Rajiv still remembers the day when he took delivery of his Honda Amaze. “It was raining and I took that as a good sign. And after having spent six months with it, I can definitely tell you that it was,” he says. Rajiv is the financial head of a large private firm in Mumbai. A car lover from his childhood days, Rajiv loves to drive and is very particular about his cars. That’s why he has never employed a driver and drives the 25 km from his home in Lokhandwala to his office in Lower Parel. “I prefer to leave early in the morning before the traffic starts. That way I not only get to enjoy the drive, but also get more work done. And it’s also great for the fuel economy.” However much Rajiv loves cars, his financial training always kicks in when talking about cars. So did his decision to buy the Amaze stem from driving pleasure or economics?
CHEAPER THAN AN AUTO?
“I bought the Amaze primarily because it’s a great car to drive. I love Honda’s cars. My dream car would be a NSX rather than an Italian supercar. The Amaze is reliable, has a fantastic motor and is very comfortable,” he replies. Rajiv continues, “Having said that, it costs me very little to run and maintain. My son’s auto rickshaw bill to his tuitions and cricket practise is more than my fuel bill.”
How is that possible? It’s time to do the math to verify Rajiv’s statement.
Rajiv drives about 60km in a day or roughly 1,800km in a month. The Amaze gives an average of at least 15.2kpl. So he needs around 120 litres of diesel every month. Now, with the cost of diesel at Rs 60, Rajiv’s fuel bill would be Rs 7,200 a month or Rs 240 every day.
Autorickshaw cost per kilometre: Rs 12
Amaze cost per kilometre: Rs 4
SAVING ON VACATION
Rajiv loves travelling with his wife Geeta and teenage sons Arjun and Ankit. Apart from their one long annual holiday, they try and take short breaks during long weekends. “My wife Geeta is very good in finding fantastic deals. Last month, she told me that she had found very cheap airfares to Goa, just Rs 2,500. I told her that I had found a deal for under Rs 500,” he laughs.
Rajiv wasn’t joking. Last month, he took his family for a three-day vacation to Goa, though instead of a Boeing they travelled in the Honda Amaze. “I prefer driving to flying. Even Geeta, who is an avid photographer, prefers travelling by road because we can stop anywhere she finds a good picture.”
Leaving Mumbai at the crack of dawn, Rajiv managed to cross Pune before the morning rush hour. The broad Bangalore highway and the Amaze’s strong 100hp motor enabled them to make good time all the way to Nipani. Rajiv enjoyed the curvy state highway after they turned off NH 79 at Nipani and specially driving through the Amboli ghats. “Even after 11 hours on the road we were all very comfortable in the Amaze,” he notes on reaching Goa.
After a relaxing break, they drove back to Mumbai, refreshed and re-energised. Speaking about the vacation, Rajiv said, “Do you know what’s the best part about driving down to Goa, rather than flying? First, the vacation starts the moment you get into the car. Secondly, it’s a lovely drive through fantastic landscape. And most importantly, we saved about Rs 20,000.”
Geeta chimes in, “Yes, so now next month we can drive down to Mandu with the money that we have saved. I have always wanted to go and see Roopmati’s Palace.”
“Of course,” Rajiv replies.
How did Rajiv save Rs 20,000? Let’s calculate.
The distance between Mumbai and Goa is approximately 570km. In our tests, the Amaze’s diesel engine gives an economy of 15.2kpl in the city and 20.8kpl on the highway. So the combined fuel economy is 18kpl. Even if we take the combined fuel economy on this highway journey, the Amaze will need just 32 litres of fuel. If we take the price of a litre of diesel as Rs 60, the total fuel bill will be Rs 1,920. If the car is carrying a family of four, the cost of transportation per person is just Rs 480!
If Rajiv had flown to Goa with his family, the return tickets would have cost Rs 20,000. Plus he would have to pay for local transportation once he landed in Goa. That would be around Rs 4,000. Rajiv’s total fuel bill, to Goa and back was equal to what he would pay for taxis in Goa. So he saved his complete air fare of Rs 20,000.
