The Honda Amaze VX(O) is the new top-of-the-line variant in the Amaze line-up. What it essentially adds is a 15.7cm (about 6.2-inch) touchscreen interface that’s borrowed from the Mobilio, and more aesthetically pleasing white-painted dials instead of the earlier orange ones. All of which adds around Rs 45,000 to the previous top-spec model. So the VX(O) trims are priced at Rs 7.32 lakh for the petrol manual and Rs 8.20 lakh for the diesel version.
Honda organised a 400km drive for us in the VX(O)s from Ahmedabad to the salt flats of the Rann of Kutch. My first thought was, that’s quite a drive to test a new infotainment system, but then the distance helped refresh my memory of what the Amaze is all about. Before I get into that, let’s look at the biggest addition on the car. The touch-based infotainment screen, Audio Visual Navigation (AVN) system as Honda calls it, adds a wide range of sound and video support that includes a CD/DVD player, USB input, Bluetooth telephony and audio (that’s easy to pair with) and a voice-guided GPS system with preloaded maps.
I started the drive towards the Rann of Kutch in the diesel Amaze — a car we’ve given a fair bit of stick to for being a bit too noisy. However, as part of their continuous improvement process, Honda says they’ve been working on improving the refinement of the Amaze. The car I was about to drive is supposed to have benefitted from this.
After about an hour behind the wheel, and a fair bit of kilometres over Gujarat’s mostly brilliant blacktop, I still wasn’t too sure about the claimed improvement in the car’s refinement. Sure, the diesel Amaze didn’t come across as overly unrefined or loud, but frankly, the difference (if any) seems marginal — unless I drive it back-to-back with an older Amaze, I cannot be absolutely sure.
What isn’t ambiguous is that the Amaze is good fun from behind the wheel. The punchy diesel mill, coupled with a pliant suspension setup and direct steering, make it entertaining to drive quick. And though the ride feels a bit busy on some surfaces, it’s quite comfortable overall. Speaking of comfort, Honda assigned three of us to a car and the spacious rear seat meant nobody grumbled when it was their turn to occupy the rear quarters.
As for the petrol Amaze, both the manual and automatic models felt a bit too lethargic at lower engine speeds — especially when compared to the likes of the Xcent and Zest. That said, the motor really wakes up after 4,000rpm and is an absolute hoot to bounce off the limiter — something we over-indulged in while going nuts on the seemingly infinite salt desert.
All told, the VX(O) variant now makes the Amaze one of the better equipped cars in the fierce compact-sedan segment. The question is whether the additional Rs 45,000 is worth shelling out for this trim. Sure, at over Rs 8 lakh for the diesel car, it feels a tad pricey and you can get a similar aftermarket head unit cheaper. But if you must have these features and don’t want to mess around with the warranty of the car, then it’s best to fork out that extra Rs 45,000.