In a market dominated by hatchbacks and SUVs, Honda is set to launch the fifth-generation City. However, this would be the first time in two decades of the City's existence that the two generations will be sold alongside each either. Yes, the fourth-gen City (which is already more than three years old) will be sold on the same showroom floor as the All New City. So when you walk into a Honda showroom, which of the two makes a viable buy? Let’s find out.
Carrying its traditional low-slung nose design, the new City makes a case for itself with an imposing chrome-slat running across the newly-designed headlamps. This grille is much more in-your-face than the one on the older City and larger headlamps amplify it furthermore. A common resemblance between the two models is the small vent below the chrome slat. Otherwise, the front bumper is simple and conventional on the new, as it was on the older generation.
Moving to the side, you realise how big the new City has grown. Even though the wheelbase remains unchanged at 2600mm, there're longer overhangs both fore and aft, and the new City sits a bit lower and is wider too. Those 16-inch wheels look much mature compared to the corkscrew-opener-styled ones offered before. We loved the new City’s LED tail-lamps. However, they lack those eye-catching signature seen in the previous-gen City. There’s a duck-tail type design on the boot, but we prefer the stylish bumper offered before compared to the rather plain-Jane bumper of the new City.
Everything inside the 2020 City is new and there’s not much that is shared with the fourth-gen model. Starting with the digital instrument cluster, it gets configurable screens while retaining the old-school charm of dual-circular dials, unlike the older three-pod cluster. The steering wheel is new and feels as chunky as before, but its buttons are more tactile. What’s also tactile are the AC controls with knurled dials replacing the feather-touch units of the older model. The previous City’s touchscreen seemed dated and that has been addressed with a refreshed system with a smoother interface and good touch sensitivity.
Meanwhile, the dash layout of the new car is much simpler, unlike the blend of materials in the older car. Which is a good thing, but we did expect better quality plastic inside which could have made the City feel more premium. The driving posture is spot on in the new car, but hop into the back seat and the acres of legroom surely take you by surprise. Even the seats are comfy and supportive, despite missing out on adjustable headrest. And lastly, the boot space of the new model is sufficiently large and can swallow some more luggage compared to the older model.
Where the fourth-generation model shares the same diesel motor with the new City, the petrol motor is updated for the new model. The 1.5-litre iDTEC diesel makes 98bhp and 200Nm and is BS6 compliant in both the models. Meanwhile, the 1.5-litre iVTEC petrol produces 119bhp and 145Nm, which can be had either with a six-speed manual or a CVT automatic. The petrol motor has been reworked with a DOHC setup and benefits from VTC (Variable Valve Timing Control) in the new car. We have driven both the petrol and diesel derivative of the new City and you can read about it over here. On the flip side, there’s still no diesel-automatic option with the Honda City.
Honda will launch the 2020 City on 15 July. We expect the new-gen model to be priced at a premium over the older City. So the new City offers bigger space on the inside, modern features, updated powertrain and a sedan which is upmarket to look. But if you still like the charm of fourth-gen City, there’s not much that dictates against buying it. It still offers good driving dynamics, decent features and ample cabin space. We’ll wait for the pricing on the new City for the final word.