Ego-driven consumers are eager to establish their individuality by supporting the available offerings despite tough economic conditions.
For the marketing fundis out there, this however, is heaven. It gets their juices flowing – it taps into their soul and the monetary rewards for getting consumers to buy in is, well, Tora no Maki!
Honda has just released the Brio’s replacement and guess what, I actually test drove the product even before its official release.
Not too shabby for a country boykie. But then, I have friends at Produkta Nissan in Mbombela!
Now it sounds like I am name-dropping, but it is true. This model is called the Honda Amaze – and appropriately so, says me, myself and I.
The target market is first-time buyers, the well-matured 55-plussers, taxi fleets, rentals and government, to name but a few.
It may well, I think, become somewhat of a disrupter in the small car market. And being a disrupter/influencer is such a trendy thing these days that the Amaze will take to it like a crocodile to a Dundee!
But let’s talk architecture…
With a wheelbase of just less than 2,5 metres and about 1,6 metres wide, the Amaze offers a truly spacious interior with some 420 litres of boot space.
And this brings me to my next statement: this is a really big small car.
And the first thing that impressed me after I collected it from the dealer is the fact that, because of the square and upright design of both the front and rear end, the Amaze offers similar driving dynamics in terms of how she sits on the road and fill the space between the lines as that of a much larger and heavier sedan.
The front end is dominated by Honda’s “solid wing” appearance. This is enforced by the broad bar extending across the width of the front end.
The lower air intake also hosts the fog lamps. It’s a Honda for sure, but the upright boxy design may well surprise many.
The design, I think, will for some have to grow on them? Not unlike, if you remember, the Mitsubishi Triton bakkie when it stormed onto the market years ago.
People just could not get the heads around the cab and, in particular, that rear door design?
The roofline is smooth and combines well with a slightly raised rear end and slim spoiler on the boot lid. The latter, by the way, opens wide and deep.
Enter the office space…
First things first. The seats are wide and extremely comfortable with the driver’s seat also offering height adjustment.
The dashboard design is fairly simple in terms of layout but made of a higher-than-average quality plastic. and the finishing is particularly good.
The center stack does not, like we have become used to, have a large or larger touch screen.
This I find quite refreshing. Research shows that despite our access to non-face-to-face-electronic business practices, there is a great need in the world for one-on-one contact again.
I think this is because technology lacks real-world authenticity. But I am going philosophical again, so let’s re-direct.
With reference to what I said earlier, the front end is wide right up to the nose – the windows offer excellent visibility and the suspension responds to the road surface like a large car, which means that the Amaze offers a lot of confidence even when one pushes just a tad through the corners.
This large-car perception thus also enhances one’s enjoyment of the interior openness. It’s light, energetic and pampers one’s being.
There are satellite controls for Bluetooth and audio on the steering and, on the automatic (CVT) Amaze, there are paddle shifts on the steering too.
The AUX and USB sockets are easily accessible down at the bottom of the centre stack. This is certainly an uncomplicated and practical layout. But then again – this is a Honda!
Under the hood…
There will be three models in the new range, all sporting the same 1,2-litre 66kW and 110Nm engines.
The manual versions offer a five-speed box while the CVT sports no less than seven gears – yes, you’ve got that right – seven.
And boy is this thing seamless – unbelievable! But like all CVTs, the revs run high when you’re in a hurry and pushing it.
But when you just allow the engine to do its thing, the Amaze is extremely quiet, smooth and fuel efficient.
My fuel index for the weekend was 5,8litres/100km. Okay, she is not a boy racer. But if you treat her right, she may well, not unlike most Hondas, become a family heirloom.
So by implication I am saying the Amaze is history in the making.
The driving experience in general is superbly comfortable and hitting the open roads may well become your weekend pastime and excuse for wanting to explore new scenery. A perfect excuse for the Lowveld.
Safety and features…
Well, it’s a Honda, and that’s why there is a manual. Go drive it. At just on R208 000 for the CVT, you’ll have to search hard for similar value, features and above all, durability and history of trustworthiness – it’s a no-brainer!