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Old 6th June 2013, 15:48   #1
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Default Honda makes me smile in AMAZE-ment

This is the first time i am writing a ownership review on team-bhp, even though i have been a member since a long long time, lurking in the forums mostly reading seldom commenting. Well there's always a first time!

Why a new car -
Having 3 cars in the family, i mostly drove my 2006 SX4 retrofitted with CNG. The hunt for a new car started last year when finally the cost of CNG combined with the effort required to re-fill it almost daily due to my driving pattern of almost 100kms per day was more than what i was willing to invest in the car. The high cost of CNG made it almost comparable to diesel on per km basis and the long lines and waiting time to get it filled was getting tiring.

What i wanted from a new car -
Considering my usage pattern i started looking for a diesel car. I was inclined more towards buying a hatch or a sub 4 meter sedan than a proper sedan due to a couple of reasons. First i wanted a car that was easier to park in the ever congested parking lots of Delhi. Second my house is being reconstructed and the place i would be staying at for a couple of years has parking space for barely 3 cars. The new car would be squeezed in place of the out going SX4 on the road where its easily a target of kids, birds and thieves.

I did not have any particular segment in mind but i was also not willing to spend more than 7-8 lakhs as after the house is constructed i would move over to the D segment and this car would replace the aging hyundai verna.

Which cars did i consider -

1) Maruti Swift Diesel
Likes - Easy to maintain, huge dealer network, tried and tested, great FE, cheaper spares available easily and a peppy engine.
Dislikes - Too many of them on the road, weak brakes, driving a maruti for past 6 years, i did want another maruti for 5-6 years again!

2) Maruti Swift Dezire
I do not like the design of the car one bit. So it was struck off the list as soon as i heard its name!

3) Hyundai I20 Diesel

Likes - Impressive feature list, can put a 15 lakh rupee car to shame, silent and competent engine.
Dislikes - Dead steering, top end variants cost as much as some decent sedans.

4) Toyota Etios and Etios Liva -
Likes - Lowest maintenance cost among the lot, Toyota reliability, good rear leg room space and huge boot!
Dislikes - Dated exterior design, interior looks likes its from the 90's

5) Volkswagon Polo
Likes - Understated design, superb build quality. The sheet metal used on German cars is way heavier than anything from the competition.
Dislikes - Maintenance nightmare!

6) Skoda Rapid and Volkswagen Vento
I considered diesel lower variants of both hoping to stretch my budget a little as there are numerous offers available on both of them but in each of them i was getting a completely empty cars with the horror stories of maintaining both of them.

I did not consider any car from the FIAT and TATA stable as no one in the family is favor of buying from these two brands due to various reasons. I also did not consider MAHINDRA as i don't like the design of either Verito or Quanto.

In the end i was confused as i did not find any car "attractive" enough from my eyes. Though they are all competent and well made products, there was something missing in them which made me deter my decision for sometime. After lot of if's and but's i finally made up my mind to get a Swift Diesel booked, but as the luck would have it the land of the rising sun was about to unleash its latest and greatest!

How the decision was made -
I was following the story of amaze since the news broke about its existence. I read the preview and saw the pre production pictures on team-bhp. But real world performance, price, variants and more importantly the launch date was unknown. So i did not consider this car in the beginning of my hunt.

By the time i made up my mind to book the Swift, Honda had given the launch date and the expected price bracket was also almost leaked. This car fitted perfectly in my price range and the single biggest draw i had for this car was that its a NEW product. Almost all other cars had been on road for quite sometime and this gave that feeling of a new toy! So i decided to wait and watch for a few more weeks...

The Booking Experience -
The morning of 1st April, Honda announced that the booking for the car has begun and it would be officially launched on 11th April 2013. I visited Automax Honda, Mayapuri Delhi early in the morning to inquire about the price and variants.

My excitement was over as soon as i reached the showroom. There wont be any test drive car for almost another 2 weeks till 11th April, no official variants or ex-showroom prices. They only had a virtual car inside a samsung tablet! Considering Honda's image i even offered to book the vehicle and wait for the official prices just in case the vehicle turns out to be the dream car and it gets a long waiting period. But i was informed that there is a cancellation amount of Rs 2500!!! Here i am booking a brand car without even looking at it, leave aside a test drive and that too from a company that has NEVER offered a diesel engine in India and i am supposed to pay Rs2500 to cancel such a booking! I'll pass.

