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Honda City Review: Honda City 2017 Diesel First Drive Review

Honda City 2017 Diesel First Drive Review

By Santosh Nair; 15th February, 2017
Introduction

The Honda City 2017 is a facelifted version of the current-gen City that was introduced in 2014, and will serve as a mid-life update until the new-gen car debuts a few years down the line. What sets this version apart from its predecessor is the design tweaks, some new features, and the addition of the top-end ZX variant. At the same time, Honda has decided to retain the mechanicals of the current car.

Honda City

The facelift could not have come at a better time as the threat from the Ciaz was mounting, and the latter has been selling in more volumes in the last few months. We drove the Honda City 2017 on the streets of Delhi and here’s how it fared.

Exterior

The subtle changes made to the exterior design could easily be mistaken for a modified car thanks to the amount of aftermarket customisation options available for the City. The new grille shows off the prominent slab of chrome with a honeycomb design in black that sits just below it. There’s no doubt that the LED headlamps along with the LED DRLs and the redesigned bumper lend the new fascia with a sportier character.

Honda City

In profile however, other than the new 16-inch diamond cut alloys (15-inch on V variant), and the reworked bumpers, there’s nothing that sets it apart from the earlier City. However, the rear portion of the Honda City 2017 highlights the new additions that include an edgier bumper with a honeycomb design, the LED tail lamps, and the boot-lid spoiler with an LED stop lamp.

Honda City
Interior
Honda City

Once seated, the new City’s cabin is a familiar but pleasing place to be in thanks to the good quality materials that have been used. A soft touch section has also been added to the dashboard above the glovebox. The seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system surrounded by a piano-black panel reflects harshly under sunlight, making it difficult to even see what’s being displayed by the rear view camera. It can be challenging as the visibility out of the high-set rear windscreen isn’t great either. Meanwhile, there’s lots of space under the centre console and door pads to stash your belongings.

Honda City

A chrome-ringed instrument cluster is featured and, while looking trendy, it offers a lot of digital information which can be read effortlessly on the go. Honda’s City was always known for its superior seats and this iteration is no different. There’s loads of comfort offered by the large front seats which have brilliant support due to the superior cushioning on the backrest and seat squab. In fact they offer more than adequate legroom, but the design of the sunroof results in tall occupants brushing their head against the roof.

Honda City

The City’s rear seat imparts a generous level of comfort due to the cushioning and superior seat design which allows for a very relaxing backrest angle with lots of thigh support. Likewise, there’s plenty of knee room and three passengers can be easily accommodated here. The floor has a nice upward slant that’s quite relaxing for the feet. As for the boot, there’s no release from the cabin, however, it can swallow up to 510 litres which is good for at least three medium sized suitcases and a few soft bags.

Honda City

The Honda City 2017 gets a whole package of LED lights. You get LED DRLs, auto LED headlamps, LED fog lamps, LED tail lamps, a boot lid mounted spoiler with LED stop lamp, LED cabin lights, and LED lights for the rear license plate illumination! There’s also driver and front airbag with front side and side curtain airbags, automatic wipers, large 16-inch diamond cut alloys, electric sunroof and a seven-inch advanced infotainment with capacitive touchscreen. Variant-wise features are explained here

Performance

Powering the facelifted Honda City will be the same 1.5-litre i-VTEC petrol engine that makes 119bhp with 145Nm of torque, and the i-DTEC diesel motor that produces 100bhp and 200Nm of torque. While the petrol motor will use the existing five-speed manual or a CVT ‘box, the diesel engine will carry on with the earlier six-speed manual gearbox.

Honda City

As Honda claims a considerable amount of work has gone into reducing the NVH levels of the diesel 2017 City, we decided to experience it first-hand. Twist the ignition and the engine kicks to life with a lot less clatter, but one still can feel the vibration of the engine filter through to the pedals. Once on the go, there’s a slight lag till about 1800rpm, after which the motor strongly pulls in a linear fashion all the way to about 3200rpm. Post this, there’s more engine noise than any swift build-up of pace before hits the conservative the 4400rpm redline.

