The Honda City has received its mid-life update with a few tweaks on the outside and added some equipment inside to renew its vigour to compete in the C-segment. The C-segment is ideally the battle for honours in the Indian market especially for the volume players. While the City was used to ruling the C-segment, the Hyundai Verna and then the Maruti Ciaz did manage to trump the City. You also have the Volkswagen Vento and the Skoda Rapid in the equation and the other set of erstwhile twins – the Renault Scala and the Nissan Sunny. The Verna is due for an update and the sales are trickling down while the Vento facelift is near. So we pitch the City against its rival, the Ciaz, and the Skoda Rapid to find out how it fares.
At Rs 9.64 lakh ex-showroom, Delhi, the top-spec Maruti Ciaz diesel is a whole Rs 2 lakh cheaper than the Honda City. Also, the Ciaz is no less a car at all. It is longer and wider than the City and is more efficient for both the petrol and the diesel mills. The Ciaz gets projector headlamps as well. Add the service network and cost of spares to the equation and the Ciaz seems to run away with it. But then, the Honda City now has LED daytime running lamps. It also gets an electric sunroof and tilt and telescopic adjustable steering wheel. Both the diesel and petrol engines of the City, 99bhp and 117bhp respectively, are powerful as compared to the Ciaz (89bhp for diesel, 91bhp for petrol). The rear seats are foldable and it gets driver armrest storage as well. But then, with its pricing, the Ciaz does bell the value-for-money cat. For the buyer it doesn’t matter if the so-called SHVS technology is nowhere close to a real hybrid but still enjoys the benefits under the FAME initiative by the government put together to encourage hybrid and electric cars. In case of the petrols, the City is just over half a lakh expensive than the Ciaz.
The Skoda Rapid has been recently updated and finally gets the sharper looks of its bigger brethren, the Octavia and the Superb. It also has LED DRLs like the Honda City but has projector headlamps as well. The Rapid top-spec diesel is almost as expensive as the City and while it also lacks a sunroof like the Ciaz, it has the 7-speed DSG automatic. It gets Brake Assist with ESP and hill-hold as well. While it doesn’t have reverse camera like the other two, it has Cruise control like the Honda City. It gets rain-sensing wipers along with remote-opening functions for the boot-lid. The Rapid comes with the most powerful diesel engine of the lot and with its shorter length, is a much better handler than the other two. It does miss out on the space in the back as compared to the others, but if the car is meant for a young nuclear family, rear space is not a real concern.
The Volkswagen Vento is ideally the same car as the Rapid but with a different skin and a name. So whatever stands true for the Skoda Rapid, works for the Volkswagen as well.