Battle lines are drawn in the mid-segment sedan category. If the test drive is any indication, the new Honda Amaze poses a bitter challenge to Toyota Yaris. Amaze comes equipped for the confrontation, with a compact design that limits its length to within four metres and an affordable price tag made possible by a tax sop.
It is hard to choose between Honda and Toyota. The Japanese brands have dominated the globe including the United States, Europe and the Middle East. Though Toyota is a definite leader in sales, Honda is known for its excellent models and uncompromising quality. The two companies stand neck to neck in brand equity.
Technically, Yaris’s competitor in the Honda camp is City, not Amaze, which is slightly smaller. However, Amaze’s interior is no less smaller than Yaris. The new model reflects the Honda maxim, ‘Man Maximum, Machine Minimum’. The internal specs are almost the same for both cars.
Yaris is 4,425 mm long, 1,730 mm wide and 1,495 mm tall, with a wheel base of 2,550 mm and boot space of 476 litre.
Amaze is 3,995 mm long, 1,695 mm wide and 1,501 mm tall, with a wheel base of 2,470 mm and boot space of 420 litre.
Both cars are definite head turners. Slightly on the bigger side, Yaris presents an elegant picture but the design hardly helps it stand out in the car market. Amaze, on the other hand, brings in fresh air. Close to Accord in the front and Civic in the rear, Amaze has the visual charms of an SUV.
Amaze and Yaris give each other tough competition in terms of features but Honda is a winner when it comes to finishing. Judging by the Yaris displayed at the New Delhi Auto Expo, Amaze wins in terms of plastic quality too. Yaris scores with seven air bags and top mounted rear air conditioner.
Amaze has a dual-tone interior. The touchscreen infotainment system comes with a seven inch screen. Newlook steering wheels and dashboards stand out. The piano black finish gives a premium look to the dashboard. The gear knob is grand too.
Storage space is abundant in Amaze. The boot space has increased from 400 litres to 420 litres. The quality of the seats has increased considerably from the first-generation cars. Absolutely no cause to complain about the leg room and head room. The increased wheel base translates to more interior space.
The ABS, EBD and ISRS airbags in front of the driver seat ensure safety.
The Yaris is introducing the powered driver seat, a parking sensor and the touchscreen infotainment system that senses hand movement. There is a gauge to monitor the tire pressure. The pin seat can be divided in a 60:40 ratio with adjustable neck restrainers.
Yaris also boasts of an air conditioner vent in the rear of the roof as well as ambient lighting.
Even the basic models come with seven airbags, ABS, EBD and brake assistant. The basic variant J comes with seven airbags, ABS, EBD, brake assist, body colour mirrors, door handles, projector halogen headlamp, driver seat height adjust, keyless entry and an instrument cluster with LED multi info display.
Power to you
While Yaris has just one 1.5 litre petrol engine, Amaze has a 1.2 litre petrol engine and a 1.5 litre diesel engine to choose from. While the diesel engine gives Amaze an upper hand, Yaris scores with the bigger petrol engine.
Amaze’s 1.2 litre petrol engine ensures 90 PS at 6,000 rpm and 110 Nm torque at 4,800 rpm. The 1.5 litre diesel engine results in 100 PS at 3,600 rpm and 200 Nm torque at 1,750 rpm. The automatic version of the diesel engine can offer 80 PS at 3,600 rpm 160 Nm torque at 1,750 rpm.
The petrol engine has a mileage of 19.5 kilometres per hour in the manual mode and 19 kilometres in the automatic mode.
The diesel engine has a mileage of 27.4 kilometres per hour in the manual mode and 23.8 kilometres in the automatic mode.
If you are looking to buy a diesel CVT automatic, look no further than Amaze. The CVT model with 80 bhp is more silent. It is even calmer than the petrol CVT. Though the manual model is stronger by 20 bhp, the difference is not very evident while driving. The automatic variant feels more powerful.
The petrol 1.2 manual model is strong enough. The gear ratio and shift are excellent too. The petrol automatic variant may seem like demanding more revving up to speed up.
Yaris is yet to arrange a test drive for the media. Yaris has only one engine. The petrol 1.5 engine with manual and automatic gearboxes. A comparison with Etios petrol may not be far off the mark.
The price tag
Honda is expected to announce the price of Amaze on May 16. Amaze could benefit from lower prices if it is priced below City. Amaze’s price tag could hover over the price range of its earlier models from Rs 5.87 lakh to Rs 8.76 lakh.
Yaris is priced at Rs 8.75 lakh for the basic J model. J automatic comes with a price tag of Rs 9.95 lakh. G manual sells for Rs 10.56 lakh, G automatic for Rs 11.76 lakh, V manual for Rs 11.70 lakh, V automatic for Rs 12.90 lakh, VX for Rs 12.85 lakh and VX automatic for Rs 14.07 lakh.