Car Tested: 2013 Honda Amaze
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 6.08 – 9.27 lakhs
The Honda Amaze strikes the perfect balance between comfort, space, mileage and performance. It clearly comes out as the new segment leader.
Honda has been on Indian soil since the last 16 years. The Japanese manufacturer debuted with the Honda City in 1997. However, till date, the company was only offering petrol engines on all their models. Strong diesel demand had taken a toll on their sales with the competition selling almost 80 percent diesel cars. It was only a matter of time things would change and now they have, in the form of the all new 1.5-litre i-DTEC diesel engine. This is the first diesel engine from Honda in India and the new Honda Amaze gets the privilege of being the first car to do the honors. The Amaze is based on the Brio platform and slots into the compact sedan category. Being sub 4-metre in length, it competes head on with the Maruti Swift Dzire which is currently the best selling car in the given segment. Will the Honda Amaze give the Maruti Swift Dzire a run for its money? We head to Goa and find out.
Exteriors – Honda’s core philosophy in the development of the Amaze was to cater to customer demand. A survey done by the company in Asia revealed that customers wanted a compact car which was easy to park in narrow spaces. The Honda Amaze has been made specifically for the Asian market, specially India, as demand for compact sedans is very high. It is based on the Brio and there is no mistaking that. The front get a new double chrome grille instead of single one on the Brio. While the Brio has two tone black and body colored bumper, the Amaze gets a completely body colored front bumper. The headlamps are identical to the Brio.
The side profile clearly shows that Honda has done a fabulous job of integrating the boot. Unlike other cars, the Honda Amaze does not look like an after thought. Proportions are well maintained between the engine bay, cabin and boot. As a sub 4-metre car, it does not look ugly, something which most sub 4-metre cars suffer from. The ‘Smart Micro Limousine’ concept has been well executed and sharp character lines define the side profile. The Amaze gets different alloy wheels for the petrol and diesel variants. The petrol version get 10 spoke alloy wheels while the diesel get a more dynamic alloy wheel design with 5 main and 5 sub spokes. As a segment first, Honda is offering electrically retractable and adjustable rear view mirrors. Side indicators are housed on the rear view mirrors.
The rear combination lamp has been designed to give a premium feel. Not only that, it also makes the Amaze look wider. The boot lid gets a healthy dose of chrome in the form of the chrome strip which runs along the width of the boot lid and enhances the appeal. The rear is enhanced by the extended rear license plate garnish line and overhangs around it.
Interiors – The cabin has a strong resemblance to the Brio since both the Amaze and Brio share loads of components. This sharing is not only cost effective but also crucial to the pricing of the car. The dashboard is exactly the same two tone with the same color combination as the Brio. Interior quality, fit and finish is typical Honda like. The front seats have an integrated head rest and are supportive with ample legroom and headroom. The drivers seat gets height adjustment feature and can be adjusted by upto 50 mm, a good 20 mm more than the Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire.
The rear seats offer stupendous legroom thanks to a larger wheelbase (60 mm more than the Brio). Rear seats are comfortable and offer sufficient back support. To provide maximum comfort to the passenger, cushion thickness has been increased by 96 mm, which again trumps the Swift Dzire by 11 mm. Under thigh support is strictly average for both the front and rear seats. Ingress and egress is comfortable too. All these factors combined, the Honda Amaze offers the best in class legroom and knee room. Honda has managed to extract maximum interior space thanks to a smaller engine bay. This also contributes to a larger boot.
The audio system is taken out of the Brio and offers decent sound quality with the option of USB/Aux. The system is also iPod compatible and steering mounted controls ensure you can change to your favorite track without taking your eyes off the road. The AC is pretty impressive and cools the cabin quickly. It cooled the cabin so efficiently that the 40 degree Goa sun was a piece of cake for the Amaze. Honda has introduced a heat absorbing front windshield which acts as a barrier and transmits less heat inside the cabin as compared to a regular windshield. The result is a 6 degree less cabin temperature which is measured when the car is out in the sun for 20 minutes. This helps the AC cool off faster and is another segment first feature from Honda. However, Honda has not offered climate control on any of the variants. There are sufficient storage areas both at front and back. The console between the front seats can stack up odds and ends while 1-litre bottles can find home in the door pockets. Unlike the Brio, Honda has equipped the Amaze with a rear defogger.
