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      2021 Honda Amaze Diesel CVT First Drive Review



      Why would I buy it?

      • Efficient and convenient diesel CVT
      • Spacious cabin and boot
      • Comfortable ride

      Why would I avoid it?

      • Feature-list not up to segment standard
      • Inefficient and lethargic petrol MT and CVT drivetrains

      Engine and Performance

      Honda Amaze Engine Shot

      The Honda Amaze facelift does not get any updates in terms of its drivetrain. The engine options include a 1.2-litre, four-cylinder, naturally-aspirated i-VTEC petrol and a 1.5-litre, four-cylinder, turbocharged i-DTEC diesel engine. Both these BS6 motors can be had with either a five-speed manual gearbox or a CVT. The Amaze remains the only car in the country to be offered with a diesel engine - CVT transmission combo.

      The Amaze with its diesel CVT drivetrain blew us away when we first drove it in 2018 and later when it was part of our long-term fleet. This feeling has not changed with the new Amaze facelift too.

      Honda Amaze Steering Wheel

      Though you notice the engine drone (not clatter) in the cabin, it can be drowned by playing some music. Even though the CVT variants get a detuned version of the diesel engine, with 80bhp and 180Nm available instead of the 99bhp and 200Nm available in the manual variants, you won’t feel it unless you mash the throttle. The brilliance of this combination is how good it feels to drive instead of the petrol CVT. The engine does not have to rev too high to get going because of the torque available from a low 1,750rpm and you can reach higher speeds very comfortably too. 

      The best part? This combo is fuel-efficient too! As a part of the long-term fleet, the Amaze never returned less than 16kmpl in the city and would easily deliver over 20kmpl out on the highway - this makes it especially attractive at a time when fuel prices are shooting up like crazy.

      Ride and Handling

      Honda Amaze Right Side View

      The Honda Amaze remains a softly sprung sedan, managing to smother almost every obstacle Indian roads can throw at it. Only the sharpest bumps can be felt in the cabin with a noticeable jolt and sound coming through; only ladder-frame chassis SUVs can glide over those bad roads – so the Amaze's ride quality shines through. 

      While the lack of a clutch pedal makes life easy, the steering is a tad heavy at low speeds, making it difficult to negotiate city traffic and parking spaces. You don’t feel the weight at higher speeds, but there is no feedback from the rack at all.

      Honda Amaze Right Front Three Quarter

      While the Amaze does not hesitate to take corners enthusiastically, the lack of feedback from the steering means you are better off not trying to find the limits of grip and handling of this sedan. Rear passengers will also frown at such antics, the seats are not contoured enough to keep them in place and the softly sprung suspension tends to roll more than other sedans - meaning they will not like being rag-dolled around at all. 

      Comfort, Convenience and Features

      Honda Amaze Front Seat Headrest

      Honda has always been known for its ability to offer the best passenger and luggage space in its cars. The Amaze facelift is no different. 

      The overall design of the Honda Amaze on the inside has not been changed. The dual-tone black and beige theme remains, and the design of the dashboard, instrument cluster, and steering wheel has not been changed too. However, Honda has changed all the piano black finish trim pieces found on the dashboard, steering, and door pads to this new satin silver finish. This not only provides some much needed visual relief but is also less of a fingerprint magnet and also looks more premium.

      Honda Amaze Rear Seats

      At the rear, Honda hasn’t added anything new. But this is a spacious cabin if you want to be chauffeured around. There is enough legroom and headroom for comfortable seating unless one is taller than six feet. There is a centre armrest and it gets cup holders to keep a flask/bottle of coffee or cold drink if one wants to.

      In terms of equipment though, the only change is the addition of a map lamp at the front, earlier the Amaze was offered with just a centre cabin lamp.

      Honda Amaze Dashboard

      The Honda Amaze, in this top-of-the-line VX trim, gets a 7.0-inch ‘Digipad 2.0’ touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity, rear camera display, and a four-speaker system. But the touchscreen system looks and feels old – this includes the touch response, ease of use, graphics, reverse camera quality, and sound output too.

