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When the Amaze was launched way back in 2013, it was a big deal for Honda. The Amaze, after all, was the first car in Honda’s India line-up to feature a diesel engine. Honda was moving into a space where cars were selling in huge numbers and the option of a diesel engine did nothing but give sales a mighty upwards shove. The Amaze has gone on to sell nearly 2 lakh units since its launch and has accounted for nearly 40 per cent go Honda’s car sales ever since. And the Amaze was a good car, but in many ways, it left us wanting more. The updated Amaze has looked to fix the niggles that car had, but has it?
The new Honda Amaze carries over the two engines from the pre-facelift model. What has changed though is that the petrol car is now available with a CVT, making it the first car in the sub-four metre sedan segment to feature one (the Dzire is a regular automatic while the Figo Aspire is a twin-clutch auto). The 1.2-litre petrol and 1.5-litre diesel have the same power and torque figures as the older cars when mated to the manual gearboxes, but the petrol CVT makes 2bhp more than the manual version. But before we talk more about the drivetrain, lets talk interiors.
One of the biggest criticisms of the Amaze was that the interiors weren’t up to the mark. The dash on the pre-facelift cars was very similar to the Brio’s and the Hyundai Xcent’s sophisticated dash absolutely blew it out of the water. Step into this car and you are greeted with a welcome sight — Honda have given the Amaze’s interiors a much needed refresh. The dash, now reminiscent of the Jazz’s, has done away with the knobs on the last model. The centre console comes with a piano black finish with buttons for the entertainment system and climate control system neatly laid out. The interiors get a dual tone finish and the plastics are of a much higher quality than the older car. The buttons have a nice soft feel to them, and the cabin is now a place you can actually look forward to being in.
Another area where the older Amaze lacked was in terms of features. This time round, the top two variants of the car come with automatic climate control. Honda has also introduced dual airbags as an optional feature on the lower two variants, while they are standard on the upper two. The entertainment system has been given a much needed update and it now gets a host of connectivity options — you get bluetooth, USB and AUX inputs, leaving you spoilt for choice. The system itself is rather simple to use and there is none of that hair tearing and jaw clenching as you try to pair your phone. Like the previous car, the Amaze gets height adjustable steering and seats, a rear defogger and powered ORVMs. However, the Amaze is still lacking a bit of punch when it comes to features. Forget about a rear parking camera, the car doesn’t even get rear parking sensors. And Honda proudly claim that the car has the best-in-class cabin space, but haven’t bothered giving it rear AC vents.
On the design front, the Amaze has always been stylish. The styling has been updated though, the front bumper has been flared up to give it a slightly more aggressive stance. The front is still based on the Brio hatch but the grille is now more blingy and in tune with Honda’s latest design language. The nicest part of the Amaze’s design is that the boot doesn’t look like an afterthought, something their competition haven’t really managed to master yet.
But what does it feel like to drive? Step into the car and you are greeted with a nice driving position. Both the steering and the driver’s seat are adjustable. We drove the petrol car and the only major change to it is in the powertrain, with the inclusion of the CVT. Power delivery is nice and smooth, and being a CVT, the shifting is seamless and jerk free. The rubber band effect that the CVT is infamous for is present but Honda have done well to minimise it. The gearbox holds the revs fairly low if you’ve got a gentle foot on the throttle. But step on it and the revs climb to around 4000rpm to gain pace faster, though it can be quite loud while doing so. Also, there is a noticeable lag when you step on the throttle and the gearbox doesn’t react as fast as you would like it too. In S mode, the gearbox allows the revs to climb higher and increases engine braking as well. Honda claim that with the CVT, they have managed to increase the efficiency on the car — the manual gives 17.4kmpl while the CVT manages to squeeze out 18.1kmpl. Practically everything else on the car, including the suspension, the brakes and the steering have remained untouched.
Honda have obviously taken the feedback they received about the Amaze very seriously and have made the it a more appealing car. Most crucially, the interiors have been improved and the Amaze can now stand up to the competition and give it a fair fight. With petrol prices starting at Rs. 5.29 lakh, and diesel prices starting from Rs. 6.41 lakh, the Amaze is now a proper contender in the sub-four metre sedan segment.