Honda City on cloud 9, courtesy 'diesel' and more

Written by Car Dekho | Updated: Feb 22 2014, 02:31am hrs
Honda CityThe updated Honda City sedan was launched in the first week of January 2014 with refreshed interiors and upmarket exterior looks. FE Photo: Renuka Puri
Honda City was first launched in the year 1998 and at that point of time it truly defined the meaning of the word sedan with its urbane look and classy features. Instantly, after the launch, it was selling like hot cakes especially, among the elite class. During the 15-year journey, it has undergone many face lifts, the latest one being in 2012. To keep up with the times, and since the emergence of the compact cars in every segment, Honda decided to launch it in a new avatar to make it stand out it from the market trend. The updated Honda City sedan was launched in the first week of January 2014 with refreshed interiors and upmarket exterior looks. With this offering, the Japanese automaker gave its fan base another reason to celebrate.

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The new generation Honda City since its launch, has received the same critical acclaim as it received when it was first launched in the Indian market. The level of its popularity can be calculated by the fact that in a mere duration of a month, this sedan has registered more than 23,000 bookings and has contributed a large chunk of the sales growth of the company to incredible 188 percent in January 2014. A major reason for its incredible demand is due to the tempting diesel variant launched for the first time. We have witnessed Hondas experiment with its first diesel car Honda Amaze that went on to create history. So, evidently, Honda City was to be launched with the right acumen at the right time.

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The C-segment with the launch of Honda City is in turmoil as the sales figures now have been turned upside down. If we analyze the sales figures of January 2014, more than 7000 units of Honda City alone were sold that was manifold to other dazzling cars in the segment. And we analyze the overall sales figures of Honda last month; it would not be less than a celebratory moment for the Japan based carmaker. Honda recorded highest monthly sales figures ever last month by selling 15,714 cars in which Honda City contributed about the half (7,184 units) of the said figures.

The likely question arises, why people are going gaga over this sedan Is it growing competition or something else The reason is Honda City nameplate itself, that has created a distinctive niche around the world. And this has given it an extraordinary edge over its rivals. Secondly, since past many years Honda City was on the verge of losing its ground due to lack of diesel variant and when it received the right ingredient in the form of diesel engine, it instantaneously became a best-seller in its class. Finally, to reclaim its lost prestige, some vital features have been added in this new upmarket version of the classy sedan which is further elaborated in the following points:

Exteriors: Honda this time has adopted a new design language which shares nothing with its predecessors but some minor familiarities. The front faade now consists of new chrome strip grille that merges gracefully with the new headlamps that are inspired by sibling Honda Civic saloon. The bumpers are angular now with fog lamps and large air dam posing a sporty appearance. Wheelbase is now slightly increased by 50 mm but that does not make the car look longer. The roofline is uncluttered while the silhouette represents a coupe like format. The rear of the New Honda City is exclusively designed to stand it away from the crowd. Tail lights are sharp and curvy reminiscent to European style. The wheels have always been a matter of appreciation in every generation Honda City. Now the car sits on a solid looking 5-spoke 15-inch alloy wheels that are real eye-popper.

Interiors: The best in class cabin will surely drive you crazy when you step inside the car. The premium aspiration comes with the use of top quality material inside. This time the focus is to cater the comfort and coziness factor to the passengers with unique craftsmanship of Honda engineers. The dashboard at the front is toned in piano black while there is new touch screen stereo system with first-in segment climate control with the same touch screen. The newly designed steering wheel with mounted audio controls, Bluetooth and cruise control takes inspiration from sibling Honda CR-V SUV. In terms of roominess, the increased wheelbase has played a decisive role in liberating room from all angles. Boot space of the sedan has now been enlarged to put it on par with other larger sedans.

Under the hood: The most significant change is the addition of diesel engine which is the same 1.5L i-DTEC engine doing duty in Honda Amaze. The engine pumps out 100 PS of maximum power and 200 Nm of peppy torque. Mated to a 6-speed manual transmission gearbox the engine promises the legendary refinement for which the coveted sedan is known. To add more to the surprise is the ARAI certified mileage figure of 26 kmpl, which is more than sub 4-meter Honda Amaze, making it the most fuel efficient sedan in India. Furthermore, the petrol variant uses the same engine i.e. 1.5L i-VTEC producing a max power of 119 PS and 145 Nm of top torque. An automatic 5-speed transmission variant is also available, so no doubt there are plenty of choices one can make.

Currently Honda City has been getting excellent response from consumers in India but the road ahead could be tough as huge-flock of cars is slated to be launched in the C-segment in coming times. The cars expected to hit the market this year are Hyundai Grand i10 based sedan Hyundai Xcent, Maruti Suzuki Ciaz, Tata Zest, New Maruti Suzuki SX4 and many more that could turn the tables. However, though the rivalry would be cut-throat in near future but Honda City, as always, has tested itself by flowing against the tide and emerging a clear winner.

Honda City