Here is a brief review of the much awaited Honda City. Is it better than the car it replaces? Let's find out.
EDIT: Indian Car pictures added - The red coloured car is the Indian-spec City while the Silver coloured car is the Thailand-spec. Notice no alloys, rear view mirror indicators and fog lamps on Indian version. Interiors on the Indian version get beige treatment.
The new City looks stunning whichever angle you look at it from. The front especially looks very attractive. The grille and headlights wouldn't look out of place on cars from a higher segment. Gone is the disproportionate look of the old City. It is a welcome relief from the old City's quirky looks. Now it has clean and well proportioned profile and manages to look sporty somewhat like the original City that had captured the hearts of many drivers back in its day. The same aggressive looks of the front hasn't carried over very well to the rear which looks just about okay. The tail-lamps look somewhat bland in comparison. But just like the Civic, this design will still look fresh after some years.
The interiors may not have the flair of the Civic, nevertheless they look good and are functional too. The Thailand spec car came with dull looking interiors, but the Indian car will have beige interiors which will definately look better. Interior quality is top notch, the cabin has good amount of storage space for the passengers and their knick-knacks. The front seats are more comfortable than the older car and the rear seats although very comfortable in their own right are not like the old seats which were set slightly higher. The audio system is not a conventional CD player. Honda has gone a step ahead and provided a system that accepts an i-Pod or memory stick. There is a slot provided for an aftermarket CD player if the customer wishes. Sound quality is good too.
Performance, Ride & Handling
Now the old IDSi engine wasn't exactly a rocket in a straightline and many people may have longed for the original City just for the driving pleasure it offered. The new City now comes VTEC power only. It produces 116bhp and 14.8kgm of torque. There's good pulling power in the low and mid-range. The engine is smooth and is particularly audible only near the redline. The City is available both in manual and automatic transmission variants. The auto model gets paddle shifts behind the steering wheel just like the Civic and it is no longer a CVT gearbox, but a more conventional auto tranny with a torque converter lockup for better performance. The old City's biggest problem was the electronic power steering which although great for city driving felt lifeless and vague at highway speeds. The new City sorts this out with a new system which weighs up nicely with speed. Corners are now handled more confidently, there is still some body roll but well under control. The narrow tyres however, run out of grip fairly quickly. Ride and handling have improved overall over the older car.
The new City has set benchmarks once again for others to follow. Not only does it improve on the older car but takes care of most of the problems of the previous generation car. It has seen a price increase over the older car, but it is well worth it because the City has grown up and now a more desirable than ever. Let's just say it has the soul of the original city and the practicality of the previous City. I think it is the best City yet. Make sure you take this one for a drive.