Larger than its predecessor and sporting improved tech, Honda has launched its next-generation Amaze sedan in South Africa.
It's offered with two equipment levels, Trend and Comfort, with prices starting from R179 900 for the 1.2 Trend to R208 900 for the 1.2 Comfort CVT. Only a single engine option is available, 1.1-litre petrol, though it can be mated to a 5-speed manual or CVT.
Overall, it's quite an improvement over its predecessor, more composed on the road and a much-better looking sedan from Honda. The Amaze faces stiff competition from Japanese rivals in SA though with VW's Polo Vivo sedan discontinued locally, Honda's latest sedan has every chance to make a success in the budget sedan market.
The Amaze is powered by a four-cylinder 1199cc unit employs Honda’s i-VTEC intelligent valve timing management system, capable of 66kW/110Nm. In the entry-level Amaze Trend, a five-speed manual gearbox is standard, while buyers of the Comfort model can also opt for a new-generation Constantly Variable Transmission (CVT).
Manual-gearbox variants can accelerate from 0-100km/h in 12.3 seconds, while the CVT version requires a still brisk 13.5 sec. Top speed is 160km/h for all derivatives.
The manual-transmission Amaze models achieve a combined cycle fuel consumption figure of 5.6-litres/100km, while the CVT version is only slightly thirstier at 5.7-itres/100 km.
The Amaze’s all-new platform features an independent, McPherson strut-based front suspension, and a torsion beam rear set-up.
Overall refinement and NVH has been improved substantially, thanks to the new platform’s enhanced sound proofing and reduced engine noise transmission, as well as optimised engine mounts.
Check out this cool clip by Honda featuring an origami stop-motion odyssey:
The petrol engine is very refined and it delivers adequate performance in cities though can be tasked to take on the open road at speed with minimal fuss. It’s only when pushed beyond 3000rpm that the engine feels its most energetic.
Those who love driving will rev it hard but most of its target users will probably settle for mild-mannered driving, which the Amaze was built for. The manual while good will probably be superseded as by the CVT as the most popular transmission choice for most.
The CVT does a much better job than the manual in power delivery. The CVT is surprising in its performance though to really get the most out of it you’ll need to use the paddle-shifts or “sport” mode to get the most out of the transmission.
Put your foot down and it’ll hold higher revs for much longer especially in Sport mode. The paddleshifts are nice to addition though probably won’t be used much by the average driver.
The Amaze has been tuned to deliver comfort and its refined suspension is great at absorbing bumps and undulations.
The most affordable Amaze is the 1.2 Trend, available as a manual gearbox model only. However, even the base variant has plenty of kit. Exterior features include 15” alloy wheels shod with 175/65 R15 tyres, a roof-mounted sharkfin antenna, and a high-mounted third brake light.
Inside, smart cloth upholstery is standard, as is the tilt-adjustable multi-function steering wheel. The four-speaker audio system features FM/AM and MP3 functionality.
It also includes Bluetooth connectivity for audio streaming and hands-free telephony. Central locking is standard, while the exterior mirrors are adjusted manually.
Moving up to the 1.2 Comfort, the exterior gains colour-coding for the exterior mirrors and door handles, while low-mounted, recessed foglights are standard, too. Inside, the Comfort includes everything that’s standard on Trend versions, but adds automatic air-conditioning and electric adjustment of the exterior mirrors, as well as automatic door locking once the vehicle starts moving.
The 1.2 Comfort CVT is identical in all respects to its manual-gearbox stablemate, but gains gearshift paddles behind the steering wheel to allow for manual shifts between the CVT’s virtual gears.
All three Honda Amaze models are available in a choice of four new colours - white silver metallic, steel metallic, and red metallic.
The cabin benefits from cloth upholstery though synthetic leather seat covers can be ordered at no additional cost. Gloss black detailing on the dashboard gives the cabin a more premium feel.
The centre stack has an audio system offering FM/AM radio functionality, as well as MP3 music file playback and Bluetooth, which allows hands-free telephony and music streaming. The four-speaker system also provides USB connectivity and an AUX socket.
A multi-function steering wheel allows safe and convenient control of the audio system, as well as making Bluetooth-linked hands-free cellphone calls. Generous cabin storage includes pockets in all four doors and cupholders in the centre console, while a fold-down rear seat armrest also incorporates cup holders for rear occupants.
Because of the new Amaze’s comparatively long 2.4m wheelbase, the interior is airy and spacious, with ample leg and headroom both front and rear. The boot capacity is a best-in-class 420 litres – 20 litres more than the original Brio Amaze.
Honda has a delivered a comfortable, spacious sedan that’s well suited for first-time families. The new Amaze is a vast improvement over its predecessor in terms of comfort and premium-esque feel. The interior is more upmarket and it has a competitive list of features.
Expect to see many of Honda's latest sedans among rental and Uber fleets.
Honda Amaze 1.2 Trend - R179 900
Honda Amaze 1.2 Comfort - R193 900
Honda Amaze 1.2 Comfort CVT - R208 900
The range is supported by a full five-year or 200 000 km warranty, as well as a two-year or 30 000km service plan, and a three-year AA Roadside Assistance package. Scheduled services are at 15 000 km intervals.