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Old 9th March 2016, 16:08   #1
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Default Review: 1st-gen Honda Amaze Facelift & CVT (2016)

The 2016 Honda Amaze has been launched in India at a price of between Rs. 5.30 - 8.20 lakhs (ex-Delhi). This report will only focus on changes made to the 2016 model. To read the full official review, click here.

Last edited by GTO : 9th March 2016 at 16:15.
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Old 9th March 2016, 16:08   #2
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Default re: Review: 1st-gen Honda Amaze Facelift & CVT (2016)

So, what's new on the outside?

3 years into the life cycle is about the right time for a facelift. The Amaze is an important car for Honda and its no.2 product in India (City is no.1). In 2015, the compact sedan moved 63,831 copies:

Dimensionally, the car remains identical to the older version. It measures 3,990 mm in length, 1,680 mm in width, 1,505 mm in height and has a wheelbase of 2,405 mm. Ground clearance is rated at 165 mm:

It continues with the almond-shaped headlamps having a single (shared) piece for high & low beams. We prefer dual-barrel headlamps with independent low & high beams for superior light output and beam control:

Twin-slat chrome grill dominates the face. It now reaches out to the headlamps on either side (link to older + narrower design) and has taken some inspiration from the BR-V's grill. New front bumper looks more aggressive:

New foglamp housing:

The air dam gets a honeycomb grill pattern. Notice the very meek horn & rectangular tow hook cover (was round earlier):

There's enough to distinguish the Amaze from its hatchback sibling now:

14" alloy wheels are standard on the VX variant only (Dzire, Xcent & Zest gives you 15" alloys). The petrol & diesel cars wore a different design. Personally, I like this rim design of the petrol:

The diesel's wheels. Honda says they have improved the diesel's NVH levels, but it's still a noisy motor:

No cladding in the rear wheel wells, while the front wells get partial cladding. Surprisingly, compared to the older car, road noise seemed to be a little lesser:

Seem to be LED blinkers in the ORVMs. The 2013 Amaze had a different ORVM design with a halogen bulb. ORVMs can be folded electrically:

New tail-lamps with revised elements and black highlights:

Panel gaps are still not consistent ! Not cool:

Apart from the tail-lamps, nothing else is new here:

This Bluish Titanium is a new option on the palette:

Last edited by GTO : 9th March 2016 at 16:16.
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Old 9th March 2016, 16:08   #3
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Default re: Review: 1st-gen Honda Amaze Facelift & CVT (2016)

So, what's new on the inside?

One of the rare times that a facelift brings with it an all-new dashboard. Honda heard so many complaints on the dash that they went all out and lifted one straight from the BR-V (link to BR-V's dash). This is a welcome change that considerably improves the Amaze's interior ambience:

It's dual-tone here, unlike the all-black one of the BR-V:

I found the plastics to be hard and scratchy. The silver inserts add some flavour to the design:

High quality steering is fabulous to hold. From May 2016 onward, even the base variant will have the option of dual airbags:

Steering-mounted buttons are the same as before. No buttons to accept / reject calls on your Bluetooth-paired phone. Strange as all variants (except for 'E') get Bluetooth:

Sweet looking instrument cluster is nearly identical to that of the City (link to image). Blue backlight is preferred over the 2013 Amaze's orange. CVT variant gets a 'gear position' readout on the revv counter. Unfortunately, no temperature gauge:

The MID includes 2 trip meters, a clock, tank range and average fuel consumption. The graphical bar on top indicates real-time fuel efficiency, while the bottom bar displays the fuel level. Outside temperature reading too:

Empty round slot is an eyesore and will always remind you of what you're missing (BR-V gets an engine start button here). Side air-vents can be shut off completely. Don't miss the small cubby hole beneath the vent:

The centre fascia with a piano-black finish looks much better now. Take a look at the base variant's center fascia here:

Audio system with Bluetooth for music & telephony. Simple monochrome ICE display. Last year, the Amaze had received a touchscreen AVN (link to thread), so this new ICE can be considered a step backward:

The climate control console gets a nice display. Buttons are large and easy to use. Shocker below - a sliding lever for fresh air / recirculation modes . What was Honda thinking? Base variant sans climate control gets a similar console, but without the 'auto' button:

