The market is cluttered with SUVs, but Honda hasn’t lost hope in its City sedan, which continues to soldier on even after 22 years of being a hot-seller for the Japanese car maker. The City has lived on through four generations, finally making it to its fifth-gen avatar. The fourth-generation model had been the most successful, thanks to the option of a diesel engine. The fifth-generation City comes with both, a petrol and a diesel engine. This is no mild makeover; it’s an all-new City in every sense of the word while being based on an updated version of the previous model. The steel is strong, the roof is stiffer, resulting in better torsional rigidity. The car is also heavier, thanks to improved safety and sound insulation. The new City is bigger too, and that means more interior space, plus added features. But with so many SUVs and similarly priced new upcoming cars, does it still stand a chance in this cut-throat market?
The Honda City looks different; it looks stylish alright, but a lot simpler and not as aerodynamic to look at as the earlier model. But the overall silhouette will tell you this is a City. The wheelbase remain untouched, but it is longer and wider than before; the height, on the other hand, has dropped. The front includes a thick chrome bar on the nose, flanked by stylish headlights. From the side, the new Honda City‘s length becomes obvious; in fact, it’s longer than the first-generation Civic. The proportions, however, are not spot-on. The long and high-set bonnet along with the chunky front bumper don’t bode well, making the nose jut out inappropriately. The 16-inch wheels look small on the car, but the character line gives it some muscle. The tail lights have a three-dimensional effect to them and the smoked-out elements look nice. The rear bumpers sport vertical reflector strips. The Honda City, in its fifth-generation form, certainly looks good.
A City worth spending time in
Inside the City, you get a premium car vibe with the light brown and black cabin. The plastics are of good quality, but softer textures would’ve been nicer. You get a lot of the brown leather: on the dashboard panel, central console, seats and doors. The central console is nicely designed and the sculpted seats are comfortable. You get the best space at the back in this segment. The seat base will have three seated nice and comfortably even on long journeys. Rear occupants also get three-point seat belts, and headroom is decent.
Coming to the engine. The Honda City is powered by a 1.5-litre, naturally-aspirated petrol engine producing 119bhp and 145Nm of torque. Don’t expect the shove you get from a turbo engine, but the motor still feels strong and tractable. The motor pulls well in high gears and will rev happily till about 7000rpm. The engine delivers good performance throughout, and if you’re buying the CVT, you get an even better mileage of 18.4kpl. The suspension is now softer, thanks to the stiffer body. This has also contributed towards improving ride quality. It absorbs bumps without unsettling the folks inside; the ride feels more mature and it stays composed at highway speeds. However, the City is not as planted as we thought it to be; you’ll have hold on to that wheel to ensure you’re safe at those speeds; the ground clearance ensures you don’t scrape the underbelly anywhere. Honda hasn’t given us any news about any new upcoming cars. On the handling front, the City feels predictable, making it a boon to drive. The steering has a good bit of weight to it and the tyres provide good grip. However, pushing the car too hard would result in body roll, which is felt prominently up-front. The brakes perform well, but feel a bit spongy.