I decided to wait 10 more days and finally on 11th April i visited the showroom again early morning. But this time the car was wrapped in fabric and hidden from public view and no prices would be available till the official press conference at about 2 in the afternoon. I leave again with a broken heart as i have to reach work and cant wait till afternoon.

Next day i visit the showroom again and this time i have all the details. The car fits perfectly in my range and looks like a value for money to me. It is indeed a downgrade from my SX4, but in my situation it felt like a perfect fit. I went ahead and booked the SMT Diesel variant in white. This variant is priced almost similarly to the Swift ZDI diesel but lacking airbags which the Vx variant of Amaze has. But it is almost a lakh more and other than the airbags i really dont care about the extra features of the Vx trim.

I gave a cheque for Rs 21000/- as booking amount and was also informed that there are no more cancellation charges. Even if i cancel the booking i will get a complete refund! I even got this in writing from the SA on my booking receipt. If anyone wants to cancel the booking and the dealership is charging you, they are ripping you off.

I was informed that the delivery would take about a couple of months as honda has already received substantial bookings in the past two weeks. I decide to hang on to my workhorse SX4 for some more time and wait for the car. I was in such a hurry to book that i did not even take a test drive! I'm not a honda fanboy or loyalist but sometimes the excitement of something new makes you forget everything I tried to squeeze out goodies or freebies from them but they were very clear, buy a car that's not in demand and they will even give free insurance and a gold coin, but this ill have to buy at full price without any offers. :(

Post Booking Experience -
Almost a month had passed and i called up the dealership to inquire about my progress in the waiting queue. This is when i received my first shock! My car wont be delivered for another couple of months! :O I decided to head over to the dealership and declare WAR!

The next day when i get there i get the second shock. The SA who had booked my car had left his job the very next day and the booking of my car was an orphan. No SA was following it up with Honda regards to dispatch of the car! I called up the manager and politely asked him if i was dealing with the dealership as a whole or only the SA. If a SA quits his job it does not mean that the customer would be left high and dry and his booking would not be followed up. After a lot of drama (no shouting) the showroom manager called up a few people, checked the dispatch schedule and apologized for mess they had made. He promised me delivery on earlier time frame i.e May end. i asked him to write it down and give a proper official assurance. He did the same and i happily walked out of the showroom. At last my waiting wont be for nothing.

Things i learned from this situation -
1) When there is a waiting period always follow up regularly with the SA.

2) Honda sends the delivery schedule for the whole month to the dealership during the first week of the month itself. The dealer clearly knows if you will get your car that month or not. So if they give you an excuse that they do not know when your car will arrive, its bullshit!

3) Always ask about your position in the waiting queue. They might give an excuse that there are so many variants and color options that they cannot give you a proper waiting number. They internally have the waiting number for each color plus variant combination. For example in my case the Amaze Diesel SMT Taffeta White had total 55 bookings from the first day, from which 6 were delivered in April and my number was 11. Honda dispatching about 6 cars every month for that specific color plus variant combination meant i will get my car in May. Combine this with the dispatch schedule you know exactly when u get your car!

4) I don't know about the whole of India, but Delhi sure is crazy about white cars. There are so many of them on the roads plus as i mentioned earlier, there were 55 bookings of white for my variant itself. None of the other colors in the SMT variant had more than 20 bookings!

The Cost -

I was lucky enough to get my car billed and delivered to me on 31st May 2013. 1st June 2013 onwards honda has increased the price of amaze from 3k to 8k depending on the variant.

Honda Amaze S MT Diesel Taffeta White Non-Metallic
Ex Showroom Delhi - Rs. 66,7000/-
Registration & Road Tax - Rs. 63529/-
Extended Warranty - Rs. 7150/- (2 years/40000 kms standard plus additional 2 years/40000 kms)
Warehousing/Polishing - Rs. 5618/- (tried getting this waived off but almost all showrooms are charging this)
Insurance - Rs. 8900/- (Zero dep with 65% NCB)

Total - Rs 7,52,197/-

I did not take Road Side Assistance, Paint Protection and Honda Maintenance package as i did not find them convincing enough.

