2021 Honda Amaze first drive review
The Honda Amaze gets a facelift after three yearsShot by Avdhoot for evo India

2021 Honda Amaze first drive review

The facelifted Honda Amaze borrows styling bits from its bigger sibling, the City, while staying true to the good stuff that’s made the car popular

Once upon a time the sub 4-metre sedan segment was on fire and the Honda Amaze was an attempt to eat into the huge volumes of the then-hot Maruti Suzuki Dzire. Except the market quickly moved to compact SUVs and sedans have lost interest and sheen. Engineered for emerging markets such as ours, the Honda Amaze comes with the premium image of owning a Honda, the brand’s legendary reliability, and of course plenty of practicality not to mention its unique diesel-CVT powertrain. However since its launch in 2018, Honda haven’t really done much to update this second generation Honda Amaze. Now, they’ve given it a subtle little update, just to keep things fresh. The facelift brings some exterior and interior updates, adds few new features, while remaining mechanically unchanged.

Exterior of the Honda Amaze

The most obviously noticeable update on the Honda Amaze facelift are on the front end. It now gets a new front grille that looks sleeker and gets some additional chrome bits at the bottom. There’s new chrome garnishing around the fog lamps, giving the front some flair. The other big update is on the top end VX trim we tested here. It now comes with projector headlamps, similar to those seen on the Honda City, with neatly integrated LED DRLs along with LED fog lamps.

  • New chrome grille is standard but the LED projector headlamps are kept exclusive to the VX variant

    New chrome grille is standard but the LED projector headlamps are kept exclusive to the VX variant

  • The 15-inch wheels are exclusive to the VX variant

    The 15-inch wheels are exclusive to the VX variant

Move over to the side and you’ll notice the newly designed diamond cut alloy wheels. They come in a dual tone finish, adding a bit of sportiness to this family sedan. Though the size of the wheels remains unchanged at 15 inches. Keeping with the chrome theme from the front, it also gets new chrome door handles. Over at the rear, the face-lifted Honda Amaze sports new C-shaped LED tail-lights, while also getting chrome garnishes for the reflectors on the bumper. Though the changes are not massive and keep the basic identity of the Amaze intact, they do add some freshness to the design.

Interiors and features of the Honda Amaze

While there are changes on the outside, the interiors of the Honda Amaze remain largely unchanged. The only significant change is the new silver accents around the dashboard and steering wheel, which contrasts nicely with the black and beige interior. The VX trim we tested also comes with a new beige seat fabric, with some stitching on it, giving it a more premium feel. It retains other features you would expect on cars of this price, such as automatic climate control air conditioning as well as a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Steering mounted controls, cruise control and an easy to read multi information read in the cars dials are also carried over from the outgoing model.

  • New silver accents on the dashboard along with chrome AC vents

    New silver accents on the dashboard along with chrome AC vents

  • The 7-inch infotainment touchscreen remains unchanged

    The 7-inch infotainment touchscreen remains unchanged

The cabin overall maintains the airy and spacious feels it has always had. All occupants get plenty of space, despite its compact looking dimensions. Honda engineers have always been known for maximizing the use of interiors space. The Amaze is no different. You can’t expect Honda City level of space — me must not forget this a sub 4 meter car and for that, it has got plenty of space.

Driving and performance of Honda Amaze

Mechanically, the new Amaze remains unchanged from the car it replaces. You get the same two engine options, a 1.2-litre naturally aspirated petrol with 88.76bhp and 110Nm of torque, equipped with a 5-speed manual or a CVT automatic. This i-VTEC has proved itself over a really long period of time and Honda India have sensibly thought of not messing around with the proven formula which provides a good blend of performance and fuel efficiency. The car we’ve tested here was powered by the 1.5-litre diesel engine, putting out 98.6bhp and 200Nm of torque, paired with a slick shifting 5-speed manual gearbox.

The 1.5-litre diesel engine  churns out 98.6bhp at 3600rpm and 200Nm at 1750rpm
The 1.5-litre diesel engine churns out 98.6bhp at 3600rpm and 200Nm at 1750rpmShot by Avdhoot for evo India

This engine-gearbox combo has been, and continues to be well suited to our road conditions, with its short gearing, making it a breeze to drive around in the city. It has enough and more torque to pull away easily, even when you’re in a higher gear at the bottom of the rev band. Power delivery is smooth as you build up revs, making for relaxed driving experience. The engine does however tend to get very vocal when you cross 3000rpm, reminding you its time to slot the slick-shifting gearbox into the next gear giving you that little glimmer of hope that the Honda Amaze will be dynamically involving to drive.

Much desired as a family car, the Honda Amaze provides a relaxed driving experience
Much desired as a family car, the Honda Amaze provides a relaxed driving experienceShot by Avdhoot for evo India

However, being driven enthusiastically has never been something that the Amaze has enjoyed. The steering to begin with feels vague. It’s heavy at centre and lightens up a little to much as you dial in some lock approaching a corner. There’s very little in the way of communication and you’re better off approaching a corner at a sedate speed.

The Amaze has never aspired to be a driver’s car. It’s role was always to be a family car, which is does rather well. The ride quality has been one of the strong suits of the Amaze. With no mechanical changes on that front, it continues to shine. It absorbs bumps and undulating road surfaces nicely, making for a very pleasant experience for passengers in this car. Overall, the Amaze continues to be typically Honda in the way it ticks all the right boxes its customers expect it too.

Price and rivals of Honda Amaze

The diesel variant of the Honda Amaze we tested is also available with a CVT automatic transmission option. This is something that’s unique to the Amaze in the segment, where it goes up against the country’s best selling sedan, the Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire. Other rivals include the Hyundai Aura, Ford Aspire and the Tata Tigor.

With this subtle mid life update, the Honda Amaze has gotten a bit more mature and upscale than its predecessor and also, much of its competition. At a starting point of ₹6.32 lakh (ex-showroom) for the basic petrol variant up to ₹11.15 lakh for the diesel automatic, Honda will hope that this mid life facelift will help boost sales of the best selling model in their India line up.

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