There are cars and then there are cars. The City has always had something about it that makes it the latter. There is always something special about the introduction of a brand new generation of a Honda City, and the new avatar is no different. Launched first in 1998, the new 2014 Honda City will be the 4th all-new generation (7th if you consider facelifts) of the car. The City has always been Honda’s top selling car and has quite a reputation of being one of the most loved and desired cars in the sub-10 Lakh range of the Indian automotive sector. We take the new City in both Petrol and Diesel avatar for a quick spin to tell you what it is all about.
Although the new Honda City looks more like an evolution as compared to a revolution, there is a lot more than meets the eye. Honda has applied its ‘H Design’ concept to the new City following its recent global design direction. The new City borrows a lot of design elements from the likes of the global Honda Civic while maintaining a distinct Honda City feel. The new 2014 Honda City features much sharper lines and more aggressive lines and angles when compared to the previous generation City. There is also a noticeable difference in the overall stance of the City, mainly due to the longer wheelbase of the car as compared to the older outgoing City. But, the car certainly showcases what is unmistakably a ‘Honda City’ look to it.
The Honda City perhaps looks best when viewed from the front. With a large horizontally placed chrome slat, the Honda City’s front grille displays a sense of luxury, a much needed feature in a car that will cost about Rs 10 Lakh or thereabouts. There is a very interesting styling feature just below the chrome slat that runs across the grille structure giving it a touch of additional character. This little styling feature accentuates itself best on one of the lighter paint shades like the silver or white of the 6 paint shades available. The front bumper is extremely well styled with a lot of sporty attributes. The lower part of the bumper has two very distinct edges that look phenomenal although there are certainly some concerns about how these would suffer from dents or chips while parking considering that they appear to be the furthermost points of the new Honda City. The fog lamps too are enclosed in two very aggressively angled grilles that further accentuate the sporty pretentions of the Honda City. The front fascia then is a perfect blend of a saloon that has both luxury and sportiness embedded into its DNA.
From the sides, the new 2014 Honda City has a deep and distinctive shoulder line that initiates itself from the rear tail lamps and angles itself downwards towards the front wheel arches. Although this design feature masks itself in the darker colors, the lighter colors like silver demonstrate it exceedingly well. There is also a slightly controversial styling aspect of the new Honda City which originated from the front bumper and makes its way to the windscreen but one does get used to it soon. The biggest difference in the Honda City visually though is the rear. As many have pointed out, there are a lot of BMW inspired touches on the rear that really make the Honda City stand out. The large horizontally placed tail lamps connected by a large chrome accent piece on the boot looks spectacular in every sense of the word. The tailgate itself although a little tall, is very well crafted and is much wider than the last few generations. This in turn means that the loading bay on the new Honda City is much wider than before and therefore has more boot space. One of the biggest customer oriented feedbacks that we received from older Honda City customers was the lack of enough lit-up areas in the tail lamp which in some cases were actually safety concerns. That issue too has been addressed with the new tail-lamp cluster which although we expected to have LED tail-lamps has stuck to a more conventional setup.
One of the biggest disappointments though in terms of design are the new 15 inch alloy wheels. Not only do they feel small and under designed as compared to the rest of the car but they also look quite boring. In fact, we would gladly swap these wheels for the ones that came in the older City or the optional two-tone V-Spoked wheels that were offered on both the Honda City and the Honda Jazz. The skinny 175 section tyres too make the Honda City look a little disproportionate. We expect a lot of owners to swap these wheels and tyres out immediately with either aftermarket or Honda dealer provided wheels.
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The first thing you notice as you step into the new 2014 Honda City is its large greenhouse. The city feels extremely airy and well lit. The large and well padded seats give extremely good all-round support. Although they do take a little time to get used to, once in right position, one can easily spend all day driving the Honda City over long distances The new Honda City’s interior though is most certainly the biggest upgrade to the car. With a new gloss black finish dominating most of the dashboard, the 2014 Honda City will certainly be one of the new benchmarks for interior design in years to come.
The floating dashboard concept combined with the high quality of plastics is certainly a step up from previous generation Honda City models. The biggest talking point about the City is the new touch screen for the Air Conditioning controls. Placed prominently beneath the central infotainment system, the touch screen controls for the climate controls are as easy to use as conventional knobs and buttons. With a quick scroll feature that in three steps helps the user to scroll from the minimum to the maximum settings for both the fan speed and the temperature control.
The Piano Black theme continues on the infotainment screen bezel too. With a high gloss surface encapsulating the large 5-inch screen and the well crafted buttons, the central dashboard unit looks exceptionally well crafted and embodies a sense of luxury through and through. The quality of the screen too is excellent while viewing images that are produced by the rear parking camera. That said, the interface for the rest of the operating system looks old and completely outdated. In fact the only let down in the entire interior is the interface of the infotainment screen. The driver console that houses the speedometer and tachometer though is extremely well lit up and well crafted. While driving with a light foot in the economy mode, the instrument cluster is bathed in a light green glow that transforms to a sporty blue one when the driver increases the pressure on the accelerator pedal or under spirited driving.
Coming back to the seats, the front seats are large and offer immense comfort when adjusted correctly. Wrapped in a creamy beige shade using good quality perforated leather, the seats feel premium aand offer excellent support to the back, lumbar and thighs. The new Honda City features a new special Impact Mitigating Headrests that reduce whiplash injuries at slower speeds. The rear seats though are the big improvement over the last model. With a 50mm increase in wheelbase over the last model, rear leg space has seen huge improvements. The backrests of the front seats too are well contoured to give the rear passenger the most amount of leg space and knee space available. Although the Honda City doesn’t have the sheer leg room as compared to a Nissan Sunny for example, the rear seat angles and sheer comfort makes up for it.
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To find out if the Ford Fiesta has a chance in the C segment, we have brought along the much-appreciated Volkswagen Vento and the segment flag bearer, the new Honda City, just to better understand where the Fiesta actually stands.
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