Honda was doing great in India for the first decade of this millennium, but due to the rising prices of petrol it had been set off from the massive sales numbers that nowadays were in the hands of Indian Auto King Maruti.
The Indian automaker had sold a large chunk of vehicles locally in between the duration which anyone could not have dreamt of. Then also provided with the petrol engines, Indians were gate crashing the dealerships of Maruti to get the best in terms of price tags as well as maintenance cost. Alto was the first and Swift was the second, but when the carmaker launched the Swift with an added boot, named Dzire, it took away all the gleams from other in-house badges, and very recently it had also snatched the best seller mask from Alto. The right that got kicked with it was the marketing strategy, which the carmaker had planted in such a way that one could not tend to resist it. Pricked only a bit above the mark of hatchback, Dzire got an added advantage of boot embedded in itself and also the benefit of sedan, that’s being asked for only a mere amount of cash. Well, one may be thinking why we are discussing the clichés of Maruti while writing down the review and test ride of Honda Amaze. It’s because the Japanese had observed these sorts of temperament before putting down Amaze on the drawing board, and hopefully it is an outcome of such philosophies itself that the Indians day by day are getting themselves drone towards it. Hence we can say that the India spec Amaze is just made giving priorities to the local mass that’s where the Honda was derailed off in the series, and was tantalizing to start from the same spot for a fatter market share.
Launched now with the support of huge fanfare, Amaze has a lot to say with its first diesel engine on Indian shores. And also keeping in mind the same ongoing years long strategy of max-man-min-machine; whereas to also to explore why the 22,000 Indians took the decision of booking a Amaze in the period of just 21 days after the launch, we got ourselves behind it to look into what the boffins at Honda at concluded out of their hatchback Brio to get ratings in the masses as well the bit niche too.
No doubt that Honda had taken support of Brio to get itself settled in the mark of compact sedan. But if one looks deducting the thought of Brio from its mindset then it will be the perfectly sorted out compact saloon that engineers at R&D had crackled it from the day one, unlike to many of its competitor in the same range. The front is almost same to that of Brio, but the two chromed slats on grille instead one on the younger sibling tends us to draw our intention of being a complete newbie. And moreover the Amaze is now thronged for more of the upmarket look with signal indicators flagged on side mirrors.
If taken the things precisely, Amaze boot is really assimilated into the body structure rather than looking like a kicked-in ass to that of rivals. Lines flowing proportionately from front to the rear, end in triple stances and makes the boot look subtle from every cornering inch. We were too worried about the appearance when the Honda had announced about this model plate at early days of launch. But hopefully looking at Amaze our doubts flew off with the rocketing tropics. The line that travels from front wheel arches to the mid pillar of car, and the second one that comes out from rear door handles to the boot, makes its aerodynamics to stand out even in race tracks type scenario. The most promising one i.e. from rear door handles to the boot makes is the actual winning streak on this Honda, because the additional beefy temperament trunk of feels largely chopped off due to it and a compact type statement is formed on the first stance. The door handles being covered nicely underneath that same line is also needed to be talked off when designing quotient is taken into platter. And lastly the third line which is positioned at the bottom yields the balancing act of enhanced measurement integrated with well compact postures. Basically one would not recollect that Honda had increased the wheelbase by 60mm unless and until that third crease is positioned closer to the earth.
Wraparound tail lamps, and chrome stance transfusing between them adds a plush factor to the Amaze. At time we too had felt that this compact Honda saloon could have recline towards the flagship model City if had taken the tail lamps from it, but though every car has a distinct character so their costing, hence nothing would have gone better than this on Amaze when grounded on the tabs of efficient price tags. Different alloys for petrol and diesel, low mounted exhaust on oil burners are some of the important remarks which seem significant when reviewing this car.
As learnt we are discussing a lot about the design, it’s to conclude that Japanese had splendidly splurged the money on reworking it from the body style of Brio. We also got to know that the engineers at R&D had taken great pain to view from the perception of every Indian, and that can he can find suitable to drive it in every state of the country. Moreover crossing the limits, boffins at the backend had planted it in even in the hands of core Indian customers, and had again build it kneading the feedbacks received from same.