Unlike before, the center vents cannot be shut:

Deep storage area below the air-con controls:

12V power socket & USB port (bit different from the 2013 Amaze):

The CVT's shifter with 'Sport' and 'L' modes. Paddle shifters aren't offered in the Amaze; honestly, they make no sense in CVT-equipped cars:

The CVT's footwell. No dead pedal, but there is a lot of space to rest your left foot:

Entire doorpad in beige now (no more black on the top). Armrest is in black with a silver outline around the switches, as if to match the new dashboard. At this price point, I would expect fabric inserts on the doorpad:

Rear doorpads go through the same changes as the front ones:

New seat fabric (link to older one):

A cut-open model was on display. Same thin yet supportive front seats:

Last edited by GTO : 9th March 2016 at 16:32.
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Old 9th March 2016, 16:09   #4
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Default re: Review: 1st-gen Honda Amaze Facelift & CVT (2016)

Driving the 1.2L CVT Automatic

Same engine tune & gearbox as the Jazz CVT. The Amaze CVT is 77 kilos lighter:

In what is a surprise move, Honda has ditched the 5-speed conventional torque-converter automatic gearbox for a CVT (continuously variable transmission). You'll remember that the City went through a similar switchover from the 3rd to 4th generation car. Worldwide too, Honda is moving to CVTs in a big way. Within the entry-level sedan space, the Amaze is the only CVT automatic. The others offer a torque-converter AT (Xcent & Dzire petrol), AMT (Zest & Dzire diesel) or dual-clutch AT (Figo Aspire). Interestingly, the Amaze CVT is rated for a little more power than its MT sibling. It makes 89 BHP & 110 Nm of torque (same as the Jazz) versus 87 BHP & 109 Nm for the MT. The CVT is available in the middle 'S' variant as well as the top 'VX' variant.

Overall, the CVT feels better in the city than the old Amaze AT. To begin with, the seamless power delivery to the wheels (which is typical of CVTs) and refined i-VTEC engine are incredibly relaxing within city limits. The Amaze CVT doesn't feel laggy and there is sufficient grunt to get you moving. The MT sibling offers only average torque levels, but since you don't have to play with the clutch & gear lever, you don't feel that deficiency. The response to throttle inputs is decent and the CVT is butter smooth in traffic. The Amaze does make for a great urban commuter. Club that with the light steering and moving about in the city becomes effortless.

As the road opens up, until mid-range accelerator inputs, NVH and the trademark 'rubber band effect' are well controlled. Performance is reasonably peppy too. On the downside, with the accelerator pedal pushed all the way down, the driving experience gets annoying. As we've seen with so many CVTs, there is a huge mismatch in engine revs and the actual road speed - you'll see the rpm needle climbing with no corresponding increase on the speedometer. Transmission whine is also audible when it's made to work hard. The high-revving i-VTEC which is music to the ears in the MT starts to irritate with its noise in the CVT. CVTs usually perform better with larger engines and we saw that in the City 1.5; however, there's no escaping this rubber-band effect & resultant lag in a puny 1.2L petrol. The actual performance is acceptable and the Amaze CVT accelerates well - the engine's strong top end is the only saving grace, but I still didn't enjoy pushing this car due to the CVT's behaviour under heavy throttle input. It's only here that you'll miss the Amaze's old torque-converter AT. The CVT is at home with a gentle & easy driving style. For travelling long distance, the CVT's ability to cruise calmly is remarkable. The tall highway gearing makes it very relaxed. But if you want to revv, look at the Figo Aspire 1.5L DCT or consider the explosive Polo 1.2L GT TSI if you’re fine with a hatchback.

The Jazz & City get paddle shifters, but the Amaze doesn't. Honestly, because of the nature of a CVT, we don't miss them at all. It's best to leave the gear lever in 'D' and smoothly commute around town. The gearbox does have an 'S' mode which basically keeps the engine revvs higher. 'S' mode can be very useful in preparing the car for overtaking (before actually making the overtaking move). It also gives you a little more engine braking. But don't be fooled - the 'S' mode isn't sporty.

