2015 Honda City | Road Test
* Impressive amount of kit is offered as standard.
* Significantly larger boot when compared to its rivals makes the City a lot more practical.
* Extremely fuel efficient if driven sensibly.
* Drone from the CVT transmission is a constant nuisance that works its way into the cabin.
Introduction & Summary
Thirty four years and five generations on since the very first City was brought to life, Honda’s B-segment offering has soared to success in markets all over the world, and particularly in those with dense populations, tight parking spaces, and calf cramping traffic jams.
Equipped with the right qualifications to be successful in the UAE, the 2015 Honda City slots into the brand’s line-up between the smaller Jazz and larger Civic. Facing competition from the Korean Hyundai Accent and Japanese Nissan Sunny, the City is unable to compete with the said rivals as far as prices are concerned. Quite frankly, that’s what makes it all the more interesting, as it has to fight even harder to prove its worth.
Styling & Design
Stylistically speaking, the 2015 Honda City is the product of bits and pieces that have been borrowed from the Honda Civic, as well the previous generation Honda City. A neat union indeed, for it gives birth to prominent creases in the hood which taper as they draw closer to the sleek chrome grille embellishment, and large tail lamps which integrate ever so gracefully into the heavily sculpted bodywork.
Proving its superiority, the Honda City ditches the traditional buttons along its centre console for capacitive touch switches, while splashes of piano black and silver trim on the dashboard and door panels break the monotony of dull, dark plastics around the cabin. With tweeters located in the door panels, a touch infotainment screen adorning the centre stack, and a combination of digital and analogue gauges working their way into the instrument cluster, the Honda City is definitely a cut above the rest, and it takes great pleasure in making its rivals feel archaic relatively quickly.
More than just a façade, the 2015 Honda City proves its technological superiority over its rivals with two USB ports, an HDMI port that allows the central 7 inch infotainment screen to duplicate the connected device’s display, as well as two wireless connectivity options: WiFi and Bluetooth. But that’s not all, for music can be played back from a staggering eight sources and an AUX jack is part of the standard equipment kit. Saying we’re highly impressed would be an understatement.
Performance, Ride & Handling
Befitting its name, the 2015 Honda City is equipped with a 1.5 litre engine that is more than happy to spend hours on end in rush hour traffic, while merely taking the smallest of sips from the 40 litre fuel tank. Churning out 118 horsepower at 6,600 RPM and 145 Nm of torque at 4,600 RPM, the 4-cylinder unit gets mated to a CVT transmission and is able to propel the 1,092kg Japanese sedan to the 100km/h marker in a satisfactory 10.8 seconds.
In an attempt to make the drive a tad bit more interesting however, the boffins at Honda have fitted paddle shifters behind the steering wheel and created seven makeshift points to mimic a seven speed transmission. But don’t fall victim to the City’s sporting pretensions, for a quick play with the paddles will reveal that it isn’t control the seven makeshift points grant, but merely a lull in the strident drone created by the CVT transmission – a sound best described as a food processor working at full capacity.
The feel of the brake pedal and steering leave a lot to be desired as well. While the brake pedal is mushy and will have your foot sinking it in to new depths constantly, the steering is extremely light and devoid of any feel whatsoever.
But while the drive in the City is far from engaging, its determination to save fuel and be the ideal urban crawler can’t be overlooked. Equipped with an ECON button on the dashboard and illuminating rings around the speedometer which light green when driven sensibly, the City will almost have you thinking it’s allergic to the fuel stored in the tank. Taking an excruciating 62 seconds to accelerate from 80km/h to 120km/h with the cruise control set, is proof of its determination not to upset fuel economy and deliver the maximum number of kilometres per litre.
Comfort & Practicality
With a wheelbase of 2,600mm, the 2015 Honda City is a lot more spacious that it’d have you believe at first. Ample amounts of legroom for front and rear seat passengers is just the start, for a decent amount of headroom, coupled with foamy soft seats and an exceptional A/C system that blows an ice storm out for both rows of occupants, are what the City truly comfortable.
Practicality wise, the little Jap does well for itself too. Featuring split folding 60/40 rear seats, the City allows for longer objects to be carried in the boot by simply folding down one section of the rear seat. But that’s not all, for the City trumps its rivals once again with its mighty impressive 536 litres of boot space, a massive jump over the Hyundai Accent’s 388 litres and Nissan Sunny’s 490 litres.
Price & Verdict
The 2015 Honda City isn’t your regular B-segment offering. Wearing a starting price tag of AED 55,900, it’s nearly AED 10,000 more than the Accent and Sunny, as is the case with our top of the line tester which costs AED 66,000. Being more powerful, offering significantly more in terms of practicality, and oodles more in terms of tech, the Honda City is unlikely to be seen as an attractive investment to those who spend frugally, but those who spend wisely, know it’s a stellar package.