2018 Honda Amaze diesel automatic road test review

By unveiling the Honda Amaze at the 2018 Auto Show, Honda did show that it did indeed care for its entry-level sedan offering. There was a time when the Amaze when first launched in 2013, looked like it already needed an update. Buyers too echoed the sentiment and preferred to go for other brand vehicles. However, the launch of the 2018 Honda Amaze has set a pigeon amongst the cats. While it still isn’t a patch over the Maruti Dzire when it comes to sales numbers, the Honda order books too are fast filling up. Press releases say that about 4,000 Honda Amaze vehicles are being dispatched to new homes every month. All this is happening because of the design rejig, inclusion of more features and a diesel-CVT combination.The last part is what we are going to talk about here. Of course, this being a review,  the other aspects too will be touched upon. So scroll down for the 2018 Honda Amaze diesel automatic review.

Engine and transmission

Honda offers the Amaze with a choice of two engine and transmission options. A 5-speed manual is standard for the petrol and diesel but a CVT is optional as well. The Honda Amaze’s diesel engine measures 1,500cc in swept volume. It makes 100PS of power and 200Nm of torque. However, for use with the CVT, it has been detuned. Honda says that this hasn’t affected the performance of vehicle by a huge margin either. So now, the 1.5-litre diesel motor produces 80PS/160Nm when coupled with the CVT. If you think that borders on “nainsaafi”, then you aren’t alone. When you start driving the vehicle, you realise that there is no perceptible difference. The 2018 Honda Amaze diesel automatic moves ahead smartly and the slight turbolag too has been suppressed.

2018 Honda Amaze diesel automatic

Unlike the petrol automatic, the diesel doesn’t have paddle shifters. This however isn’t a deal breaker. I particularly liked the way the Amaze’s CVT functions. It is smooth and the gearshifts are barely perceptible. The overall sound insulation from the engine is a bit better, however it could have been more. While Honda claims a fuel efficiency of 23.8kmpl from the this engine-gearbox combination, our combined tests returned 15.8kmpl. The Honda Amaze diesel CVT fuel efficiency and the 35 litres fuel tank means you can do 550km before needing a refuel.

Ride and handling

While the earlier Amaze was a bit fidgety when it came to handling bad roads, this one improves over it. The suspension is a bit more compliant over road irregularities. While the ground clearance has now been improved to 170mm, the softer suspension means with a full complement of passengers, the rear sags a bit. With relatively anorexic people seated at the back, the suspension didn’t bottom out on speed breakers. But, you got to be careful if a slightly more healthier human being sits in the rear bench.

2018 Honda Amaze diesel automatic

At high speeds, if you encounter a pothole, you hear an audible thud in the cabin. Handling too is a bit better than before though the Amaze clearly isn’t build for the race track. I kind of liked the steering wheel. It is nice to grip, bigger than the one in the older car and feels connected to the road. It however is no patch to the Aspire or Dzire’s unit.

A special mention must be made of the brakes. They are sharp and give you the confidence to go full blast and slam them at the last moment. Not suggesting here that you should try this but you know that the brakes have got your back when you need them the most.

Safety features

 

Honda offers dual airbags and ABS with EBD as standard across the range. Rear parking sensors as well as ISOFIX child seat tethers too are standard. Cruise control is optional too. However, the IRVM isn’t an auto dimming unit. The front seat belts are height adjustable too.  The small fixed head restraints at the back though shouldn’t be there. They will do more damage in the unfortunate event of a crash than save you.

Interior

The cabin of the new 2018 Honda Amaze diesel automatic is a far cry from the one it replaces. Everything looks much better put together this time. The meter console is new and hosts a plethora of information without looking overdone. The glovebox is deep and there are multiple storage options too. The seats though still feel flat and on longer trips, you may need to take multiple breaks. There are no rear AC vents. I quite like the back seat comfort. One need not worry about leg- or shoulder room. However, a tall guy like me does indeed have issues with the sloping roof. The boot  space at 420 litres is the biggest in the segment and can load a lot of luggage.

2018 Honda Amaze diesel automatic

For the diesel automatic top spec trim that I am driving, there is a Bluetooth compatible music system, push button start, automatic climate control, push button start and steering mounted audio controls. There are also a couple of USB ports and charging options. Honda has skimped out on offering a touchscreen infotainment system with the 2018 Honda Amaze diesel automatic V trim. The existing unit is too small and a bit hard to connect as well. The music played out is also just average.

It beats logic as to why does Honda offer cruise control with the petrol CVT but not the diesel.

Design of 2018 Honda Amaze diesel automatic

2018 Honda Amaze diesel automatic

You will be hard pressed to say that this is the Amaze. It looks like a mini-City, the way it always should have been. I liked the way the headlights have been shaped and the overall square stance of the vehicle than being curvy. The 15-inch alloys  look nice as well. The rear seems a bit slab sided but is a much more cohesively integrated than that of the outgoing car. What Honda missed out here is that they could have included all-LED headlights as well as sharper looking LED position lights. The latter is barely visible in the new car.

Verdict

If you are a fan of Honda or not, the Amaze does indeed warrant more than a second glance. I remember telling Honda officials in 2015 that the Amaze is not really the choice of compact car buyers. The small numbers that it used to do is indeed testimony of that. I am glad that Honda indeed showered attention on what could be its bread and butter model and thoroughly revised it. The space inside the cabin, the performance and efficiency should keep the average Joe happy this time.

2018 Honda Amaze diesel automatic

 

While others in the segment offer AMTs, barring from the Ameo which comes with a DSG, the 2018 Honda Amaze diesel automatic has a CVT. Given the vast range of options the Amaze now comes with, it will be easier for the buyer to make an informed choice. The 2018 Honda Amaze diesel automatic price starts from Rs 8.5 lakh – Rs 9.10 lakh, ex-Mumbai. The 2018 Honda Amaze diesel automatic colour options are radiant red, modern steel, lunar silver, golden metallic brown and orchid white pearl. Surprisingly, for the last colour, Honda will charge you a premium of Rs 4,000 over the sticker price.

While things could have been slightly more improved, the Honda Amaze is one vehicle which can now be happily recommended in its segment. The standard warranty of three years or unlimited mileage is just an icing on the cake.

 

Things we like about the 2018 Honda Amaze diesel automatic

Big car looks, spacious interior, smooth diesel-CVT combination

Things we don’t like about the 2018 Honda Amaze diesel automatic

No top-spec variant meaning less features, ride and handling could be improved upon further, missing features like auto headlights, wipers and LED headlamps

Trivia: While the Honda Amaze is based on the Brio platform, the latter hasn’t got an update. Internationally, there is a new Brio, however Honda may not bring it to the Indian market soon. Same will be the case with the Mobilio. There is less demand for these products in the Indian market as of now.

 

Images by Donald Dsouza photography

 

 

 

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