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Old 22nd April 2013, 00:33   #1
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Default A logical compromise: My Honda Amaze 1.5L i-DTEC

The first post is a background to the purchase decision, while the actual review and buying experience starts from the next post, so you can skip this section and scroll to the next if you simply want to know how the car is as a daily drive.



Many bhp-ians seem to be dissatisfied with the look of the interior center console layout. I was dead-set against it initially but realised it may have been to allow for a typically Honda trait like a low-set dashboard. The AC vents being mounted on top of the music system would have added another 3-4 inches to dashboard height. Just a surmise, I could be wrong.

Ever set out to buy something with your heart longing for it, only to realise its no more possible to acquire it and then settling for something that you know you should have bought in the first place?

People do it all the time. They are whimsical, dreamy creatures, egged on by this inner voice that tells them what they need to do to make them happy - get a fancy University degree, close that big business deal or simply buy a classy shirt. Sometimes, they just have to settle for something less, something more suitable to their lives and the logical perfect fit - like a shirt that isn't as eye catching but far more comfortable.

The question is, do those compromises leave you happy?

The vehicle purchase decision started and ended with the Honda Jazz for my dad, there were no two ways about it for him. For me, its a car that ticked all the right boxes, which in our "chalta hai" sub-10 lakh car market must actually be measured against negatives and not positives.

Doesn't reek of cost cutting: Check.
Doesn't have iffy levels of grip: Check.
Doesn't have inadequate after-sales in the event of a breakdown: Check.
Doesn't start rattling in the first few months: Check.
Doesn't have an engine that takes the fun out of driving: Check.

Dad is more than happy to drive his '09 Grand Vitara, and the other car we have is a '94 Maruti 1000 that had been kept as a knock-about for my two brothers and me to learn driving on. For the uninitiated, the Maruti 1000 looks very similar to and is the precursor of the Maruti Esteem with a smaller capacity (1000 cc) engine and slightly different bodywork, interiors and lights.The GV is dad's pride and joy, so its not a car he's allowed us to drive often. The 1000 is a fun car to drive, handles well and is the ultimate chick-magnet Who am I kidding, it starts rattling up a funeral beat if you ever cross 50 km/hr, has a suspension that's similar to a wooden sled and although maintained well and with a trouble free engine, started to show its age....10 years ago

More importantly, we needed a car with active safety features beyond just seat belts - ABS, airbags and pretensioners were a must and it had to be compact since it would be parked in crowded parking areas. It also had to be a Honda. The Big H really does have some brand recall in this country, doesn't it? Amid the huge hue and cry being made about the difference between petrol and diesel prices, dad has been stoically indifferent. There's been a petrol vehicle in our family since he bought a Maruti 800 in 1984, two more during the 90's (selling off the earlier ones ofcourse), and a 1000 and Grand Vitara so he is very fond of petrol engines. In short, it had to be a replacement for the 1000, that would now be reserved for very short trips or taking the dog to the Vet in all his furry, yapping disapproval.

Sometime in February, the Honda Jazz was discontinued and that was a huge disappointment for me. We tried using sources within the dealership but that turned up only low-mileage TD vehicles and a brand new red Jazz, cars we wouldn't touch with a barge pole. I even tried showing them how urgent it was by calling them up from Canada where I was on exchange to ask whether any vehicle at all was available. They must have thought I'm mad. While both the dealership and Honda customer care were very polite in answering my queries there wasn't much they could help with.

A few nuggets of "knowledge" that the some of the SA's showered on me, while most others knew that the Jazz was discontinued and a new diesel powered one coming next year:

"Saar its not discontinued, they are putting the Honda City engine and releasing it soon, why don't you buy Honda City only?"

