Eminent for producing refined engines, eye-catchy design and impeccable comfort, Honda has acclaimed a special place in the automotive arena not only in the Philippines but also all over the world. The magnificence it grants to its vehicles isn’t just limited to one model rather can be seen on each and every model in its stable. One such model that we tried out is the latest Honda City that has already proved its mettle in the society and is one of leading car models in its class. Sophistication, style and comfort wrapped inside in a piece of metal that’s what we call this groovy sedan. Underpinning a 1.5-litre i-VTEC engine, this sedan offers extreme driving pleasure and best in class fuel economy that won’t be hard on your pocket either. Prevailing in the country from more than a decade now, it has accumulated love and praise from critics for its refinement and quality. It is no doubt one of the finest choices to look forward as your next car if you wish to own a sedan. We at Carbay decided to take it on a roll and find out what exactly it has to offer under the flesh and whether it’s a worthy buy or not, so have a deeper look at the Honda City and know its pros and cons in the section to follow.
It was a Taffeta White 1.5-litre VX City, which was presented to us by the brand to make it roll through the congested streets and freeways of Manila. First look at City was an eye-popping one as it absolutely took away my heart from the point it stopped in front of me. The white glossy color was shining in the bright sunlight while the mesmerizing front with chrome garnishing made me speechless. Personally, the thick chrome grille at front appealed to me at the first glance while my partner didn’t looked too excited to see that. Yes, the chrome accents might look annoying to some auto geeks and don’t know if you fall under the category of chrome lovers or is it the other way round. Well, the front looked dominating and authoritative with that thick slat of chrome that encapsulates the brand’s emblem at the centre, which was also in chrome. The sharp headlights were connecting the center grille while moving up towards the body of the car. The edges of the lamp clusters were acute while the hood had the typical Honda contours, which granted the sedan a modern look. Lower down the grille, there was a sculpted bumper which housed circular fog lamps just in an appropriate fashion. Moving to its side, it clearly showed its fluidic influence that looked ravishing from the outlook. The chrome handles, door mounted ORVMs with run indicators and those sharp cuts along the side added further to its style quotient. However, the stock wheels looked a little gloomy for me with a boring design and think that Honda could have done a little better to make it more fascinating.
The most exciting and stand out profile that needs an applaud for sure is its rear end. The wide rear stance is a thumbs up, which adheres a pair of wrap-around tail lights that reminded me of BMW styling. The chrome treatment given to the back of this car is also up to the mark and doesn’t look overdone. The rear bumper has fine cuts and slashes, which further takes the styling quotient of this sedan to a new height in addition to the shark fin antenna that resides over the rear windscreen.
Overall, the Honda designers have done quite a good job in providing it a cutting-edge look from the outside and it can’t be ignored along the way for sure. The only thing which you might not like about the City is its extensive use of chrome at the front as it comes on to a personal taste, else the sharpness and sleekness with optimum cuts and contours are ideal to have in a car.
One word to describe the interiors of City would be “plush”. Yes, you heard that right, it was certainly opulent. The seats, dash, steering, tapered corners, arm rests everything were top class. While the gun metallic accents throughout the car further graced the cabin. Spanned across the dashboard, steering wheel and lower down the center console, the premium accent finish was truly spectacular to see. Honda made sure that the edges were cut properly and so the tapered dash with soft touch material came into use. The chrome treatment wasn’t just an exterior play but has also been given smartly to the cabin elements including air vents, above the audio console and below the feather-touch climate control.
Sitting at the front seat was a pleasant feeling as the bucket-like seats were extremely comfortable with adequate lateral support and soft cushion underneath. The quality of fabric was also top class and there wasn’t any issue adjusting the seat’s height to my comfort for better visibility. The driver’s seat had a good range for height adjustment that’ll aid the short drivers as well to adjust accordingly. The same was experienced at the rear as well, good support, optimum cushioning, bucket-like feel but an average underthigh support. However, the only concern in terms of seating was its low height as we see in most of the Honda cars. It isn’t easy for elderly to enter and leave the car due to its low height. The cabin is ergonomically designed keeping driver’s position in mind as all the controls at the centre console are easy to operate and are within the reach of the driver. Further, the steering wheel was a delight to grab and offered the tilt function but the reach option remained absent. The instrument cluster is easy to read despite the sunlight reflection due to large font size it displays.
