Spent a week with the Honda Amaze 1.2 petrol CVT: 4 likes & 4 dislikes

Given the extended time I spent with the CVT, there were some bits that surprised me, some bits that disappointed me given that I was driving a 2 year old example.

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Got an opportunity to spend a week behind the wheel of a 2020 pre-facelift Honda Amaze 1.2 CVT the other day, run 7K kms in the last two years with non-enthusiast owners (your average car buyer).

This vehicle was a replacement for a flood damaged 2018 Swift ZDi AMT, and the requirement was for an automatic, reliable, and easy to drive car around the city – including usage by a learner.
Budget was capped at around 10L, and the options were pretty much narrowed down to the Dzire AMT & the Amaze S CVT as the family desired a sedan after owning three generations of the Swift and multiple other hatchbacks – despite my suggestion for a Honda Jazz CVT.

The Honda badge & CVT gearbox were the main attraction for the Amaze over the Dzire (as they already have had 3 Swifts prior, including the current gen ZDi AMT).

In the past, I had driven the 1.2MT of a friend and was pleasantly surprised with what the car had to offer : a short review of the same (Honda Amaze @ Auto Expo 2018. Now launched at Rs 5.60 lakhs); so I was quite familiar with what to expect out of the CVT – but given the extended time I spent with the CVT, there were some bits that surprised me, some bits that disappointed me given that I was driving a 2 year old example.

For reference, my comparison points are our ex-2013 Etios Diesel, our present S-Cross 1.6, our Corolla Altis CVT, and the Amaze 1.2MT:

What I liked:

  • Relatively rattle free interiors so far.
  • I was impressed with the space the first time around when I sat in my friends 2018 1.2V MT; and this time around – it was no different. Honda has managed to cleverly pack the car and I was actually more comfortable in the Amaze than I was in some sedans that are a class above!
  • Fairly decent NVH in the city, mated with soft ride quality that makes it very endearing for city use. I was happy handing this over to a chauffeur to drive me around during traffic hours and I was able to zone out in the rear.
  • Good visibility from the front, even compared to the Swift / Dzire.

What I didn’t like:

  • The rattle free interiors so far feel built to a cost and many plastics have a hollow sound. I am not sure how long it will remain rattle free. The Etios, despite being called budget grade, felt better put together though the finishes were definitely a notch below that of the Amaze
  • Soft ride quality : a boon in the city, a bane on the highway. A spirited drive with me in the backseat brought out the backseat driver in me : it bobs, and has body roll, and feels light on it’s feet – If you get car sick, and have an enthusiastic driver – this isn’t the one for you.
  • Surprisingly, when I drove the MT – I was pleasantly surprised with the light steering. Maybe because it was a brand new example done barely a couple hundred kms. However, on the CVT – the steering felt much heavier than what I anticipated for it’s weight which took away from the joy of having a car I could dart into and out of gaps. Interestingly, it felt more like a smaller Corolla to drive, rather than a Smaller City, whereas the Etios had a lighter and more direct steering.
  • Anemic engine paired to a thirsty CVT. FE for mixed use : city traffic, highway cruising, some spirited driving, etc. resulted in a FE of 11kmpl (tankful to tankful) which was surprising! I was hoping to get something a little higher in the range of 13-14kmpl given the light weight and that a good amount of kms were just cruising around at night, but I do expect it to be much higher for just pure highway cruising. The 1.2 engine on it’s own is a good city cruiser – it was able to keep up with traffic comfortably, but not one where you could do a quick overtake without proper planning.

Overall, would I buy one?

Not unless I am looking for a comfortable chauffeur driven city car that will occasionally be self-driven.

The Jazz in my opinion is a better bet for self-driven and practicality purposes whilst also feeling better built; but the ride quality of the Amaze does set it apart if it’s going to be a chauffeur / sedately driven car.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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