The launch of the new Honda City was much-awaited as the pre-facelift version of the sedan did lose out on sales due to the lack of features available from a lower variant. Equipment such as a touchscreen infotainment system with AVN or Audio Video Navigation was restricted to the top-end VX version and competitors such as the Maruti Suzuki Ciaz offered the same package at a lower price. With the launch of the facelifted version of the Honda City, the carmaker has put in first-in-segment features along with the existing set of equipment to keep the competition going. Here is how the Honda City stacks up to its competition, the Maruti Suzuki Ciaz, Hyundai Verna, Volkswagen Vento and the Skoda Rapid in the executive sedan segment. In addition, the Honda City's top-end ZX variant also undercuts while providing a better set of features with the Toyota Corolla Altis (particularly the diesel version) in terms of its price.
The design silhouette on the Honda City remains the same, however, a thinner chrome-slat grille along with a larger mesh grille offer a more aggressive stance up front. Unlike the front, the side and rear have a conservative design, however, with the addition of new features, it offers the Honda City more appeal. In comparison, the only other car to have a slightly aggressive appeal at the front is the Skoda Rapid that has large vertical slat grille with a chrome surround. The Maruti Suzuki Ciaz, Hyundai Verna and Volkswagen Vento have a conventional design language.
Overall, the new Honda City's design retains the conventional approach on all angles, however, is more aggressive when compared to its previous version.
Clearly, the Honda City is one of the most spacious in its segment. The Maruti Suzuki Ciaz is a close competition and both have a wheelbase close to each other. The Honda City has a wheelbase of 2,600 mm while the Ciaz is 2,650 mm. A longer wheelbase translates into better cabin space as the Skoda Rapid has the least wheelbase of 2,552 mm, the Vento being a millimetre higher and the Verna having 2,570 mm.
Honda's 'Machine Minimum Man Maximum' approach has aided in offering better cabin space across all generations of the City. That said, it is still not the best in segment as the Ciaz takes the lead in this. Material quality of the leatherette seat upholstery on the Honda City's higher variants has also been improved and can be compared to the rest of the segment. All cars in this segment have a dual-tone colour theme with beige and grey or black interiors. Maruti Suzuki was the only one to offer an all-black interior in the RS version, however, that is also no longer a part of the company's portfolio.
In addition, the Honda City and the Maruti Suzuki Ciaz have the largest boot volume at 510 litres, while the lowest boot volume is offered by the Skoda Rapid at 450 litres. The Verna is close to the bottom with 465 litres of boot space and the Vento is mid-way at 494 litres.
Engine and Transmission
The Skoda Rapid and the Volkswagen Vento are the only two sedans that have an option of a 7-speed DSG (Direct Shift Gearbox) dual-clutch automatic transmission. The Hyundai Verna has the conventional torque converter automatic gearbox which is not as engaging to drive as the dual-clutch automatic. In comparison, the Honda City and the Maruti Suzuki Ciaz offer automatic transmissions, but, only on the petrol engine powered variants. Manual transmission available with the Honda City is a 5-speed for the petrol engine and a 6-speed for the diesel.
Coming to the engines, the Honda City generates 118 hp of power at 6,600 rpm and 145 Nm of torque at 4,600 rpm by its 1.5 litre i-VTEC petrol motor. The diesel generates 99 hp of power at 3,600 rpm and 200 Nm of torque at 1,750 rpm. The highest power delivery is offered from the 1.6 litre petrol and diesel engines of the Hyundai Verna. The 1.6 litre petrol generates 121 hp of power at 6,300 rpm and 154 Nm of torque at 4,200 rpm and the 1.6 litre diesel produces 127 hp of power at 4,000 rpm and 260 Nm of torque between 1,900 rpm and 2,750 rpm. The Verna is also available in a smaller engine capacity of 1.4 litre petrol and diesel engines that churn out 105 hp of power at 6,300 rpm and 135 Nm of torque at 5,000 rpm for the petrol. The diesel generates 88 hp of power at 4,000 rpm and 220 Nm of torque from 1,750 rpm to 2,750 rpm.