The maintenance package Honda is charging Rs. 16000/- for for 2 years/40000 kms. The service interval is 6 months/10000 kms. Under my running conditions i will easily reach that threshold but for those who dont even drive that much its sheer waste. On inquiring about the normal service cost, I was informed that it comes out to approx 2.5k-3k without parts replacement. So basically Honda is charging 16k for 4 services which would cost approx 12k max under normal circumstances. The coolant is good for 1,00,000 kms, air filter for 50k kilometers so the only major part that might need changing in the first 40k is the front brake pads. The fuel filter, engine oil and other misc items are included in the 2.5-3k service charge. If we even consider the brake pads in the total cost we still might end up paying much less than 16k that Honda wants up front!

If my logic is wrong somewhere kindly let me know in the comments

Insurance i have taken from United India Insurance. Honda was pushing for Honda Assure stating that Honda has made it mandatory. A little lesson about Freedom of choice and they let me bring my own insurance. The SA informed me about the engine no and VIN no 1 day before delivery and i took the insurance policy with that information. I also had 65% NCB which helped in getting the low price for insurance. The quote from Honda assure including zero dep and 65% NCB was 12k. I got the same from United India Insurance for 8900! So shop around and don't be under pressure from the dealership. Today they want you to buy insurance tomorrow they will ask you to fill up diesel from a Honda owned fuel bunk!

The Delivery -

Sorry No Pictures!! I had not thought about posting a review at the time of delivery so i did not click any.

The D-Day came i reached the showroom at about 11.30AM on 31st May. The delivery was smooth and hassle free.I had completed the payment and documentation formalities a couple of days earlier. My car arrived at the showroom on 29th may and i was given the engine and Vin no on 30th may to get insurance ready on my own. I was shown the vehicle, checked it in broad day light for any repairs or other deficiencies and then the SA explained me in details what the various buttons do. Made me check the spare well, jack, medical kit, spare headlamps and asked me not to fill her up with premium diesel as that can damage the fuel pump and injectors and Honda will not replace them under warranty. The car had about 3 liters of diesel in it at the time of delivery and was driven 31.5 kms

After all this they handed me a Automax Honda branded box of frontier biscuits, tissue paper box and handed me a over sized key which me and my family held as they snapped a picture of us with the car and put it in a frame and handed it over to us. Made us feel as if we had won this car rather than buying it!

What I Think of HER -

Effortless to drive in the city. Small, nimble and powerful enough the Honda Amaze is a delight to drive in the city. The second gear though is something to be careful about. The car just shoots forward in the second gear without even pressing the accelerator. This can be a problem when driving in bumper to bumper traffic and rear ending the car in front is a very big possibility if you are not careful. The engine makes most of the torque in the lower rpm band and hence this condition. Steering is precise and light at slow speeds. Engine has enough power to overtake other vehicles at high speeds. Flat torque curve means no waiting for the turbo to built up. You have power whenever you need it specially the low rpm's.

The ride quality is good. Suspension soaks up bumps and potholes nicely. Ground clearance is 165mm but till now the car has managed to stay above the potholes. I haven't faced any problem with the car bottoming out.

My amaze came with stock MRF tires and i'm not planning to change them for the time being. I'm no tyre expert but they don't make much noise although i feel the grip is not as strong as i would like and the ride is a bit bumpy. This can be down to the lower tired width and soft suspension. The experts can comment on this one.

The front headlights are bright enough and i don't think they require any upgrade.

The front bumper is one area where i think honda could have done better. For starters like every other car the front bumpers do not have dummy placeholders for the front fog lamps. You need to change the whole middle section for just getting fog lamps fitted in this car. From my understanding only the top Vx trim offers factory fitted fog lamps and that variant will be the least sold variant for this car. That leaves the rest 90%+ owners with a big expense staring at them if they want the fog lamps. Lets calculate how

The new fog lamps are priced at Rs. 11500/- approx. This includes the fog lamps plus the middle section of the bumper plus paint. What some people might not consider is that you also paid for the middle section that came with your car! It was charged for in the ex-showroom price and it will become useless after the upgrade. So basically 11500 plus lets say at least 5000 for the part that came with the car, you end up paying around 16k for a fog lamp upgrade that should not have cost more than 3-4k at max. Way to go honda!

