The all-new Honda Amaze, released in South Africa this month, is set to replace its sibling the Brio, which has been discontinued in SA.
It’s a five-door sedan and is all new, its bigger & longer, and is set for a new target market in SA to replace the more staid market it used to serve before. The release of a music video fronted buy none other than a well known rap DJ gives notice that Honda want to capture more of the affluent young black market. Whether they have chosen the correct model to do this remains to be seen however, as this market has historically preferred hatch backs.
Two equipment levels – Trend and Comfort – provide Amaze buyers with a choice of features, although both executions offer a high level of standard equipment. Safety remains a priority, with all models featuring a comprehensive array of active and standard safety features.
In addition to highly competitive pricing, the exceptional efficiency of the new Amaze contributes to economical running costs – an increasingly vital aspect of car ownership. Further peace of mind is provided by a two-year/30 000 km service plan.
Honda believe that the target market will be attracted by the Amaze’s value-added purchase price, excellent fuel efficiency and low operating cost.
The Amaze looks quite good for a 5-door sedan, in that it has good angles that ensure shorter overhangs and relate to more interior space.
The front is dominated by Honda’s characteristic ‘solid wing’ appearance, which manifests itself in a broad bar extending across the width of the contrasting black honeycomb grille. It also provides a visual link to the bold halogen headlight clusters.
A lower air intake is framed by recessed, black-framed fog lamps in the case of Comfort models. A slim, colour-coded splitter below the air intake adds a sporty finishing touch.
Viewed from the side, the alloy wheels – standard across the range – are a visual highlight, while also reducing unsprung mass. A crisp shoulder line running from the headlights to the taillight clusters highlights the Amaze’s sculpted flanks while a broad sill contributes to the sedan’s planted, powerful look.
The rear view is dominated by the C-shaped taillight clusters, which frame a bootlid that opens wide and deep. An integrated spoiler on the bootlid’s leading edge adds a sporty touch, while the colour-coded, integrated bumper extends into a stylised rear diffuser.
On Comfort models, comprehensive colour coding contributes to a pervasive sense of visual harmony.
There’s nothing entry-level about the interior of the new Amaze: it’s not only thoroughly modern, but also exceptionally spacious and comprehensively equipped across the range.
Smart cloth upholstery is used to trim the contoured, supportive front seats and rear bench seat. Genuine Honda synthetic leather seat covers can be ordered as a no-cost option.
Gloss piano black detailing on the dashboard adds to the sophisticated ambience, while the ergonomically designed dashboard features a driver-centric instrument binnacle with analogue dials for speed and rev count. The binnacle also houses a digital trip computer.
The centre stack is home to a sound system offering FM/AM radio functionality, as well as MP3 music file playback and Bluetooth, which allows hands-free telephony and music streaming. The four-speaker system also provides USB connectivity and an AUX socket.
A multifunction steering wheel allows safe and convenient control of the audio system, as well as making Bluetooth-linked hands-free cellphone calls. Generous cabin storage includes pockets in all four doors and cupholders in the centre console, while a fold-down rear seat armrest also incorporates cup holders for rear occupants.
The boot capacity is a best-in-class 420 litres – 20 litres more than the original Brio Amaze.
DRIVETRAIN AND DYNAMICS
The new Honda Amaze is powered by an advanced and reliable four-cylinder engine. The 1 199 cc unit employs Honda’s i-VTEC intelligent valve timing management system, ensuring optimum performance and fuel efficiency.
Maximum power output is rated at 66 kW, reached at 6 000 r/min, combined with a torque peak of 110 Nm at 4 800 r/min. In the baseline Amaze Trend model, a five-speed manual gearbox is standard, while buyers of the Comfort model can also opt for a new-generation Constantly Variable Transmission (CVT). We enjoyed driving the CVT version more, which is amazing, considering that they are usually not very efficient, and continually ‘’hunt’’ for gears. The manal version was adequate.
Manual-gearbox models will accelerate from 0-100 km/h in 12,3 sec, while the CVT version requires a still brisk 13,5 sec. Top speed is 160 km/h for all derivatives. So not exactly brisk, but it gets you from A to B.
The manual-transmission Amaze models achieve a combined cycle fuel consumption figure of 5,6 litres/100 km, while the CVT version is only slightly thirstier at 5,7 litres/100 km.
The Amaze’s all-new platform features an independent, McPherson strut-based front suspension, and a torsion beam rear set-up. It’s been designed to offer confident handling and a refined ride, while the electrically assisted power steering ensures effortless, crisp steering response.
As one would expect of a Honda, the new Amaze sedan doesn’t skimp on safety features. The all-new platform makes extensive use of high-tensile steel, ensuring a lightweight but extremely rigid construction.
It also features Honda’s Advanced Compatibility structure, which allows for specific, programmed deformation of body structures in the case of a collision, while ensuring the integrity of the passenger safety cell.
All Honda Amaze models are fitted with dual front airbags, inertia reel seatbelts front and rear, and IsoFix child seat anchors. On the active safety front, ABS brakes with electronic brake force distribution (EBD) are standard.
RANGE AND FEATURES
As already indicated, the new Honda Amaze range consists of three models, all employing the same engine, but offering a choice between two transmissions, and two trim levels.
The most affordable Amaze is the 1.2 Trend, available as a manual gearbox model only. However, even this so-called base model offers buyers an extensive list of standard equipment.
Exterior features include 15-inch alloy wheels shod with 175/65 R15 tyres, a roof-mounted sharkfin antenna, and a high-mounted third brake light.
Inside, smart cloth upholstery is standard, as is the tilt-adjustable multifunction steering wheel. The four-speaker audio system features FM/AM and MP3 functionality.
It also includes Bluetooth connectivity for audio streaming and hands-free telephony. Central locking is standard, while the exterior mirrors are adjusted manually.
Moving up to the 1.2 Comfort, the exterior gains colour-coding for the exterior mirrors and door handles, while low-mounted, recessed fog lamps are standard, too.
Inside, the Comfort includes everything that’s standard on Trend versions, but adds automatic air-conditioning and electric adjustment of the exterior mirrors, as well as automatic door locking once the vehicle starts moving. This model worked mostly for us, as it was edgy and suited the target market.
The 1.2 Comfort CVT is identical in all respects to its manual-gearbox stablemate, but gains gearshift paddles behind the steering wheel to allow for manual shifts between the CVT’s virtual gears.
All three Honda Amaze models are available in a choice of four new colours: White Orchid Pearl, Lunar Silver Metallic, Modern Steel Metallic, and Radiant Red Metallic.
PRICING, WARRANTY AND SERVICE PLAN
The new Honda Amaze recommended retail pricing is as follows:
Honda Amaze 1.2 Trend: R179 900
Honda Amaze 1.2 Comfort: R193 900
Honda Amaze 1.2 Comfort CVT: R208 900
The range is supported by a full five-year/200 000 km warranty, as well as a two-year/30 000 km service plan, and a three-year AA Roadside Assistance package. Scheduled services are at 15 000 km intervals. Summing up, the Amaze is a good car, as is mostly the case from Honda, albeit, built in India. But whether or not it will sell to its perceived target audience, remains to be seen. At the price point it could find willing buyers in the uber market.