2023 Honda City Facelift Review: Sense and sensibility | The Financial Express

2023 Honda City Facelift Review: Sense and sensibility

The 2023 Honda City gets a midlife upgrade that makes it safe as Fort Knox with a new set of safety features. Read our first drive impressions here.

2023 Honda City review
The 2023 Honda City facelift has been priced from Rs 11.49 lakh to Rs 20.39 lakh, ex-showroom

The sedan share in the automobile market has shrunk to a mere 9 percent but that hasn’t dissuaded the torch bearer of the mid-size saloons, Honda, to launch a spruced-up and safer 2023 City. The Japanese manufacturer has decided to give the diesel engine the boot and the City is now available in petrol and hybrid avatars. The manual petrol City is priced from Rs 11.49 lakh to Rs 14.72 lakh while the CVT automatic is from Rs 13.62 lakh to Rs 15.97 lakh, ex-showroom Delhi. The 2023 City hybrid is now available in two variants— the V at Rs 18.89 lakh and the ZX ad Rs 20.39 lakh, ex-showroom Delhi. We take a quick of the updated City and tell you what’s new. 

Watch Video | 2023 Honda City Review:

2023 Honda City Review: Safety comes first

The 2023 Honda City is the first sedan in the affordable range to come equipped with Advanced Driver Assist System (ADAS) or Honda Sensing. Now just to clarify, the City Hybrid already came standard with this feature but now even the petrol range gets it too except for the new entry-level version, the SV. 

The 2023 Honda City is India’s most affordable car with ADAS

What are all safety features the ADAS suite offers? With the aid of a camera and multiple sensors, it comes with Collision Mitigation Braking System, Road Departure Mitigation System, Lane Keep Assist System, Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow, Auto High Beam and Lead Car Departure Notification System. The petrol City misses out on the Low-Speed Follow option. 

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Apart from the state-of-the-art Honda Sensing technology, the 2023 City has other safety features like 6 airbags, Lanewatch camera installed in the front passenger’s outside rearview mirror, an improved rear parking camera with a better resolution, new rain sensing wipers, Hill Start Assist, emergency brake lights flashing, ABS with EBD, tyre pressure monitoring system, ISOFIC anchorages etc. 

2023 Honda City Review: Exteriors

Keeping in mind that the City’s received a mid-life facelift, it gets minor design tweaks. For starters, the thick chrome strip connecting the full LED headlamps is now slimmer and top models get a new honeycomb front grille while entry-level trims retain the horizontal slat design. The front bumper also is a lot edgier with a carbon fibre pattern finish and sports a new radiator grille. 

The City’s silhouette remains identical to the previous model, but the 2023 sedan boasts a new set of dual-tone 16-inch alloy wheels. At the rear, there’s a rear spoiler on the boot and a new rear diffuser with a faux carbon fibre finish. 

The 2023 City is available in six paint shades starting from the new Obsidian Blue Pearl, Radiant Red, Platinum White Pearl, Golden Brown Metallic, Meteoroid Grey Metallic and Lunar Silver Metallic.

2023 Honda City Review: Interiors

The 2023 City’s cabin gets limited tweaks, but the most important ones are the updated 8-inch infotainment with wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, a wireless phone charger and ambient lights tucked in the cabin door handles and front door pockets. One can control the brightness of the lights or switch them off. 

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The interior colour combination remains the same. The petrol range is available in a beige-black dual-tone paint scheme with a wooden strip on the dashboard, while the hybrid has ivory-black colours with a carbon fibre pattern panel finish on the dash. 

The City retains the connected tech and is compatible with Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant. 

2023 Honda City Review: Driving experience

Mechanically speaking both the petrol and the hybrid City remain unchanged. The hybrid is powered by a 1.5-litre petrol engine along with an Atkinson cycle and two electric motors. The engine churns out 97bhp and 127Nm of torque, the traction motor has 107bhp and the 94bhp from the electric generation motor. The traction motor is what powers the wheels and gets its energy from the Lithium-ion battery. So enough of refreshing your memory with the specs. With a total output of 125bhp, the City, by default, starts on EV mode which makes the car silent and ensures there’s more than enough initial pick-up to tackle start-stop traffic or the rush hour time. 

Hybrid mode is when both the motor and engine combine forces and ensure that the City returns a fuel economy of just below 20 kmpl in real-world conditions easily making it the best in its segment. Otherwise, the company claims a mileage of 27.13 kmpl. The hybrid is mated to a single-speed e-CVT which offers a smooth driving experience and strikes a balance between performance and fuel economy. Floor the pedal and the engine gets noisy and it takes a second or two to pick up the pace. 

By constantly revving up the engine and driving at over the three-figure mark, the City goes into engine mode and lets the battery automatically recharge itself. Good thing is that once it’s all juiced up, the City hybrid will opt for EV mode at times to squeeze out the best economy it can. 

The petrol City, on the other hand, retains the DOHC 1.5-litre engine and has a power output of 119bhp and 145Nm. It is one of the most versatile engines in the market and lets you drive at your own pace and it will simply oblige. With slightly taller gear ratios than the SOHC powertrain, the sweet spot is the third gear which allows you to crawl in slow traffic or cruise on the highway. Like its hybrid avatar, it doesn’t like being pushed around much, hence, the engine gets audible when the needle goes beyond 3000rpm, but nothing to numb your ears. 

2023 Honda City Review: Verdict

Is the legendary Honda City still the sedan to beat? Hell yes! It might not be the most powerful or the sultan of handling, but it does more than enough to keep a smile on your face. Hybrid technology, in my opinion, is the most practical path to choose as it offers more than substantial performance and is easy on the pockets when it comes to fuel bills. Along with this, Honda’s reliability is something that its current competitors can’t match. Long live the City nameplate as it has evolved with time and offers affordable solutions in both technology and safety. Hence, currently, it is the only sedan to be equipped with ADAS. 

Even though the City continues to be the segment leader, Honda can’t take its foot off the pedal as it faces tough competition from the Skoda Slavia, Volkswagen Virtus and the upcoming next-generation Hyundai Verna. Keeping an eye on its rivals, Honda has smartly introduced new entry-level variants for both the petrol and hybrid avatars. We still believe it’s a no-brainer to opt for the City whether it’s the petrol or the hybrid version as it is the no-problem sedan which continues to be the benchmark in its class. 

Also Read: Top 5 most affordable electric cars in India: Tiago EV to XUV400

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First published on: 09-03-2023 at 11:00 IST
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