A Class Of Its Own

2020 Honda City review, test drive

What is it?

SUVs may rule the roost now, but the City, even 22 several years on, is continue to alive and kicking, and is 1 of the longest-jogging nameplates at this time on sale in India. The City’s India tale started in 1998 and we’ve had four variations given that. The 1st three vehicles were all really one of a kind in character, with each individual model being a results for Honda.

Uncharacteristically then, the 4th-technology was far more of an evolution, but many thanks to the additional enhancements and introduction of a diesel selection, it went on to develop into the most prosperous City in India, and it is this really evolutionary strategy that’s been carried forward to the fifth-gen City.

Never think for a moment even though that it really is a simple update of the preceding vehicle. Even though it is based on a modified model of the earlier City, the engineering variations are enormous. The new City’s human body shell packs in far more higher-tensile-strength steel and a stiffer roof part, ensuing in a twenty % improve in torsional rigidity. The human body shell is marginally lighter much too, but the total body weight of the vehicle is up by all around 40kg many thanks to other enhancements like a firewall that is two hundred % thicker aiding stiffness, security and audio insulation.

3D surfacing adds character.


The City has also grown in measurement, giving a minor far more inside area, and it is acquired far more tech like a lane look at digicam and Alexa voice assistant integration. On the powertrain front, the petrol motor is a new DOHC 1.five-litre unit that’s now coupled to a 6-pace manual gearbox. CVT is continue to an selection. The older City’s 1.five diesel and 6-pace manual have forward much too, but with some modifications to strengthen refinement and, of class, satisfy BS6 emission norms.

The new City won’t have it effortless even though. Action in the midsize sedan phase has surely hotted up in a short a span of just a couple weeks we’ve seen Skoda update its Quick, as did VW its Vento, whilst Hyundai gave the Verna a key overhaul. The Ciaz carries on to be a solid participant much too. So can the new City leapfrog all its rivals?

What is it like on the outdoors?

The City seems far more of an evolution of the preceding model and the total stance, shape and design of the unique factors remind you of the earlier vehicle. Even though the wheelbase is the identical as just before (as this system shares a great deal of the hardpoints with the preceding-gen), the new vehicle has grown a honest little bit in size and width, even though the top is less than just before.

Honda’s signature front chrome bar is now thicker with the prime strip stretching throughout the width of the nose, over the LED highlights. The sharp-seeking headlights with their many reflectors and techy detailing appear outstanding, and make the new City stand out as genuinely new.

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Alloys appear good, but wheels are much too compact for the wheel wells.


It’s from the aspect that you get a good strategy of the new City’s enormous size, which at 4,549mm, can make it not just more time than each individual other midsizer but even more time than the 1st-gen Civic! Yes, the City which is equally appreciated for its front and back again seats, has grown with each individual successive technology. Even so, with no corresponding improve in wheelbase around the preceding vehicle, the proportions have a bit absent for a toss. The lengthy, higher bonnet and chunky bumper make the vehicle appear far more grown-up than just before, but the nose sticks out pretty a little bit, ensuing in a front overhang that’s a touch abnormal.

This dwarfs the good 16-inch seeking alloys shod with 185/55 tyres which never pretty fill out the wheel arches. The earlier car’s shoulder line has been moved better up and it runs the size of the vehicle, and this, along with the sharp crease throughout the base of the doors, presents a pleasant stress to the human body.

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The 9 LED array seems placing.


The 3D-seeking tail-lights are also really placing and the blacked-out factors appear really neat. What also stands out are the vertical reflector strips that sit inside a sculpted housing in the rear bumper. On the full, even though, this isn’t a vehicle that will flip heads very easily but it is neatly created and seems pretty modern.

What is it like inside?

