Yes, yes – it’s been a topic favourite with the motoring media. Honda’s inability to keep its leadership position intact in the segments that it was once absolutely invulnerable in has been talked about a lot and the one thing that always kept popping up was the issue of not having a diesel product in its portfolio. The Civic was once a segment superstar but now rivals from Toyota, GM and Skoda have relegated it to being almost non-existent and even the City – though still the mainstay for Honda in India – has been facing immense pressure from Hyundai. Brio on the otherhand fights in a segment that’s dominated by Maruti and Hyundai, so life’s not exactly quite rosy in that part of land either. And, to lay the icing on the cake, everyone knows what’s the state of things with the Jazz and the CR-V.
So, even the dumbest graduate from the most hopeless management institute would say that Honda needs a miracle to get its mojo back. And I believe the miracle has almost happened. Mind you, I say almost.
There’s been considerable buzz around the Honda Amaze – Honda’ first ever diesel product in the country, and one that’s going to fight it out in one of the most significant segment. The compact sedan fragment of the Indian auto market is dominated by the Dzire, while other players like the Etios from Toyota and Sail from Chevy and Verito from M&M are barely keeping afloat. Honda, it can therefore be deduced, has a very tough battle to fight.
The main buzz is around the 1.5 litre diesel engine that’s going to reset the tone for Honda in India. It’s a 98.6bhp, 200Nm engine and the power is sufficient for most jobs and the space inside is abundant. The interior – in totality – is taken from the Brio, the car which served as the platform for the Honda Amaze. The integration of the boot into the design is not as clumsy as the Dzire, but some still may call the Honda Amaze as a peculiar design. It’s not, however, unattractive.
The handling was the Brio’s strong point so it’s no surprise that the Honda Amaze continues to be an entertaining car to pilot. Brio’s ride quality was always something that I whined about but with the Honda Amaze, Honda has done extensive job on sorting this niggle too and it rides well and absorbs most undulations without much bother.
Honda’s effort with the diesel engine is laudable and the Honda Amaze Automatic is a very well packaged product. You can read about the Honda Amaze in a more detailed way in our May 2013 issue which will hit the stands later this month
The biggest surprise of the Honda Amaze launch has been the pricing, which has been kept ultra-competitive by Honda, the versions are priced thus:
Diesel: E – 5.99 Lakhs, EX – 6.24 Lakhs, S – 6.67 Lakhs, VX – 7.6 Lakhs
Petrol: E – 4.99 Lakhs, EX – 5.24 Lakhs, S – 5.62 Lakhs, VX – 6.6 Lakhs
Automatic: S – 6.62 Lakhs, VX – 7.5 Lakhs