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Test drive: Is the Honda Amaze better than the Swift Dzire?

The Dzire has always received applause from experts for its aesthetic appeal. Having started its life as a hatchback six-and-a-half- years ago, the earlier model looked rather ungainly with its stuck-on boot. The current Dzire, isn’t exactly a visual delight as it delivers its own set of mild eyesores. And now, it finds direct competition in Honda Amaze. Sunday Mid Day weighs the pros and cons

The Swift Dzire
The Swift Dzire

Design and Styling
The boot still looks disproportionate to the rest of the car. In comparison, the designers at Honda have managed to lend the Amaze individual character. It looks like a new car and not a Brio with a boot. Increasing the wheelbase of the Brio for the Amaze has worked wonders for the proportions of the car, and even with its stubby trunk, the Amaze carries a proper sedan shape. As a result, the Amaze takes home much more accolades on aesthetic appeal.

The Honda Amaze
The Honda Amaze

Engine and Gearbox
The all-new Honda 1.5 i-DTEC Earth Dreams engine takes the game a notch higher in the diesel segment. The new engine delivers class leading 100PS of power and 200Nm of peak torque against Dzire’s 75PS of power and 190Nm of torque. The turbo lag on the Amaze’s 1.5-litre unit is lesser than Dzire’s 1.3-litre DDiS Multijet unit.

The torque in the Amaze starts building up at 1,200-1,300 rpm, while the Dzire gets its addictive surge after crossing the 1,800 rpm mark. A stronger low-end grunt is known to benefit in-city fuel efficiency. No wonder then the Amaze’s 1.5-litre unit delivers an ARAI certified fuel efficiency of 25.8 kmpl against Dzire’s 23.4 kmpl. In addition, the Amaze has quicker 0-100 kmph acceleration and better top speed. On the flip side, the Amaze’s diesel engine is reasonably noisier than Dzire. It takes its own time to settle down after a cold start.

The petrol engine variants of the two cars are closely matched. The Amaze has 1bhp more power with 86bhp on tap, while the Dzire has 6 Nm of extra torque. The Dzire also has a superior ARAI rated fuel efficiency of 19.1 kmpl against Amaze’s 18 kmpl. Dzire’s engine has stronger mid-range spunk whereas the Amaze delivers great performance higher up the rev range. The petrol variants of both the cars come equipped with automatic transmission systems in addition to five speed manual units. While both the automatics are pretty basic, Amaze’s auto offers a slight advantage with its 5-speed unit over the Dzire’s 4-speed box.

The Amaze, especially in its diesel avatar clearly has the better diesel powertrain of the two. As for the petrol powered variants, the Dzire with its better low to mid range grunt has a marginal edge for city users.

Cabin features
Honda has worked really hard to extract the last bit of space from the Amaze’s cabin. Measures like pushing the dashboard further towards the bonnet, using slim seats to enhance legs-pace for the back benchers and extending the wheelbase has liberated more space than you could imagine. The seats, especially at the front, though visibly cost-cut, are comfortable. There is ample leg and shoulder room at the rear -- the Amaze can actually seat five. The space boasts a richer and more tastefully appointed interior. The Amaze also has a bigger boot with 400 litres volume against the Dzire’s 315-litre loading capacity.

The Amaze’s interior, much in the Swift Dzire fashion, shares its parts bin with the Brio, and looks very similar to its smaller sibling. The dashboard looks basic with no CD-player and no climate control.

The Dzire has a more richly appointed interior with better quality plastics and more equipment. The front seats on the Dzire look much better than the Amaze’s units with their integrated headrests. Overall, while the Amaze has an edge as regards space and airiness, but the Dzire feels more premium.

Driving dynamics
Amaze’s chunky steering wheel feels nice to hold and is well-weighted. Coupled with the spunky diesel motor and a compliant suspension, it’s a reasonably fun to drive the car. The Amaze suits our road conditions rather well. In comparison, the Dzire’s steering is skinnier to hold. The ride quality and comfort on the Dzire is extremely good though, and additional ground clearance gives it the capability to clear the notorious Indian speed breakers with ease.

Amaze’s spunky engines lend it better acceleration and higher top speed, while the Dzire has respectable top speed for both the variants. Both cars are acceptably sure-footed, and can be fun to drive in their own different ways. The Amaze, however, has a marginal edge here.

The verdict
Of late, Honda has been under tremendous pressure in India. With the Amaze, they have taken their first step in the Indian diesel car market with confidence. The Amaze is a well-packaged product, built for the Indian customer. A Spartan looking dashboard and noise from the diesel engine are two of the downsides.

Though the new Honda has outwitted it in most departments, one still can’t go wrong with the Dzire. To take the fight back to the Amaze, Maruti Suzuki has recently launched the Dzire Regal, which offers additional features and a new colour for a very reasonable price.

So while the Amaze has better aesthetics, interior space, performance and efficiency on its side, the Dzire has a better interiors and Maruti Suzukis backing to its advantage. Identify your need and choose your steed, is our suggestion.

The writer is the editor of the www.motoroids.com

Interiors etc

Pushing the dashboard further towards the bonnet, using slim seats to enhance legs-pace for the back benchers and extending the wheelbase has liberated more space in Amaze

The Amaze also has a bigger boot with 400 litres volume against the Dzire’s 315-litre loading capacity

The seats, especially at the front, though minimalistic, are comfortable. There is ample leg and shoulder room at the rear -- the Amaze can actually seat five

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