Open up the doors and you are greeted by a premium-seeking, mild brown and black inside. The plastics all around the cabin also appear good but they are a little bit much too shiny we would have desired duller, gentle-touch textures. This apart, there’s minor else to complain about. Honda has been generous with the use of mild brown leather it really is on the seats, doorway trims, dash panel and the centre console much too, and it definitely does insert to the prosperous sense inside. The dash and centre console trim are fantastically styled with neat stitching and the nicely-sculpted seats appear really inviting. They are at ease with good all-spherical bolstering, but if I had to nitpick, the decrease lumbar support is a little bit abnormal on the front and rear seats.

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Dashboard is nicely laid out and seems pleasant and premium, but the plastics are a little bit much too shiny would have desired duller, gentle-touch textures.


Honda aced backseat ease and comfort with the 4th-gen City, and has accomplished it nonetheless all over again with a rear bench that’s the most generous in the course. The extensive and deep seat foundation, positioned at the appropriate top, will maintain you at ease for hours on the street. Like just before, the compact increase in the flooring at the rear of the front seat, functions as a normal footrest which additional enhances ease and comfort amounts. What is pleasant is that all three rear travellers get three-point seat belts and adequately sized head restraints. Even so, headroom at the back again was just about ample for my 5ft 8in frame I had a three-finger gap to the prime, which usually means taller folks may uncover it tight.

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Just like the rear, front seats are cozy but lumbar support is a bit excessive.


There’s a good deal of the standard storage areas all around but what’s definitely clever are the kinds for telephones. Entrance travellers have two slots on possibly aspect of the parking brake lever, whilst those at the rear have helpful felt-lined pockets sewn into the front seatbacks. Boot area has absent down by a small 4 litres and is now at 506 litres so it is continue to really huge and useable.

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Comfy seats and good legroom, headroom is tight for taller travellers.


The boot-opening system utilizes torsion rods which act as elastic springs to raise the boot lid, but they are not solid adequate so the lid does not pop open up on its very own and you have to raise it all the way to the prime.

How about equipment? 

Hondas are not typically what you’d get in touch with nicely-outfitted, this City, nevertheless, is pretty unique. There’s a great deal of equipment including a sunroof, a lane look at digicam, a rear-perspective digicam with normal, extensive and prime perspective, a tyre tension checking technique with deflation warning, front aspect and curtain airbags, and auto local weather handle that thankfully does not get touch-operated buttons but neat knurled knobs that have a pleasant click on to them this usually means you never have to just take your eyes off the street to use the controls. The steering wheel much too has controls including a roller change that allows you access several characteristics of the instrument panel.

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Dials flip with a fulfilling click on.


The instrument panel alone consists of an analogue speedometer needle that runs throughout a digital dial on the 7.-inch display. The tachometer is an all-digital display and the display can also display a G-power meter, and other vacation-relevant details. The design of instrument panel display is pretty simple but its clarity is outstanding and isn’t really distracting like in the Verna. The vibrant and sharp instrument cluster is amazingly effortless to go through, nevertheless, the identical are not able to be reported of the eight.-inch touchscreen.

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Sunroof isn’t really huge, can be opened and closed remotely.


Honda says it has employed an optical bonding application that lessens reflection but the trouble is that this coating has seriously minimized the brightness of the display. Even on the brightest setting, the display is challenging to go through in immediate sunlight, and it always seems smudgy like it could use a good wipe down. The technique, of class, has all the standard connectivity bits including Android Car and Apple CarPlay.

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The display is dim and picks up smudges very easily.


Also on the fifth-gen City is a new model of Honda’s connectivity tech that receives you all the regular bits like remote engine start out, pre-cooling, but the party trick here is the Alexa voice assistant integration. So, from your home, you can merely request Alexa to pre-neat the cabin or get you specifics of the gasoline stage in the vehicle or its present-day place. 

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A phase-1st lane look at digicam is supplied on the new City.


What is it like to travel?