Next up the sheet metal. I know u need to control weight and costs, but the metal in this car is really thin. The one used by maruti is definitely on the thicker side. The paint quality is good but i did find some inconsistencies at a couple of places. I checked others cars as well and even they had one or two spots of problems here and there.

Open the hood and u see something missing... there is no metal supporting the front collision bar with the rest of the chassis. There might be some rod below the lights but from the top it seems a front collision is really gonna cost a lot to repair not to mention the safety aspect of it all.

The engine noise is sure a lot more than the competition. Its NOT a deal breaker and neither is it irritating as such, but it never lets you forget that your are driving an oil burner. The engine makes the maximum noise when in low speed. At higher speeds the noise goes down considerably. Plus if you have the ICE playing even at the lower volume setting the engine noise gets filtered and you will not notice it at all till u don't turn off the ICE.

The horn sounds like its from a scooter! Maybe honda borrowed it from the motorcycle division. anyways i got it changed for about 500 bucks. One issue with changing the horn is that there is no place to slide the hand from the engine bay behind the bumper to place the horn. This requires removing the from bumper. This would not be a major issue but the two main screw that hold the bumper are behind the number plate! You cannot remove the bumper without removing the number plate. With the high security number plates being used today it becomes almost impossible to do it once the plate has been fixed. It should be the same in BRIO and if any forum member has any experience with the same kindly share with us.

Speaking of sounds, the OEM ICE is okay. It has a very flat sound.. no bass and in FM mode its sounds pathetic. Switch over to USB/AUX and it gets much better. In BRIO the rear speakers are in the rear doors. The same ICE feels a class apart in that car. In amaze the speakers have been moved to the rear parcel tray and the rear door have bottle holders instead. This causes more issue than it solves. First the speaker bay is extremely small. You cannot fit speakers above 4inch. The speakers dont produce much bass. Because of the speakers the parcel tray is made higher than the back seat and this affects rear visibility. Maruti gives better sounding ICE and honda should improve this asap.

Next up is the mute/pause button on the steering audio controls. Another basic amenity missing! Lets say u need to talk to your co-passengers, ideally a mute button would mute the stereo and in case of CD/USB pause the current track. In AMAZE u need to extend your hand all over to the stereo and switch it off or press and hold the volume button till it goes to zero. Not a major inconvenience but its things like these which show how much attention is paid to detail.

The instrument cluster is clear and night visibility is good. Day time visibility is bad. There is enormous glare on the central part which houses the speedometer and the digital display and is the most important of the three clusters. You really need to look hard to read it during a bright sunny day. The speedometer goes all the way up to 180km/h but as i read on the forums the car is electronically limited to 140km/h. i have not driven it anywhere close to those speeds till now so i really cant comment if its true or not.

Honda makes me smile in AMAZE-ment-20130608_120319.jpg

The small digital display shows the the odometer and trip computer. How difficult could it have been to add a Distance to Empty function. The car knows the fuel quantity in the tank and it calculates and displays the FE. A simple software modification could have calculated the DTE from this information. Its not as if they had to spend money on additional hardware. I made a simple method for calculating DTE. The fuel gauge shows 12 bars and the tank has 35 liters of capacity. That comes to approx 3 liters per bar. with an avg of 17kmpl in city driving each bar should take you 50-51 kms. This can be helpful in knowing the cars range.

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The FE calculation is based on the trip computer. Whenever you reset the trip counter the avg will also get reset and it will start from zero! The Low fuel warning light would comes up when there are approx 2 bars of fuel level on the display which means almost 6-7 liters of diesel in the car.

I have driven the car for about 2600kms in the city only with A/C on 100%. I am getting about 17.18 kmpl as avg although the display shows 17.4 to 17.8 at times. So there seems to be some margin of error. i am using only normal diesel and filling from the same bunk plus same attendant! The tank runs for about 500 kms at that average

I miss the speed sensing locks of my maruti. It cannot be fitted as an after market accessory as that requires changing the whole security system which would render the keyless entry buttons on the remote useless. Why on earth would honda not provide such a basic security feature. I usually have my laptop bag in the back and my mobile charging on the front seat as if i keep it near the 12v outlet I cannot see if someone is calling or texting me. I need to be carefull about locking the doors on traffic signals as there have been many instances of people opening the door and running away with your stuff! Before i get flamed i DO NOT use my mobile while driving nor do i endorse it.