On the entertainment front, it crams best in class audio system with inbuilt 8 speakers and connectivity support for USB/AUX/MP3/CD/Bluetooth/HDMI. We played our favorite “Time by Pink Floyd” and it was just fab. It was indeed impressive, thanks to Honda’s audio hardware. However, the rear speakers seemed to be weak while the front speakers offered top-notch bass quality and sharpness. Storage spaces are immense inside the cabin, which account for a deep glovebox and two cupholders at the front. In addition to these, every door has a bottle holder that can hold 1 litre of bottle. There are map pockets at the front as well that enhance the storage further. Plus, a 536 litres of trunk offered a whole lot of space for your trips and outstation journeys.
So, finally to the section most of auto enthusiasts would be waiting for how it exactly feels on the road? Defining the drive in concise, I would say it was smooth yet powerful, controlled with comfort, stable and economical. The 1.5-litre i-VTEC SOHC four-cylinder engine was pretty responsive and intuitive. It offered the numbers as 120 PS of max power while a peak torque of 145 Nm. This engine was mingled to a CVT system that makes it an ideal option to have in a car. And yes, the company has ditched the old 1.3-litre engine which we saw in the previous City generations. Driving a Honda CVT was certainly a seamless experience I can ever imagine with Honda. In City, it just glide through the streets hassle-free while offering a smooth and stable drive throughout. Honda has gone to CVT big time and indeed it was a clever move. To maximise the fuel efficiency of the car, the brand has integrated an ECON button that takes care of the same big time. It would certainly save quite a few bucks when running your car on this mode. So, it’s a thumbs up from my end as a penny saved is a penny earned and it is good to see that Honda initiated to take a step in that direction. Honda steering allied to CVT transmission would be an ideal combo to have for congested streets of Manila and office goers. Your daily drive to office through those crowded streets won’t be a humdrum anymore as Honda City would make sure that you reach office in fresh and happy mood everyday.
Under normal driving conditions, the ride quality was up to the mark while the stiffened suspension helped the cause to a certain extent. Considering suspension, It got McPherson Strut at the front while the rear end was fitted with H-shaped torsion beam with stabilizer. Suspension was bit of a concern for me as it looked wavered on uneven surfaces making the car feel unplanted with the surface. Also, i would like to mention here is that on certain bumps, the vibration looked to enter inside the cabin, which was surely not expected. While rolling it on the plain stretches of roads at high speeds, the quality degraded further and it feels like the rear end isn’t planted down to the surface. Steering at high speeds also looked out of sort and as the needle of speedometer climbs over 100 kmph mark it requires a firm grip and hold from the driver. Although, the supremeness of Germans can’t be matched but it certainly holds an upper hand ahead of bewildering Accent.
However, in city it is a perfect family machine that is maneuver, operate and cruise along, especially with its short 5.3 meters of turning radius. Daily driving looked plush. The steering was easy to move, fun to hold and responded in a fashion you’d want to. It grips the surface quite nicely ensuring a comfortable and steady drive throughout.
The City runs on thin 175 mm and 185 mm stock tyres which looked incapable of handling the power punch produced by the engine and tend to give up much before than the car does. Hence, one can upgrade to either 195 mm or better tyres, which would definitely improve the grip levels. Braking pedal has a sharp bite that’ll require a little for you to adjust. Otherwise, the braking mechanism was strong enough to foster the sense of safety within you.
Regarding it as a perfect City sedan won’t be an understatement and if you are looking to own a sophisticated, elegant and premium sedan in this category, Honda City is the car for you. With an economical engine, elegance packed interior and striking exterior looks, City is the car to own. On uneven terrains and at high speeds, a bit of worry still prevails but if that isn’t on your priority list and you want a car for your daily city needs then don’t think much and go for this groovy sedan straight away.