The Honda Amaze is targeted as a family car and boot space is crucial in this regard. Boot space is class leading and measures 400-litres, which is much more than any car in the given segment. There is enough room in the boot for two medium and two small sized bags and the loading bay is not too high either, making it easy to stow luggage.
Performance – The Honda Amaze is offered in two engine options. The time and tested 1.2-litre i-VTEC petrol and the all new segment redefining 1.5-litre i-DTEC diesel. The 1.2-litre i-VTEC petrol engine produces 88 PS of power and 109 NM torque. This is the same engine which is doing duty on the Brio. Mated to this engine is an option of 5-speed manual and 5-speed automatic transmissions. The AT and MT are again the same ones featured on the Brio with the same gear ratios. Our test car was shod with the 5-speed manual gearbox. Power lies in the mid range and top end of the rev band with the low end being average. The Amaze delivers marginally more power and 5 Nm less torque than the Swift Dzire. Drivability is outstanding and the 88 horses feel good enough for the job. However, overtaking may need you to work down a few gears. Engine refinement is brilliant as expected from Honda, who has already established itself as the master of petrol engines. The MT and AT deliver a mileage of 18 km/l and 15.5 km/l respectively (as per the ARAI).
While the petrol engine is a gem, all eyes are keenly focussed on the diesel and why not! It’s the first time Honda is getting a diesel engine to a country which prefers diesel as the fuel of choice. The all new 1.5-litre i-DTEC engine may have taken some time, but it’s here and here to stay. Globally gasoline engine are the engines of choice. It’s only Europe and India where demand for diesel engines are high. Honda had developed the 2.2 i-CTDI diesel engine for the European Accord in 2003. This engine evolved into the 2.2 i-DTEC in 2008 and was featured in the European CR-V. As the evolutionary process went on, it made way for the 1.6 i-DTEC which is seen in the European Civic this year. The Indian spec 1.5 i-DTEC has been developed keeping the European spec 1.6 i-DTEC as the base. Indian regulations offer excise benefit to sub 1.5-litre diesel engines and this was a vital factor in the engine development.
The 1.5-litre, DOHC, i-DTEC diesel engine is nothing short of an engineering marvel. This all aluminium engine is the lightest diesel engine in its class and features a high strength and lightweight crankshaft. This engine produces 100 PS of power at 3600 RPM and 200 NM torque at 1750 RPM. Power delivery is linear with almost no turbo lag. The engine offers great performance at all ends of the rev band with the strongest point being its mid range. Revving upto 4500 RPM, this diesel engine comes mated to an all new 5-speed manual gearbox. This MT is not only lightweight but is also compact in size and offers class leading transmission efficiency. Gear shifts are slick and ratios are well matched for both city and highway conditions. You may need to go down a gear for low speed overtaking but once you are on the highway, just nail the throttle and you are through. In gear acceleration is pretty good and the Amaze will pull out cleanly in third gear from speeds as low as 20 km/hr. Top speed is around 170 km/hr. An important point of note is the clutch, which is extremely light contributing to less fatigue over long drives.
Compared to the competition (Swift DZire), the Honda Amaze produces nearly 25 PS more power than its Indo-Japansese rival. Inspite of being more powerful, the Amaze nails the Dzire in the fuel efficiency department. With nearly 100 horses on tap, the Amaze is currently the most fuel efficient car in the country delivering a whooping 25.8 kms to the litre. Yes, you read it right, its 25.8 km/l. Instrumental in achieving this outstanding fuel efficiency is an ultra low viscosity diesel engine oil which has been specifically developed for the i-DTEC engine. This semi synthetic oil is the lowest viscosity lubricant in the world and offers outstanding durability and class leading fuel efficiency. Under practical conditions we expect the diesel powered Amaze to deliver around 20 km/l which is outstanding. This diesel engine fares well in keeping the vibrations at bay, however engine sound does creep into the cabin and we reckon Honda could have done a better job in insulating the cabin from the engine noise. Even though the engine makes itself heard, it is not disturbingly loud. Service interval for the diesel is 6 months/10,000 km.
