Right from the time that Honda introduced the first generation City in India, a car that was for markets such as India and the South East Asian countries, it touched the hearts of the Indian car buying public. The 1.3 litre engine that it came with had decent power (about 90 PS) and decent fuel efficiency to boot. The Z type which followed it also had the legendary Honda V-Tec engine that set the pulse of the boy racers racing. The second generation though successful in its own right was seen by enthusiasts as a bit of a let down. The original i-dsi engine featuring twin spark plug technology barely made 80 PS of power but had phenomenal fuel efficiency. The cries of the wolf pack however saw Honda introduce a version with its i-Vtec engines but the chassis of the car was not meant for sporty driving and this generation had the shortest life span despite the fact that it sold well.
The third generation went back to sporty roots and had a contemporary styling with a chassis which lent itself to sporty driving and the i-vtec was the engine of choice. This car started of well at the hustings but over the years saw a fall in demand mainly due to the fact that fuel prices in India were on the up and Honda did not have a diesel engine which they finally rectified last year with the launch of the i-dtec engine and put it into the sedan version of the Brio and called it the Amaze. The sales of the Amaze have been on the up and up thanks to this frugal yet power packed high tech diesel engine and now Honda has launched the fourth generation City which seems to have all the ingredients to be a winner including a diesel engine.
The 4th gen City has the “Exciting H” design language which will be used on all future Honda models and this has been used on the Jazz as well (launched in Japan as the Fit) and as is well known the City is based on the Jazz platform. The City has grown up and offers interior space which is more than what any of the previous generations offered.
The City’s interiors and note the very nicely placed AC vents for the rear seat occupants
The point to note about the new interiors is the placement of the AC vents for the rear seat passengers. In most cars, the Renault Duster comes to mind immediately, the vents jut out and make it uncomfortable for the “middle passenger” but Honda has placed the vents almost flush with the rear of the front seats line and this means that the middle passenger can sit in relative comfort. Good thinking Honda. One can also learn from other people’s mistakes. The dashboard too is something that sits comfortably in a driver oriented car and is well known the City is a driver’s car, so no complaints there either. It has a general wrap around effect and feel stylish.
The steering and gear lever geometry is spot on as is to be expected from Honda and its driver centric focus. The rear of the City is in tune with the rest of the car and despite being based on a hatchback platform it does not look like a boot has been bolted on. The whole car flows fluidly (sorry Hyundai) from the front to the back and makes for a great appearance.
The best view of the car is the front three quarters and Honda will start deliveries of the car sometime during the month of January, 2014. The prices will range from INR 8.30 for the base petrol model to INR 11. 60 for the fully loaded diesel version. The City has not only grown in size but also in the selling price. It is however likely that Honda will ensure that the customer will get value for money and will not feel short changed despite the increase in price.