The updated Honda City has been launched recently. This isn't a generation upgrade hence the facelift is mostly cosmetic. A new, sleeker grille and bumper have been added up front, the light clusters have undergone slight modification, and the V, VX and ZX trims now sport a new set of alloy wheels.
The V trim also gets a new 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system with voice command, push-button start, and rear view camera. In addition the VX trim is now equipped with leather seats, LED headlamps and fog lamps, and electronic sunroof. The top ZX trim also gets auto LED headlamps and rain-sensing wipers. Following the facelift, all variants of the Honda City are equipped with dual airbags, ABS and ISOFIX child seat mounting points as standard.
The 1.5-litre i-VTEC petrol engine with five-speed manual and CVT gearbox, and i-DTEC diesel engine with only a six-speed manual gearbox have been retained.
The earlier base variant E has been discontinued, so the new entry-level is the S trim, while a new top ZX trim has replaced the previous premium model VX (O) in the line-up. Note that the S trim is only available with a petrol engine and the ZX trim is available in both petrol and diesel, but the petrol variant isn't available with the manual gearbox option. Surprisingly, the automatic gearbox option has been done away with for the SV trim.
Changes - good or bad
It is great that Honda has put an emphasis on safety by adding dual airbags and ABS as standard features, along with the option to mount ISOFIX child seat. In the highly competitive Indian automotive space often times safety takes a backseat to keep the price down. This is probably the best feature of this latest facelift.
On the other hand, given that Maruti Suzuki Ciaz is expected to get a facelift later this year and the Hyundai Verna is expected to undergo a generation change, Honda would have been better served if it also upgraded the existing engines, putting the pressure squarely back on its rivals. However, Honda has let that opportunity slip. Some of the other changes such as a new infotainment system and an electronic sunroof are just novelties. On a positive note, despite these changes Honda hasn’t increased the prices by much.
Honda has successfully retained the excellent the ride quality and handling the City is known for. A minor complaint is that the electric power steering lacks a bit of feedback, but otherwise the car responds perfectly.
The new base variant S is priced at Rs 8.49 lakh, while the new top ZX trim is priced at Rs 13.56 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). There is no major change in pricing at Rs 20,000 to Rs 25,000 higher than the pre-facelift prices.
Is it worth upgrading?
The new Honda City looks fresher and the interiors feels plusher, but since most of the changes are superficial in nature it comes up slightly lighter when compared to the competition posed by the likes of Maruti Suzuki Ciaz, Skoda Rapid and Volkswagen Vento. Plus the new generation Hyundai Verna is yet to be launched. That’s not to say that Honda hasn’t made a serious effort, and it is worth checking out.