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Honda City CNG

Upcoming
Expected Launch: Nov 2012
Expected Price: 9.50 - 11 lakhs
Honda City CNG is not launched in India yet. Information on this page is tentative.

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Honda City CNG Preview

Honda City has been one of the most successful CSegment sedan in the country. Even today when petrol vehicles have lost their charm in India, Honda City continues to deliver relatively high numbers much higher than rest of the petrol cars in the C-Segment and even bettering more than a few petrol hatchbacks in monthly numbers. ...read full review Honda City has been one of the most successful CSegment sedan in the country. Even today when petrol vehicles have lost their charm in India, Honda City continues to deliver relatively high numbers much higher than rest of the petrol cars in the C-Segment and even bettering more than a few petrol hatchbacks in monthly numbers.

Still Honda is quickly losing numbers to its competitors due to rapid dieselization. The problem is Honda diesel models are still at least a year away and Honda needs a stop-gap arrangement till then to maintain as much sales as possible. And the easiest way to around this problem is introducing an alternative-fuel variant, which requires limited R&D and infrastructure investment.

 It is not that Honda does not have diesel vehicles in the international market. Honda i-DTEC has been available with the Accord and the CR-V for a while, also the company has very recently introduced the Earth-Dream 1.6-litre diesel engines for Civic in Europe. Unfortunately these cannot be brought to India as the quality of fuel in India is poor and it might severely affect the engines. Honda is hence developing smaller and ironically a little less-refined engines for India and few other developing markets.

The CNG variants have become popular across manufacturers in India in the current market situation and are perceived as the next best option to diesel cars in terms of fuel efficiency and running costs. Also they help car makers maintain and even advertise their eco-friendly image. Maruti will introduce a CNG variant of the Alto 800 and the Alto K10, Hyundai has started offering CNG kit as dealer accessory with two years warranty.

Honda is thinking on similar lines and is expected to introduce a CNG version of its top selling model, the City, in India by the end of the year. Also, Honda has already introduced the CNG powered City in Thailand and it won’t be too difficult to get a similar version here very soon. In the South-East Asia country, the City sedan has been fitted with a 65-litre round CNG tank in the boot that does not compromise too much on the space, yet provide a decent range without switching to petrol.

To ensure that the City sedan can cope with the extra load of CNG tank, Honda Thailand has strengthened the suspension and placed a solid cross bar in the boot to enhance the stability. Along with adding an electronic safety box as per regulations in Thailand, Honda has also strategically placed the fuel and CNG inlet at same location to ensure convenience of the users at the time of refueling.

Since the CNG option has been factory fitted it will not affect the performance of the smooth and efficient i-VTEC 1.5-litre petrol engine of the sedan that churns out 116bhp and 146nm of torque. The City CNG meets the Euro IV norms and is available with a three-year warranty in Thailand. it is manufactured locally at Honda’s Ayutthaya plant. The Indian model will also be manufactured locally after necessary know-how transfer to keep costs in check. The Honda City CNG is expected to cost Rs 50,000 to Rs 60,000 more than the petrol model in India. We expect Honda will introduce the CNG option in the mid and top-end variant, similar to the offering of auto transmission. In case Honda does offer a top-end automatic CNG variant, it will be a bit pricy with tag price going close to entry D-Segment cars.

The Honda City was introduced into the Asian car market in 1996 at a time when the region was in the midst of an economic boom and the demand for luxurious yet easy to maintain cars has suddenly grown many fold. After tasting success in the South-East Asian nations, the Japanese automaker tied up with SIEL (a company under the umbrella of the Usha international group) and the launched the third generation City in the Indian Market in 1998 achieving the same level of success that it got from the Asian markets.

The C-segment sedan underwent two major revisions; the first time in 2005 where completely new body design which included a redesigned front grille, headlights, bumpers, fog lights and tail lights was introduced. Honda revised the interiors and was one of the first manufacturers to offer the option of a currently well-known formula; light brown or beige fabrics trim to give an airy an upmarket feel.

The City ZX as it was called also saw the introduction of the 1.5 litre VTEC (Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control) engine for the first time. The Noida based manufacturer also introduced alloy wheels and disc brakes for all four wheels as a standard for the top-end variant by the end of the model life.

The car underwent a second revision in 2008 and the body was completely redesigned once again. The exteriors featured a longer, sleeker and angular yet lower body for a lower centre of gravity. Inside, the cabin returned to a black and silver trim but was fitted with many modern conveniences and features like four power windows, aux and USB ports and oddly enough paddle shifts found at that time only in cars of a higher price category. Underneath the hood, the 1.5-litre engine continued to do duty but now in the i-VTEC form. This model received a facelift in the form of new bumpers and lights at the end of last year.

Honda City will get a diesel mill, but only in 2014 after the company has introduced the Brio based entry level compact diesel sedan. It is still a long way ahead and hope the make shift arrangements will help them sustain the sales of the Honda City. There are also possibilities that government might take stern steps to stop dieselization in which case demand for the petrol variants of the sedan will go up once again.

Honda is limiting its range in India. The premium sedans the Civic and the Accord will be discontinued by the end of this year. It seems their return will also be put on hold till 2014.

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