Got my 2023 Honda City CVT: Key impressions on looks, features & engine
The City is the perfect size and its neither too long and nor too short for our traffic laden city roads.
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Hope you all are doing great. We have taken the delivery of our Honda City Facelift on August 2nd and till today the car has a mileage of around 2000 Kilometers. I use the car for my short office commutes and we had done some highway runs as well.So I thought to pen down my thoughts about the ownership experience. This is my first ownership review and I hope I will meet the very high standards set by our esteemed forum in this regard.Please grab a cup of coffee and here we go.
Why a new car?
The new car itch/bug started in the last December22 and I finally brought a bugfix in July23.
We had a Ford Figo S TDCi. I had a fuss free ownership and I absoultely had a blast in that pocket rocket.Whenever I took it for a spin I used to have a wide grin. The locomotive like Torque from that 1.5 TDCi mill was so much of fun.I really loved the looks, handling and trouble free ownership for 6 years.Of late after changing all four tires (Aplollo Alnac 4G 195/55) at 48K odo the car developed peculiar issues.
Maybe the issues were present before and was masked as I didnt go for any long drives during the pandemic period.The car used to pull to the left on all kinds of roads and my right shoulder started taking a toll due to this especially in the long drives. Checked alignment multiple times at Madhus, inspected Suspension components at FASS for wear and tear.Everything seems right.Then I noticed that the steering used to make tak tak sound while rotating when the car is stationary which was not present before.FASS said that the entire steering column had gone kaput but totally safe to drive and replacing it will solve all the issues including the left pulling.The estimated bill is around 30K and they also told me that I also need to replace the Engine+Gearbox mounts soon as they are worn which will push the total bill North of 50K including labour charges.
July23 : We went to a long trip to Chikmagalur on the occasion of Wifey’s birthday and my beloved Figo perfomed horribly on the highway.The famed handling was gone and the car used to feel nervy at highway speeds or maybe I felt it so as my mind was lingering on these niggles.
So I decided to let it go as i’m not enjoying it like before and not worth reparing it as it might not run like before.Also the small boot space of 257 liters didnt help further as my family had grown two feet long.The ODO was at 53.5K Kms and I sold it to OLX Autos for 4.63 Lakhs as they offered better price among all the competitors.The offered price seemed decent for a Ford.I didn’t expect that I will let it go like this but I had to take the decision due to the reasons mentioned above.
Few parting shots of that little beast before selling.
Why Honda City?
I am a sedan guy and probably among the minority who still adores the looks of a 3 boxed body.I initially had a budget of 15 lakhs but extended it to 20 lakhs to get the Topend as it made no sense to settle for the lower variants due to the distribution of must have+nice to have features (after a debate with Wifey).So the options are very clear for me and the main requirements are Good looks+saftey+latest tech.
So I shortlisted Honda City Facelift, Virtus/Slavia twins and the New Verna.
Virtus/Slavia : Probably these two are the worthy successors of the Figo S in terms of handling department.These two are still proper enthusiasts choice among the midsize sedans in India. For 19-20 Lakh on road I was getting only the 1.0 TSi+DSG combo in Bengaluru.The DSG reliablity concerns,niggles with VW 2.0 products,the weak HVAC (dont know if that is fixed now) and no Level 2 ADAS tech didnt help me either. So I had to rule these two cars out.
New Verna : I absolutely love the way it looks. It looks radical, edgy and futuristic.The all Black color of the 1.5 Turbo variant is just dope. The shortlisted variant is the 1.5 Turbo SX(O) DCT because of Level 2 ADAS with the segment best 158 horses. ADAS might not be too useful for our road conditions now but its nice to have IMHO.The onroad price was breaching more than 24 lakhs in Bengaluru.I already made a big stretch in terms of budget and still could have extended it to another 4-5 lakhs but decided to repay my Home Loan with that extra money as it saves big bucks towards the interest paid to the bank.After a lot of contemplation I had to let this go as well.The SX(O) IVT is ruled out because I felt it too sedate to drive when compared to City’s CVT.Will I regret not going for the 1.5 Turbo DCT now? Maybe Yes!
Honda City Facelift : From a very long time the City was the King among mid size sedans and its a no non sense family car. When the 5th gen was launched back in 2020 the competition was just hanging onto a very thin thread in that segment. The City just dominated them with aplomb. But the competion now is awake and very fierce.The sales chart just shows that the hunter is being hunted now.What makes the City relevant now? Still the icing on the cake is the awesome 1.5 i-VTEC coupled with Honda’s reliability.The Facelift spruced up the looks as the chrome bar is thinner and the subtle cosmetic changes made it look really aggressive particularly in ZX trim.The big change in the facelift is the inclusion of Honda Sensing the Level 2 ADAS tech (More on this later). So the City has good looks,Level 2 ADAS and all the Safety (Traditionally Honda cars performed better in crash tests and I expect the New City might atleast equals the Safety rating of its predecessor the 4th gen).Also what can go wrong with a Honda.So this sealed the deal for me and I decided to go for the ZX CVT as the variant of choice. The reason for the automatic is its ease of use in the infamous Bengaluru traffic and in the future wifey might share driving duties with me.
