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Finding joy even in everyday cars: My 2023 Amaze CVT ownership

I find this car more fun-to-drive than even a Hyundai N Line.

BHPian saikishor recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Hello Team, I hope everyone is doing great.

I have a 2023 Honda Amaze VX CVT iVTEC. This car is considered to be one of the most boring ones to be available in the market. IMHO, I consider this segment itself to consist of very boring options(Dzire, Tigor, and Aura, none of which are fun to drive). I consider the Amaze as an entry-level executive or office official car. I don't drive the car much, as this is my dad's car. Out of the 3900 kilometres that this car has covered in the 6 months of our ownership, I must have driven this car for not more than 500 km. I have a very different opinion on this car, this might offend some people but I will say what I have to and what I felt like sharing:

CVT gearboxes are known to be the most boring form of auto boxes ever made. If I had to compare, let's say CVT trannys are the Toyota Corolla's of gearboxes and the DCT are maybe the Italian exotics. I won't comment on torque converters as I haven't driven them much. A lot of people hate CVTs for their boring nature and curse them for being slow and unresponsive but they give due credit to them for being very reliable and being easy to maintain. DCTs are often credited heavily for their fast response times and smooth shifts but thrashed for their horrible reliability.

Now all of this is fine and I hope I gave people a basic idea of these two transmissions from my POV. My car has a CVT box. I find it very nice and responsive. The kick-down time is reasonably quick, and the gearbox holds on to steps beautifully well with no confusion. The engine makes a lot of noise. That creates drama, but it still moves ahead. The CVT has an S mode, which keeps the revs higher ensuring that the engine stays in the powerband which results in much better responsiveness. The point I'm trying to make here is, that I find my CVT car much more fun to drive than say a Venue N Line with a DCT. I will happily live with a reliable CVT that feels as fun as a proper DCT instead of a troublesome DCT.

The 1.2 iVTEC is known to be a slouch when compared to the 1.5 iVTEC jewel. This engine, though smooth and revs freely till the redline is not considered to be the benchmark in its segment when compared to how the 1.5 is the benchmark in its segment. I daily drive a 14-year-old Beat petrol, and I find this 1.2 iVTEC to be really fun. The car feels peppy enough, with a good low end. The car moves freely and swiftly at low speeds. There is a flat spot at the mid-range ( which I feel is a common sore point to many NA engines) but tap the throttle a little more and the car moves. The smoothness is on another level altogether. I have driven the benchmark Maruti 1.2 K Series on a Dzire AMT for a good 500 km, and I would pick the Amaze's engine over it any day. Sure the Maruti is much more peppier than this, but the Honda has my heart.

The brakes of the Amaze are considered to be really good for the segment. I have different observations, however, the car stops as and when you want it to, but there is no feeling whatsoever from the pedal. The pedal doesn't feel wooden, but you don't understand if there is any action going on behind the pedals. That is one complaint I have but since the car stops on time, I guess I just have to get used to it.

Now the handling. Boy, I must say the car is a riot around corners. If German cars stick to corners at whatever speed you steer the car, this is the exact opposite of it. There is a ton and ton and ton of body roll, courtesy of the super soft yet compliant suspension. After all, comfort was what this car was designed for. But my mind has a different take. As far as my car knowledge goes, Japanese cars are not really known for supreme handling and all. The German cars excel in this department. IMO, German cars are over-engineered, whereas Japanese cars have friendly engineering(a new term that I might have just come up with) or let's say useable engineering. Sure the Honda Goldwing is one exception to Japanese over-engineering but that is for another day. I love the way how the Amaze feels all over the place in corners. It feels like you are battling with the car, exactly how it should feel like. You should be working with the car so that you can extract the best out of it. Unlike all modern cars which do most of the work for you and all you have to do is just sit and drive. Sit with me in an Amaze around a corner, and you shall feel what I experience. This is how a JDM car should feel IMO and the Amaze excels in it.

The car is very basic in terms of features as it is at the end of its lifecycle. Yet it gets most of the basics covered. Android auto, MID display, proper analogue dials, auto headlamps. Will do for 90% of customers, except for the ones who expect an air purifier in their car. I love sunroofs, and this car doesn't have one. I don't expect it to have one for the segment it operates in. But I wish the next-gen Amaze comes with one. Sunroofs have zero utility but somehow I really like having a sunroof in my car. Driving at night with the sunblind open and sunroof closed at night is therapy for me.

The car makes a great case for itself at the 12 lac on-road showroom price it retails for. This car will appeal to most of the 30+ age group bracket audience.

But I'm 21, and I find this car more fun to drive than a Hyundai N Line. I love the way the engine screams at the redline. I love the CVT gearbox of this car. I love the sloppy handling that this car has on offer. I have driven VW's but not extensively. Not so less that it should be disregarded, but I have driven them much enough to form an opinion. I find this car, or rather all Japanese cars (mostly the ones with NA engines) to have a soul in them. Not that other cars lack them, but I found them to be much stronger on these cars. Should I get myself checked for this? Am I an abnormal enthusiast searching for gold in a land filled with diamonds?

I have a friend of mine at college. He drives a manual 2021 Amaze. When he bought his car, I questioned him for his stupid decision. He told me he bought it because it was a sedan, it had a Petrol iVTEC engine and it was a Honda. I thought he was stupid. My friend is one of the most rash driving drivers I ever know. He has a blast in his Amaze every day. I thought he was abnormal and he had to reconsider his life choices. 2+ years later, I own an Amaze and I am finding it much more fun to drive than him.

Should I get myself checked? Should I seriously reconsider the decisions that I took in my life? I am really clueless at this point. To be typing all of this itself is giving me a huge headache.

PS: I need to click more pictures of my car.

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