"Saar its because the Jazz was not designed for India they don't need it here, why don't you buy Brio it was designed for India"

That's when the rumblings began mid-March that the Amaze is releasing very soon, and while my dad was at Linkway Honda, Chandivali to check whether they had a Jazz in stock, the dealership informed him that they've started taking pre-bookings which would be converted into a booking as soon as they opened. Out went the checkbook, and we officially had booked our next-best choice in Alabaster Silver. I must say that they did honour this pre-booking, and we could have had the Amaze delivered barely a few days after launch, but the delivery was delayed by more than a week as mum and dad were out of town. The total amount paid OTR was Rs. 9,31,000/-. We opted for Honda Assure after reading reviews on the forum that described as being more hassle-free, that came to Rs. 22,000. The buying experience was fairly smooth, though the Linkway Honda appointed-RTO agent charges a HUGE premium over the receipt amount if you opt for a special number, so unless time is of the essence you could try registering the car by yourself a tidy figure. The dealership however, was very transparent with their approach, the only scope for improvement is in punctually attending to showroom visits and a quicker delivery of the car. We waited for close to an hour before we could drive out of the showroom even though all formalities had been completed the earlier day, because of a lack of staff to cope with the number of deliveries.

Last edited by Motored Mindset : 16th May 2013 at 23:41.
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Old 22nd April 2013, 01:11   #2
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Default re: A logical compromise: My Honda Amaze 1.5L i-DTEC

What I like:
The ergonomics and space at the back, especially considering the cramped Brio interiors.
The fuel efficiency. It made a die-hard petrol loving family astounded seeing a never before 18+ kmpl on the highway and 15 in the city.
The Honda badge and sales experience.
The smooth engine and sure-shifting gearbox.

What I don't:
Free services only upto the first six months. I've been used to free services for the first year, especially since the other Honda at a comparable price point - the City comes with free services for the first year.
The suspension isn't as pliant as you'd expect a rear-seat oriented car in this segment to be.
The gimmicky ECO light.

I'm going to try to not repeat what has already been highlighted in GTO & Vid's brilliantly detailed review. It confirmed for me that Honda hasn't messed up their latest offering and was detailed to a point where I had to explain some of the features to the SA instead of the other way around. A thank-you to Coolmel for advice on buying a Honda and Wildon for his helpful VIN thread. My car is an April'13 manufactured unit.

Styling: Have you seen the front of the car? While its no monstrosity to look at and the same look is rather cutesy on the Brio, the Amaze fasica looks very bug-eyed in sedan guise. The bumpers and side body panels have cuts and slits to give the car some character, but my explanation for the this overdone sculpting is that that they are the product of a Japanese engineer being given play doh for the first time (first image below). The chrome bits are overdone, and the rear is neat, reminiscent of the old Honda City.

The Engine and Gearbox: Diesel engines were looked at with disdain in the family. They call to mind images of engines that would leak like a puppy that wasn't potty trained, give up on you when you least expected and sound like a truck even when idling. Engines that emit black smoke within months of ownership and high maintenance costs. It was only recently after reading up on the latest common rail technology and good reviews from modern diesel car owners that the Amaze diesel was considered. What helped was the higher torque and power figures and Honda's claims of making the diesel feel petrol-like.
To be very honest, there isn't a very marked difference between the characteristics of a petrol and the 1.5 i-Dtec, it does pull well. What's really nifty is that if I had to take my foot off the clutch when in first gear in a petrol, the engine would simply stall, but the ECU in the i-Dtec sets the minimum revs at about 1000 rpms causing the car to crawl forward. This makes stopping and moving on an incline that much easier and I'm sure this is common for most diesel engines. The engine is not as noisy as I thought it would be. It makes you aware that there is a diesel engine under the hood but it didn't sound unrefined the way other diesels do (Yes, I'm looking at you Tata).

Initially there was a slight notchiness with the gear shift that sometimes happens where it doesn't slot into any gear despite the clutch being fully pressed for a few seconds is something that had me worried but was told that the clutch takes time to set in. Diesel car problems :P After a few days of driving, the car is now at 400+ kms, the clutch is light and the gearbox shifts quickly. On that topic, I must rant about that gimmicky ECO indicator that lights up if you're driving economically. There should at the very least, be an option to turn it off because it suddenly lights up and startles you, especially at night where you think your turn indicators are on or a component malfunction indicator has come on. The round-knob gearbox contributes to the toy-car feel that the Brio is marketed as, and Honda should have offered a more grown up looking gearshift lever in the sedan.

