There’s one fact Honda is aware of... Unlike the two horse race between the Amaze and the Dzire in the entry midsize segment, the upper midsize sedan segment is going to be a more fierce battle fought at different fronts. Not only does the New Honda City have to fend off tough competition from the current segment leader, the Hyundai Verna and accomplished rivals like the Vento and Sunny, but it also has to deliver more than the compact SUVs that are posing a huge threat to this segment. The EcoSport rules its segment so naturally, it is the City’s toughest competitor, especially in diesel guise.
The EcoSport’s 1.5-litre TDCi engine delivers 91PS of power and 204Nm of torque. The 1.5-litre i-DTEC engine in the City punches out 100PS of power and a slightly lesser 200Nm of torque. Since the EcoSport is around 130kg heavier than the City and will also have a considerably higher drag coefficient, in terms of outright performance, we expect the City diesel to be quicker than the EcoSport.
The two cars being different body styles should, on paper, not appeal to the same car buyer - the new Honda City Diesel is an upper midsize sedan and the EcoSport is a utilitarian compact SUV, but they do. On the inside, the EcoSport feels well appointed but when you look closer, the quality of some plastics will let you down. The new Honda City has a premium cabin, from the large comfortable seats to the piano black surfaces on the dashboard. There is a lot more legroom for rear passengers due to the City’s longer wheelbase. At 346 litres, the EcoSport’s boot space is 164 litres less than the new City too.
On the road
The EcoSport is nimble like a hatchback and has a light steering. It also has good highway manners with its well tuned suspension and 205 section tyres. The car likes to be pushed hard around corners and although there is some body roll, it stays in check. The new Honda City diesel is an effortless car to drive. On the highway, the six speed gearbox and efficient engine make it a relaxed cruiser. It is light on its feet and can handle quick directional changes well.
Equipment and pricing
It’s in these departments where the EcoSport has a lot more to offer. Ford knew well that the EcoSport was going to be a car with a lot of compromises – power, interior space, boot space, to get that car the magical 12 percent excise duty rate. So Ford is winning customers with its mile long features list and the accompanying sticker price. In combination, the customer gets a whole lot of car for very less money making it a very tempting deal. To put what you get in perspective, for a top-of-the-line EcoSport diesel, let’s see what you will get on an equivalent Honda City.
For Rs 9.4 lakh ex-showroom Delhi for the Titanium with Option pack EcoSport, we believe, price for spec, only the entry level City variant can compete. It clearly falls short on the equipment list so let’s then take a mid-level SV trim City to see how it stacks up against the EcoSport diesel.
The New Honda City in this trim will cost at least Rs 50,000 more than the top-end EcoSport. Common features between the two cars include climate-control air-conditioning, in-car entertainment system with Bluetooth connectivity, all power windows and ABS. What you get extra in the considerably cheaper EcoSport is this – Alloy wheels, integrated turn indicators in the mirrors, leather upholstery, push button stop/start function, four extra airbags and rear parking sensors.
The City is an accomplished sedan and if there's one sedan in the C+ segment that can take the fight to the well-received EcoSport, it is the City. Now, it all boils down to the price.
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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