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Honda City has been a car of choice for many consumers looking for something economical for daily use. We got our hands on the new 2014 - 2015 Honda City. This car is for Honda as Yaris is for Toyota – an entry level segment vehicle for the mass market. Customers demand only the best and we decided to see whether Honda City meets the expectations of it's buyers.
The first thing we noticed about the new City is that it is tall. Such ground clearance makes going through construction yards and empty grounds a breeze. Coming to the actual styling, well, there is nothing much to say, except that now the City and Civic both look like siblings and heavily inspired from each other – with Civic being the elder sibling and having a better overall design. But it doesn’t mean that we don’t like this style. It has all the areas covered. However, we felt the alloy designs can be improved as they currently look like something we would get at those Iranian shops in Sharjah, UAE. Overall, in our opinion, this car looks better than the Nissan Sunny but doesn’t beat Toyota Yaris.
The materials and finishing in an entry level segment vehicle will be, as expected, plain and plastic. So, there are no complains here. You will be sitting in a dome made of hard plastic making clunky sounds but that’s what you’re getting for the price. Having said that, Honda did a pretty decent job in reducing the road and wind noise so we were quite pleased. As long as you’re not exceeding 100 km/h, you will have silence in the car (almost). Other than that, there are fabric seats which feel soft and rather cool in this summer heat.
The first thing you will notice when you sit at the back is space, lots and lots of space. You can easily sit 5 adults in the car without any issues. Honda, we love you for that. This is exactly what any inexpensive car buyer wants – space to sit. This rear legroom is not at all achieved by sacrificing the front row space. Even with the front seats fully pulled back, our knees did not even touch the back of the front seats – which was amazing. This car has more space than many mid-size sedans. Let that thought sink in before you consider buying a mid-size sedan for space. Moreover, the boot space is also plentiful and buyers will not be disappointed.
Another area where this car shines is the technology section. Why should the upper segment cars have all the gizmos? Honda really paid attention to consumers’ needs and fitted a first-in-class 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system. This displays the vehicles info and audio/phone options. The on-screen buttons are big enough to press easily though the system does lag sometimes in response. Moreover, the console also includes touch sensitive buttons below the screen for controlling the auto A/C. All this touch functionality – though a pleasant change in this sub-compact segment – does tend to distract you while driving as you will have to look exactly where you’re pressing. Moreover, all the glossy plastic tends to be a finger-print magnet. But, that’s just us being overly critical. Other features include Bluetooth, CD/MP3, AUX, USB, generous dose of power sockets, cup holders (front and rear), cruise and audio controls on steering, smart entry and surprisingly, an HDMI port.
The car retains the 1.5 liter 4-cylinder engine producing 118 BHP and 146 Nm of torque. The only change is, in this generation, it’s mated to a CVT automatic – which is good. The car feels smooth and doesn’t cry while reaching 100 km/h – the ideal benchmark for such cars. In our test run, the car accelerated from 0-100 km/h in 10.9 seconds. Considering, it is the U.A.E summer, the results are pretty decent. We drove the car in ‘sports’ mode – flooring at most times – and achieved a mileage of 8.5 L/100 km which is impressive. However, the inclusion of paddle shifters in such a car is of no use.
The car handles as expected – good for city use. Don’t bother hitting corners with this vehicle without expecting huge understeer. The brakes are decent as 100-0 was achieved in 3.7 seconds with ABS making the car wiggle. Overall, the ride is softer than expected as going over potholes and speed-bumps did not hurt our spines and the long drives from Dubai to RAK did not make us exhausted. Well done Honda!
The new Honda City looks better, drives better and rides better than the previous generation. So it is definitely a significant improvement. But is it worth the asking price? Let’s compare. The City starts at 57,000 AED and goes till 63,000 AED for the full option model. Comparatively, the Yaris top-spec model is priced at around 58,000 AED and a Corolla starts at 59,000 AED. Looking at this price bracket, things do look tricky for the City and it would really need some good marketing from Honda to convince buyers to go for this price.