REVIEW | The 2019 Honda Amaze offers back-to-basics motoring
Brenwin Naidu gets behind the wheel of an an amazingly frumpy Honda
I know what you’re thinking. Honda’s budget sedan, the B-segment Amaze, could very well be the biggest misnomer of 2019. What’s so amazing about it anyway? Certainly not the disjointed styling. It has a snub-nose – like a Pompano fish, not a revolver.
You can tell that the rear was inspired by the larger Civic, which is an attractive vehicle. But in this case, it looks like a shoddy imitation as imagined by a company like Chinese manufacturer BAIC. To me, anyway, the outgoing Brio Amaze seemed like a more cohesive effort. You might say that aesthetic qualities are not especially important in the case of a budget-oriented buy such as this. Fair enough.
Its direct rival, the Suzuki Dzire, is equally frumpy in make-up and yet we found ourselves thoroughly impressed by the overall value-for-money it offers when we tested it last year. Prices start off at a very reasonable R179,900 for the 1.2 Trend manual. Feel like living a little and splurging out on the convenience of operating two pedals? The 1.2 Comfort CVT, which we drove, goes for R208,900.
First thing that impressed after hopping behind the wheel, was the beige upholstery. Confession: I must be in the 5% who fancies the shade in automotive applications, to much ridicule from my colleagues. Yes, I know, the hue is extremely popular in most Asian markets too, where it is associated with an air of luxury. It might not add additional plushness to the Amaze, but it does lend an airy, brighter feel to proceedings.
The situation in the Amaze is quite basic. A radio with rotary dials and a few buttons. Simple controls for the ventilation system. Just get in, engage D and drive off. But not too quickly. With 66kW and 110Nm, it was never destined to win a marathon. And equipped with a CVT —whose downsides you know all too well — does not help the cause. Honda claims a 0-100km/h time of 13.5 seconds.
The Amaze is fine when ambling about in a leisurely fashion … but merging and overtaking takes careful planning. Truth be told, I rarely pursued the national speed limit, opting instead to keep it at 100km/h in the middle and far left lanes. And there the Honda was comfortable enough, gently ebbing along with nary a care.
If you are seeking no-frills, essentials only motoring, then the Amaze is worth a look. Unless a self-shifter is imperative, I think the standout in the range would have to be entry-level Trend. Happily, we can report that safety features are consistent across the board, with the entire range boasting dual frontal airbags, ABS and EBD.
It might not win any beauty contests or drag races. But this compact sedan is affordable, spacious, economical and well-built. Which is exactly what many of us require in these times of economic tumult. Amazing, it is not. But relevant, most certainly.