      Then there’s keyless entry and a colour-changing start/stop push-button, a single-zone automatic climate control system, tilt-adjustable steering wheel, height-adjustable driver seat, and a light-sensitive automatic headlamp system. Manual variants get cruise control and the petrol automatic variant gets paddle shifters behind the steering wheel. At the rear, there’s a 12V socket for charging devices, and a folding centre armrest with cup holders ... and that’s about it.

      Honda Amaze ISOFIX Child Seat Mounting Point Rear Row

      The Honda Amaze gets dual airbags, an anti-lock braking system with electronic brake-force distribution, ISOFIX child seat anchor points, rear parking sensors, and impact mitigating front headrests as standard. Not to forget, this helped it earn a four-star crash test rating from Global N-CAP in 2019.

      Honda has anticipated the demand for certain features from customers and offers them as dealer-fitted accessories, like a front centre armrest and a wireless phone charger. But the competition offers these and more, including a sunroof, an integrated wireless charger, rear AC vents, adjustable rear headrests, height-adjustable seatbelts, etc.

      Honda Amaze Open Boot/Trunk

      The boot of the Amaze is not new and it can gobble up a lot of luggage – 420-litres of it, in fact. The loading lip is a bit high but the load space is very spacious. Honda has also added a new boot lid inner lining in this update, which hides the internals of the boot lid that was left bare in the pre-facelift model.


      Honda Amaze Right Front Three Quarter

      The 2021 Honda Amaze facelift looks and feels the newest from the outside. The headlamps are the same shape but get new elements inside. This includes the new LED projector headlamps which replace the earlier halogen reflector units. The Amaze now gets LED DRLs instead of the LED position lamps which you had to switch on manually. 

      Honda Amaze Front View

      At the centre of the fascia, the ‘solid wing face’ grille is now slimmer and gets two additional slats. Moving to the bumper you can notice the addition of these new LED fog lamps that get a new surround design along with a chrome highlight.

      Honda Amaze Left Side View

      At the side, Honda has not touched the angular design of the Amaze. But there are two noticeable changes. First are these 10-spoke alloy wheels and second are the new chrome door handles which are limited to the top-of-the-line VX trim.

      Honda Amaze Right Rear Three Quarter

      At the rear, there are some significant changes too. This includes LED light guides integrated into the tail lamps. A new bumper design with a slim chrome highlight and reflectors at its edges.


      Honda Amaze Rear Badge

      There are some things you need to know before we tell you the prices of the Honda Amaze line-up in India. While ex-showroom prices of the base E variants of the car begin at Rs 6.32 lakh for the petrol and Rs 8.66 lakh for the diesel, these do not get the facelift treatment. The S and VX variants get the design and features changes as we have told you earlier in the video. Prices for these start at Rs 7.16 lakh, ex-showroom for the S petrol manual variant and go up to Rs 11.15 lakh, ex-showroom for the VX diesel CVT variant.

      Direct competition for the Honda Amaze comes in the form of the Maruti Suzuki Dzire, Hyundai Aura, and the Ford Aspire. From previous comparisons, we know that the Amaze is not as comfortable or as feature-rich as the Dzire and that has not changed with the facelift. The Aura has also upped the feature game, feels more premium, and gets a powerful turbocharged petrol engine too.

      Honda Amaze Right Front Three Quarter

      But what really makes the Amaze look bad are compact SUVs like the Nissan Magnite, Renault Kiger, and the Hyundai Venue which offer more features and better ground clearance. Features like integrated wireless phone chargers, sunroofs, multi-speaker surround sound systems, tyre pressure monitoring system, digital instrument cluster, ESP, and traction control are some of the feel-good features which have become popular for buyers.

      Seen in isolation, the Amaze remains a great compact sedan to own, but in the face of the competition - especially from feature-rich compact SUVs - it feels lacking.

      Photographs by Kapil Angane

      Honda Amaze
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