- Published On: 12 April 2017
- 4 min read
The third version of the City is every bit as practical as the car it replaced. It offers superb comfort and space, impressive fuel economy and a huge boot.
Based on the Jazz platform, the new City looks very different from its predecessor. Not one body panel is shared with its hatchback cousin though - it has a bigger wheelbase – at 2550mm, it’s a massive 100mm longer than the earlier car. The other benefit is increased passenger space.
On the outside
The arrow-shaped nose is what sticks out the most - the slatted grille with its warped effect, straddled by tapering headlamps come together to form a sharp frontal section. To improve visibility, Honda has removed the front quarter glass from the earlier car. Unlike the previous City, the new model’s boot is now seamlessly integrated with the rest of the body and looks compact and sporty. It still manages to hold a whopping 506 litres of luggage space. The new chassis is much more rigid and the suspension has been beefed up too. All new Citys are available with ABS as standard too.
On the inside
The new car is equally attractive on the inside as well. The door pads are well sculpted and so is the multi-layered dash, replete with ridges and curves which flows into the centre console. The steering wheel looks and feels great; the instruments look neat but feel a little overly lit. A serious letdown, however, is the quality of plastics and fabrics which feel a peg down from the previous City. For practicality, there’s lots of storage space with generous door pockets, cubbyholes and cupholders.
As far as equipment is concerned, the City is a mixed bag. The company fitted audio system is fantastic however there is no CD player (It is available as an option but you have to shell out Rs 10,000 for it.) The real-time fuel consumption display and the audio controls on the steering wheel are nice touches, while twin airbags are offered as standard. Honda has skimped in a few places though. The car has no leather seats, no adjustable lumbar support and no climate control, which is now standard fare for a car in this price bracket.
What’s terrific is the amount of space on offer. The windscreen feels like it’s a mile away and the front seats are quite generous with cushions slightly softer than the old car. Visibility ahead is much better than before but the sloping parcel shelf makes it harder to look out the back. At the back, width and legroom are better than before but you sit a touch lower now. The new model is better than its rivals when it comes to rear-seat comfort.
The uprated 116bhp 1.5-litre i-VTEC engine makes peak power at 6600rpm as against 5800 on the earlier car. The new City can sprint to 100kph in a rapid 10.2 seconds, around half a second faster than the previous car. Acceleration to 150kph is faster by two seconds than the older car. In the real world, the new City is very responsive and all you need is a mere touch of the throttle - this car is great for tackling traffic. The mid-range, however, feels flat, you’ll have to downshift a bit when overtaking slow-moving traffic. For normal driving, the Honda motor is very refined and goes about its work quietly and with little fuss. It is only when you rev it hard that it takes on a slightly coarse and strained edge. The engine is complemented by a light and snappy gearbox that’s great to use.
Ride quality is superb. There is a suppleness in the suspension that was never present in the earlier car – it tackles really bad roads much easier now. The City feels very stable at high speeds and is eager to dart into corners as well. The skinny 175/65 R15 tyres are too tiny for the pace of this car and the front wheels scrabble for grip when you pile on the power. The brakes are pretty good with a consistent pedal feel and decent stopping power. Again, the limiting factor here is the tyres.
The new city is equally efficient and even marginally better than the previous car, despite being more powerful and heavier. It travels 10.5kpl in the city and 16.5kpl on the highway.
The new City offers a combination of superb comfort and space, impressive fuel economy and a huge boot. The design looks pretty stunning, it steers and rides better than ever, it’s more fuel efficient too. Sure, Honda has stinted on some essential features and options but that doesn’t take away from how well it mates practicality and driving pleasure. Though it’s more expensive than the previous car, the overall package is worth it.