Additionally, the Amaze CVT gets an 'L' mode which makes the CVT run in a short ratio. Use 'L' mode on inclines (climbing power) as well as declines (engine braking).

The CVT should provide acceptable fuel economy in the city as long as you maintain a light right foot. Honda has tuned the gearbox for economy and it's very obvious from behind the wheel. The CVT moves to a higher ratio quickly. Even when you get off the accelerator, you'll notice its tendency to move up the gearing. The CVT's ARAI rating of 18.1 kmpl might be slightly higher than the MT, but don't let that misguide you. The only reason for that rating is the CVT's ability to cruise at high speeds at low rpms. On a related note, remember the City's ECON button (link) that made the CVT run in 'fuel economy' mode? It's not there in the Amaze.

If you're considering the CVT variant, be advised that these transmissions are incredibly sensitive to maintenance schedules. It's critical to change the transmission fluid on or before time. Be sure to check out this post.

Disclaimer: Honda invited Team-BHP for the Amaze test-drive. They covered all the travel expenses for this driving event.

Last edited by GTO : 9th March 2016 at 16:22.
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Old 9th March 2016, 16:26   #5
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Default re: Review: 1st-gen Honda Amaze Facelift & CVT (2016)

Thread moved from the Assembly Line to Official Reviews. Thanks for sharing, rating thread 5 stars!
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Old 9th March 2016, 17:02   #6
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Default re: Review: 1st-gen Honda Amaze Facelift & CVT (2016)

I hope they have atleast provided a joystick inside to adjust the ORVM's, something which is absent in my 2yr Amaze EX variant!
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Old 9th March 2016, 17:58   #7
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Default re: Review: 1st-gen Honda Amaze Facelift & CVT (2016)

Wonderful review as usual. I did not like the dashboard setup. Does not look aesthetically pleasing. All the buttons could have been arranged in a better way. Also, whats with the slider. Do any of the other sub 4m sedans have a slider?

The ICE does not have a CD player. Could someone tell me why is the CD part left out in automatics?

Last edited by GTO : 10th March 2016 at 10:03. Reason: Typos
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Old 9th March 2016, 19:38   #8
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Default re: Review: 1st-gen Honda Amaze Facelift & CVT (2016)

Nice review .anshuman and thanks for reviewing it.

This update makes what was wrong with the Amaze, right! I always despised the interiors of the Amaze and that's why didn't consider it while buying a car last year and ended up with the Zest.
It's not that I am not happy with my car, but this car with the reliability of Honda, would have made a worthy contender!

Last edited by GTO : 10th March 2016 at 10:03. Reason: Typo
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Old 9th March 2016, 20:22   #9
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Default re: Review: 1st-gen Honda Amaze Facelift & CVT (2016)

Great review, thanks for this Anshuman! 5 star rating.

I'm a big fan of automatics, and I drove the City CVT recently. Although I liked it, I kind of missed the old school torque converter gear box - only because of the rubberband effect. With the 1.2 in the Amaze, it would be even more irritating when you need that instant punch after stepping on the throttle.

Honda is now playing catch up with Hyundai in terms of quality and value for money. It is a good sign to see them responding to user feedback and improving the interiors in the Amaze. But they need to start removing those dummy start/stop buttons (also present in the Jazz) - everytime I see that, I will be reminded of what I've missed (Hyundai Grand i10 has it!!)

Originally Posted by anuraglakhotia View Post
The ICE does not have a CD player. Could someone tell me why is the CD part left out in automatics ??
I think CD players will be phased out of most cars soon - USB and Auxillary ports are the way to go. IMHO, it improves the center console's look considerably.
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Old 9th March 2016, 21:03   #10
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Default re: Review: 1st-gen Honda Amaze Facelift & CVT (2016)

CVT seems like its the better one amongst the current CVTs on offer. Of course the biggest grouse in Amaze has been fixed with a better dashboard. The interiors look much nicer now. Two new cubby holes are welcome. The changes are in the right direction, however Honda should have done better.