If there’s 1 higher point of a Honda, it is the engine and it is the identical here with the new DOHC 1.five-litre petrol which is a real delight. It’s not punchy like a turbo unit but it is really solid and tractable and functions nicely at the two finishes of the rev variety. At small revs, it pulls cleanly even in better gears, and it revs freely until eventually the 7,000rpm redline. In comparison to the older vehicle, gear ratios are a little bit taller here, permitting you hit better speeds in each individual gear, but what’s good is that the motor is versatile adequate to supply wonderful efficiency all all over. This tractability lets you to travel appropriate from 15kph all the way previous 150kph in third! This usually means you will have much less gears shifts to contend with. Honda claims a gasoline performance of seventeen.eight for the manual and 18.4kpl for the auto, which is marginally better than the earlier car’s SOHC motor which delivered seventeen.4 and 18.0kpl, respectively.


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The new City receives a DOHC 1.five-litre petrol engine.

The new engine does get audible at all around three,000rpm but it is not severe just loud. It’s also quite powerful much too the City hits 100kph from a standstill in 10.20sec, which is just .07sec off the earlier car’s time, and only marginally at the rear of Skoda’s turbocharged 1. TSI Quick time of 10.09sec.

Taller ratios also mean in-gear moments are slower. twenty-80kph in third will come up in thirteen.23sec, whilst 40-100kph in 4th usually takes 18.23sec.The Quick 1. TSI clocks eleven.sixty nine and 14.38 sec, respectively.

Coupled to the CVT, the City does -100kph in 12.05sec. Whilst slower, it continue to will be suitable for most, and you will also have the advantage of an automatic kickdown through in-gear acceleration which showed a time of 6.58sec in twenty-80kph, and eight.52sec in the 40-100kph dash.

2020 Honda City efficiency figures (as analyzed)
Petrol MT Petrol CVT* Diesel MT*
-20kph 1.17sec 1.45sec 1.17sec
-40kph 2.74sec three.39sec 2.97sec
-60kph 4.53sec five.54sec five.30sec
-80kph 7.22sec eight.38sec eight.64sec
-100kph 10.20sec 12.05sec 12.90sec
-120kph 14.98sec 16.69sec 18.26sec
-140kph twenty.71sec 24.30sec 27.05sec
twenty-80kph thirteen.23sec 6.58sec** eleven.40sec
40-100kph 18.23sec eight.52sec** thirteen.89sec

*Assessments not to Autocar India expectations, **acceleration in kickdown

What is pleasant is that the usual rubberband influence of the CVT is really nicely managed. For most each day driving situations, the increase in revs matches the increase in street pace and it really is only when you mash down on the accelerator that you get the typically stretchy sense, with the revs climbing more rapidly than the real street pace. Additionally, of class, you can also use the paddles and have right manual handle around shifts with the ‘box permitting you redline the engine much too.

Honda says it has calibrated the handle unit’s software package, and it utilizes what the company calls ‘full-open up acceleration action-up shift control’ and ‘brake operation action-down shift handle. Fairly a mouthful, certainly, but what this does is, through acceleration, rather than allow the CVT slide its way up, it performs stepped upshifts and attempts to match the motor vehicle pace with the engine pace and audio. And less than tricky braking, the CVT shifts to much decrease ratios therefore giving engine braking this is something we saw place into influence when driving down a winding street.

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Engines are phenomenally tractable, in third gear the petrol can go all the way from 15kph to around 150kph!


If you’ve go through our previous evaluations of the City diesel, or even vehicles like the Amaze that use the identical 1.five diesel, you will know we have not been admirers of the refinement amounts. Even so, Honda has labored to strengthen NVH amounts on the new City, utilising bits like further audio deadeners in the flooring, a thicker firewall, and by also spraying the engine bay with a special audio-deadening coating. The consequence is an engine that’s noticeably quieter and pleasantly refined. At small revs, this motor does not get obtrusive, and that irritating, sharp diesel clatter that characterised the preceding iterations is all but removed. Yes, the engine drones loudly at higher revs, and, in complete conditions, isn’t really as silent as Hyundai’s 1.five diesel, which is continue to the benchmark for refinement.