Steering: This is one aspect where my non-power assisted Esteem simply excels. In that car, I could feel the undulations in the road and point the tyres exactly where I'd like them to go in a way that modern cars simply can't. In comparison the Amaze steering felt soft and not as accurate but definitely not numb. Taking three point turns and U-turns is a breeze. Would I not opt for power steering if given the choice? Hell no. The conveniences of taking difficult turns means more to me than a tad more feedback. The steering has audio control switches that are of a higher quality and more tactile and damped than the switches on the music system itself.

Build Quality, Fit and Finish: The car is built to a cost, but doesn't seem to have "glaring" cost-cutting the way other offerings in this price range do. For example, I'd care more about the quality of paint, plastics and rubber beading than whether the car offers a fancy but niggling audio system or features from segments above that aren't well executed. The lack of trim or cladding on the underside of the boot lid for example, is something that's missing on the Honda City too.

The air-conditioner cools the cabin well, considering the car has no tints, but at level 3 & 4 the blower makes a racket and should be reserved only for hot afternoon runs or else its annoying. We'll be using the car extensively, atleast 50 km a day so I'll be sure to update the thread with the car's behaviour after running in. The seats are comfortable at the rear but the lack of an adjustable headrest had me worried less about neck support than about what owners without a vehicle hammer ought to do if ever stuck in the car and unable to exit in an emergency situation and the central locking refusing to work - such as a fire (one usually breaks through a window or the windscreen using the metal rods of the adjustable headrest).

The car drives in traffic very linearly, and I've been stopped atleast once or twice on every outing by people eager to know how the car drives, whether the interior noise is much and especially how much it costs. The Grand Vitara was always met with smiles and thumbs ups and still gets a fair share of subtle attention because there aren't too many on the road, but the attention this little car gets is unprecedented and something that takes getting used to. The entry-level C segment obsession in this country I tell you! Out on the highway though, the car isn't as punchy as you'd expect it to be, and you have to be in the higher rev-range to weave in and out of traffic or overtake. I can't honestly tell when the turbo comes on and at what rpm, it picks up in a typical petrol like fashion and maxes out at 4000 rpm (something I'm trying very hard not to do till the run-in period is over).

The boot easily swallows lugguage for four. The headlamp beam spread and brightness is strictly average, but the fog lights are brilliantly placed and light up the sides of the road effectively. Note that the lower variants don't have cut-outs for after-market fog lamps. Braking too is par for the course. I test drove the automatic Amaze and found the braking to be a tad better in the automatic petrol than in the diesel for some reason. There are a few small things about the car that I like - a "Welcome to Honda" that flashes on the music player as you turn on the car, a beeper that sounds while stationary and at low speeds if the driver hasn't worn his/her seatbelt (I wonder why it doesn't beep at higher speeds where wearing a seatbelt is more essential) as well as the lights on and door open buzzers, and a chunky rear armrest. What I don't like are the edges of the glovebox that don't fit flush with the dashboard, the skinny tyres (we managed to get Goodyear and not MRF's, which do feel slightly better) and the tinny boot lid. The music system is a mixed bag, with a pre-set equaliser that plays pop songs decently but lacking when playing EDM and Classical. The system reads the memory card on my Blackberry within a few seconds and plays from the track that was last played before the car was shut off. Nifty.

Something all prospective owners should know is that Honda has calculated the cost of ownership of the diesel at exactly double the cost of ownership of the petrol Amaze. This is especially significant over the long term.

Visibility: Visibility out the front is fairly good, with a low-set dashboard, A-pillars that aren’t too thick and a large windscreen. The film that Honda has put that cuts out heat by upto six degrees can’t really be felt. I’d be grateful if fellow bhp-ian’s could clarify for me that it cuts out UV rays, because that would be a real tangible benefit. The windows are large and squarish but looking out the rear is going to be a problem for shorter drivers. The high-set speakers and a boot that is extends further than the Dzire’s means that you have to watch out in tight parking spaces. A reverse sensor kit is highly recommended but something I won’t be installing for a while because of the staggered pockmarked look they leave on the rear bumper. A rear camera is also something I won’t be installing right now because of the stock audio system on the VX variant.

