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Honda Amaze review and Gallery

 Honda's much-awaited Brio-based Amaze could be a game changer for Honda in India. That’s the feeling we got when we drove the car at the Honda-owned Motegi race track in Japan. To give you a brief, the Amaze is a sub-four-metre saloon, much like the Maruti Swift Dzire, which Honda used as a benchmark extensively when engineering this car. However, where the Dzire has divided opinion for its truncated tail, the Amaze has a far more traditional three-box look. In fact, the integration of the boot onto the hatchback body is fairly cohesive. There’s a strong link to the City in the Amaze’s wraparound tail-lamps,which also serve as the end point for the sharply rising belt line. The boot lid itself doesn’t look all that special but it does open to reveal a useable luggage bay. Honda hasn’t disclosed boot volume yet but what’s clear is that the Amaze has trumped the Dzire in this area.

At 3990mm, the Amaze is significantly longer than the Brio, and 60mm of the length extension is over the wheelbase. This, along with the different roof line, has warranted the need for larger rear doors. Further forward, it’s only the restyled front bumper and an additional chrome slat on the front grille that differentiate the Amaze from the Brio.  

The big shock is once you step inside. The cabin is far more spacious than you’d expect and kneeroom is really impressive too. Sure, it’s not as spacious as the larger full-size saloons like the Toyota Etios or Tata Manza but it’s certainly a lot more spacious than the Dzire. Seat comfort is really good too, helped by a large centre armrest, though some may find the seat back a tad too reclined. A low centre tunnel helps middle passenger comfort but the cabin’s limited width means sitting three abreast in the back will still be quite a squeeze.

Up front, the cabin looks familiar. The dashboard is identical to the Brio, so you get a slightly Spartan centre console and plastics that, while well put together, don’t look rich. Even the comfy front seats are carried over from the hatch, so just like the Brio, the driver’s perch does not get height adjustment. You can expect the top-end Amaze to feature an audio player with USB, steering-mounted audio controls and a rear defogger, which are not available on the Brio. In-cabin storage spaces include a total of four cup holders. You get bottle holders on each of the four doors though the exposed metal near them is a sign of cost-cutting by Honda.

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Space and comfort aside, what's also important is the engine under the bonnet of this car. It will be Honda's first diesel engine in India, and though Honda hasn't revealed the 1.5-litre i-DTEC motor's power or fuel-efficiency figures, expect around 90bhp and an official ARAI-tested figure in the region of 25-26kpl. The engine is a scaled-down version of the 1.6-litre diesel that Honda sells in Europe, so this four-cylinder unit has a twin-cam, 16-valve head. On the Amaze, this engine will come with a fixed geometry turbocharger.

Driving it around the Motegi test track in Japan, the motor impresses with its refinement. Even better, though, is its responsiveness. It pulls well from as low as 1200rpm, and there's a gentle surge at 1500rpm when the turbo comes on song. Honda has tuned the engine to deliver the bulk of its power under 3000rpm, which is where the engine will reside in typical city driving scenarios anyway. Also cementing its city-friendliness are the gearshift and clutch action, both of which are smooth and light. However, hold onto a gear longer than necessary and you will find power fall sharply post 3800rpm on its way up to the 4500rpm limit. What’s clear is that this is not a free-revving motor like what we’re accustomed to from Honda. It’s also in the upper reaches of the rev band that you’ll find the engine sound increasingly thrashy, though refinement at lower engine speeds is impressive.

While driving, we also find the steering has more weight than the Brio's and this is a good thing. The heavier diesel engine at the front has required Honda to stiffen the front springs though the rest of the suspension is the same as the Brio’s – front MacPherson struts and a rear torsion bar. Even the wheel size at 175/65 R14 tyres are the same. However, given the smooth surface on which we drove, it was impossible to say how the Amaze will take to India’s potholed roads.

The Amaze is no doubt an impressive car. It’s got a spacious enough cabin and a refined diesel engine that promises to be fuel efficient too. It will also be sold with the Brio’s peppy 1.2-litre, 88bhp petrol engine. If Honda can price the Amaze at par with the Dzire it has the potential to shake up the Indian saloon car market. Honda's truly back in the race and how!

ModelHonda AmazeMaruti DzireMahindra VeritoTata ManzaToyota Etios
Engine1.2 petrol/
1.5 diesel
1.2 petrol/
1.3 diesel
1.4 petrol/
1.5 diesel
1.4 petrol/
1.3 diesel
1.5 petrol/
1.4 diesel

Price Range (in lakhs)*
Ex-showroom priceRs 6-7.5 lakh (estimated)
InstallationFront, transverse, FWD
Power90bhp (estimated)
Torque21kgm (estimated)
Gearbox5-speed manual
Wheel base2405mm
Chassis & Body
FrontIndependent, MacPherson struts
Rearnon-independent, torsion beam axle

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