Honda has reached this stage of importance here in India solely due to the City, this being its smallest offering until the Jazz was launched. Right from day one the City has evoked a lot of interest among buyers looking for the latest technology and others who intended to take their ride to the next level with alloys, body kits, ECU remaps and other fitments.
This week we're driving the new Honda City which shares its underpinnings with the Jazz. Does the latest City iVtec have what it takes to be branded as a mini Civic? We'll tell you by the end of our stint.
The City has always been a good looker, even though the Dolphin shape was not widely accepted, it was just an initial reaction, as it went on to win a million hearts. The current version wears a very sporty shape and is equally reminiscent of the Civic.
The front fascia is glittered by the horizontally slatted grill which gifts it a dynamic look. The sillihoute of the City is termed as "Arrow Shot Design" by Honda. It is sleek, the overhangs are tight and the entire car looks compressed.
The headlamps are boxy but not symmetrical and match very well with the front end. Moving sideward the waistline is crowded with big door handles. The tail end is the best part of this car, the slanting big stop lamps nicely integrated on the rear, which from the side looks like a cliff.
This is the 2nd car after the Mercedes C230 AG that we tested that has a very chiseled look, this is the best looking City as compared to all the earlier ones. The bad thing however is its reputation - looks wise, it is the mini Civic and it stole the thunder from its older sibling. Thunder lost, the Civic went on and also lost out on its sales.
Doors opening is very wide and in 3 stages. Seats cushion used is supportive for the back. Adjustment for height is possible on the driver side with an easily operatable pump type leaver. The steering is lifted from the Civic's parts bin which is not a bad idea. New buttons on the wheel for the radio keeps hands locked to where they should be.
The cabin feels bright and roomy and the seating is high, which is unlike a typical Japanese car. The extra height help shorter drivers and less confident newbies.
Head room and shoulder room is generous and all the switches and levers are well within the reach. Glass area is also large. You get a commanding view of the road the surrounding on this car.
Honda makes magical petrol engines, they managed to extract 90hp from a 1.2-liter engine on their Jazz. The City's engine is in the same level, sound and vibration is absent. This car can play tricks on you too - Sometimes you don't know if the engine is running, the gear lever does not show any signs of what's happen immediately in front of you. A short throw leaver with ratios extended, powers the 1.5-iVtec engine rather sportily.
In tomorrow's article, we'll deal with the City's engine and gearbox, and in the following days we'll tell you whether this car can carry your family in comfort. So stick with us!