There was no negative feedback from our side regarding the exteriors but we hopefully think that if the carmaker would have given the Amaze a better bigger wheel then it could have done better on the turns. Hopefully the engineers at the other terminal knows better than us, so when asking them about it they had revealed ‘cornering ability’ and ‘pricing’ are the main reasons for keeping it small in the overall body context. Looking from the sides, Amaze had derived the full advantage of governments in the sub 4 meter length strategy. It is only some quirky millimeters less than the benefits followed criteria of 4000mm length. While bidding off the car to experience sloth of interiors, we lastly noticed one thing that had made us to write about it here and that is none other than the serious issue of exterior metal quality. It feels light weight and not up to the mark of premiumness. Though again ferrying back to the engineering department, we were then finally clotted with the same answer, as usual ‘pricing’, and the latest i.e. for keeping weights in check to look vastly after the performance and efficiency. Well, the latest thrown tantrums of engineers were giving us a bit strong gut, so then we finally shut the door so on the face of Maruti and started our drive.
Before going to the added factor of technical plagiarism we would like to convey all the interior bits. That will definitely quench your thirst for further more notches.
Open the doors and you are then taken into the days of Brio again. That same flat dashboard, three spoke steering wheel, and the almost unchanged features makes it really some nodding down the money-value product. This effort was then recognized by us, it maybe not taken into consideration because of the maximum space – minimum machine extravaganza. That’s true even; the plastic quality is also not that cheap. Glove box is fitted in the up-lipped manner to cover only small ounces of interiors space sparing the whole lot for front passenger to creep in its knee. Both the front seats are trimmed off from the shoulder comforts. They are cannibalized to brief a wide view for the rear passengers. Hopefully, all the driving instruments are made as per to the clog of compact hatchback, they aren’t needed to be fitted on this heavily spiked compact saloon of Honda. Well, we hope step maybe taken to extract in the beefier market share that was lost, and then rolling out the new upmarket yet niche slotted Amaze with a grieved price tag at a later stage. This time one also has to face the downside with lack of climate control, non adjustable height of seat belts, omissions of speed-sensitive-auto-locking doors as well as the button operated central locking system, also few more bits here and there too.
Lest of cons, Honda Amaze has done with pros as well. Seven bottle holders inclusive of front and rear, driver’s seat adjustment up to 50mm, and acres of space inside in comparison with any other car of the segment makes it astonishing to be a one in our garage. The extended wheelbase had paid it handsomely in the legroom furor. Getting back again to the aerodynamics, the flatly slated roof stretched from the front to the last nib of rear extracts the best of headroom even in the sub four meter area. The well heighted person, near to the six feet, will too not find himself cramped at rear. Rear bench is stuffed enough to go even long journeys. A couple sitting at rear with their arms resting on the centre armrest and crossing miles after miles is the perfect posture for looking inside the Amaze. But if that is diluted with a child in between, then it may feel a bit less chunky. There is basically no space for the third person to barge on rear bench, but when thought of travelling in the city then it’s okay to go with that sprouted addition. Longer armrest on the doors and the replacement of speaker placement from door panels to the rear parcel tray flow more space at the back than Brio.
It was average when talking about the interiors, but what’s about the boot which the Honda had placed as an Ace on the mapping of Amaze. The boot space is really huge, measures 400 liter in its entire stance. A couple of full size suitcases will simply fit into it. No need to bang and push them while logging out for a weekend journey. We can say that’s all engineering marvels which the R&D department had played to the core without harnessing the clause of roomy interior space at all. However, not known at all what the Honda had thought of giving electrically operated ORVMs on the top end variant of Amaze, when they had deprived customers from a lot of modern bits which are standard for other brands.
That does all about inside, remember to close your window sooner than you smell the rain because it takes a lot of time to pull upwards or downwards than others.
Technicalities and Performance:
There’s again an important point in this car and that is its technical bits. As we are already informed that Honda too had debuted the diesel technology in India with Amaze, which is specifically built for our local market, then it sounds necessary for us to throw some light on its technical strata. Being built alongside the European spec 1.6L i-DTEC diesel, the 1.5L i-DTEC of India spec is concluded to draw benefits from the governments lobby in terms – exports of less than 1500cc powerhouse. Need not to feel complex that the other Honda users are enjoying the briefly driven version of diesel whilst of we are only given down with the benefits chopped. But exclusively Honda doesn’t say that. Masters inside their technical department says, 1.5L i-DTEC motor for India uses the same architecture as the 1.6L and also comes with the same sophisticated hardware to reduce weight and friction. Only differences are that the Indian version has a smaller, fixed-geometry turbo (FGT) and no Diesel Particulate (DPF) which is not needed in India. Bore and pistons too are the same but the stroke is reduced to bring in the i-DTE below the critical 1.5L mark.
The engine is overall built out of the aluminum metal, not even the pistons area spared, which has its own advantage and disadvantage over the iron-crafted ones that we will tell you later in this article. Honda had provided the petrol version with automatic as well manual version of gearbox but the diesel is given only with an option of 5 speed manual transmissions and to be clear that, the car which we are writing about is of the “diesel” variants.
