Honda Amaze : Road Test
There is quite a buzz as we enter the large conference hall in one of the major 5-star hotels in Goa on a balmy March evening. Scurrying around are familiar faces from Honda Cars India Ltd. But this time round you also see a great deal of new Japanese faces as well, already organized and sitting in time honoured Land of the Rising Sun officiousness. That it was time for business was a fact clearly underlined but more importantly this was also the strongest sign of a new commitment to India. Woven into this though was the basic premise of Honda wanting to go back to doing what it knows best – delighting users and what better way to do that than to just go ahead and Amaze its legion of diehard users as well as would be buyers with a sub-four-metre saloon offered with a choice of petrol and diesel propulsion!
Ever since Honda committed itself to doing diesel some three and a half years ago, the first signs of its oil burning desire to impress key markets in Europe and Asia have just started bearing fruit. Under its Earth Dreams Technology we have already seen the exquisite 1.6-litre i-DTEC engine powering the European Honda Civic to a warm reception and it is this engine which is the bedrock of all small diesel engine development from Honda for Asia as well.
Given the fact that our babucracy has signed off on the 1.5-litre capacity limit for diesel engines to qualify for the tax-buster slab, Honda had no option but to play within the very same 1.6-litre i-DTEC architecture by tweaking the cylinder dimensions but then with the base unit already very innovative and tech-rich, the end result is nothing short of stunning. For everyday use that is, and not for those who want a Honda in the original City mode of the late 1990s – civilized fire-breather and what not! Given that this is Honda at its mass-market best, the new Brio-based saloon is probably the most serious offering from Japan Inc in quite awhile!
From our first three-lap steady-speed run on a small road course on the Motegi Twin Ring circuit in Japan late last year to a full-fledged first drive in real world Indian conditions, much has become apparent, the Amaze with diesel power is now into full series production and the specs have been frozen to a price and performance proposition which I am happy to state ticks near almost all boxes on the desirability list of a punter seeking a car in this cut-throat segment where the Suzuki Swift D’Zire is cock of the coop!
Pardon me if I haven’t brought in the 1.2-litre petrol-engine in - as yet - but obviously Honda and diesel is the undoubted big story here. We had already revealed much of the technology in our detailed report featured in our December 2012 issue but to that we have new information where some of the secrets of the all-aluminium diesel and its best-in-class performance can now be marvelled at!