Brio/Amaze are quite notorious for average NVH. They should have at least added full claddings to wheel wells to reduce some road noise. Also why not give the new instrument pods on all the variants? And still that ancient slider for air circulation? Added bluetooth telephony but no buttons on steering for that! And no dead pedal in an automatic is criminal.

Not bad overall, I would give them 7/10 for this effort

Last edited by heavenlybull : 9th March 2016 at 21:05.
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Old 9th March 2016, 21:19   #11
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Default re: Review: 1st-gen Honda Amaze Facelift & CVT (2016)

While you may be displeased about CVT's rubber band effect (=no speed gain while the engine RPM rises), I am equally displeased with MT's rubber band effect (no speed gain for ages while driving on 4th gear while I depress the accelerator).

The truth is that only when torque produced by engine exceeds the torque required to maintain the speed will the vehicle speed up. CVT attempts to do this by revving up and dropping the "gears" while MT requires human intervention to shift the gear down (and achieve the same outcome) otherwise it just lugs and lags.

Yes I agree that the transmission whine may irritate, but the whole rubber band effect is perhaps exaggerated. Is there a considerable 0-100 kmph difference in MT and CVT? That will answer whether there is indeed a real rubber band or just a perceived one.

I realize that my post may appear to be not really relevant to the thread, but it is. In all CVT reviews everywhere across the web one reads about the rubber band effect, but no one posts the 0-100 kind of acceleration figures to illustrate the point.

Last edited by alpha1 : 9th March 2016 at 21:27.
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Old 9th March 2016, 21:20   #12
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Default re: Review: 1st-gen Honda Amaze Facelift & CVT (2016)

The new facelift address the major deal breaker - the interiors. Having experienced the new interiors, I can say that the plastic quality is better than the pre-facelift car, and the interior ambience is closer to how it should ne on a Honda.
IMO, this is how the cars stack up wrt interiors -

The Amaze is now one of the most neutral and well rounded cars in its segment, and is my pick out of the petrol engined compact sedans. Yes the Xcent does a better job of pampering it's occupants and has an equally nice engine, the Amaze beats it hands down when it comes to dynamics, space and comfort. The Dzire is too common and cramped, and the Aspire/Zest have lackluster engines.

But when it comes to diesels, the Aspire would be my pick just for its performance which rivals cars from a class above. The Amaze comes close, but is let down by the NVH, while the Xcent is too underpowered on the expressway.

Honda entered India with some amazing cars (City, Accord, CR-V) and earned a reputation of making fast, reliable and premium cars. Somewhere down the line though, they lost track of what made them such an aspirational car maker.
When the Mobilio was launched, I couldn't belive that it was from the same company that once gave us cars such as the sexy Civic in '06 or the practical Jazz in '09. But with the Amaze facelift, and the upcoming launch of the HR-V (if rumors are to be believed), I feel they are back on the right track.
Here's hoping for more amazing cars from their stable
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Old 9th March 2016, 21:38   #13
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Default re: Review: 1st-gen Honda Amaze Facelift & CVT (2016)

For some reason I find the audio player little out of place in terms of overall design of the dashboard. The LCD display and buttons area are not well integrated and look like an afterthought. I would prefer a 2 DIN after market audio player instead of that.
What I hate about this Honda audio player is that there is no dedicated 'mute' button at all, so you have to quickly roll the knob or press the power off button which delays getting back on the song that was playing before. Your instincts will definitely roll the knob quickly which does not feel good.

The slider mechanism of air re-circulation although old is nicely integrated compared to other cars. It was good in the old dashboard as well.
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Old 9th March 2016, 22:10   #14
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Default re: Review: 1st-gen Honda Amaze Facelift & CVT (2016)

Why Honda why? Why would you actually remove the touchscreen navigation system!?

Would it be possible to integrate the touchscreen system from honda into the E variant ?
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Old 9th March 2016, 22:27   #15
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Default re: Review: 1st-gen Honda Amaze Facelift & CVT (2016)

Nice pics.

Frankly, I find this facelift quite disappointing. The grey parts of the dashboard and the steering wheel plastics seem very "ordinary", and the gear knob seems shockingly plain and cheap. The wafer thin seats completes the obvious cost cutting picture. I seriously wonder how this will increase sales for Honda.
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