Accessories : I’m more of an engine guy than an audio guy, though a little classic rock from a well tuned aftermarket system that retains the stock look as far as possible is not out of the question in about a year Apart from transparent floormats that retain the beige look of the beige floormats below them without dirtying them, I’ve bought a car cover for Rs. 1600.

Now it comes down to verdict. Has logical decision been the right one? Can a love for all things automotive and practicality go hand in hand? Are all the ancient Greek tales of heart always triumphant over head set to be proved wrong?

We have to pit the Amaze against two cars I believe are its biggest competitors - the Maruti Dzire and from the Honda stable itself - the City. First, lets discuss the Amaze viz-a-viz its bigger brother. GTO had rightly pointed out that smaller cars which are better packaged and priced tend to cannibalize sales of vehicles from the segment above - such as a new Honda City leading to diminished Civic sales. But the key difference here is that while the Civic and City were both 10L plus petrol vehicles with similar amounts of brand recall and positioned for almost a similar customer-base, the Amaze is directed at a completely different type of first time buyer and has a diesel engine. So it remains that Honda City customers are those people who set out to buy the Honda City with its petrol engine and price premium at the outset while Amaze buyers are set buyers who lay an emphasis on value and then would decide on an Amaze if they see how suitable it is. That's where I feel the Amaze really delivers - sheer, unbridled value. At no point in time I have felt that its money irresponsibly spent when driving this car. Whether its shifting down to 3rd hear at 50 kph to ride a linear torque curve and overtake the swiftly moving Trax Traveller ahead of you on the NH17 or filling up at the pump and recording a mileage of 15+ in moderate to heavy traffic, practicality can plaster an equally large smile though not in the same way the Honda City's petrol engine and arrow-shot design and interiors can.

The Dzire was a good package, with some very elegant angles to view the car from even if the boot integration is a tad awkward. It was struck out of contention not for its styling or non-petrol like mannerisms but because it became too common a sight on our roads by the time we were in the market for a car. It also has some features that deserve a special mention - a good looking dash with nice bits like climate control and fold out, damped cup holders, a punchy engine and a better interior shade. The Amaze scores on more basic parameters such as a more tractable engine, better space and better steering involement and what I felt was a more pliant suspension. Everyday with the car, just as with any, throws up surprises - pleasant or unpleasant. Most recently, at the same moment I discovered that cost of fuel for outstation trips is halved because of a diesel engine did I realised that the maintenance costs of diesel are exactly double that of petrol. At the moment I began to appreciate how convenient the fold-in mirrors are in my tight parking space did I realise how cheap feeling the button to retract them was. At the moment I realised that the car has a brilliant amount of torque produced from less than 1,500 rpm did I also know that I'd never be able to truly rev this car in the way I could have wrung out a petrol. At the moment I began to appreciate the space that Honda has managed to include within the short wheelbase did I realize the superfluous additions that don’t really cater to anyone’s needs - like overly detailed bumper styling, and blacked out headlamps which don’t suit the look of the car.

Would I buy it again though? Without a doubt yes. You can't take away from the fact that this car has got personality - surely some oomph it has borrowed from the petite but capable little Brio. Sometimes gruff sounding, well engineered and with a very forgiving, linear power delivery that skimps on gimmicky features but delivers the basics just right, with bullet proof reliability to boot is the car you'd like to come home in day after day and be grateful for having.
Attached Thumbnails
A logical compromise: My Honda Amaze 1.5L i-DTEC-img2013050800660.jpg  

A logical compromise: My Honda Amaze 1.5L i-DTEC-img2013050800662.jpg  

A logical compromise: My Honda Amaze 1.5L i-DTEC-img2013051000664.jpg  

A logical compromise: My Honda Amaze 1.5L i-DTEC-img2013050801177.jpg  

A logical compromise: My Honda Amaze 1.5L i-DTEC-img2013050801186.jpg  

A logical compromise: My Honda Amaze 1.5L i-DTEC-img2013051201204.jpg  


Last edited by GTO : 17th May 2013 at 12:02. Reason: Adding content from your newest post into the review post. Thanks
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Old 17th May 2013, 09:03   #3
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Default re: A logical compromise: My Honda Amaze 1.5L i-DTEC

