By Sala Masindane
SUVs and hatches are taking over and is it increasingly becoming more difficult to sell sedans. The problem is that certain SUVs are out of reach for some consumers and hatches do not have the required space. It becomes a bigger problem if you have a young family, well worry no anymore; the budget (under R200,000) sedan segment has some options to consider. The Honda Amaze 1.2 Comfort CVT Auto is one such option and we spent time with it recently.
The updated Amaze replaces the outgoing Brio Amaze. It has grown in length and the wheelbase now stands at 65mm which shows in its somewhat sporty stance and more space in the interior. As opposed to the previous generation, the Amaze now looks more like a conventional sedan. How you ask? Well the bonnet is longer and taller, while the honeycomb front grille resembles a shark nose, which attracts attention from the on lookers. At the sides, the roof line extends far back, and the 15-inch allow wheels and tail lights, that extend into the boot, give the car more character. The colour coded side mirrors give the Amaze a more premium look.
Interior, space and comfort
The interior of the Amaze is trendy and does not feel as if it’s a budget offering. There are some inevitable hard materials on the dash, but they do not make the interior appear cheap but rather give an assurance of enduring quality. Not only that, the piano black finish looks plush and the dual tone colour scheme creates a retro feel inside the Amaze. It is not for everyone however, some of my fellow team members indicated that they would not opt for it. The interior looks are not all that the Amaze as connectivity has been taken care of through the multifunctional steering wheel, Bluetooth, USB and Aux ports. The infotainment is easy to use, is a bit on the ancient side and that will hopefully be updated on the next generation.
As already mentioned above, because of the longer wheelbase space in the back is more generous, which is the hallmark of the Amaze. The legroom is decent with a foldable armrest that has two cup holders and there are two ISOFIX points. However, the rear headrests are fixed and not adjustable which takes a bit away from the practicality of the car. If you have a young family, the beige interior might get dirt quicker and seat covers will be a necessity. With space being increased in the whole car you would think that the boot space has been comprised, but It hasn’t and now stands at 420-litres which is a 20-litres increase from the previous generation. The only problem about the boot is that you still require the key to open it from outside.
Engine, ride and overall
Underneath the hood of the Amaze is a 1.2-litre petrol engine with power outputs of 66kW and 110Nm. This was paired with a CVT auto in our test car. The Amaze CVT auto is great to drive around town and in traffic jams. It feels stable and takes corners rather generously. It does however labour when you need to increase speed for overtaking manoeuvres, so this is something you must consider when behind the wheel on the Amaze and not be hasty in executing those moves. Honda appears to be aware of this as they have included “sports mode” and paddle shifters which come in handy when you need to shift down for more power. Notwithstanding this solution, I would encourage would be buyers to just get the manual transmission. It would make things neater.
On the fuel consumption side of things, once you are comfortable with your foot on the accelerator, the claimed fuel consumption of 5.7l/100km is easily reachable and we managed an overall fuel consumption of 6.0l/100km at the end of our test period. This is not a far cry from the claimed figure of 5.7l/100km.
After the end of my test period, I was left with the impression that the Amaze looks good, drives well, is spacious and an all-round value for money car. The Amaze 1.2 Comfort is priced at R208,900, which includes a five-year/200 000 km warranty and two-year/30 000 km service plan
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