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Alexa please start the engine: The new Honda City with new characteristics

S Ronendra Singh New Delhi | Updated on July 01, 2020 Published on July 01, 2020

The new City gears up with all safety aspects and newGen technologies

An invite for test driving a car after 100 days of lockdown was exciting enough and to top it all, the car that was to be driven was the all new fifth generation Honda City, one of the most-awaited cars of 2020. So, we were all geared up with all safety aspects — mask, hand sanitiser, hand gloves — and a fully sanitised Honda City from the company at Noida.

We selected the Petrol CVT variant of the all-new City for the drive as availability of each variant was limited because of the sanitisation and all washing they required after each car has been driven. Anyhow, CVT is the most sought-after variant by the customers, so we thought choosing the same was the best bet. The new City promises a lot of customer satisfaction, right from the design language to the features and safety and newGen technologies not only for the entertainment but also as a connected car with Alexa remote capability.

First impression

Like all its earlier generations, Honda has made the fifth generation Honda City too bigger and wider than its predecessors. The company says the latest City is inspired by the Japanese Katana blade, a type of curved sword used by ancient samurai. The all-new City embossed this inspiration with a continuity of lights with a sharp shoulder line that accentuates its premium look and length. Although it appears a bit like the new Civic with the sharp chrome grille that touches upon the headlamps on both sides. The chrome grille is a common phenomena in all Honda cars right from Amaze to the CR-V.

 

Exterior and Interior

 

As we said, at the first glance, the new City looks bigger and wider and one can see a lot of changes have been made too right from the front — right from the grille to the head lamps. It has full LED headlamps with 9 LED Array Inline Shell, Integrated LED DRL and L Shaped LED Turn Signal, which are commonly found in luxury cars. The sharp horizontal character line inspired by Katana Blade and a thick long nose enhances the look that would be appealing its presence on the roads.

At the rear, it has a Z-shaped 3D wrap-around LED tail lamp with LED side marker lamps. It has a 16-inch Diamond cut alloy wheel design with Shark Gray paint two tone appearance for that sporty character. Honda has done away with the 15-inch wheel that comes in the older version. But the company has maintained the original shape of the sedan in India, which is its best selling product in the Indian market too.

From the inside, the new City has also kept the space wide and roomier with easy to use functionality. The driver now has better visibility with the instrument panel that is made in a horizontal and linear form for improved clarity, and it has a 20.3 cm advanced touchscreen display audio. The dashboard is high-quality stitched soft pad and woody garnish. The leather steering wheel also has a better grip with easy access controls. The soft interior ambient lighting in front footwell and map lamp with LED interior room lamps also makes a nice ambience from the inside.

It has a larger 17.7 cm high definition full colour TFT meter for multi-function driver information interface like Trip meter, Real-time fuel efficiency, digital speed and an innovative G-meter. The new City is also full with storage spaces all around the car with new and convenient sub-pockets for smartphones inside the front seat back pockets.

 

Engine and performance

The new City feels light but strong in performance and the improved suspension set-up makes the drive comfortable all along. Honda cars known for quieter characters, the new City lives with the character and in fact quieter NVH because of new technology like spray foam sound insulator in body, variable thickness insulator increased up to 3.5 times for engine undercover, and full double sealing structure for door.

The newly-introduced BS6 1.5L i-VTEC DOHC with VTC (Variable Valve Timing Control) petrol engine also gives a kick on the ride and performs quite well on both highways and city roads. We drove the new 7-speed CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) that is quite comfortable and saves time anyways as one does not have to have shift pedals after a stop at the traffic.

This new engine will also kill the myth of CVT giving less mileage than manual transmission as the new City boasts of giving 18.4 kmpl for the CVT as compared to 17.8 kmpl of the manual transmission. The new engine has a power of 89 kW (121 PS) @ 6600 rpm and a torque of 145 Nm@ 4300 rpm, which is enough for a size of the City and higher than its competitors in the segment. The sedan is also available in a refined 1.5L i-DTEC BS6 diesel engine with 6-Speed manual transmission with new sliding mesh type reverse gear for improved quietness. But with the diesel prices at all-time high, we will wait and watch to see how many customers choose for the City diesel.

Bottomline

With more than 8 lakh units sold in India since its first generation launched in 1998, Honda City has come a long way (22 years) and every time a newer version is launched, there are customers waiting for it. With latest technology in place like Alexa remote capability on the new City, we are sure there are nextgen of customers awaiting its launch next month. With the features such as Alexa remote installed on their smartphones, customers can conveniently interact with their car right from the comfort of their homes.

For instance, one can switch on the ACs in the car remotely even 5-10 minutes before starting from home or office. Having said that there are competitors too who have launched cars with such facilities and more engine options. For instance, the latest Verna from Hyundai’s stable has such characteristics that also comes with a 1-litre Turbo GDi engine with 7-speed DCT option. So, interesting times ahead, especially during this time of pandemic when car purchases are also on hold by many new customers. And, at a price range that the new City is expected to be — between ₹9 lakh and ₹16 lakh — there are many new options available in the shape of an SUV these days.

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Published on July 01, 2020
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