It is no secret that the current automotive landscape in India is populated by SUVs of all kinds and sizes. So, it was really refreshing to drive the new Honda Amaze sedan, which is essentially a refresh of the second-gen model that was launched in 2018. You might not realise it but the sub-4m sedan segment actually has a lot of contenders. There are players like the Maruti Suzuki Dzire, Ford Aspire, Tata Tigor and the Hyundai Aura. But has Honda made any big improvements to this new model and have they improved the Amaze package in a way that would give it a clear advantage over the competition? Let’s find out!
Most of the changes and updates can be observed on the front fascia of the vehicle. In the previous model, the grille used to consist of a single, thick slab of chrome. Now, it has become slimmer and is accompanied by two thinner chrome slats. The headlamps now consist of LED projector units instead of halogen ones. Even the DRL design has been changed slightly. You will find horizontal lines running across the bumper which compliment the horizontal slats above. This is a nice change compared to the honeycomb mesh that was seen in the earlier iteration of the car. The fog lamps are also embedded in the bumper and these are LED units as well. These changes bring a nice harmony and some activity to the front of the vehicle, making it look slightly better than before.
The new Amaze facelift has the same overall silhouette and the same dimensions as before. It still measures 3,995mm in length, 1,695mm in width, 1,501mm in height and has a wheelbase of 2,470mm. In profile, the sedan looks as sharp as ever and there are two key changes here. The first thing you will notice is the 15-inch diamond-cut alloy wheel and the second being the chrome door handles. While the tyre size is the same as before, now you get smarter looking diamond-cut alloys that will remind you of the Amaze’s elder sibling. The straight spokes also give the illusion of this car looking taller than before, despite there being no changes in the dimensions. Body-coloured door handles have been replaced with chrome ones and add it makes the sides of the car a little more interesting. At the back, you will notice the new twin C-shaped pattern in the tail lamps and a thin strip of chrome on the bumper. I have always been a fan of how bold the second-generation Amaze looked and this new update has only made it smarter.
The chrome additions have also made their way inside the cabin. While the dashboard design is the same as before and you get the same equipment, you will now find chrome and silver accents on some surfaces that used to be covered in glossy black. These surfaces include the passenger side area of the dashboard, door panels and steering wheel. If you opt for the CVT gearbox then you will see a glossy black panel around the gear lever that has a chrome accent around it. In case you go for the manual version then you will see a new dust cover for the gear lever. The area surrounding the 7.0-inch touchscreen is also finished in glossy black but I feel the addition of silver is a better choice as piano black surfaces can become fingerprint magnets. A small but neat addition to the cabin are the front map lights. The previous model came with just central lights for the entire cabin but now you also get two lights for the front.
As mentioned earlier, the rest of the equipment is the same as before. The touchscreen works great and comes with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity. There are plenty of cubby holes and storage spaces in the centre floor console and doors. The semi-digital instrument panel looks as good as ever and displays all relevant information. Even the sound system is very good for a product in this category. One thing that Honda could have added to the new model is a cooled glove box. It can be a handy feature especially given the extreme heat we experience in many parts of the country. People of average height will have absolutely no problem finding space in the cabin of the Amaze. Both rows are spacious and even a 6-feet tall person like me had no problem sitting comfortably. The fabric seats provide a good amount of cushioning and come with good bolstering. Long journeys in this car will not be a problem.
In the second row, you still get two fixed head restraints. I really wish that Honda could have given adjustable ones with the facelift as it is not a very big change but can make life a lot better for taller passengers. The rear doors still do not get a bottle holder but you do have an armrest with two cupholders.
Since this is just a facelift, Honda has not made any mechanical changes in the car. You still get the same 1.2-litre, i-VTEC, petrol and 1.5-litre, i-DTEC, diesel engines with the choice of either a 5-speed manual or a CVT. The petrol motor is good for 88.7hp of peak power and 110Nm of torque. The diesel engine, on the other hand, can make 78.9hp and 160Nm when paired with a CVT and 98.6hp and 200Nm when paired with the manual. These figures are the same as before and so is the performance of the engine. The petrol motor might not be the most powerful and eager in the segment but it is a very refined unit. Overtaking manoeuvres can be performed more easily in the lower revs as the higher you go, the lazier the engine becomes. The diesel engine feels a lot more powerful and can easily reach triple-digit speeds and continue cruising at them. However, this increase in performance comes with an increase in cabin noise because the engine sound is louder and more apparent. Still, it is not a deal-breaker and if you have been driving diesel vehicles, this will hardly be a thing that will bother you.
We drove the petrol with a CVT and the diesel with the manual. The CVT is a great option for people that want to drive around in the city mostly. The gear shifts are almost unnoticeable and when you want to have a little more fun, you can shift it into sport mode. There is a visible change in the engine character and the gears are held for longer too. Plus, Honda is still giving paddle shifts which make changing gears even more fun. The manual gearbox also has smooth shifts and the throws are not too long. The clutch is a bit heavy compared to the petrol model but it is something that you will easily get used to after spending a few days with the Amaze.
When you are at slower speeds, the steering wheel can feel a bit heavy but as you gain speed, it becomes lighter. This could not be to everyone’s taste. However, it responds well to the driver’s inputs and does not feel too disconnected. It is one of the better steering wheels in the segment. Combine this with the grippy tyres and a taut suspension and you have a car that is fun to handle around corners. During our testing, we drove around a large roundabout and the car was planted even while going at high speeds. Plus, changing directions is also very easy and you can correctly place the car where you would like to. The suspension also soaks in most bumps and potholes on the road to provide a pleasant in-cabin experience.
Safety features are the same as before and you get dual airbags, rear parking sensors, ABS and EBD as standard. Apart from this you also get ISOFIX anchorages, automatic headlamps, rear parking camera and day/night IRVM. The previous version of the car had a 4-star GNCAP safety rating and we expect the new model to score similarly. One thing I do wish Honda could have improved upon is the quality of the rear parking camera. It is not so bad that you can’t use it but could definitely be improved.
While the facelift does not bring any substantial changes to the way the car drives or is to live with, it does make the exterior a bit better and at a very slight premium. Prices for this facelift start at Rs 6.32 lakh for petrol and Rs 8.66 lakh for diesel while the top-end petrol and diesel models cost Rs 9.05 and Rs 11.15 lakh. All prices are ex-showroom Delhi. This means that the prices have gone up by around Rs 2000-4000 over the pre-facelift model and that is not a huge ask. Thankfully. the car was already very capable and did not need too many improvements in the first place. This sedan is great when it comes to offering the best of both worlds. It is comfortable and has most of the fancy features you and your family would need. But it can also be a delight for people who love to drive.
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