- Extended wheelbase allows roomier cabin
- Manual five-speed gearbox or CVT
- Three models, two levels, for SA market
CAPE TOWN, South Africa – Honda’s Brio baby hatchbacks sold well in South Africa for the brand over the years but now there’s a sedan version with the odd model name Amaze.
It joins the Honda Civic and Ballade in the South African Honda stable.
Honda SA believes the Indian-assembled small four-door will define a new standard for compact sedans. After driving both the manual and constantly variable ”automatic” versions in the Western Cape this weekend, I believe they may be right…
Whatever, it is the end of the Brio brand… and perhaps celebrates the 70th year of Honda automotive production.
Toshiaki Kusakari, the amiable president of Honda SA, told me at the launch: ”The Amaze defines a new stand of compact sedans while expanding our range yet lowering the operating cost.
”We believe it will attract diverse customers – after all, 250 000 have already been sold across 50 countries – and, as Honda is 70 years old this year, we aim to stay true to our fundamental brief…joy and excitement.”
There will be no hatchback model.
The automaker also claims the Amaze has the most passenger space of any of its immediate competitors – ”shoulder, rear seat, headroom and legrooom”. And the boot – though the rear seats do not fold, perhaps a problem for some potential buyers, The Corner believes, has a 20-litre larger volume.
CRASH PROTECTION EVEN BETTER
Hiroshi Yamaguchi, the Amaze’s developer and project leader in South Africa for the launch event in Somerset West, described the rather coupe-looking car as ”dauntlessly solid” and particularly drew attention to the greatly revised Honda wing trademark across the car’s nose.
He also said the cars’ platform was new and even safer than its predecessor, due in part to a special new steel construction with a complete safety cage.
South African sales boss Callon Locke explained there are three models (see prices below), each with the same I-VTEC 1.2-litre, 66kW / 110Nm four-cylinder petrol engine capable of 5.6 litres/100km and 160km/h, the car with a 17cm ground clearance.
”It’s a fresh, new, entry model, but spacious and sporty, with a choice of Trend or Comfort models and with a five-speed manual or constantly variable auto.
”They will be supplied with synthetic leather seat-covers with a choice of four colours – red, white, grey or silver.”
Honda says this the second-generation Amaze is of a completely new design, conceptualised as a sedan, which allowed the design team to create a cohesive, streamlined shape five mm longer and 15mm wider than its predecessor, but with a wheelbase 65mm longer – which has added to the cabin’s length.
”The front is dominated by Honda’s characteristic ‘solid wing’ appearance,” the media release said, ”which manifests itself in a broad bar extending across the width of the contrasting black honeycomb grille. It also provides a visual link to the bold halogen headlight clusters.
”A lower air intake is framed by recessed, black-framed, foul-weather lights on Comfort models. A slim, colour-coded, splitter below the air intake adds a sporty finishing touch.”
Alloy wheel rims reduce unsprung mass and a shoulder line runs from the head- to tail-light clusters and the curved roofline flows into a raised rear deck, said to be ”accentuated by the notched C-pillar”.
In the cabin there’s piano black detailing on the facia, a ”a driver-centric” instrument binnacle with analogue dials and a digital trip data computer.
The centre stack has a sound system offering FM/AM radio, MP3 music file playback and Bluetooth, which allows hands-free telephony and music streaming. The four-speaker system also provides USB connectivity and an AUX socket.
A multifunction steering-wheel allows safe and convenient control of the audio system, there are pockets in each door, cupholders in the centre console and folding rear armrest.
…AND FOR THE CHILDREN
Each Amaze has two front crash bags, inertia-reel seat belts front and rear, and IsoFix child-seat anchors.
Each of the three models is available in pearl, two shades of silver metallic, and metallic red.
PRICES, WARRANTY, SERVICE PLAN
Honda Amaze 1.2 Trend – R179 900
Honda Amaze 1.2 Comfort – R193 900
Honda Amaze 1.2 Comfort CVT – R208 900
Prices include a five-year or 200 000km warranty, two years or R30 000 km service plan, and a three-year AA Roadside Assistance package.
Servicing every 15 000km.