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And the best compact sedan in India is...

Motor Trend India logo Motor Trend India 23-06-2016

© MotorTrend India Introduction

The battle for the compact sedan crown it seems is getting even more heated with new entrants coming in wanting to take the crown away from the segment leader which is the Dzire. However there are also other cars like the Hyundai Xcent, Tata Zest, Ford Figo Aspire which are also doing quite well. Clearly there is a lot of sales potential here and that is why recently Honda also came up with the facelift version of their popular car Amaze which has been the second highest selling sub-four meter sedan in India. Now this league is joined by the German player, Volkswagen Ameo which initially got very good response during Auto Expo.

Now since Ameo is also in the segment which is already filled with competitive products so let us compare it against its all competitors in this article.

© MotorTrend India Looks

The Ameo gets the styling cues from the Polo and resembles a lot to the hatch sibling while the stubby boot gives it a unique look in the family. Surely it is not the best looking sub-four meter sedan but it has some road presence. The new Amaze also gets minor but noticeable exterior changes which includes new front bumper and grille which seems inspired from the styling of Mobilio RS and surely adds the sporty character to this car.

Among its rivals the new Dzire looks sportier than before with the blackened headlamps while the Zest and Xcent all despite being under 4m come across as pleasant designs however we see the Figo Aspire having a slight edge here with its sharp lines and curves, Aston Martin type trapezoidal front grille and wide air-dam.

© MotorTrend India Dimensions

The Ameo measures same 3993mm in length same as most of its rivals like Aspire, Dzire, Xcent and Zest while the Amaze is only 5mm shorter in length than all. The Zest is widest of the all with its width of 1706mm followed by Dzire and Aspire sharing the width of 1695mm while the Ameo, Amaze and Xcent are the least wide cars here measuring at 1682mm, 1680mm and 1660mm respectively.

The Aspire has an advantage of having the longest wheelbase of 2491mm which is 22mm longer than the Ameo and 21mm longer than the Zest while its 61mm and 66mm longer than the Dzire and Xcent respectively. The Amaze has the shortest wheelbase of 2405mm which still transforms into the best legroom inside in its class thanks to the smart packaging done by Honda.

The Aspire surely has the longest wheelbase for better legroom inside for all passengers but that space comes at the price of its short boot space. After Dzire which has the shortest boot capacity of 320L followed by Ameo with boot capacity of 330L. It is the Aspire which comes third with a boot capacity of 359L which is nearly 48mm less the segment leader Xcent followed by Amaze and Zest at 400mm and 390mm respectively. Apart from Aspire and Amaze, the top variants of all cars in this competition come equipped with 15-inch alloy wheels while they ride on smaller 14-inch wheels.

© MotorTrend India Engine¬†

 Engine wise, the Figo Aspire is the most powerful car in its class beating all its rivals by a significant margin with its engine specifications. The Aspire has two petrol engines and one diesel engine.

The 1.2L petrol engine has a power and torque output of 86bhp and 112Nm which comes mated with a five-speed manual gearbox. It also gets the 1.5L from Ecosport which has a power and torque output of 110bhp and 136Nm which is coupled with a six-speed dual clutch auto gearbox making it the only car in its class to get this advanced set of hardware.

The 1.5L TDCi diesel engine from Fiesta has been especially tuned for more power which now produces a peak power of 99bhp and torque output of 215Nm which is served with a five-speed manual gearbox.

The Ameo is the only car in this competition which comes with a 3-cylinder petrol engine and it has the least powerful petrol engine as it borrows its engine line-up from the Polo which includes 1.2L, 3-cylinder, 74bhp petrol engine equipped with a five-speed manual gearbox.

Currently, there is no automatic option available in Ameo but later this year, it will be launched with the retuned version of 1.5L diesel engine which will be served with first in class 7-speed dual clutch automatic transmission. The segment leader Dzire has 1.2L petrol and 1.3L diesel engine which has a power output of 83bhp and 74bhp respectively. Second comes the Amaze which retains its 1.2L petrol engine with a power output of 87bhp while the 1.5L diesel engine churns out a peak power of 99bhp.

The Xcent also has a powerful 1.2L petrol engine of 81bhp while it has the smallest 1.1L diesel engine here which has a power output of 71bhp. The Zest also has 1.2L petrol and 1.3L diesel engine both of which has a similar power output of 89bhp.All cars come standard with 5-speed manual gearboxes while the petrol versions of Dzire and Xcent also have an option of 4-speed automatic gearbox. Honda has replaced the five-speed automatic of Amaze with the new CVT which makes it more fuel efficient and peppier to drive. The Zest does not have a petrol automatic version but it offers a 5-speed Automated Manual transmission same as Dzire which is one of their biggest USPs.

Fuel efficiency

As far as fuel efficiency is concerned, the diesel version of Dzire remains the most fuel efficient sub-four meter sedan in India with a mileage of 26.5km/ltr while the Aspire and Amaze share same ARAI certified mileage of 25.8km/ltr followed by Xcent and Zest with a mileage of 24.4km/ltr and 23km/ltr respectively. In terms of petrols the Dzire is again most efficient with a mileage of near 21 kmpl while the Xcent and Amaze come second followed by Amaze, Ameo and Zest.

© MotorTrend India Features and interiors

The Ameo clearly sweeps the department of interior fit and finish with its high quality interiors. The touch and feel inside does not belong to this segment and make it the most premium car from inside in this comparison. The new Amaze also gets complete new dashboard which replaces its previous blandly styled dashboard. The car gets new air-vents, instrument console same as Jazz which looks premium and seems quite functional as well. However, it retains its slim seats and other stuff. The new Amaze gets a new system with Bluetooth connectivity and steering mounted control.

All cars get power-foldable, adjustable ORVMs, auto climate control, keyless entry, rear de-fogger, front fog lamps, power windows, ABS with EBD and Dual front airbags, rear center armrest, tilt and telescopic adjustable steering mounted with audio and phone controls. The Figo Aspire additionally gets a device dock which allows the driver to store, mount and charge mobile phones, MP3 players and satellite navigation systems, and to integrate these devices into the cars entertainment system.

There is also the SYNC with AppLink, Fords advanced in-car connectivity system, Emergency Assistance feature and it also gets additional four airbags, ESP and Hill start assist for auto variant. Some of these features are not there in its rivals but the Zest feature touchscreen navigation system with rear view camera plus the Xcent also gets rear AC vents and a rear camera plus 1GB storage etc. Similar to Xcent, the Ameo will also get rear parking camera, sensors, touchscreen system, rear air-con vents while it will also get first in class features such front centre armrest, cruise control, static lights and automatic rain sensing wipers.

The new Dzire same as Xcent also gets added features like push button start, electrically adjustable ORVMs etc.

© MotorTrend India Price

There are pro and cons of all the cars but the Ameo looks very promising in terms of features and equipments while the recently updated Amaze stands tall and high against all competitors in terms of features as per the pricing of its variants. The Ameo proves to be a very competitive product since its styling, features, interiors and excellent pricing has been inherited from the already popular cars which gives it an advantage over all its rivals. The Ameo is launched at a price of INR 5.21lakh which makes it cheaper than its prime rivals including Dzire which has always been ruling the segment followed by facelifted Amaze and Xcent.

Thus as a value choice it is hard to argue against the Ameo however, one should not forget that Ameo is currently the least powerful car in its competition. Thus to summarise the Ameo seems the most tempting in the petrol class along with the Amaze and Dzire. While in the diesels the Aspire comes across as the most fun and with the strongest performance followed by the Amaze, Dzire, Zest and Xcent.

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