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New Honda Amaze: A cut above

New Honda Amaze: A cut above
  • All-new Honda Amaze features dedicated sedan design
  • Bold exterior linked to stylish interior execution
  • Extended wheelbase allows for exceptionally roomy cabin
  • Efficient drivetrain includes manual gearbox and CVT options
  • Value-added pricing and economical operating costs

OVERVIEW

The all-new Honda Amaze, released in South Africa this month, is set to define a new standard for compact sedans.

Designed specifically as a sedan from the ground up, the new Amaze is larger in every dimension, and features a bold, head-turning design that's unmistakably Honda. Inside, the sophisticated cabin is both stylish and exceptionally roomy.

Honda's renowned i-VTEC engine technology ensures that the new Amaze also gets the go to match the show, while delivering exceptional fuel efficiency. An extended wheelbase and fine-tuned suspension ensure confident road manners and a refined ride.

Two equipment levels - Trend and Comfort - provide Amaze buyers with a choice of features, although both executions offer a high level of standard equipment. Safety remains a priority, with all models featuring a comprehensive array of active and standard safety features.

In addition to highly competitive pricing, the exceptional efficiency of the new Amaze contributes to economical running costs - an increasingly vital aspect of car ownership. Further peace of mind is provided by a two-year/30 000 km service plan.

"We believe that the new Honda Amaze will set a new, elevated standard for small sedans in South Africa," says Toshiaki Kusakari, Head of Automobiles at Honda Motor Southern Africa.

"We're expecting the car to appeal to a broad and varied motoring audience, ranging from young singles and start-up families to mature motorists. All will be attracted by the Amaze's value-added purchase price, excellent fuel efficiency and low operating cost.

"In addition, the new Amaze is exceptionally roomy and offers a generous luggage compartment, while Honda's revered reputation for reliability and good resale value will also add to the Amaze's attraction," Mr Kusakari concluded.

EXTERIOR DESIGN

A completely new design, the second-generation Honda Amaze was conceptualised as a sedan from the very beginning.

This allowed the design team to create a cohesive, streamlined shape with a flowing silhouette and a strong, individual character, while also expressing the current Honda design language.

The new Amaze is only 5 mm longer and 15 mm wider than its predecessor, but the wheelbase has grown by a substantial 65 mm, which translates into shorter overhangs and more interior space.

The front is dominated by Honda's characteristic 'solid wing' appearance, which manifests itself in a broad bar extending across the width of the contrasting black honeycomb grille. It also provides a visual link to the bold halogen headlight clusters.

A lower air intake is framed by recessed, black-framed fog lamps in the case of Comfort models. A slim, colour-coded splitter below the air intake adds a sporty finishing touch.

Viewed from the side, the alloy wheels - standard across the range - are a visual highlight, while also reducing unsprung mass. A crisp shoulder line running from the headlights to the taillight clusters highlights the Amaze's sculpted flanks while a broad sill contributes to the sedan's planted, powerful look.

The smoothly curved roofline flows into a neatly integrated, raised rear deck, which is accentuated by the notched C-pillar.

The rear view is dominated by the C-shaped taillight clusters, which frame a bootlid that opens wide and deep. An integrated spoiler on the bootlid's leading edge adds a sporty touch, while the colour-coded, integrated bumper extends into a stylised rear diffuser.

On Comfort models, comprehensive colour coding contributes to a pervasive sense of visual harmony.

INTERIOR EXECUTION

There's nothing entry-level about the interior of the new Amaze: it's not only thoroughly modern, but also exceptionally spacious and comprehensively equipped across the range.

Smart cloth upholstery is used to trim the contoured, supportive front seats and rear bench seat. Genuine Honda synthetic leather seat covers can be ordered as a no-cost option.

Gloss piano black detailing on the dashboard adds to the sophisticated ambience, while the ergonomically designed dashboard features a driver-centric instrument binnacle with analogue dials for speed and rev count. The binnacle also houses a digital trip computer.

The centre stack is home to a sound 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 multifunction 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 2 470 mm 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.

DRIVETRAIN AND DYNAMICS

The new Honda Amaze is powered by an advanced and reliable four-cylinder engine. The 1 199 cc unit employs Honda's i-VTEC intelligent valve timing management system, ensuring optimum performance and fuel efficiency.

Maximum power output is rated at 66 kW, reached at 6 000 r/min, combined with a torque peak of 110 Nm at 4 800 r/min. In the baseline Amaze Trend model, a five-speed manual gearbox is standard, while buyers of the Comfort model can also opt for a new-generation Constantly Variable Transmission (CVT).

With a kerb mass of just more than 900 kg, the Amaze is able to deliver swift performance, and frugal fuel economy. Manual-gearbox models will accelerate from 0-100 km/h in 12,3 sec, while the CVT version requires a still brisk 13,5 sec. Top speed is 160 km/h for all derivatives.

The manual-transmission Amaze models achieve a combined cycle fuel consumption figure of 5,6 litres/100 km, while the CVT version is only slightly thirstier at 5,7 litres/100 km.

The Amaze's all-new platform features an independent, McPherson strut-based front suspension, and a torsion beam rear set-up. It's been designed to offer confident handling and a refined ride, while the electrically assisted power steering ensures effortless, crisp steering response.

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.

SAFETY

As one would expect of a Honda, the new Amaze sedan doesn't skimp on safety features. The all-new platform makes extensive use of high-tensile steel, ensuring a lightweight but extremely rigid construction.

It also features Honda's Advanced Compatibility structure, which allows for specific, programmed deformation of body structures in the case of a collision, while ensuring the integrity of the passenger safety cell.

All Honda Amaze models are fitted with dual front airbags, inertia reel seatbelts front and rear, and IsoFix child seat anchors. On the active safety front, ABS brakes with electronic brake force distribution (EBD) are standard.

RANGE AND FEATURES

As already indicated, the new Honda Amaze range consists of three models, all employing the same engine, but offering a choice between two transmissions, and two trim levels.

The most affordable Amaze is the 1.2 Trend, available as a manual gearbox model only. However, even this so-called base model offers buyers an extensive list of standard equipment.

Exterior features include 15-inch 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 multifunction 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 fog lamps 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 Orchid Pearl, Lunar Silver Metallic, Modern Steel Metallic, and Radiant Red Metallic.

PRICING, WARRANTY AND SERVICE PLAN

The new Honda Amaze recommended retail pricing is as follows:

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/200 000 km warranty, as well as a two-year/30 000 km service plan, and a three-year AA Roadside Assistance package. Scheduled services are at 15 000 km intervals.

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