The remote locking is just remote locking. Its not a proper anti theft mechanism. The only anti theft feature of this car is engine immobilizer. Lets say you lock the car with the remote but open it with a key. With a proper anti theft system this would sound an alarm, but not in AMAZE as it DOES NOT have a buzzer. The door would just open normally without any fuss! So theoretically even if some one cant steal your car because of engine immobilizer, they can easily open it and steal your cars accessories like ICE etc.

The black carpet available in the E Ex and S variants is in my opinion better than the beige color available in the Vx trim even though it might look better. It would be a herculean task to keep it clean. The black on the other hand is zero maintenance

The glove box compartment lid feels as if made for another car. It is ill fitting and i dont know how can some one even approve of its design. It sticks out as a sore spot in an otherwise clean dashboard design.

There is loads of leg space in the front and the back. The packaging of the car is brilliant but look closely and u can see from where soo much space came from. The seat are of extra slim variety and the front dash and all four door panels are on the zero figure side. All of these are the minimum specs engineers could have gone.

The single piece seats are comfortable but the integrated head restraints are useless at best. I have a leaned back driving style the head restraints are almost 3-4 inches away from my head during normal driving. The same was not the case in my SX4.

The fuel lid has a diesel sticker affixed. This is good and can save your from the horror of having the wrong fuel in the car. But it should also be accompanied in a regional language like hindi for Delhi. Most of the fuel station attendants are not able to read English properly. Instead of increasing production complexity at the plant this can be put up at the dealerships. Just my 2 cents.

The taillights look good, wayyy better than the current market leader Dzire.

To Sum it up -

I like the car. period! even though i have written more about its flaws than its strong points, i still like the car. As i said earlier everything has flaws and we should make our choices keeping in mind OUR requirements. By doing so we can learn to live with the flaws. The car meets my requirements and there are certain issues which can be fixed, like the horn and certain others that cannot be fixed like the tin can like build quality. Buying a car is like having a girlfriend, you enter into a long term relation one that would ideally last for the life of the car. So think before you buy!

One area where I think Honda goofed up majorly is the Diesel AT! I would have killed to buy one. Just give me power windows, ABS and EBD, Airbags, height adjustable seats, electrically adjustable OVRM's and a diesel AT gearbox! I really don't care about the ICE and other chrome finishes and alloy wheels.

The cheapest Diesel AT available is the Hyundai Fluidic Verna costing about 14 odd lakhs on road in Delhi with only a 4 speed AT. There is a huge untapped market below that range. Honda can easily price the car well below the 10 lakh mark and there would be insane amount of buyers just for that specific model. Look at the May 2013 sales figure. 6000 amazes sold, 5200 diesel and 800 petrol. The petrol has 6 variants with 2 AT variants and yet its insignificant in front of the 4 variant diesel range.

In the end i would say Honda does have a winner in its hands and if they listen to feedback carefully they can make Amaze 2.0 an even better car!

Last edited by coolmob : 17th July 2013 at 15:06.
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Old 17th July 2013, 15:12   #2
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Thread moved from Assembly Line.

Wishing you many many Amazing miles.
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Old 17th July 2013, 16:53   #3
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Congrats on the Amaze. It's a practical sedan when compared to the DZire. Congrats again and wishing you many more happy miles and smiles. A Q: How much KMS have you covered and what is your top speed?

Drive Safe


Cheers,

Achyuth

Last edited by Achyuth Vaibhav : 17th July 2013 at 16:54.
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Old 17th July 2013, 17:19   #4
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Very sensible choice indeed. The comments that you gave for the other cars that you were considering at stage 1 are the same that I will echo. Very precisely put. If the service part was not a dampener, my next vehicle would have 100% been a Polo or a Vento, but not with current horror stories. D'zire, though a Maruti product, looks quirky to say the least...no offence to the owners, but the Swift hatchback looks far far better.

IMO at the end, you made a very good decision by going with Honda.

Wish you many happy miles.

