When we first drove the Honda Amaze in Japan, we came back with a lot of questions - mainly about India-specific details of this hatchback-turned-sedan. While those questions are now answered, what the Amaze does is beg you to question the existence of some of its competitors in the market. Here are answers to some of the most pertinent questions about the car that will change the game in the entry-level sedan segment
Does it look any good? To start with, most sedans that are extruded out of their existing hatchback versions turn to be rather ugly, not only in design but in proportion as well. Honda’s done a mighty good job of growing a boot on the Brio hatchback to come up with the Amaze and that shows with the very first glance at the car. While the front is still pretty much like the Brio as we know it, there are subtle changes that make the Amaze stand apart. The front grille gets a twin-slat treatment in chrome while the bumpers are differently designed too. The Brio’s blackened air dam gets replaced with a body coloured treatment on the Amaze and it actually goes rather well to give the sedan a more sophisticated look.
But the true revelation comes when you look at the Amaze from the rear three-quarter perspective. While in most sedans that are designed after their hatchback versions you’ll instantly see a disconnect between the car ahead of the C-pillar and the boot, the Amaze does wonders in this department. Everything rear of the B-pillar has been reworked to make the C-pillar flow smoothly into the boot giving the Amaze a very integrated look. The taillights strike resemblance to the Brio’s units but have their own distinct identity as well. All in all, with enough creases to complement the wedge-shaped front, the Amaze could just be the best looking sub-4 metre sedan we’ve seen in India yet!
What about the interiors? At first glance, you’ll think that the Amaze shares its dashboard with the Brio and that’s because it does. The layout is similar and the best part is that it is compact – which means that much more space freed for the occupants. The two tone treatment includes a top half in black and a bottom half including the seat upholstery and trims in beige and brown. Quality of plastics and seat fabrics is good, but that Brio-borrowed dashboard does take a little getting used to thanks to its unconventionally asymmetric layout.
How spacious is it? If you’ve been in the Brio, you know that the way this platform has been packaged, it frees up a whole lot of space for its occupants. At the front, the compact dashboard layout not only gives a lot of physical legroom, but also gives a roomier feeling – heightened by the use of the two-tone treatment. For the Amaze, Honda’s designers extended the Brio’s wheelbase by 50mm which clearly shows in the cavernous rear bench. We still have to measure the space when the car comes in for a complete roadtest, but visually it seems like it has almost as much as the current-generation Honda City – which is quite a lot to fit under 4 metres! That said, while two adults will be extremely comfortable on the rear bench, a third occupant might cause fights for shoulder room, though it isn’t too bad for short trips. The boot is pretty big too with about 400 litres of storage available – so you can stack in a weekend’s worth of luggage quite easily!
What engines can one choose from? Being under 4 metres in length the Amaze has engine options that match to take advantage of excise duty regulations for small cars. The Brio’s 1.2 litre petrol unit gets carried over and puts out around 90PS and 109Nm. Considering the Amaze’s lightweight construction, it should be good enough for peppy runs in the city while returning decent fuel efficiency as well. Honda claims a 0-100km/h time of a little over 13 seconds with the petrol powerplant.
The more interesting engine though is the 1.5 litre diesel engine – a first for Honda and on paper, a very impressive motor indeed. With 100PS and 208Nm on tap, the Amaze diesel will power up to 100km/h in about 12.5 seconds. What’s even more interesting is that the ARAI rated fuel efficiency stands at a staggering 25.8kmpl making the Amaze the most efficient car available in India. The engine is tuned to suit Indian driving conditions that more often than not see quicker shifts up the cogs – most times well before 3500rpm. That also makes driveability exceedingly good and as current market trends continue, it will be the Amaze diesel that will give Honda most of its sales figures.
While the diesel variants will have only a 5-speed manual transmission, the petrol Amaze will get the option of a 5-speed manual as well as a 5-speed automatic transmission as well.
When will it be launched and at what price? Sources indicate that pre-order bookings for the Amaze have already started at certain dealerships so expect the official launch of the car soon. Expect the Honda Amaze to be bang in Swift DZire territory and at that price tag (Rs 5.5-7.5 lakh), it sure is quite a bit of car. The Amaze brings with it superior efficiency, great quality and lots of space – which is what people are looking for in this class of car. Honda sure seems to have quite the hit on their hands!