Since the majority of our readers would want to know about how the new diesel CVT version performs, we shall begin with this variant. Power is down to 80bhp and 160Nm in the CVT version (from the manual's 100bhp and 200Nm) and Honda says it was done in the interests of better drivability. Twist the ignition and we noticed that the sound deadening job has worked wonders in this iteration since the diesel clatter is well subdued than in the earlier car. Once on the move, the turbo-lag is taken care of by the CVT gearbox and it gets off the mark strongly. This in-turn is complimented by an even beefier mid-range.
Driving this diesel CVT turned out to be quite effortless both on city roads or the highway. Just like all CVTs, this one has a rubber band effect too. So, flooring the accelerator pedal will get you to witness the revs clinging close to the red-line. When briefly compared to the Maruti Dzire AMT, we’d say that the Amaze’s CVT makes its power delivery feel a tad more enthusiastic, but the former definitely screams more refinement.
In the Amaze CVT, there's even an 'S' mode (for more response) which keeps the power output in the meaty range of the revs. However, having noticed that the engine noise did increase considerably in ‘S’, we eventually stuck to 'D' since it had enough zest for most driving conditions. When a sudden burst of acceleration or an overtake needs to be performed, the motor responds better to partial throttle inputs than flooring the accelerator pedal. Furthermore, for steep inclinations, this CVT also has the 'L' option to dish out more torque at the lower rev band.
When it comes to the diesel sibling with a 5-speed manual gearbox, this one also benefits with a lot less engine noise (like the CVT) than the earlier diesel Amaze. It has a lot of grunt that’s usable from lower down in the rev band, which in turn almost nullifies the effects of the turbo lag. A strong surge in performance can be seen from as low as 1500rpm after which the tacho needle races steadily to the 4200rpm redline.
Thanks to so much torque at hand, driving it in any condition is a breeze. In fact you don’t really need to downshift to carry out a quick overtake, and most of the time you just have to enthusiastically depress the throttle to ride the wave of torque in the same gear. And while we’re talking about gears in the diesel Amaze, the shifting action is slightly rubbery and the clutch pedal is heavier than the petrol Amaze. The latter simply spoilt us with a slick gear shifting action and a light clutch.
Honda’s new Amaze is 17kg lighter than the outgoing model despite the 65mm increment in wheelbase, and the increase in front and rear track. And it’s all down to the high tensile steel being used. While the suspension geometry has been changed, some suspension bits have also been strengthened for better ride and handling characteristics. And this shined through while driving the new car.
The ride on the new Amaze is comfortable. The well-judged dampers absorb most bumps with ease and it is only over the harsh ones that the suspension noise thuds through into the cabin. The suspension setup is quite absorbent regardless of whether you’re crawling in the city or doing highway speeds. But it is on the softer side which also results in some amount of up and down motion when you pick up the pace.
We remember noise insulation (road noise) to be was one of the biggest concerns on the outgoing Amaze. Although it felt improved in the new car, we shall reserve our final judgement after driving it on concrete roads, since we mostly drove on tarmac in Bangalore. When it comes to the steering, it had a progressive feel which in turn suffices for regular city and highway manoeuvres. Although it isn’t particularly engaging while driving fast, we believe that it does the intended job well.