Revving a highly strung VTEC petrol engine to the moon and reveling in the smooth symphony of motor at full chat is something that petrol heads have always adored about Hondas. Try doing that with the 1.5 liter i-DTEC turbo diesel motor that’s found in cars such as the Honda Amaze and the City sedans, and you’ll be rewarded with a clattery cacophony that immediately makes the right foot back off with alarming immediacy.
The tale of two engine series, albeit from the same manufacturer, couldn’t have been more different. While the Honda i-VTEC petrols are refined and sweet even at their redlines, the diesels wearing the i-DTEC badge seem from a different planet altogether. However, Honda has the 1.5 liter-4 cylinder i-DTEC turbo diesel engine to pay obeisance to, every single day, considering how this motor single-handedly brought the Japanese automaker back from the brink in India.
The 1.5 liter i-DTEC turbo diesel engine has propelled Honda, from the also-ran category in the Indian car market, to the third place, all in a span of a little over a year. Such has been the success level of this ultra frugal, all-aluminium diesel motor developed mainly for the Indian car market. One bug bear of this motor though, is the amount of clatter it makes. While all diesels clatter, ones that use aluminum for their builds clatter more than the others.
The difference in clatter can be simple attributed to the sound damping characteristics of aluminum, which is much lower than that of cast iron. Consequently, modern day cars with diesel engines built of cast iron are quieter than their aluminum engined diesel counterparts, with all things being equal. Tipping, or rather restoring the balance in an aluminum diesel engine’s favour will require a special sleight of hand from the car/engine manufacturer and this is what Honda plans to do with the Amaze.
The automaker plans to add more sound deadening material in the Amaze’s engine bay and on the car’s firewall to muffle the 1.5 liter i-DTEC turbo diesel motor’s noisy clatter. With that seemingly simple solution, which makes us wonder why Honda hasn’t already done it, the Amaze Diesel is set to get quieter in the days to come. However, the extra sound deadening for the Amaze Diesel will only come with the car’s facelift, which is said to be due next year.
Digressing a bit, Honda has been progressively quietening the 1.5 liter i-DTEC turbo diesel engine, with each new car launch. The Amaze Diesel was and is noisy, while the City Diesel was much quieter. The i-DTEC diesel motor is even more quieter on the Mobilio MPV, that will sit a segment under that of the City. In the upcoming Jazz hatchback, due early next year, the i-DTEC motor might have its swansong, as far as refinement levels are concerned.