, it revs to only about 4000rpm but in fifth it reaches its electronically limited 145kmph speed at just about 3200rpm. Honda say the speed cap is to ensure a balanced package without raising costs.
Honda claim a fuel efficiency of 27.4 kmpl which is 2.4kmpl more than before. Part of the credit in efficiency would also have to be attributed to the weight savings.
Honda Amaze Driving
The Amaze is softly sprung and the travel range of the suspension is quite long. While this results in good bump absorption over broken roads, it crashes over sharper ones. Although ground clearance is rated at 170mm, with a full load of passengers, the rear suspension compresses quite a bit (just like the old Civic), so the car is susceptible to scraping its underbelly over speed breakers. At higher speeds, the Amaze bobs a bit more than usual over expansion joints and vertical movements over wavy surfaces are noticeable.
Its steering has some weight to it, more in the diesel than the petrol, and while it remains consistent, it isn’t very precise. The turn-in isn’t sharp like its rivals and it doesn’t feel agile or willing to change direction quickly. Understeer (or the car’s tendency to continue in a straight line despite turning the steering) is noticed a fair bit when driven briskly. Body roll is on the higher side, again as a result of the softer suspension set-up. What’s nice though are the brakes that offer great feedback and inspire confidence while shedding speed.
Honda Amaze Safety
Forget about the bumps and speed breakers on the road, as you would hardly feel any when driving a Honda Amaze car. This car comes with powerful Macpherson strut coil springs for the front suspension and Torsion beam coil springs for the rear. You hardly feel a bump because these springs absorb every load to ensure you get the most comfortable ride ever.
A crucial aspect of safety for any vehicle is its braking system. Honda Amaze has ventilated disc brakes for the front wheels and drum brakes for the rear to ensure that the car comes to a smooth halt every time you use them to stop the vehicle. Apart from these brakes, Honda Amaze has ABS and EBD to prevent any skidding of the wheels when you apply sudden brakes under slippery road conditions. A manual handbrake provided near the gearshift handle helps you to avoid the rolling down of your car when you park it on a steep slope. Honda Amaze has a strong body capable of absorbing the toughest of shocks. All Honda Amaze models come equipped with dual airbags for both driver and front-seat passenger. Besides these safety features, Honda Amaze has engine immobiliser, child safety locks, a central locking system, and rear parking assists. ISOFIX Child seat mount is another additional safety feature that you do not get in any other model.
Honda Amaze Cost in Mumbai
Honda Amaze On Road Price is 6,82,556/- and Ex-showroom Price is 5,85,900/- in Mumbai. Honda Amaze comes in 6 colours, namely Majestic Blue Metallic,Alabaster Silver Metallic,Carnelian Red Pearl,Golden Brown Metallic,Urban Titanium Metallic,Taffeta White. Honda Amaze comes with FWD with 1198 CC Displacement and 4 Cylinders with Maximum Power 87 bhp@6000 rpm and Peak Torque 109 Nm@4500 rpm DRIVE TRAIN FWD and reaches 100 KMPH at N/A . Honda Amaze comes with Manual Transmission with FWD .
Honda Amaze Final Thought
The 2018 Honda Amaze is clearly a massive step-up from the first generation car in every respect. The car looks a lot more appealing than outgoing version, while the interiors have been spruced up to challenge its updated rivals like the Maruti DZire, Hyundai Xcent, Volkswagen Ameo and Tata Zest. The feature list is a lot more comprehensive now, which adds further to the car’s likeable feel and Honda is clear about wanting a larger share of the lucrative pie that the compact sedan segment is even today, a decade after it was born. The new Amaze will be launched in the second week of May and while it will be priced competitively, expect it to also command a premium over its predecessor. All said and done, the 2018 Honda Amaze does have the firepower to do well in what is easily the most important car segments in the country.