Honda City

Likewise, we consciously stayed off the redline to avoid listening to the vocals of the diesel motor. As a matter of fact, since the power-band is narrow, it is imperative to work the gearbox constantly to keep the revs between 1,800rpm and 3,200rpm for any serious performance. This six-speed manual gearbox has ratios retained from the earlier car, and has a short throw with a precise gate. Despite the slightly rubbery nature of the shift, the overall feel from this gearbox is good thanks in part to the light clutch.

Honda City

On the road, lesser road noises filter into the 2017 City’s cabin, and this adds to the overall cabin comfort. With a stiff suspension setup, sharp edges can be felt and heard in the cabin at low speeds, but it never gets to the point where the occupants feel rough. Pick up the momentum and the City tends to drive flat as the damping allows it to absorb most road imperfections quite well. 

Honda City

On the handling front, the light steering has an accurate feel to it and there’s enough feedback for one to know what is happening at the wheels. Though there’s a hint of roll, a notable composure is displayed even at higher speeds despite the seemingly thin tyres they come shod with. Likewise, throw the Honda City at a sharp bend, and one will appreciate the manner in which the intended line is maintained; the only shortfall being the tyres squealing for grip. Furthermore, though the brakes felt adequate in stopping the car, a bit more feedback would have been appreciated.

Honda City
Tech specs
Make Honda  
Model 2017 City  
Fuel Petrol Diesel
Variant VX/ZX ZX
Engine Capacity 1497cc 1498cc
Max. Power (bhp@rpm) 119 @ 6600 100 @ 3600
Max. torque (Nm@rpm) 145 @ 4600 200 @ 1750
Gears  five-speed manual/ CVT six-speed manual
Length mm 4440  
Width mm 1695  
Height mm 1495  
Wheelbase mm 2600  
Fuel Capacity (in litres) 40  
Tyre size 185/55 R16 185/55 R16
Features
Features  
LED headlamps, fog lamps, tail lamps and DRLs Yes
Spoiler Yes
Auto air-con Yes
Seven-inch Infotainment system with smartphone compatibility Yes
Rear-view camera Yes
16-inch diamond cut alloys Yes
Electric sunroof Yes
Auto head lamps Yes
ABS, EBD and six airbags Yes
Competition
Specifications
Honda
2017 City
Maruti
Ciaz
Variant
VX/ZX
ZX
ZXi
ZDi
Fuel
Petrol
Diesel
Petrol
Diesel
Engine Capacity
1497cc
1498cc
1373cc
1248cc
Max. Power (bhp)
119 @ 6600
100 @ 3600
92 @ 6000
90 @ 4000
Max. torque (Nm)
145 @ 4600
200 @ 1750
130 @ 4000
200 @ 1750
Gears 
five-speed manual/ CVT
six-speed manual
five-speed manual/
four-speed auto
five-speed manual
Length mm
4440
4490
Width mm
1695
1730
Height mm
1495
1485
Wheelbase mm
2600
2650
Fuel Capacity (in litres)
40
43
Tyre size
185/55 R16
185/55 R16
195/55 R16
195/55 R16
Conclusion

Honda City

With the introduction of the new 2017 City with the updated features and design, Honda looks to once again stimulate the interest towards a model that has done exceedingly well for the brand over the years. It is priced between Rs 8.49 lakh and Rs 13.56 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi), and will take on the likes of other C-segment contenders like the Fiat Linea, Hyundai Verna, Maruti Suzuki Ciaz, Nissan Sunny, Renault Scala Skoda Rapid, and Volkswagen’s Vento. Despite the decline in the inclination towards saloons (due to increased SUV demand), the 2017 Honda City has what it takes to attract those buyers who’d still prefer a saloon over anything else.

Honda City

 Pictures: Kapil Angane