Honda City 2020 - Review
The Honda City in its 5th Generation Avatar, Can it take on the German and Korean Rivals? We got a chance to drive the New Honda City, here is what we think.
Back in 1998 and 2003, Honda made a foray into India with the Honda City. The Honda City VTEC gave enthusiasts here a taste of the “VTEC just kicked in yo!”. Even today, The first generation Honda City VTEC is a prized possession for enthusiasts. Coming back to the current scenario the executive sedan space is a crowded space with lots of options from multiple manufacturers. Hyundai recently has brought in the New Designed Verna while Skoda has updated the Rapid with New engines and a sharper look. Between the overly flashy Verna and almost boring Ciaz, Honda has brought the New City to the game, this time with a new design and a lot of tech. We got a chance to drive the New Honda City while maintaining social distancing and safety measures along with a slight paranoia of the corona virus, here is our report.
How does it look?
Well, in short, the front looks like a CIVIC and the design of the rear lights looks like its inspired from the BMW 3series. Is this a bad thing? No! The whole design looks very good. It's longer and wider than the previous generation. The exterior design this time around is very sharp and looks premium.
The New Honda City gets a 9pot LED lights cluster on each side, flanked by LED headlamp. These headlights resemble the one on the Civic, from the front the similarities to the Civic is very evident. All in all a good thing since civic is a good looking car. The flatter design of the bonnet this time is something I really liked. The Headlights have DRLs on the top and LED indicators below, Both of them are huge and quite nice to look at when lit. The grille in the centre has a lot of chrome and stands out.
When looked from the side the larger proportions are visible along with the newer, flatter design. From the side, New City looks ready for corporate execs as well as sporty enough for enthusiasts. The City is longer than any other mid-size sedan and that’s very evident when viewed from the side. While the wheelbase remains the same as earlier the new city is now 109mm longer than before! The alloy wheel design is a tad to much and the 185section tyres a tad too skinny, a 195 or 205 section tyre would do wonders to the stance of the New City.
The Rear design is quite simple compared to the front, although two things are immediately evident. First being the lack of chrome elements, which is a good move. Secondly, the rear lights are very BMWish, again a good thing. The overall rear design is simple yet elegant. Lights illuminate in a Z pattern, The rear indicators could have been larger along with the size of the brake lights. Reflectors on the bumper add to the contrast without being too gaudy like some of the competition.
The design elements on the New City take a lot of cues from the Accord and the Civic, thus lending a distinct premium look to the City.
How is it from the inside?
The moment you open the doors of the New City, you notice the amount of space inside. The door panels are quite similar to the earlier model, the dashboard is all new along with an 8inch infotainment system that takes the center stage. The touch panel for HVAC controls are gone and now there are rotary knobs, which we think is a good move. The beige and black design gives an airy feeling to the cabin as before. The instrument cluster is new and this time it is semi-digital with 7inch LCD for the RPM, which also gives out a lot of information along with a G-Meter and TPMS. Honda has given the New City, the LaneWatch Camera, which activates on a switch on headlight stalk or when you switch on the left turn signal. There is a lot of hard touch plastics all-around a bits of soft-touch elements, this is one area where things could have been better.
The Honda City has always had a lot of space inside, the new Honda City with larger dimensions takes this even further. I’m 6foot tall and while at the driver seat there was ample headroom, should room and legroom, at the same time with the steering wheel being adjustable for rake and reach finding the perfect driving position was easy.
No powered seats here though, also no ventilated seats and wireless charging. What you get is a large automatic sunroof and automatic IRVM. The boot here is 506liters, in layman terms its big and will easily a lot of things, on a side note the spare wheel is also a full-size alloy.
VTEC & DTEC Driving Impressions?
Coming to the heart of the matter, the engines. The New Honda City is power by BSVI compliant 1.5 iVTEC motor, this engine now comes with dual overhead cams(DOHC) and variable valve timing control (VTC). These new additions aid in drivability a lot, we put the car in 6th gear at 1200rpm and the new iVTEC motor pulled without any lugging or fuss. The power figures are similar to the previous-gen, 121ps and 145nm but the engine bounces of limiter at 7000rpms and the thrill of driving close to the limiter in a more than eager engine and chassis was a fun experience. Something on the lines of the OG Honda City Vtec from 2000. The Motor is vocal above 3500rpm on the sportier side but its quite audible inside the cabin. This is masked well in the automatic variant.
Driving Impression :
The Petrol Manual is as fun to drive as ever, the work done on the suspension and chassis by Honda is evident the moment to start driving enthusiastically. Since this is a naturally aspirated motor the power delivery is very linear, unlike peaky stuff that you get from turbo cars, At the same time, Mid-range punch associated with turbo cars is missing. But this is not bad, its just different, as the City is quick to respond to throttle inputs and very enjoyable to drive.
The Driving the diesel was an interesting experience, Honda has worked on the soundproofing the cabin and firewall along with internal components resulting in an overall quieter experience than before. The engine is vocal when you go pedal to the metal but comparing to the previous-gen it's much better, although not in the same league as the Korean counterparts. The iDTEC engine produces 100ps and 200nm just like before but honda has worked a lot on the internals, you can feel the difference once you step on the accelerator. The car pulls cleanly and mid-range is punchy. Even before the turbo kicks in the power delivery is linear not all dead. This engine is known to be efficient and we are expecting some mileage number from the Diesel City.
The Diesel Variant of the New Honda City only comes with a 6speed manual, with the Amaze having an automatic diesel variant this is a serious omission. Having said that the engine is much more refined compare to the earlier generation. The torquey motor pulls cleanly till its 4000 rpm redline without any fuss. There is enough oomph in the motor for highway cruising and city driving. The diesel clatter is very well damped and not much of noise creeps inside the cabin at idle or cruising speeds.
Infotainment system – The 8inch infotainment system is all New, while in times of smartphones the user interface seems unintuitive but it does support Apple Carplay and Android Auto along with Weblink. The infotainment system also displays the LaneWatch Camera feed and the multi-angle reverse camera feed. The company says there is a low reflection coating on the screen but due to the angle of the screen visible during the day time was difficult.
Instrument Cluster – The 7inch LCD instrument cluster is a nice touch, the screen has great brightness levels and visibility. There is a lot of information available here along with a fun meter to check G-Forces, let's hope people don’t try to pull max G’s in the Honda City. Cruise control with memory function is also available along with the tyre deflation system warning.
Connected City – Now going with the trend started by Chinese Carmakers in India, The New City is Alexa Enabled. No, you don’t have to say Hello City open the sunroof, you can switch on/off your Aircon along with setting the temp, lock unlock the car and boot etc from the Alexa app on your phone. The company says you can access 10 features using Amazon Alexa, We tried this and it worked as described although this is dependent on the mobile data connection at your area.
The City also comes with a host of safety features 7 airbags, seat belts with 3point load limiter, Isofix and top tether for child seats. In the Active safety systems, the New City comes with Vehicle Stability Assist, Agile Handling Assist, Hill Start Assist and Emergency Stop Assist which flashes your brake lights under hard braking. You can remotely open & close all 4 door windows along with the Sunroof, using the remote, this along with remote engine start is going to be a boon during the Indian Summers.
In a world madly in love with SUVs and Pseudo SUVs, The New Honda City makes a compelling case for itself. It looks and feels sporty, has a fun to drive motor that redlines at 7000rpm, while having ample space inside. And now with these new connected features and luxurious interiors, the executive sedan segment has a new benchmark to beat. Let's hope Honda prices the New City smartly.