This is for the first time that Honda have gone ahead and given its highly popular compact sedan – the Amaze a considerable change. Perhaps to counter increasing competition within the segment, Honda felt the need to do something different since this sedan's inception back in 2013. Therefore the 2016 edition of Honda Amaze gets a bolder design with premium feel to entice the Indian consumer but the real question is whether or not it would be able to past the test as a refreshed model is what we going to find out in our first drive report.
We all know that the Amaze is basically a sedan version of the Brio hatchback, and the result is that the front profile of the two look almost identical. Putting that a side, the latest edition has been given some subtle changes in the front as well as the rear. The front grille for instance features two chrome bars, but the size is now bigger to provide it an aggressive look. Presence of an all-new bumper with a wider grille and new fog lamp enclosure ensure a striking pose for this sedan. The inclusion of indicators in the ORVMs and the mildly flared wheel arches fitted to 15-inch wheels ups the quotient. Despite being a sub-4 metre sedan, the Amaze comes with neatly integrated boot that doesn't look abrupt as with the case of other sub-4 metre sedans. Keeping the overall rear design same, Honda has added new rear combination lights to keep things fresh in the market. As a reminder, the wheelbase of this compact sedan is 60mm longer than the Brio, making it more spacious than its hatch sibling.
The upright boot is complemented by wrap-around tail lamps while the thick chrome strip on the boot lid gives a premium touch to it. Carrying minimal changes to exterior profile, the Honda Amaze does manage to look different than its predecessor. Though one would have expected to get a better build quality this time around but unfortunately that has not happened. The overall fit and finish is the same as before as doors and body panels feels light that affects the robustness of this sedan.
Following the exterior, the interiors of the previous Amaze was the same offered with the Brio. The previous generation model was equipped with a three-tone dashboard that accommodates circular air-con vents, 2-DIN music system and a hooded instrument panel. This model was heavily criticized for its poor quality interiors, and the Japanese automaker has in fact addressed this issue in the new Model. Step inside and one will see an all-new cabin that's the same offered with the Honda BR-V SUV unveiled at the Delhi Auto Expo 2016. In short, the interior is a mix blend of both Brio and the Jazz hatchback. The dashboard is all-new that features a multi-information display, a touch-screen audio system, and piano black finish centre console. It comes equipped with all-new dual-tone instrument panel with silver accents and a new 3D Speedometer design with Multi Information Display (MID).
This vehicle continues to feature aslim front seats that come with fixed headrests. Like the previous model, the seats are very comfortable for long travel; however, lacks in shoulder support. The fabric seat upholstery is all new, which is more premium than the previous model. It comes with driver's seat height adjustment with a full 50 mm of travel, making driving position better than its predecessor. The rear passenger space is more than sufficient to accommodate three adults, offering sufficient legroom and headroom. Features on board include an integrated Bluetooth Audio System with Hands Free Telephone (HFT) and Mobile Phone Audio Streaming for added use.Like the Honda City, the Amaze also gets an automatic air-conditioning with digital display that was non-existent in the previous edition thereby offering a premium feel. Overall the cabin feels upmarket, but the quality does raise questions especially the use of plastics. However the other plus out is that buttons provides for in the center console feel sturdy and nice when used. When compared with competition like Figo Aspire and the Swift Dzire, the Amaze is has somethings to prove.
Engine and performance
Well like the exterior and interior, the latest generation Honda Amaze does not feature a major change when it come to the power plants doing their duty in this compact sedan. It features the same 1.5 litre i-DTEC diesel engine along with a 1.2 litre i-VTEC petrol engine. In fact what Honda have done this time around is that they have gone ahead by introducing an advanced and superior CVT technology to the petrol model. Thus in our first preview we get you up to date with the Amaze automatic.The 1.2 litre i-VTEC petrol engine therefore produces a maximum power output 90 PS with 110 Nm of torque and is mated to 5-speed automatic transmission. Speaking of the improved CVT technology, Honda claim that it will provide better driveability as compared to conventional automatics with an improved fuel economy of 18.1 kmpl which is more than that of a petrol manual Amaze. Though we could not sample their claim but got a feel of the gearbox.
It is definitely better than the out going one, as it offers 3 different modes – Drive, Sports and Low. In the normal Drive mode, the acceleration is linear with gearshifts taking place around 3000 rpm but the moment you step on the gas this figure increases to 4500 rpm when the gear change is made. Slot into Sports mode and the engine instantly comes alive, it revs freely with the gear change taking place at around 5600 rpm. Though when pushed hard, the engine does feel a bit strained but what is to be noted out here is that Honda seem to have taken care of NVH levels with better insulation in the new Amaze. Mind you this is the petrol that we are talking about and not the diesel which was plagued with the issue. While Low is mainly for use while driving in sever traffic conditions where in there is not much of utilization of all the gears. On the whole, this improved CVT does enhance user experience while the handling is pretty decent like before. Though at high speeds things can get a bit unstable.
There is definitely many elements of freshness in the New Honda Amaze. Looks for example give it a bolder appeal especially the front fascia combined with the addition of new tail lights to rear. Interior are way better than we have seen in the
past with many first in this compact sedan. Built quality and finish is still a concern, but the power train in this case being a CVT is worth looking into. In case you're on the lookout for a convenient automatic with a good fuel economy then the New Honda Amaze automatic could just be a worthy contender.