The Maruti Suzuki Ciaz is a close rival to the Honda City with 91 hp of power at 6,000 rpm and 130 Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm for the petrol engine. The diesel engine produces 88 hp of power at 4,000 rpm and 200 Nm at 1,750 rpm. The Skoda Rapid and the Volkswagen Vento share the same 1.6 litre MPI petrol and a 1.5 litre TDI diesel motors. The petrol engine generates 104 hp of power at 5,250 rpm and 153 Nm of torque at 3,800 rpm while the diesel engine produces 109 hp of power at 4,000 rpm and 250 Nm of torque from 1,500 rpm to 3,000 rpm. The Vento is also offered with a smaller capacity 1.2 litre petrol engine, however, it is a turbocharged unit and generates similar power to the 1.6 litre MPI unit (104 hp) at 5,000 rpm and a better torque figure of 175 Nm between 1,500 rpm and 4,100 rpm.
Overall, the most variety of engines is offered in the Hyundai Verna while the Honda City, the Maruti Suzuki Ciaz, the Volkswagen Vento and the Skoda Rapid have limited engine options. This is where the versitality of choosing a powertrain option in the Hyundai Verna fairs better over its competitors. That said, the performance figures offered by all cars in this segment are compareable to each other and appreciable.
This is the list where the new Honda City overtakes its competitors in some aspects. The higher variants, VX and ZX are offered with LED headlamps and LED fog lamps in comparison to other cars in this segment which has projector headlamps at best. All variants of the Honda City have LED DRLs (Daytime Running Lamps) as standard while the only other model to offer them is the Skoda Rapid, that too in the top-end Style version. Other cars in this segment do not have Daytime Running Lamps.
In addition to the LED headlamps and LED fog lamps, the top end ZX version also has LED tail lamp unit and the Skoda Rapid is the only one to offer an LED third brake light. The Ciaz, Verna and Vento have a conventional tail lamp setup.
Most mid-variants of all cars in this segment are offered with automatic climate control and all cars in this segment have rear AC vents. The Honda City and the Maruti Suzuki Ciaz are the only cars to offer an audio system across its portfolio. While the touchscreen infotainment unit in the Ciaz is limited only to the top-end, Honda's DIGIPAD infotainment system is available in the V, VX and ZX variants. The Hyundai Verna offers an audio system on all versions except the base variant, which is also the case with the Volkswagen Vento and the Skoda Rapid.
In terms of safety, ABS with EBD along with dual front airbags is standard in the Honda City, Hyundai Verna, Skoda Rapid and the Volkswagen Vento. The only safety aspect the Maruti Suzuki Ciaz misses out is dual front airbags, that too in the base variant. The top-end variants of the Honda City and the Hyundai Verna also get side and curtain airbags.
The Maruti Suzuki Ciaz and the Hyundai Verna undercut the Honda City which starts at Rs 8.49 lakh for the base 'S' variant and goes up to Rs 13.56 lakh for the top-end ZX version, both prices ex-showroom Delhi. The Ciaz has a starting price of 7.88 lakh and the Verna begins from Rs 7.93 lakh. That said, the latter of the two cars aforementioned has a smaller engine capacity thereby reducing overall cost. In addition, the Vento and the Rapid also have a starting price lesser than that of the Honda City.
However, the Honda City offers additional equipment such as LED headlamps and Mirrorlink infotainment system with Internet access (a first-in-segment) which most consumers in this category would be looking for. Considering the price of the V version, which is Rs 9.99 lakh for the petrol manual variant, Rs 11.53 lakh for the petrol CVT version and Rs 11.55 lakh for the diesel manual variant, the Honda City is aggressively priced in the mid-variants and should fare well in the competition. The top-end ZX diesel trim of the new executive sedan also competes with the Toyota Corolla Altis' base version which is priced at Rs 14.81 lakh, ex-showroom Delhi and offers lesser equipment as well as features.