Honda City Diesel Long Term Review
A fantastic ride and handling balance combined with a practical cabin allows the City to continue its domination in the C-Segment
There might be a massive shift towards SUVs but Honda is yet to adapt and somehow their sedans have managed to keep them relevant, the charge being led by the City since Honda’s foray into the Indian market back in the late 1990s. The fifth-generation Honda City was launched last year and against all odds, has managed to continue its winning streak on the sales chart. The top-end diesel model joined our long term fleet and there is a lot to like and something which certainly could have been better.
For starters, the design looks very sleek and although it won’t make heads turn, being the latest car in the segment, does make it look very fresh. The City has grown and how, over its five generations, the latest model being longer than the previous generation Civic (that was sold in India). The wheels could be bigger though but they are practical as some big bumps which shook the car, didn’t damage the tyres or the rims, phew!
I particularly love the keyless entry system in the new City, it works flawlessly well. Come near the car and you don’t need to press any button on the door handle to unlock the car, similarly, you need not lock the car either, step away and it auto-locks (realising you have moved away, the key should be with you though). Other brands (not just from the segment but even some luxury brands) need to learn from Honda, how to do keyless entry so well.
Though not that refined, the diesel engine offers great driveability along with a slick-shifting manual gearbox
The interior is very practical, the rear seat has plenty of space and there is a sunblind too (for the rear windscreen). Plenty of storage spaces and an aesthetically pleasing dashboard, further improve the ambience of the cabin. However, Honda has still not managed to get its infotainment right, yet. The Bluetooth connection to the phone randomly disconnects and the screen is difficult to see in bright sunlight, the quality of the lane watch camera is average too.
However, what really pleases is the way the City drives, it’s a fun car, especially when paired to a manual gearbox which our diesel model is (still don’t understand why Honda won’t put the CVT in the diesel like they did with the Amaze). Although not the best in terms of NVH, things have improved since Honda first brought in their oil burner and unless you stretch the motor hard into the top-end, you won’t hear a lot from the diesel mill. Drivability is excellent and the engine is super tractable too, this car is a joy to drive in the city (staying true to its name).
Even out on the highway, it maintains the fun factor and performance quite well. Great steering feel, very well calibrated and supremely accurate too, this car gives good feedback to the driver at all speeds. Handling is excellent too with good body control, the only let down being the tyres which were chosen for efficiency and not grip, they do their job to ensure the car is as frugal which in these current times of hefty fuel prices, makes a lot of sense. Our tester is returning 16 km/l.
The Honda City has a soft suspension and that bodes well for the ride but certain bumps do filter in, the suspension has room for improvement and so does the ground clearance. However, in spite of the flaws, the City is still the pick of the segment due to it being fantastic in a lot of areas. We are going to further log on kms on this C-segmenter to see how it fares on long-distance routes as well as on the post-monsoon pothole-filled Mumbai, a city where the City faces its next challenge.
- Refreshing and attractive design
- Feature loaded and practical cabin
- Punchy and frugal diesel engine
- Excellent dynamics and ride quality
What’s Not So Cool
- Infotainment system has some bugs
- No diesel automatic
- Low ground clearance
- Skinny tyres
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