The Honda Amaze has been in the market for nearly three years and is doing decently well, thanks to a spacious cabin (for a compact sedan) and an efficient powertrain. What holds it back big time, though, is the old-school design of the cabin and the uninspiring looking exterior – things that Honda India has tried to address with the Amaze facelift.
Now that it’s officially on sale, the Amaze facelift faces the same old opposition from the cars like the Hyundai Xcent and the recently updated Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire. Here’s a lowdown on how these popular compact sedans stack up against each other.
All three cars that you see here are quite closely matched when it comes to the overall footprint. Being sub-4 metre offerings, the Xcent and the Swift Dzire are equally long at 3995mm, while the Amaze facelift is marginally smaller at 3990mm. As for the width, the Xcent and the Swift Dzire are 1660mm and 1695mm respectively, while the latest entrant from Honda is 1680mm wide. In height, the Amaze sits lowest off the ground at 1505mm while the Swift Dzire is the tallest at 1555mm. The Xcent, meanwhile, is somewhere in the middle with a height of 1520mm. As for the wheelbase, on paper the Amaze has the smallest wheelbase at 2405mm but thanks to some clever packaging Honda has managed to create a good sense of space and comfort even at the rear.
Moving on to the equipment, earlier it was Hyundai that was known for brimming its cars up with equipment. Lately though we are seeing other manufacturers offering more and more features to entice buyers. The new Amaze, for instance, is more feature-rich than before with standard equipment on top-spec variants including alloy wheels, heat absorbing front screen, electrically foldable wing mirrors, dual airbags, ABS with EBD, climate control, audio system with Bluetooth connectivity and lots more.
The Xcent, on the other hand, offers a start/stop button, audio system with 1GB internal storage, rear AC vents, climate control, rear camera with parking sensors and retractable wing mirrors as standard. The Swift Dzire isn’t too far behind, what with Maruti offering electric wing mirrors, steering mounted audio controls, climate control, stop/start button, ABS and airbags as standard across the top-spec variants.
While it shines through pretty much everywhere else, the Xcent falls behind its rivals when it comes to the engine and gearbox options. For starters, the 1197cc, four-cylinder petrol and the 1120cc, three-cylinder diesel units aren’t the most powerful engines out there. Secondly, Hyundai isn’t offering the diesel-powered Xcent with the convenience of an automatic gearbox. There is a 4-speed auto on offer for the petrol-powered variant though.
Maruti has done well by offering a wide variety of engine and gearbox options. The Swift Dzire, in fact, can be had with either a 1.2-litre four-cylinder petrol engine or a 1.3-litre, four-cylinder diesel engine. As for gearbox options, the petrol-powered Swift can be paired with either a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic while the diesel-powered model is available with a 5-speed manual or an automated-manual (AMT) gearbox.
With the Amaze facelift, Honda has ditched the old 5-speed automatic gearbox in favour of a CVT. The latter can be had with the petrol-powered Amaze which is powered by the same old 1.2-litre four-cylinder engine while the diesel-powered Amaze featuring a punchy 1.5-litre, four-cylinder engine is paired to a 5-speed manual gearbox. Like Hyundai, Honda isn’t offering its compact sedan with a diesel engine-automatic gearbox combo yet.
No matter how good or bad a car is, it all boils down to the pricing, especially when it comes to choosing between cars belonging to what is an economy-minded segment. At the bottom-end of the pricing, the Hyundai Xcent and the Honda Amaze are on par with entry-level petrol variants coming in at around Rs 5.30 lakh. The Maruti Swift Dzire, on the other hand, is a teeny-bit cheaper with a base price of Rs 5.19 lakh.
However, things are a bit different as we get to the top-spec variants where there is a stark difference in prices for the top-spec diesel variants. Here the Xcent is the cheapest by a considerable margin, at Rs 7.86 lakh while both the Amaze and the Swift Dzire breach the 8 lakh rupee mark at Rs 8.20 lakh and Rs 8.40 lakh respectively. That being said, it’s the Swift Dzire that offers the most amount of bang for your buck since it’s the only car here to have the highly desirable diesel-automatic drivetrain combo that’s proving to be quite popular among the budget car buyers.