The City is one of the most popular and successful models for Honda Cars India. In fact, the Japanese car manufacturer debuted the fourth-generation City in India, highlighting the country's importance in the company's global plans. Launched in 2014, Honda has sold over 2.4 lakh units of the fourth-generation City in India.
The City was once a benchmark in the C-segment for its sophisticated design and features, but Honda's applecart was disrupted with the launch of the Maruti Suzuki Ciaz, as its long feature list paired with company's brand trust made it a more appealing product. Additionally, Hyundai is also gearing up to launch the new-generation Verna which is another strong rival of the City. To make sure the sedan remains in the game, Honda has given the City a midlife update and made it more kitted. So what's new in the Honda City facelift? We tell you in our first drive review.
The changes that the new Honda City gets over the previous iteration aren't very dramatic. The profile that gets the maximum changes is the front. It gets all-LED headlights, similar to that of the Honda Accord Hybrid, making it one of the smartest-looking options in the segment. Another best-in-class feature are the DRLs, which are standard across the range. The top-of-the-line trim also gets LED fog lamps. The grille design has been tweaked with a sleeker chrome bar while the fog lamp housing too has been changed. The side retains the profiles and the contours - seen on the previous model - but gets new 16-inch diamond-cut alloys instead of 15 inches. The rear also gets LED lights. The bumper too has gone through a style revision, and one can see additional cuts and creases, making it reminiscent of the aero kit that was offered on the previous Honda City.
Once you enter the cabin of the new Honda City, it is difficult to spot the updates as the layout and overall design have been left unchanged. Instead, Honda has tried to make it more upmarket with the use of soft-touch leather on the dashboard. The piano black-finished central console too has got a design revision. In the previous model, the smaller 5-inch infotainment screen and the oddly positioned knobs made the entire arrangement look clustered. In the new City, however, Honda is offering a 6.9-inch touchscreen infotainment system.
Additionally, it gets an all-new interface that is more responsive and easier to use than the previous unit. Browsing through the different options has got a lot better. Honda has also added MirrorLink to help it connect with smartphones. Although we believe, in the present times, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay would have been more useful as modern cars are adopting to the new tech. The infotainment system also gets an on-board memory of a 1.5GB, another first in the segment.
Considering the fact that the 2017 Honda City retains the overall dimensions of the previous model, the cabin space remains unchanged. While the changes aren't much, the modern infotainment system, soft-touch leather and the electric sunroof have made the City feel more feature-rich than before.
All the changes and updates on the 2017 Honda City are primarily related to the exterior and the interior, while the powertrain options remain unchanged. Honda continues to offer the City with 1.5-litre petrol and diesel engines. We did expect Honda to update the power and numbers of both the motors similar to that of the BR-V, but that has not happened. The 1.5-litre petrol continues to make 117PS/145Nm, whereas the diesel puts out 99PS/200Nm. The petrol motor is offered with a 5-speed manual transmission while it is also offered with a CVT as an optional unit. Honda claims that City MT delivers an overall efficiency of 17.4kmpl while the CVT offers 18kmpl. The diesel, on the other hand, gets a 6-speed manual transmission as standard and delivers a claimed efficiency of 25.6kmpl.
For our first drive on the 2017 Honda City, we had the 1.5-litre diesel. It might read odd but the diesel clatter in a Honda is something that I have still not accepted whole-heartedly. Anyways, the wide-spread torque continues to be the highlight of the diesel motor. Be it driving in bumper-to-bumper traffic or cruising on highways, the motor doesn't feel out of breath as the turbo lag is minimal. Soon after we dodged the city traffic and entered well-paved highway, it didn't take much effort for the motor to reach higher speeds. And helping the motor deliver its best is the smooth 6-speed manual transmission which again was a saviour in traffic-clad areas. However, City's other rivals likes the Skoda Rapid and the Volkswagen Vento get a diesel automatic as well which could have been an impressive addition in the City's model line-up.
The mechanicals of the updated Honda City remain same. Doing duty at the front are the MacPherson struts while the rear makes use of an H-shaped torsion beam. The 2008 new-shape City was criticised for its unsettling ride quality which was improved considerably in the fourth-gen model. The suspension set-up absorbs the uneven undulations with great ease. The other bit that impressed me about the City are the lower NVH levels which do not let ambient noise seep inside the cabin. The overall dynamics of the sedan remains identical to the previous offering.
Honda has already announced that it's plans of increasing its sales and support network in India. The additional features such as all-LED headlights and fog lamps, smartlink infotainment system with navigation and voice assist along with the design changes will indeed give the sedan a much-needed boost to tackle the competition. Honda has launched the 2017 City at Rs 8.49 lakh onwards (ex-Delhi) in five trims. Stay tuned to OVERDRIVE as we put out a detailed road test in the near future.