Regards,
Saket
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Old 17th July 2013, 22:28   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Achyuth Vaibhav View Post
Congrats on the Amaze. It's a practical sedan when compared to the DZire. Congrats again and wishing you many more happy miles and smiles. A Q: How much KMS have you covered and what is your top speed?

Drive Safe


Cheers,

Achyuth
i have covered about 2600kms and my top speed has been 130 km/h within the city on a late night drive i haven't taken the car on the highways yet.
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Old 17th July 2013, 22:58   #6
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First and foremost, a heartly congratulations for your new purchase.

Secondly, it fills my heart with joy when a person chooses a car which suits his needs perfectly. The amaze is a proper 100 km a day car and hopefully you will have a trouble free experience with it.

I am personally fond of the Amaze in blue but the white looks elegant as well.
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Old 18th July 2013, 11:26   #7
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Many congratulations Coolmob for the Amaze.
Wishing you many happy mile munching with the car and a niggle free performance.
Enjoy your ride and drive safe.

Where are the pictures of the car?
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Old 18th July 2013, 14:33   #8
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Congrats for the Amaze. Slowly, the trickled of Amaze reviews has started on the forum. We are waiting for the customary pics. White, anyways should look great on the car.
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Old 18th July 2013, 14:36   #9
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Many many congratulations , have a great ownership experience. Look forward to more pictures of the car as well..
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Old 18th July 2013, 14:48   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sommos View Post
Many congratulations Coolmob for the Amaze.
Wishing you many happy mile munching with the car and a niggle free performance.
Enjoy your ride and drive safe.

Where are the pictures of the car?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Utopian View Post
Congrats for the Amaze. Slowly, the trickled of Amaze reviews has started on the forum. We are waiting for the customary pics. White, anyways should look great on the car.
Quote:
Originally Posted by puchoo View Post
Many many congratulations , have a great ownership experience. Look forward to more pictures of the car as well..
i had clicked pictures of the car but my phones memory card somehow got corrupted and i had been really busy with work since the last few days. so i just decided to post the review without the pictures for now.

will click some pictures on weekend after washing the car and then will surely post them
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Old 18th July 2013, 22:28   #11
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[quote=coolmob;3141737]
Attachment 1094140

The small digital display shows the the odometer and trip computer. How difficult could it have been to add a Distance to Empty function. The car knows the fuel quantity in the tank and it calculates and displays the FE. A simple software modification could have calculated the DTE from this information. Its not as if they had to spend money on additional hardware. I made a simple method for calculating DTE. The fuel gauge shows 12 bars and the tank has 35 liters of capacity. That comes to approx 3 liters per bar. with an avg of 17kmpl in city driving each bar should take you 50-51 kms. This can be helpful in knowing the cars range.


Congratulations on the car Coolmob. Honestly, the DTE function in Honda cars is of no use. I am using the City for past 1.5 years, and my car has the DTE function. However I find it useless, as there is no accuracy in the reading provided by the software. You would be surprised to know, that once I drove 70 kms, even after the DTE was showing me 0 kms on board.

What really happens is, the DTE is calibrated to the Average that the car is giving, and our car displays Instant Average given by the car. Now lets say, you are stuck in a bumper to bumper traffic and your average is inching downwards with every km that you drive, the DTE figure dips down. However, eventually when you go on the free road, the average figure shown by the car moves upward, but the DTE figure does not improve. So even if you have ample fuel in the car, the DTE ends up showing 0 kms.

So technically, the DTE software installed in the car is of no use. Had the car had Instant Fuel Consumption Indicator and Average Fuel Consumption Indicator, then I think the DTE would have worked in complete tandom with 2 figures, to give us accurate data.

Therefore I think it is good not to have this function, rather than having one which confuses you.
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Old 18th July 2013, 22:32   #12
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Congratulations coolmob for your 'amazing' purchase. I wish you many many happy journeys with her.

Your review is very detailed. Photos would have been icing on the cake.

Actually all the guys who bought this car are lucky that the launch of this model coincided with their purchase event. Those of us who have just bought some other 'not so amazing' car, before the launch are left fuming and red-faced since we missed it.

Such a good sedan at the price that competes with many hatchbacks, with a big engine, more power and also features!

I for one, 'envy' you.

Sai
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