Does it Amaze?

It was a chilly morning and Ernie felt the weather in his bones. At 75, his mind was still strong and agile, but his body was rebelling against his rigorous exercise routines. He reached across the kitchen counter in the retirement facility and grudgingly swallowed the pills that were handed to him with false smile and a cold heart.

“Big day today, Ernie, your new car arrives. You must be excited.” The orderly said as she took his breakfast order. He grunted under his breath. In this place, any news was gossip and gossip was everyone’s news.

He chewed thoughtfully on rubbery eggs and crispy bacon. After washing it down with cheap coffee, Ernie squinted at the infernal cellular phone that had begun vibrating in his pocket. They were not allowed to let cellphones ring; apparently it disturbed the peace.

“Your new Honda is at the main gate, please collect,” the offensive SMS announced. He shoved the tray aside and creaked to his feet, shuffling purposefully towards reception.

His reflexes were not what they used to be; the old shrapnel that was still painfully embedded in his left leg did not allow him much flexibility. He had sold his faithful Honda Ballade 160i DOHC and ordered the new Honda Amaze 1.2 Automatic. After his last near miss, his left leg had gone numb, and his physician had cautioned him against driving a manual car.

He peered through the reception at his new pride and joy, a far cry from his spirited fastback Ballade, but the passage of time does not allow much flexibility and he had to let her throbbing pistons and high-revving exhaust notes go.

With a melancholy smile he stepped towards his White Orchid Pearlescent Honda Amaze 1.2 Comfort Auto and was pleasantly surprised with its build quality and looks. For R208 000, there was not much in the form of automatics on the market that his army pension would allow. The Amaze ticked that box, and what the sales person had mentioned about build quality and redesign also featured strongly in his choice of car.

Ernie opened the door and noticed that it had been completely redesigned from the previous model — the stiffer chassis and more steel made it more durable in an accident.

It also featured all the new age millennial gadgets like Android auto, Apple Car play and a touch screen, which Ernie chuckled about; what would an old fart like him do with that? It had electric windows in the front and he noticed that although the seats were cloth, they offered a fair degree of comfort and support for his weary body. He sat down and run his aged hands over the solid plastic constructed dash and the well-co-ordinated interior.

Ernie marveled over the paddle shifters behind the steering wheel. With 66KW and 110NM of torque, this gimmick served no purpose than perhaps making the car appear faster than it actually was. He started it up and rolled down the cobblestone driveway.

The auto box was smooth and the ride was comfortable, until he climbed a speed bump and felt the Honda wallow a bit. Ernie grabbed a stopwatch, put the car into sport mode and launched it as hard as he was able. After a dreary 13-plus seconds, the needle dragged over 100km/h. No more drag racing for him, but after pushing the seat all the way back, he had enough room for the four more members of the bowling club.

He took a slow, chilled cruise through his old neighborhood, enjoying the sound system and the highly effective air-conditioning system. He passed a taxi on the way that had a silver version of the car he was driving — it was a good alternative as a commercial vehicle — cheap, reliable and economical.

Ernie watched the fuel gauge and was pleased by the frugal consumption of the Amaze, which averaged just under six litres per 100km, and although he would not be getting any speeding tickets, he would not struggle with the high consumption figures of his old sporty Ballade.

He wondered why in a market where sedan sales were declining, Honda had developed and launched this creation, and then it struck him: there was nothing in this price range that offered spacious, steady comfort with lean consumption.

Ernie pulled back into his retirement villa with mixed feelings. His new baby was well constructed, solid and had enough features to keep his aging mind occupied. He missed decent performance, loud noises and firm suspension, but his pension would last with a vehicle like this.

Honda Amaze 1.2 Comfort CVT

Price R208 900

Engine 1.2-Litre SOHC i-VTEC 16V

Power 66kW

Torque 110Nm

0-100 > 10 s

Top Speed 157 km/h

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.


Zuma turns on judiciary as trial nears

Former president says pre-trial correspondence is part of another plot

High court declares Dudu Myeni delinquent

Disgraced former SAA chairperson Dudu Myeni has been declared a delinquent director by the...

SANDF inquiry clears soldiers of the death of Collins Khosa

The board of inquiry also found that it was Khosa and his brother-in-law Thabiso Muvhango who caused the altercation with the defence force members

Lockdown relief scheme payouts to employees tops R14-billion

Now employers and employees can apply to the Unemployment Insurance Fund for relief scheme payments

Press Releases

Obituary: Mohammed Tikly

His legacy will live on in the vision he shared for a brighter more socially just future, in which racism and discrimination are things of the past

Openview, now powered by two million homes

The future of free-to-air satellite TV is celebrating having two million viewers by giving away two homes worth R2-million

Road to recovery for the tourism sector: The South African perspective

The best-case scenario is that South Africa's tourism sector’s recovery will only begin in earnest towards the end of this year

What Africa can learn from Cuba in combating the Covid-19 pandemic

Africa should abandon the neoliberal path to be able to deal with Covid-19 and other health system challenges likely to emerge in future

Coexisting with Covid-19: Saving lives and the economy in India

A staggered exit from the lockdown accompanied by stepped-up testing to cover every district is necessary for India right now

Covid-19: Eased lockdown and rule of law Webinar

If you are arrested and fined in lockdown, you do get a criminal record if you pay the admission of guilt fine

Covid-19 and Frontline Workers

Who is caring for the healthcare workers? 'Working together is how we are going to get through this. It’s not just a marathon, it’s a relay'.

PPS webinar Part 2: Small business, big risk

The risks that businesses face and how they can be dealt with are something all business owners should be well acquainted with

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday