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
0-100 > 10 s
Top Speed 157 km/h