Honda Amaze Diesel CVT: Road Test Review
- Aug 16, 2018
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The AMT or the Automated Manual Transmission has turned out to be a boon to the Indian car industry as it is the cheapest automatic transmission out there and is a rather clever piece of kit. The AMT is basically a normal single clutch transmission that is fitted with an actuator to manage the depressing of the clutch and gearshifts. So in essence, the AMT is a manual transmission sans the clutch pedal. This provides a cost effective and value for money solution not only to the manufacturers but customers as well. For instance, the Celerio was the first car to be introduced with an AMT gearbox and the AMT model outsold the manual simply because the price difference between the manual and the AMT was negligible. But we are not here to talk about the Celerio. Today we are talking about the new Swift Dzire which is the latest Maruti-Suzuki to adopt the AMT gearbox
Exterior and Design: rating_3.0_rating
Well, for starters, the Dzire is the first diesel Maruti to get its Auto Gearshift Technology (just Maruti’s way of saying AMT). But let’s start from the top. The ZDi AGS looks identical to its manual sibling, the AGS badge on the tailgate notwithstanding. The slightly oddball-ish looks are intact with the chrome front grille, the sweptback headlamps, the floating roofline and the barely protruding boot.
Interiors and space: rating_3.5_rating
Inside too the story is the same, the cabin is typical of the top of the line Swift Dzire as the AGS is only available with the ZDi trim. The interior is finished in tones of beige and black with thin wood finishes on the dashboard and the door panels. The rear kneeroom is decent but proves to be inadequate for the generously proportioned and seating three is a no,no. The boot space on the other hand is decent but does eat into the rear kneeroom.
Features and equipment: rating_4.0_rating
In terms of convenience features, the Dzire comes loaded with keyless entry and keyless start along with a climate control system. The infotainment system with USB and Bluetooth connectivity dominates the dashboard. You also get rear parking sensors and electrically operated and folding ORVMs. Though a reversing camera is still missing.
Engine and performance: rating_4.0_rating
The engine is the same 1.3-litre 4-cylinder turbo diesel unit that does duty on the manual car as well. The engine dishes out 75PS of max power at 4,000rpm and 190Nm of torque at 2,000rpm. The engine is mated to a 5-speed AMT gearbox. On the move the engine feels refined and Maruti has done a good job of the NVH as well. In addition, it is a peppy little engine and an eager nature.
Ride and ease of driving: rating_4.0_rating
The suspension setup is the same as the old car. Though the car is sprung on the stiffer side, it doesn’t feel uncomfortable or jolty even on the nastier undulations. The visibility though is a on the lesser side as you can’t see the corners of the bonnet. But the highlight of this Dzire is the AMT gearbox. The exclusion of the clutch pedal makes life so much easier at the wheel. Yes, the gearshifts are a bit jerky simply because there is no clutch to ride and it is a tad slow at sedate speeds but yet there is no taking away from the sheer convenience it offers. I drove the car over the past two days in bumper to bumper traffic and came out the other side with my left kneecap intact and no pain to report. Though its slow shifting nature can make overtaking a bit of a bother but can be tackled if you just calculate your shifts right especially in manual mode. Also, there isn't a sport mode on this gearbox so spirited driving is best left to manual mode.
Handling and braking: rating_3.5_rating
The slightly stiff suspension find a fine balance between a good ride and decent handling. The car is quite flickable and there is a fair bit of feedback from the steering as well. In traffic too changing lanes isn’t an issue as long as you’re mindful of the rear of the car. The brakes too provide good feel but the AMT does make the braking slightly unpredictable in D mode as downshifts are no longer in your control.
Price and efficiency: rating_3.0_rating
The Dzire was never quite low on the price spectrum to begin with and the AMT costs Rs 8.3lakh ex-showroom Delhi which makes it the most expensive sub 4-metre sedan in the country. But what does work in its favour, is the AMT gearbox and the claimed fuel efficiency of 26.5kmpl despite being an automatic.
All in all, the Dzire is a decent car to live with. The brand itself does wonders to ensue buyer confidence. Though it doesn’t look as good as we’d hoped and the room in the rear bench is also limited. But then looks are subjective and it does offer a host of features like climate control and Bluetooth telephony, not to mention that it also comes with ABS with EBD. In addition this AGS version comes with an AMT which promises to be as efficient as the manual well, because it is essentially the same gearbox. It also drives well and is supremely convenient in traffic. So it does make quite a case for itself with the price being the only major concern.
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