Bombay-Goa-Bombay family of four: Rs 20,000
Bombay-Goa-Bombay family of four: Rs 4,000
CAR MAINTENANCE AT THE PRICE OF A PIZZA
With his financial training, Rajiv is hardwired to optimise costs. He knows that, apart from fuel costs the car will need regular maintenance. He intends to replace his Honda Amaze after five years. Rajiv has worked out the numbers and has come to a surprising conclusion. It costs the same as a pizza!
Rajiv explains, “My first two services were free. Honda recommends that I get my car serviced every 10,000km or six months, whichever comes earlier. The third service is coming up that will cost me Rs 2,237. I know that the service cost will increase over time as parts and consumables will have to be replaced at specified intervals. The service at the end of 1,00,000km or five years will cost me Rs 49,082. If I average it out, I will spend about Rs 5,000 per service. That works out to Rs 834 per month to keep my Honda Amaze in the pink of health. That’s about the price of a large pizza plus some side order and a soft drink we order on movie nights on Saturdays.”
“Dad, does that mean we have to give up our pizzas for your car?” his younger son is aghast.
“No Ankit, don’t worry about that,” Rajiv reassures his son.
Rajiv drives a diesel. If his Amaze was powered by the petrol motor the service cost would have been even lower. The service cost for the petrol Amaze averages out at Rs 3,000 per service or Rs 500 a month.
How does Honda manage to keep its service and maintenance costs so low?
The answer is simple. Good engineering that ensures that consumables like filters and lubricants need to be replaced less frequently. For example, the fuel filter in a petrol Amaze needs to be replaced only after 80,000km. Here are some others examples.
The spark plug in the Amaze petrol needs to be changed only after 40,000km or two years. And they are the best priced in the segment, at just Rs 180.
The transmission oil gets changed only after 60,000km or three years.
Even the brake and clutch fluids need to be changed after 60,000km or three years.
The coolant in the Amaze will serve you for 2,00,000km in the petrol and 1,00,000km in the diesel.
Remember, an average user drives his car for around 10,000km in a year. So when you are talking about a 2,00,000km interval, it’s nearly the life of a car.
SEVEN YEARS PEACE OF MIND FOR LOOSE CHANGE
“Do you know why I bought a Honda?”, Rajiv asks and then proceeds to answer his own question, “Rock-solid reliability. The Amaze is the second Honda I have owned and what it gives me is complete peace of mind. When I sold my earlier car it was as good as the day I bought it and fetched me a great price. I know that if on a rare occasion something does go wrong, Honda’s warranty schemes have me covered. And all it costs me is less than Rs 14 a day.”
Let’s explain what Rajiv is talking about. In the unlikely case that something goes wrong with the car, all Rajiv has to do is call the Honda roadside assistance number, and help will reach him wherever he is in the country. And that means, wherever — from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. This service costs Rs 1,842 a year or about Rs 5 a day . And since he has signed up for Honda’s Extended Warranty for an additional two years and 40,000km, the cost is Rs 7,514 which is effectively paying about Rs 10 per day. Also, he plans to sign up for Honda’s Anytime Warranty for a fifth year. The fifth year warranty will cost him Rs 7,787, which works out to about Rs 21 per day. If Rajiv changes his mind about selling the Amaze after five years, he can buy the Anytime Warranty for the sixth and seventh year too. So if you do the math, the cumulative cost for complete peace of mind comes to less than Rs 14 per day.
It’s not just the money that brings you peace of mind but the service itself. Honda will service your car in 3 hours flat, under its ‘Honda Quick Service’. The car will go through a 71-point check to make sure that not even the smallest detail is missed. With every engineered trained to stick to the ‘fix it right first time’ ideology.
Large pizza + side dish: Rs 850
Cost of maintenance per month: Rs 834
THE REAL COST
So now, let’s calculate the real cost of ownership. This is what it will really cost you every day to run and maintain the Honda Amaze diesel. Rs 240 a day for fuel, plus Rs 28 for maintenance. Add Rs 14 for peace of mind. That’s a total of Rs 282 per day.
“I have done the numbers, and the I find the Amaze unbeatable as far as value goes. It’s not just for the numbers alone that I love my car. It’s fun to drive, very comfortable and completely reliable. It makes me feel special,” Rajiv concludes.
Cost of a bottle of soft drink: Rs 20
Cost of peace of mind: Rs 14