Honda Amaze was introduced way back in 2013, when the compact sedan market was booming and Honda didn’t really have a compact sedan to offer, which was easy to own and easier to run. So, what they did was, added a boot to the already existing Honda Brio hatch to make the Amaze. And boy-oh-boy, the designers at Honda did an excellent job with the Amaze unlike the competition. The spacious cabin, smooth flowing character lines, from the front fenders right till the end of the tail just merged so well that it didn’t look out of place or like an afterthought, and gave the Amaze overall a pleasing look, unlike the competition. Both petrol and diesel powertrains did duty to propel the Honda Amaze. It was one of the top-selling compact sedans, Honda managed to sell more than 2.5 lakh units of Amaze since its launch. The only grouse being the all-aluminum diesel engine, even though it was powerful and frugal, the engine was quite noisy and the vibrations were felt inside the cabin of the car.
It was high time for Honda to do something about it, and what they did was introduce an All-New 2018 Honda Amaze. Not only have they taken care of the engine, but brought in refreshing new look inside-out, which stands true to Honda’s name and image. Read on further to know more about the 2018 Honda Amaze, as we bring you the comprehensive road-test review from The City of Gardens-Bengaluru, also known as the Silicon Valley of India. Join us as we get you the most extensive road test review of all the variants of the 2018 Honda Amaze right here.
Exteriors & Styling.
‘Amazing Compact Limousine’ is what Honda likes to call the all-new 2018 Amaze. And we don’t disagree, it looks much bigger than it actually is. When starting the development of the 2nd-generation Amaze, Honda reconsidered and studied the value of a sedan for Indian customers. The all-new Amaze is based on a totally new platform that incorporates Honda’s advanced engineering and reflects Honda’s research and development expertise. The overall concept was to develop one class above sedan for Indian family use, that exceeds expectations of Indian customer’s in the compact sedan segment. The all-new Amaze is only 5mm longer than the outgoing model.
‘Dauntless Solid’, the exterior of the all-new Amaze is sensational and premium to look at. The 2nd-generation Amaze’s front design emphasizes the vehicles low and wide styling. Character lines starting from the front grille to the headlights present a front face identity and Hondas signature ‘Solid Wing Face’, which highlights the premium expression. The Solid Wing Face concept has also been applied to global models, such as the Civic (MY2016 & MY2017). The headlights and front grille are connected in a wider line, which contributes to a wider look, the headlamps also come equipped with integrated signature LED position lamps (DRL’s) & the turn signal indicator sits right above it. The long sleek line from the bonnet to the roof line gives the look of the more solid sedan. The ORVM’s come integrated with the LED turn signal indicators. The B-pillar is blacked-out, giving the car a more upmarket feel. The wrap-around taillights somewhat look like the old Amaze and the current City but are very distinctive and give the rear a strong muscular look.
The vehicle’s wheelbase and width have been expanded for greater steering stability and ride comfort. The wheel size has been increased to 15-inch aluminium alloy wheels, up from the previous Amaze’s 14-inch wheels. The new wheels have a premium dynamic design with angular cross structure. The bigger spokes and 3D design highlight the vehicle’s masculine and solid design concept while providing a premium class look. And yes the overall ground clearance now stands at 170mm. The boot space thanks to the grown dimensions now stands at a class leading 420 liters. The all-new Amaze is available in a choice of five colors namely, Radiant Red Metallic (the one which we were driving, also Honda’s first time in the Asia & Oceanic region), White Orchid Pearl, Lunar Silver Metallic, Modern Steel Metallic & Golden Brown Metallic (our personal favorite).
Interiors & Safety.
Getting into the driver’s seat, the first thing you notice is the airy cabin and the dual-tone dashboard with lot of piano-black accents, the wide instrument panel with curved console shape at the end, exudes quality and offers wide visibility. The center controls are easy to use and very practical. All the switches are within arms reach. The instrument console is all-new and gets all the tell-tale lights laid out on a all new sharp and crisp background. We especially liked the analog rev-counter and the speedometer. The MID sits right in the middle giving out all the details about your average speeds, odometer, trip meter, clock, distance to empty, instant fuel consumption, gear indicator, fuel gauge & outside temperature indicator. The three-spoke steering wheel gets audio controls, voice command, cruise control switches & also paddle shift for petrol CVT. The steering gets manual adjust for height but there is no adjust for reach.
The audio-visual navigation as Honda likes to call it, more commonly known as the Honda DigiPad, which was earlier seen in the Honda City, now the DigiPad 2 makes it’s way to the 2018 Amaze. The latest generation of the Honda DigiPad is a 7-inch WVGA 800*480 resolution touchscreen display which supports Apple CarPlay & Android Auto. You get two USB slots on the top-end model, one of which supports fast charging with 1.5amp output and the other one is standard 1amp output. The start-stop switch is placed on the right side of the steering wheel, its blue in color when you enter the car and turns red once you start the engine. The driver side window gets the auto-down switch. Both the ORVM’s are electrically adjustable and foldable.