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Initial Ownership Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 17th May 2013, 09:42   #4
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Default Re: A logical compromise: My Honda Amaze 1.5L i-DTEC

Hey Motored Mindset, congrats on your new Amaze!
The car is looking very good in Silver, also very nicely written report!
Have AMAZEing times with your car!
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Old 17th May 2013, 09:52   #5
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Default Re: A logical compromise: My Honda Amaze 1.5L i-DTEC

Congrats Motored Mindset,
The Amaze is definitely the sub 4 meter sedan to buy and the silver colour compliments the design really well.
Drive safe and do keep us updated.
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Old 17th May 2013, 09:55   #6
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Default Re: A logical compromise: My Honda Amaze 1.5L i-DTEC

Congratulations on your new ride and probably the first personal review of the Amaze on the forum!

You can never go wrong with a Honda is what I have come to experience. Enjoy your ride and drive safe.
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Old 17th May 2013, 10:24   #7
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Default Re: A logical compromise: My Honda Amaze 1.5L i-DTEC

Congratulations on being one of the first Amaze owners !.

Regarding the Amaze's dash, my opinion is that it is always better to have a ergonomic one rather than a jazzy one.

Having spent most of my time driving a 95 and a 2001 Accord, I too prefer a lower dash with a great view of the road. Am uncomfortable with the cocooned feeling of cars which seem to envelope you with higher dashes.

Hondas typically are better cars if you look at fundamentals.
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Old 17th May 2013, 10:25   #8
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Default Re: A logical compromise: My Honda Amaze 1.5L i-DTEC

Congrats on your Amaze 'Motored Mindset'! The first report of the Amaze i think on tbhp. Have an amaze'ing time with it!
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Old 17th May 2013, 10:54   #9
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Default Re: A logical compromise: My Honda Amaze 1.5L i-DTEC

Congrats on the Amaze! Is it the first on the forum? So long since the launch of the car that I had begun to wonder where had all the Amaze owners gone!! Wish you many happy miles on the cutie. Please keep the pictures coming in and the thread updated.
Cheers!
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Old 17th May 2013, 10:57   #10
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Default Re: A logical compromise: My Honda Amaze 1.5L i-DTEC

Motored Mindset, i do have a query for you,

*I heard that the top speed is electrically limited to 140/150 kmph. Is it true?
*How does the acceleration feel? Some people who td'ed the car felt the car wasn't delivering the 100PS as on paper.

The reason i am asking this is one of my colleagues is considering on purchasing this car as a 1st car with lots of highway and weekend use.
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Old 17th May 2013, 11:11   #11
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Default Re: A logical compromise: My Honda Amaze 1.5L i-DTEC

Quote:
Originally Posted by nipcarlover View Post
Hey Motored Mindset, congrats on your new Amaze!
The car is looking very good in Silver, also very nicely written report!
Have AMAZEing times with your car!
Quote:
Originally Posted by CPJ View Post
Congrats Motored Mindset,
The Amaze is definitely the sub 4 meter sedan to buy and the silver colour compliments the design really well.
Drive safe and do keep us updated.
Thanks so much, if I had my way I'd have got it in that blue shade. It really does make the car look great. Dad has always been fond of neutral shades like whites and silvers, hence the choice.

Will be sure to keep the thread updated!

Quote:
Originally Posted by shivkumar19 View Post
Hi,

Just wondering why his review is dated 22nd April 2013.
This review has been on the assembly line a long time! Just managed to find the time to finish it. It started out as comments on the styling and features and introductory remarks on the engine feel after the 3 test drives I took of it and after delivery I added the more detailed bits.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 9thsphinx View Post
Congratulations on your new ride and probably the first personal review of the Amaze on the forum!

