Honda, a sort of a laggard in the market for the last few years is playing catch up and how. With the launch of the Brio and a price correction on the Jazz and City, it's slowly, but surely managing to claw itself back into the market. However, it knows that its future without a diesel motor is as redundant as a stapler without pins in India. And therefore, it's now ready to launch not just the first diesel motor, come April 2013, but in a car that will also be Honda's answer to the Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire.
Called the Amaze, the Brio based sedan is just under 4 metres long and is powered by a 1.5-litre, four-cylinder diesel motor, mated to a 5-speed gearbox. It's a variant of the same engine that's found in Europe, but that one has a capacity that is 100cc more. While technical details are scarce, we believe it should produce about 75 to 85 bhp and about 20-21 kgm of peak torque. We also expect the car to deliver in the region of 23-25 kpl under ARAI test conditions.
In our brief drive around the Twin Ring Motegi, it became amply clear that this engine has excellent in-town driveability. From about 1200 rpm onwards the engine starts to show some spunk and by about 1500-1600 rpm, the turbo spurts into life. There is ample shove till about 3000-3300 rpm by which time the power kind starts to find a peak point. The flat torque curve and the excellent gearing do lend it a sense of urban friendliness that many other cars lack. The steering too tightens up better than the Brio hatch while the clutch action is light.