Technology has always remained an indispensable companion of human beinginits never ending pursuit of greater comfort and convenience. Started with discovery of fire in Stone Age and then followed by invention of wheel, this comfort urge has been at the heart of all these perpetually on-going and innumerable inventionskeep on flashing on horizon since then. Tagging along other fields, automobiles too witnessed a dramatic change over all these years though a close scrutiny reveals that most of the integrated up gradations are indeed centred ontheme of enhancing customers’ overallcomfort and convenience. One such theme; automatic transmission has also gone through paradigm shift not only in terms of its hardware technology but also in its application scope. Although initially limited to well-heeled offerings of D and above segments, this convenience has now tricked down to even economic propositions spanning across B and C category aimed to attract a large chunk of customers. Congested roads, insane traffic and mind boggling-jams are some of the other compelling reasons, in addition to this comfort raising quest, that have literally forced the manufacturers to start giving the equal weightage to automatic versionirrespective of the launch category of their vehicle. Chugging along the same lines Honda Indiaseems to realize the escalating demand and that’s why it went cunningly to include the automatic version in the Amaze’s value constellation.For normal masses this auto-offering of the Amaze slipped through their eyes because of euphoria generated by its very own diesel variant though as always going unnoticed from the keen-eyes of ecardlr is virtually impossible for this no bugle blowing hush-hush treading path variant. That’s why after giving you head-to-toe detail about diesel Amaze, this time we again took on ourselves to get you exclusively acquainted with the ease and convenience of Amaze’ automatic version. So after making ourselves comfortable in driving seat of automatic Amaze, we think offhandedlyabout this omission of one pedal just like a mundane change but then after hours of rigorous driving we find the resultsrather surprisingly homey as driving has actually reached to a whole new ease level; a level that we can literally swear by. Now without any further ado, sit beside our driving seat and experience yourself how far this auto-box can go to solve your everyday traffic and commotion woes that have haunted you for eons.
How it feels when you have got a first division in a bunch of guys who are struggling to get 50% of marks? Definitely it feels good. Same feeling you will get when you fix your eyes on Amaze. Seamlessly blending portions, plenty of cuts-creases and ultra-tight skinning make Amaze quite a looker. Especially the Honda’s engineers have done a stellar job in the process of converting hatchback intothree-box saloon.
Boot is well integrated and doesn’t look like it has been slapped on like in many other cars where one can easily diagnosed the trunk as an afterthought. Front face of Amaze has the nose and eyes of Amaze though grill here is double slattedwith thick chrome garnish. Tear-drop headlamps are straight-lift from the Brio but windshield here has the thermo-shield property which can reduce the inside temperature by up to 5 degree centigrade; a thoughtful touch.
Profile view of Amaze is chiselled by sharp cuts and creases; especially two character lines from headlamps to B-pillar and another from B-pillar to tail-lamps endow the Amaze with some futuristic looks. Rear too with many grazes and grooves keep itself safely distant from bland and plain adjectives.
Pulling it together Honda’s Amaze is really amazing in its shape and style. It strikes a perfect balance between the style and practicality. Despite of having all the show-off, Amaze retains itself under the crucial 4m length mark. This is done with the help of ultra-tight skinning of package which not only looks futuristic but also makes a decent case of city practicality.
Another trump car in Amaze’s offering is its space and roomy nature of the cabin. In fact it is heartening to feel that in a sub-4m length, Honda has carved out so much space inside the cabin true to their philosophy of man maximum, machine minimum. Dash board has been pushed back into front part and intrusions have been kept at minimum. Seats are genuinely spacious though we felt that front seats could have been more supportive. Rear space is best in class and even with front seat pushed all the way back, rear passenger is still left with some knee and leg room. By far there is no doubt about the space proposition of Amaze and it indeed amazes with interior room and ergonomics.
On quality front, Amaze is a bit disappointing as the flavour of the whole interior ice cream is just about average. Though the Choco chips have been used, there quantity has been retained very minimal. Centre console though feel wearable, it doesn’t have the flair to compete head on with the segment best seller; MarutiDzire. The disjointed layout along with less control gives way to the stingy feeling but there is no question about the intuitive feel associated with them.