You can never go wrong with a Honda is what I have come to experience. Enjoy your ride and drive safe.
I was hoping that this would be the first Amaze review up, thank you for your wishes! Your idea of Honda ownership and reviews from other Honda owners on the reliability of their cars is the reason we bought into Honda.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vivriti View Post
Congratulations on being one of the first Amaze owners !.

Regarding the Amaze's dash, my opinion is that it is always better to have a ergonomic one rather than a jazzy one.

Having spent most of my time driving a 95 and a 2001 Accord, I too prefer a lower dash with a great view of the road. Am uncomfortable with the cocooned feeling of cars which seem to envelope you with higher dashes.

Hondas typically are better cars if you look at fundamentals.
I agree completely with your views. The older Accords are set in time as being great cars because of their ergonomics and sprightly engines.

The theme of my review has been to highlight in an unbiased manner that despite its shortcomings, the Amaze has the basics of the car and driving characteristics right, something you've highlighted as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arch-Angel View Post
Congrats on your Amaze 'Motored Mindset'! The first report of the Amaze i think on tbhp. Have an amaze'ing time with it!
Thank you so much! The name does inspire a lot of pun-filled references. Wonder what made Honda come up with the name.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Batfreak View Post
Congrats on the Amaze! Is it the first on the forum? So long since the launch of the car that I had begun to wonder where had all the Amaze owners gone!! Wish you many happy miles on the cutie. Please keep the pictures coming in and the thread updated.
Cheers!
Thank you for the kind words. Will keep the thread updated! Wish they had done a bit more to differentiate between the Brio and Amaze, but I guess that's something that has to be dealt with when buying into a segment that's so hotly contested on price.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arch-Angel View Post
Motored Mindset, i do have a query for you,

*I heard that the top speed is electrically limited to 140/150 kmph. Is it true?
*How does the acceleration feel? Some people who td'ed the car felt the car wasn't delivering the 100PS as on paper.

The reason i am asking this is one of my colleagues is considering on purchasing this car as a 1st car with lots of highway and weekend use.
I've read about those reports to, and sources like Autocar are very trustworthy so I'm quite sure its limited to 140. For my own part, I've never felt the need to go beyond 100-110, and I've never found tarmac free and safe enough to go at higher speeds, including the Bombay-Pune Expressway. Rest assured, you can recommend the car to your friend because its highway manners are very sure and confidence inspiring. If anything, motorists don't take a speeding Brio in their rear-view mirror as seriously till this particular "Brio with a boot and 300cc + turbocharger" leaves them in its rear view mirror. As far as the top speed is concerned, I really don't know.

Last edited by Motored Mindset : 17th May 2013 at 11:19.
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Old 17th May 2013, 11:45   #12
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Congratulations on the purchase motored mindset. Even I love that blue shade of the AMAZE but the car indeed looks great in this silver colour too.
I personally like the brio's face more with all those black inserts around the air dam area.
Well yours might be the first Amaze on team bhp. I wish you many happy miles of motoring with the small beauty and do keep this thread updated.
Take Care and Drive Safe.
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Old 17th May 2013, 17:21   #13
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Default Re: A logical compromise: My Honda Amaze 1.5L i-DTEC

Congratulations Motored Mindset!!! Amaze indeed is an amazing car to buy and own... Requesting you to post some interior shots of the car. I was amongst the many few, who who had got the chance to drive the car the day it arrived at the dealership. And I was simply Amazed by everything about it. Yes, the car does lack on some good to have features viz a viz its competition, but then hey, its got a gem of an engine which you are going to thoroughly enjoy... And don't worry, it won't let you feel, you are driving 10 year old car, even after you have lived with it for 20 more years after completion of those 10 years... :P
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Old 17th May 2013, 18:44   #14
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I haven't even read your entire post. I just couldn't resist myself from congratulating you! Happy driving with this revolution from Honda :-)
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Old 17th May 2013, 19:14   #15
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Beautifully worded review and hearty congratulations on the new acquisition!

Can you elaborate a bit more on the cost of ownership being double of the petrol sibling?
Thanks
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