The Honda City is a car which needs no introduction, at least not in India where it has stamped its authority since the very first day of arrival way back in 1998. The Honda City nameplate dates back to 1981 when the first generation model was launched in Japan. However, Honda discontinued the car in 1994 but the City nameplate was revived in 1996 for developing markets. Technically, the Honda City unveiled today is the sixth generation model but in its second run, it comes out to be in its fourth generation.
The Honda City has dominated the C-segment for most part of its India innings (2.2 million customers world-wide since its launch in 1996), so playing second fiddle to any one else in its class is not something Honda wants. Thus the company has been quick in bringing in the next generation model which *clap* *clap* gets a diesel engine as well. The all new City makes it global premiere in India which highlights the importance of this vehicle for Honda India.
Honda launched the Amaze earlier this year and grabbed 50,000 customers in less than 8 months. With the all new City, the company aims at a sales target of 1.5 million units globally by 2017. The fourth generation Honda City will draw power from the 1.5-litre i-DTEC diesel engine which is coupled to a 6-speed manual gearbox. Honda claims the new City would be the most fuel efficient car in its segment and also feature class leading interior space. The new City will also be available with an improved 1.5-litre, i-VTEC petrol engine. The company has already increased the production numbers for the Amaze and City to match up demand.
The new Honda City gets a range of features including a 5-inch LCD display which offers Bluetooth connectivity along with the usual audio outputs. There are four power outlets in the car and the top-end variant gets touchscreen controls for the AC, rear AC vents, cruise control and a sunroof.
The new Honda City has been designed to maximise interior space but the overall length has been kept the same, however, the wheelbase has been increased by 50 mm. The shoulder room has been increased by 40 mm and the leg and knee room too has got some improvement. The all new High-Balance Chassis gives the vehicle 24% better structural rigidity than its predecessor. Honda plans to launch this segment changing sedan by January 2014 which is said to be built on the “man maximum machine minimum” philosophy. Pre-bookings have already started, however, Honda would announce the pricing in January.
The 2014 Honda City will compete against the Hyundai Verna, Volkswagen Vento, Skoda Rapid, Ford Fiesta, Renault Scala and Nissan Sunny. Honda might have retained the styling, which is an minor evolution than a revolution but the vehicle has taken a huge step upwards when it comes to the interiors and features. The new City will be positioned slightly above the current model, bringing breathing space for the Amaze compact sedan. Expect the fourth generation Honda City to be priced from Rs. 8 lakh onwards for the base petrol model, going up to Rs. 12 lakhs for the top end diesel (price estimates ex-showroom, Delhi).