Driving Dynamics – Honda cars are sorted when it comes to ride and handling and the Amaze follows the same family trend. As a family oriented car, the focus is on comfort and the Amaze keeps most of the bumps away from occupants. The 14-inch 175/65 MRF ZVTV tyres offer splendid ride quality. The rear suspension is softly sprung and sponges away the irregularities on the road. The steering is light at low speeds and zipping through crowded city traffic is extremely easy. As you speed up, the electric steering weighs up but not enough to simulate track type driving, which is fair. High speed stability is good and even at triple digit speeds, the Honda Amaze feels safe and well planted on the road. It does well around high speed corners and it is only when you go beyond the limit, the MRF tyres give up much before the car does. The top variants come equipped with ABS and EBD and braking feel and performance is good but on sudden braking the MRF tyres tend to lose grip much sooner than expected. Ground clearance is 165 mm and though the Amaze kept its underbelly clean on our drive, a fully loaded car may end up kissing few oversized speed-breakers. Between the two, the diesel powered Amaze proves to be a better handler due to its more favorable weight distribution (heavier front end). Turning radius is 4.7 meter for the Diesel and Petrol AT. The Petrol MT has a marginally smaller turning radius of 4.5 meter.
Verdict – Honda may have joined the diesel bandwagon late but it has come and re-written the rules of the game. The Amaze comes across as a massively appealing car and Honda has shown that a compact car need not look ugly. The sporty design will appeal to most and the spacious interiors are what most lookout for in this segment. Factor in the performance of the i-DTEC diesel engine and the outstanding fuel efficiency, the package is nothing short of AMAZE-ing. Honda has been in the market long enough to know how price sensitive the Indian market is. If Honda hits the sweet spot with the pricing, we reckon it will, the Honda factory is set to be a really busy place in the coming months.
The Honda Amaze has come and re-written the rules of the game. Honda has shown that with great power can indeed come great mileage. With Honda quality all around, the Amaze is all set to topple the Swift Dzire as the undisputed king of the segment.
* Spacious interiors
* Performance of the i-DTEC motor
* Outstanding fuel economy
What’s Not So Cool
* Noisy diesel engine
Honda Amaze Specifications
* Engine: 1198cc 4-cylinder, SOHC, i-VTEC (Petrol); 1498cc, 4-cylinder, DOHC, i-DTEC (Diesel)
* Power: 88 PS @ 6000 RPM (Petrol); 100 PS @ 3600 RPM (Diesel)
* Torque: 109 Nm @ 4500 RPM (Petrol); 200 Nm @ 1750 RPM (Diesel)
* Transmission: 5-speed Manual (Petrol and Diesel); 5-speed Automatic (Petrol Only)
* Top Speed: 175 km/hr
* 0-100 km/h: 13.4 seconds (petrol); 12.5 seconds (diesel)
* Fuel Consumption: 18 km/l (Petrol Manual), 15.5 km/l (Petrol AT) and 25.8 km/l (Diesel)
* Fuel Type: Petrol, Diesel
* Suspension: McPherson Struts (Front) and Torsion Beam (Rear)
* Tyres: 175/65/R14 Tubeless Radials
* Brakes: Ventilated Disc (Front), Drum (Rear)
* Safety: ABS, EBD, Dual Airbags
Honda Amaze Dimensions
* Overall length x width x height: 3990 mm X 1680 mm X 1505 mm
* Wheelbase: 2405 mm
* Ground clearance: 165 mm
* Turning Radius: 4.5 metres (Petrol MT), 4.7 (Petrol AT and Diesel)
* Boot Volume: 400-litres
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 35-litres
* Kerb Weight: 950-965 kgs (Petrol MT), 1005-1010 kgs (Petrol AT), 1060-1075 kgs (Diesel)