Amidst all the activity at the 2012 Honda Meeting in Japan was a special preview of the upcoming Brio sedan, which is set to be launched in Thailand on November 23. A short sampling of the car was arranged for the Malaysian contingent, and we managed to try out the example meant for the Indian market.

The Amaze, or the Brio Amaze as it will be known in Thailand, is set to debut in the Kingdom with a 1.2 litre petrol engine (as seen in the existing hatch), but the particular example on hand at Tochigi wore the spanking new 1.5 litre Earth Dreams i-DTEC turbodiesel.

It’s the company’s newest oil burner, and follows on the recently-announced 1.6 litre i-DTEC meant for the European market. Work on the 1.5 litre unit branched out as development began on the Euro 6-compliant 1.6 litre unit, and progressed in tandem.

Destined to debut in India next year (with the petrol unit), the new mill is Euro 4-compliant, and though the Honda engineers were tight-lipped when asked about the power output (or any other figures, for that matter), one of them let slip the maximum torque available from the mill – it’s 200 Nm.

Also dropped was the weight of the Amaze in its diesel configuration, and that’s 1,050 kg. Aside from that, no other numbers to report. No photos either from the quiet aside, which was done just off the main area of proceedings, but hidden from view.

The benchmark competitor for the Amaze is the bulky-looking Suzuki Swift Dzire sedan, and the Honda looks a fair bit tidier in this regard, at least in the metal. The C-pillar area is Saga-esque in its shape, and the rear looks compacted in direct view, but offers competent cargo space when revealed.

Likewise, the interior, which offers good in-cabin height perception and decent acreage for rear passengers despite the car’s compactness. Materials are par for the course in the segment, with good finish, and the light-tan coloured interior (like in the cabin photo here, taken from the Brio Amaze Club Thailand FB page), spartan though it may be, helps with making things airier.

The drive itself was brief, two rounds on a rather short loop, so we could only gun the car – which was equipped with a five-speed manual transmission – for a very short stretch. The diesel has good poke, but isn’t just a veritable mule.

Floor it and dump the clutch, and the car torque steers its way off the blocks, but it’s pretty smooth going up the rev range, and the ratios on 1st through 3rd (no chance to go much higher) suggest a clean and efficient partner in the gearbox. Ride is compliant, if a bit on the soft side.

You won’t mistake it for not being a diesel from inside the cabin; there’s a fair bit of clatter evident to remind you, but on the whole the Amaze diesel seems well sorted out. Shame we won’t be seeing the likes of it here, or even the Brio Amaze for that matter – like in the case of the Brio hatch, word is that there are no plans to introduce the sedan in Malaysia.