Crank up the engine, and you will feel lot of vibration and noise shoots up from the hoods but it settles down after the vehicle crosses 1000 RPM mark. This starting of jerk was due to the aluminum block engine, otherwise the cast-iron doesn’t makes this much rattle as a reason they are sitting on the course of rubber, unlikely to it sitting on the plant of liquid. That’s was enough to cast a conclusion against our much refined expectations from Honda, but though we then took forward the trip and found our expectation coming to the perfect points. Power delivery is sufficient in the 1200-3800 RPM range, but if one needs to conquer more of it then he may land again in the lower gear for setting the powerplant to pump up more than the usual. It’s slated as the maximum torque of 20.4 kgm ends up wildly at the 1750 RPM, so you had to come in the low zones for gaining higher transversal. Mid range acceleration too is not dissatisfying but all the torque notched excitement carries up to 4200 RPM at the maximum. The gear shift is also quick and the throw is short. Confirming this a slightly off-track laden nature of Honda 1.6L i-DTEC we got to know, most of the drivers in India tend to upshift much before than required, hence that’s why the first gear is given shorter in terms, and more of the throttling extravaganza is tempered in the mid range. Now it’s time to give in the 0-100 kmph sprint mark, which our vehicle managed the harsh lashes for ending this rift at 13.2 seconds, a bit more than the other competitors but that’s quiet dwelling when you see the division of gears reacted as per the Indian driving scenario. Whilst, the maximum that we had extracted was the 125 kmph, in which the RPM stood at 2900-3000 RPM for us to complete the journey. Lightweight and power steering makes it possible to attain this much hyper-throttling tenure.
Ground clearance stays higher by 15mm than Brio (i.e. at 165mm) which mean you will not have to sneak peek even on the crumbling highways, or maybe by chance if you land on the devastating interior roads. The Brio borrowed MacPherson strut front and torsion beam rear suspension setup helps the Amaze to swallow the large sized potholes very easily. And that extended wheelbase also helps a lot to achieve the passing rumbles with ease. Problem arises when the small potholes start coming into its way. The long travel of suspension and a stiff setup of spring suspension make the case worst in smaller beats. Very importantly, one may hear the sound of potholes passing underneath its wheels, it’s because the cabin quality is not of that high standard, and insulation lacks even the refinement to filter this even much basic at one of the initial driving stage.
Twist and turns – are a no-problem vibe for Amaze. Point the steering in a particular direction and then you will flow seamlessly in that direction, the reason is ‘accurate power steering’. Hopes that says everything, but if you insist to regard more on this topic then it was the lengthened wheelbase that stocked us frugal up in all the cornering abilities. No complaints while tweezing it in the tight corner, must say the weight is in its lightest form tend to shoot the power from the moment of acceleration without any delay. Yeah, really there is no lacking in the time between acceleration-dab and the shoot-up of Amaze.
Fuel Efficiency had also clocked the closure in the right strain. City ride had given in odo the measurement of 15.2 kmpl whereas the highway cruising was returned for 20.8kmpl, against the officially claimed 25.8 kmpl figures of Honda.
As it is the first attempt of Honda for diesel in India, it seems pretty cool for the Japanese that they had made right in the context of audience. Those who desired the trustworthy badge of Honda under the low running yet maintenance cost then Amaze is the right name to utter in the fraternity against Maruti. It is efficiently priced for Rs. 6.60 lakh ex showroom Delhi, we seem the makers are asking for more than enough against the values given on board. In the Amaze one is deprived off advancements like CD usurping music player, and also premium type flexes like sound cutting insulation for interiors, no vibrations and many more. The dashboards and all its design, inclusive of features given, does not tend to enter the compact saloon segment, but the moniker of Honda makes us to forget these things and concentrate on the closet which is important i.e. ‘driving and handling’. It had emerged more than our expectation what we were hoping from the bolded “H” badge.
Overall it is a good attempt by Honda, but if anyone there looking for the standard fitments, then we say the ABS with EBD and the two SRS airbags are the only fitment that automaker had provided as ice cream toppings on all the diesel variants of Amaze. Meanwhile, mileage is good, drivability yet performance is a talked about quotient for this newbie. Looking down the vibration fizz and that interiors class, one must do it by themselves or get it done at the outsourced workshops. Space is enough inside, can fit a family of four easily, and there is also a small provision for the fifth one to enter. 400 liter boot space will give you a calling bet for the spacious weekend drive.
In one line, Honda Amaze 1.5L i-DTEC is a mild attack by the Japanese in terms of money asked against it.
Image Courtesy – www.autocarindia.com