Cartrade Comparison Test
Meet the two bestselling compact sedans in India. Okay, the Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire with sales of almost 18,000 units a month is in an untouchable league of its own. But, the Honda Amazeâ€™s number of nearly 5,000 units isnâ€™t bad either, especially when you consider it has to fend off the likes of Hyundai Xcent, the Tata Zest and the recently launched Ford Figo Aspire.
And just so the Amaze continues to be ahead of the pack, Honda recently revised the car. The biggest change was on the inside, which for the longest time, along with poor sound insulation, was the primary reason prospect buyers steered away from this Honda. So, is the new Amaze much better now? To find out we have brought the Dzire along; a car almost every compact sedan buyer looks at and considers before taking the final call.
Neither car here is a great design. Both are hatchback based. And since both needed to be under 4 metres (to benefit from â€˜small-carâ€™ sops), these do look odd. More so, in case of the Maruti Dzire. Apart from the bumper and the grille, thereâ€™s little to tell the Dzire apart from the Swift when viewed from the front. But, this changes in profile and at the rear courtesy the add-on boot. And the boot does look quite odd, especially in profile. It looks like a hasty job.
The Honda Amaze, even though way more palatable than the Dzire, doesnâ€™t look like a proper sedan either. And it too resembles its hatchback twin the Brio as well as its MPV sibling, the Mobilio from the front. But, since the Amaze has a smaller bonnet area compared to the Dzire, the stick-on boot looks less out of place and ugly compared to the Maruti.
If we had to pick between the two based on looks alone, the Honda would be it.
But, we wonâ€™t. Weâ€™d also like to see which fares better on the inside. The Honda Amazegets a new dashboard. Itâ€™s not the same as on the Honda Jazz or the Honda City but mirrors the two in terms of design. So, yes, it does look much better than before and gives the Amaze a hint of premiumness that was missing on the older iteration.
Thereâ€™s more equipment too as part of the upgrade. The Amaze now gets a single zone climate control system and fancier clocks complete with driver information system that throws up info on average fuel consumption and range besides ambient temperature and time.
The Maruti however offers more still. Besides the above-mentioned features, the Dzire also gets keyless start, rear parking sensors, auto lock and call buttons (for Bluetooth telephony) on the steering. Moreover, the plastic used for Dzireâ€™s interiors still look and feel a grade higher than on the Honda.
Space is one area though where the Honda manages to nudge ahead, but by the slightest of margins. This, in spite of the Maruti being longer and wider, and sporting a longer wheelbase. For starters, the Amaze feels airier than the Dzire. And in terms of measurements, the Amaze has more leg and knee room all round. Shoulder room though on both cars is near identical and fitting three in the back in both is a squeeze. The Amaze meanwhile has a bigger boot. And we prefer the seats of the Amaze to the Dzire as well, both in terms of comfort and accommodation. The Honda is easier to get in and out of as well.
As we mentioned earlier, apart from its interior design, another downside to the Honda Amaze was the engine related NVH. Now, Honda says it has improved it on the new Amaze, but one can still hear the grainy clatter of its all aluminium diesel engine. Itâ€™s not as intrusive at say 2,500rpm or even when cruising around in the city at 60kmph in 5th gear. But dial up the revs or go faster and the engine does get louder.
The Maruti Dzire isnâ€™t quiet either. And in fact at 60kmph in 5th, the noise levels are pretty similar on both cars. But at higher speeds, the Dzire remains the quieter of the two cars. The Dzire is also the quicker of the two when it comes to rollon tests, an indication of a carâ€™s driveability. The Dzire completes the 20-80kmph run almost two seconds earlier. It is the same story in the 40-100kmph run. And this is all down to the Dzire running shorter gearing compared to the Amaze.
Because in terms of sheer output, the Amazeâ€™s 1.5-litre diesel produces 99bhp of max power and 200Nm of peak torque. The Maruti Dzireâ€™s 1.3-litre motor in comparison makes 74bhp and 190Nm of torque. The difference in output can be seen in the 0-100kmph acceleration times wherein the Honda takes half a second less to complete the test. The Amaze would have gone faster still if it didnâ€™t have a rev lock that makes launching the car a slower affair. But, as far as braking goes, the Dzire does better. It takes 24.88 metres to come to a stop from 80kmph compared to 26.92 metres taken by the Amaze.
Thereâ€™s however little to choose between the two when it comes to ride quality. The Amaze feels slightly stiff in comparison to the Dzire but not enough to cause any discomfort. As a result, the Dzire rides the small bumps and potholes at low speeds with a higher sense of plushness than the Honda. A better city ride, if you please. But, pick up speed or go through more severe bumps, and the Amazeâ€™s ride is flatter and more composed. It feels better of the two when the going gets quicker.
Thereâ€™s a marked improvement in the Honda Amaze in its newest iteration. That nicer looking dashboard certainly makes its interior more pleasing now. Plus, the Amaze is airier, has better all-round performance and it is the more involving car to drive. Not to forget, it is also more fuel-efficient. The Amaze returned 14.9kmpl on our city test route compared to Dzireâ€™s 14.3kmpl. Add the Amazeâ€™s significantly larger boot to the picture, and you get a car thatâ€™s clearly more versatile. So, if you want a more spacious car that doesnâ€™t look like it has been squashed, buy the Honda Amaze.
But, if you are looking for quality insides, more comfort and convenience features, a quieter cabin and absolute peace of mind â€“ and donâ€™t mind the odd looks â€“ get the Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire. It wonâ€™t be the most adventurous purchase you make in life, but if you want a car that serves essential transportation needs, no other car in this class does it better. No wonder it sells so well.
Photo Courtesy: Kapil AnganeÂ