Designed specifically as a compact sedan from the ground up, the new Honda Amaze launched in the Cape this week where we had a chance to meet it in the metal for a day of coastal driving…
The new Honda Amaze has arrived in South Africa to offer those looking for a compact sedan, an affordable, practical and economical option in the market. Within the Sub-B Sedan Segment, the Honda Amaze competes with the likes of the sedan versions of the Ford Figo, the Toyota Etios and the Suzuki Dzire, and is priced from R179, 900 for its entry-level 1.2 Trend model.
Who will buy the new Honda Amaze?
At launch, Honda noted that the new Amaze is geared towards the fleet and rental divisions of SA’s new car market (expect to see the new Amaze arrive for your next Uber ride), as well as new families looking for their first car, and retired couples and singles looking to downsize.
“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,” says Toshiaki Kusakari, Head of Automobiles at Honda Motors Southern Africa.
In terms of design, Honda claims that it conceptualised the new Amaze as a sedan from the very beginning. The aim of the design team was to create a cohesive, streamlines shape with a flowing silhouette to give it a strong, individual character while expressing the current Honda design language.
What do we think? Well, from the outside, the new Amaze is quickly noticeable, with its stubbed shark-like nose that tips forward, as well as its quirky overall body shape. It is just 5 mm longer and 15 mm wider than its predecessor and its extended wheelbase translates into short overhangs and more interior space. The Amaze’s colour line-up includes four distinctive options (Radiant Red, White Orchid, Lunar Silver, and Modern Steel). Alloy wheels are standard across the range.
Exploring the Amaze’s interior
Despite being an entry-level vehicle, the Amaze has quite a few interior features that bring it up to spec in a contemporary market.
Honda has always been known for its back seat space, and with increased dimensions and a larger wheelbase (2 470 mm), the Amaze is pretty impressive when it comes to even more roominess for rear passengers. There’s ample head and legroom both front and rear, while its boot capacity offers an impressive 420 litres (20 litres more than the original Brio Amaze).
Its two-toned interior gives the Amaze a contemporary feel, along with black glossy finishes around the centre console. Granted, there is quite a bit of plastic around the cabin, but considering that the Amaze is a budget-friendly, entry-level vehicle, it is a lot more ‘refined’ than you’d expect.
In terms of tech: the new Amaze offers Bluetooth connectivity, a sounds system offering FM/AM radio functionality, as well as MP3 music file playback and USB connectivity and an AUX socket.
What my colleagues and I were particularly fond of in the Amaze is the amount of cabin storage it offers for things like phones, keys and water bottles. Space in the glovebox is generous, while all four doors include pockets and a fold-down rear armrest also incorporates cup holders for rear occupants.
The most affordable option in the range is the 1.2 Trend model, which is available with a manual gearbox only. Move one level up and you have the 1.2 Comfort model, which offers colour-coding for its exterior features and automatic air-con and electric adjustment for exterior mirrors, as well as automatic door locking (once the vehicle starts moving). At the top of the range, the 1.2 Comfort CVT adds gearshift paddles behind the steering wheel for this one-peddle option.
We drive the new Honda Amaze
At launch, I sampled the range-topping 1.2 Comfort CVT model as we drove from Somerset West along Clarens’ Drive to Pringle Bay and back. Its engine unit offers 66 kW of power and 110 N.m of torque, which might not seem like much but with a kerb mass of just over 900 kg, the Amaze delivers a surprising amount of swift performance, and most importantly, superb fuel efficiency!
If you prefer a manual gearbox, a five-speed manual is standard in the baseline Amaze Trend model and accelerates from 0 – 100 km in 12,3 seconds.
Also read: We drive the Honda Jazz Sport
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.
Responses from fellow colleagues at launch were positive, many of whom agreed that the Honda Amaze will likely favour rental companies and Uber drivers in the market for an affordable, compact sedan that offer low ownership costs.
Potential buyers should also consider that the Amaze 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.
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