Being a sub-4mvehicle, we didn’t have very high expectations from the trunk but once again Honda’s engineers proved us wrong. With an amazing 400 litres capacity, Amaze can genuinely swallow in your week-long luggage. What further enhances the usability of boot is its converging-outside shape which actually allows you to fit in more bags than the out and out square shape.
After checking the glory of i-DTEC technology blessed oil burner this time we concentrated on the petrol power plant that comes fitted with the option of 5-speed manual as well as automatic transmission. Specs revealed that instead of using continuously variable transmission (CVT) version, the Amaze automatic comes with 5-speed torque convertor with somewhat standard mode of parking, reverse, neutral, drive 3-2-1 (PRND321). Now this auto transmission sucks power from 4-cylinder displacing net 1.2 litre of capacity by breathing through 16 valves mounted on single overhead cam shaft. Addition of i-VTEC technology takes care of the various load fluctuation to adjust accordingly the supply of fuel and valve lift. Power of 88 PS and torque of 109 Nm is channelled to the front wheels through the 5-speed automatic transmission in our test car.
As per our expectation, the engine is superbly refined; near silent at idle. Inside the car the environment is totally hush and one is sure to be taken in by this rather abnormal silence aspect of Amaze. Starting with auto box gave us a good expression as urgency of the motor is brilliant. The car seems no less than the manual transmissions in traffic light race and easily can keep up with the other vehicles. Crawling around in town is not at all a problem though in case of gridlock it is advisable to slot the gear into D2 mode. In fact with light inputs this auto-transmission is surprisingly sprightly and that requires a good amount of braking effort. Don’t take the braking cues lightly or otherwise you are sure to get bump into the next car. For city driving the Amaze automatic feels completely at home and it does its work of providing great comfort and ease to drivers in congested situations with utmost efficiency.
Though our ride was limited within city, still we got the hints about the Amaze’s highway performance which is not something to talk home about. At higher speeds engine feels strained and that’s because of constant jiggling between upshift and downshift. The feel of rubber-band effect although not glaringly felt; still it is perceptible especially at the time of downshift.
Overall the auto-version does its duty quite effectively in city for which it is primarily designed. If you want to rev the engine hard, wants to experience the upper-rev range of this motor than auto version is not for you. In that case choose the 5-speed manual transmission which has the capability of taking your spirit to some other-worldly feeling.
Amaze uses MacPherson strut and torsion beam arrangement at front and rear respectively to suspend the wheels. 175 mm wide tyres on 14” wheels although provide good grip; still Amaze is not for Veetel’s fans. Sure it can handle the sudden manoeuvers but with suspension settings on soft side, Amaze can run out of the grip. It has good amount of body roll but then not something you usually encounter in day-to-day basis.
Swift Dzire still handles better than this Honda’ s saloon but then Amaze triumphs over competitors in more important aspect of ride quality. It is good soaking car and low speed ability is surprisingly good. Ripples and undulations are dealt with good finesse and Amaze has a good overall package striking overall a pro-ride comfort set up over outright handling.
Amaze price range stretches between Rs 4.99 lakh to Rs 7.66 (ex-showroom, Delhi). While the top end manual comes in Rs 6.66 lakh, the ownership of highest version of auto petrol costs you around Rs 7.57 lakh. A direct comparison to its competitor Dzire’s automatic gives the Maruti a handsome edge of round about Rs 80k over the Amaze and the difference is good enough to affect the prospects of Amaze’s auto version. Although otherwise Amaze makes a striong case for itself across the petrol and diesel versions, automatic has failed to deliver exceptionally well on this value conscious scale. Still Amaze automatic can trade on the back of its great city convenience and extra spacious cabin. We don’t think it won’t be able to convince customers as over and above all, it comes with prestigious HONDA badge.
Style& Substance 4/5 Ride & Handling 3.5/5
Interiors & Ergonomics: 4/5 Safety & Equipment 3.5/5
Power-Plant & Transmission 4/5 Fuel Efficiency 3.5/5
Value for Money 3/5