The front seats are wide, well cushioned and extremely supportive with good under-thigh support, shoulder and back support alike, the seat also gets newly designed adjustable headrest, unlike the outgoing model which were thin & came with fixed unified headrest. The driver seat can be manually adjusted for height. The rear passenger seat is quite spacious with decent under-thigh support, the almost flat floor-board makes it even more comfortable. Sadly the headrest on the rear seat is non-adjustable. The rear passenger seat gets center armrest with glass holders. The seat is wide and can comfortably accommodate three passengers. All the door panels get a one-liter bottle holder. The front seats also get rear-pockets for passengers seating behind. The all-Amaze comes equipped with standard safety features like the driver & passenger airbags, reverse parking sensors and also gets ABS with EBD across all variants, the top-end model also comes with reversing camera with fixed guidelines.
Engine, Transmission & Drive.
The all-new Amaze comes with the tried and tested 1.2L i-VTEC engine which gives a total power output of 90PS @ 6000rpm and torque output of 110Nm @ 4800rpm mated to a 5-speed manual transmission and a 7-speed automatic CVT (continuous variable transmission). This engine is further improved for better fuel consumption by reducing friction for each engine component.
For instance, the piston skirt area is coated with molybdenum at the power thickness in a zigzag pattern to improve oil holdout and reduce slide friction. Also, technologies such as MO shot metal and low friction oil seal was adopted for better fuel consumption.
The 1.5L i-DTEC diesel engine delivers maximum power output of 100PS @ 3600rpm and 200Nm of torque @1750rpm with the manual transmission, and 80PS @3600rpm and 160Nm of torque @1750rpm with the CVT transmission. The friction reduction in the diesel engine helped achieve top-class engine performance and fuel efficiency. For better fuel consumption, Honda changed the design of the pistons, block, oil pump, and chain system in conjunction with the noise reduction. The block design was changed to increase rigidity, which reduces vibrations from the engine block. Urethane material was also added to the engine head cover, together with a change in the chain case/ chain system design for better NVH performance.
By reducing the weight of the vehicle, the all-new Amaze with either petrol or diesel engine offers top-class fuel economy and acceleration performance. Honda claims 19.5 KM/L for the manual transmission and 19 KM/L for the CVT automatic for the petrol Amaze and 27.4 KM/L for the manual diesel and 23.8 KM/L for the CVT automatic diesel.
We drove all the four variants in and around Bengaluru throughout the day, the petrol manual/ CVT, the diesel manual/ CVT. And found the diesel to be the most involving to drive. The petrol wasn’t lacking much, where the petrol shone, was the refinement and noise levels with absolutely no vibration, one could barely tell whether the engine is running or not, but we were hooked to the torque and power of the diesel, be it the manual or automatic. The diesel was surprisingly quiet at idle, vibrations were well in control even on the move. The gear ratios are well spaced out on both the petrol and diesel variants, the shifts are slick, very typical of Honda’s and positive. The clutch was light and progressive on both the variants. The CVT’s on the other hand, was a boon to drive within the city traffic and the dead-pedal to rest your left foot, made it even better.
Honda surely studied the market well this time around and listened to the customer’s grievances/ complaints about the diesel engine being very noisy and full of vibrations and also the creature comfort. If you noticed there’s a significant difference in the all-new Amaze’s diesel engines power output. The manual diesel pushes out 100Ps @3600rpm and 200Nm of torque @1750rpm, whereas the CVT automatic pushes out only 80Ps @3600rpm and 160Nm of torque @1750rpm. Upon asking the product team about the difference in power output and fuel consumption figures, we were told, ‘because it’s a first in class diesel CVT, for better acceleration and driveability there’s a significant difference in fuel consumption too’.
We were rather sceptical of that answer until we drove the car. Sadly you don’t get paddle shift on the diesel CVT. The CVT is highly compatible with the wide torque band of the diesel engine, and it is possible to perform fun and sporty driving using only the accelerator and hence Honda skipped the paddle shift on the diesel CVT. The top speed is limited for maximum comfort and safety @ 140km/h, anything higher and you will have to change the dynamics of the car. If you crave for higher top speed and better performance Honda’s have an answer for that too, with the City. But in most situations, the all-new Amaze is truly Amazing!! This very well could just be that compact sedan that you are looking for.
The 2018 Honda Amaze launches in May and bookings are already open.
Review – Amit Shelar
Photography – Ritesh Madhok