2020 Honda City petrol sounds amounts (as analyzed)
Idle with AC off 39.4dB
Idle with AC blower at 50 % 51.7dB
Idle with AC blower at complete sixty four.5dB
50kph in 4th gear sixty four.5dB
80kph in sixth gear 69dB
Whole revs at redline in 1st gear seventy eight.2dB at 7000rpm

The diesel also amazed us with its un-diesel-like electrical power shipping. It’s quite tractable from small revs and turbo lag is pretty minimum much too. Sure, at small revs, below 1,500rpm, the electrical power is muted, but you never definitely battle with a deficiency of response. And when you cross the 1,500rpm, it really is not a sudden spike but a rapid action up in speed, soon after which electrical power builds pretty evenly all the way to 4,200rpm gentle rev limiter. The diesel posts a -100kph time of 12.9sec, whilst twenty-80kph in third and 40-100kph in 4th are much more rapidly than the petrol, with eleven.4 and thirteen.89sec, respectively. As with numerous BS6 updates, gasoline performance has dropped, the new unit returning 24.1kpl as in opposition to the preceding 25.6kpl. Honda has employed a NOx Storage Catalyst (NSC), therefore staying away from the use of the AdBlue liquid that SCR programs have to have. The penalty for this, of class, is the slight drop in performance, which is because of to the additional gasoline being employed for exhaust soon after-procedure.

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Diesel engine refinement improved and the irritating clatter is all but absent continue to not phase-leading even though.

What is the experience and handling like? 

Many thanks to the stiffer human body, Honda says it really is been in a position to go softer with the suspension, and this has surely assisted the experience. The City absorbs whichever the street throws at it and it soaks up potholes and ruts without having crashing by them. The experience is pretty mature in sense, much like what you’d count on from European sedans. It’s also flat and composed at freeway speeds, but if you press on to better three-digit speeds, with the speedo needle sitting down in the last quadrant of the dial, the City, which has a comparatively higher ground clearance, is not as planted as we would have preferred. You have to have to have a business grip on the wheel as the nose tends to wander.

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The experience feels pretty mature.


Dealing with, nevertheless, is benign and really predictable, which can make the City an effortless vehicle to travel. The steering is nicely weighted and the grip from the tyres is shockingly good and could tempt you to have some pleasurable, particularly when you have a rev-satisfied, naturally-aspirated engine that’s always prepared to perform ball. But, if you press much too tricky, the gentle-suspension will give way to a honest little bit of human body roll, which is far more pronounced in the front.

Braking efficiency is good, nevertheless an earlier bite point and a less spongy pedal sense would’ve assisted. All in all, this is a vehicle that will reward all but the keenest of drivers.

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Inspite of the slender tyres, cornering grip is good but there is noticeable human body roll.

Should really you acquire 1?

The new City may not appear all that new and it does not deviate from the attempted and analyzed formula of its predecessors. The handling isn’t sporty possibly, and the chassis set up does not pretty match the enthusiasm of the rev-satisfied petrol, and that may disappoint eager drivers. But there’s minor else to fault with Honda’s newest midsize sedan and it scores wherever it issues most. House and total ease and comfort are the best in course, the simple cabin with plenty of considerate touches seems really premium, and, for a improve, it is really nicely specced with some neat party methods like the Alexa integration. Both equally engines are solid and supply a stable efficiency, and the experience is really nicely sorted much too.

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On the full, Honda has accomplished a huge occupation with the new City, and it seems all set to leapfrog the levels of competition. A spoiler, nevertheless, could be its price tag. For the 1st time in its heritage, Honda India will have on sale two generations of the identical vehicle, and the present-day model with a starting up price tag of Rs. 9.ninety one lakh, is now pricier than rivals. Therefore, Honda will have to place and price tag the new model smartly to ensure it does not leap out of the phase and rivalry.

Also see:

2020 Honda City video clip critique

2020 Skoda Quick 1. TSI critique, examination travel

2020 Hyundai Verna review, examination travel

Honda City