Pre Delivery Inspection
I have got the March 2023 manufactured model. I visited the Stockyard and this is how it looked during the PDI.
The ODO was 8 KMS.I have done the full Team-BHP recommended PDI and inspected every detail of the car. Satisfied with everything, I gave a go ahead to the dealreship for the allotment after noting down the VIN,Engine and battery numbers.We selected Platinum White Pearl as it makes the City look classy and long .Also it has great cosmetic mod potential.
Price Break up:
Thanks to the networking & support of my friends, I have got a flat 50K discount on the Ex showroom price for the ZX CVT. Even the dealership guys (Whitefield Honda) accepted that there are no discounts going on and only my friend with his circle could pull this through.
Also thanks to the advice of another friend to not to spend too much money as downpayment and rather to use that extra money to pay towards Home loan principle.This will inturn reduce the Home loan tenure significantly.Also the interest amount paid towards the car loan is significantly lesser than the home loan and I followed his advice.
- Ex-Showroom – 15,61,000
- TCS – 15,610
- Road Tax- 303,996
- Registration charges- 1,900
- Insurance with Bumper to bumper,Zero dep and RTI, Keyloss cover etc.(arranged by my friend)- 48,525
- Fastag – 600
- Logistics charges – 5,910
- Basic Kit- 9,999
- Total On road price – 19,47,540
Out of this 9,91,674 was paid through loan and the rest I paid through NEFT to the dealer Whitefield Honda.
Huge Kudos to the Whitefield Honda for arranging a super quick hassle free delivery.Payment was disbursed on 31st July and my car was ready for delivery including registartion on 2nd August.
Happy faces during the car delivery day.
- The looks. The facelift has brought right amont of aggression particularly in the ZX Variant.
- Big car feel. Does most of the things right.
- Safety with 6 Airbags,ABS & EBD,VSA,AHA,Lane Watch camera,Honda Sensing,Hill Start assist,Tyre deflation monitoring system,3 point seatbelts for all and many more
- The benchmark 1.5 NA Engine with 121 high revving horses.Period.
- The rubber band effect is very well controlled for a CVT standards.
- Connected car features
- Wireless Android auto & Apple carplay is very seemless
- Honda’s reliability and fuss free ownership
- The skinny tyres with 185mm section. This car deserves a mininum of 195mm section rubber.
- Glaring cost cutting in some areas (No full cladding in the wheel wells, sunroof cover feels thin, halogen lamp in the boot,licence plate and rear turn indicators)
- Poor NVH.Too much road noise seeps in during highway runs.
- The HU looks aftermarket, still not slick and little buggy at times.
- Absence of rear disc brakes and Ventilated seats in the top trim ZX.
- ECO mode makes the car horribly undepowered and makes no difference to the Fuel efficiency.No point in using it.
- Lanewatch camera is nice and very useful but the resolution should have been better.
Whats new in the Facelift?
- Upgraded 1.5 i-VTEC which is BS6 Phase2 RDE and E20 compliant
- Slimmer chrome bar at the front and new Honey comb grill(ZX Specific)
- New 16 inch redesigned alloy wheels
- ZX specific cosmetic bits(front fangs,boot lip spoiler,rear bumper diffuser setup)
- Honda Sensing (Six Level 2 ADAS features)
- Upgraded Head Unit with Wirless Carplay and Android Auto
- Improved rear camera resolution
- Plug and play Wireless Charger
The 5th Gen City has grown in size and has the best proportions coupled with good looks. It is really pleasing to the eyes from all sides and angles.
The City facelift measures 4583mm L x 1748 mm W x 1489mm H.IMO its the perfect size and its neither too long and nor too short for our traffic laden city roads.Coming from Figo I was at home within an hour of driving and got comfortable with the added length of the car in a day.
With its main rivals:
A look at the inverted eyebrow style DRL:
A closer look at the integrated boot lip spoiler.It looks hot in Black color.
When the lights are lit
The interior looks and feels premium for the segment and a very nice place to be in.Everything is designed ergonamically and one feels at home with in no time. The beige interiors will certainly bring airy feel to the cabin and looks upmarket. There are of course some hard plastics but the quality seems at par and better in some areas for this segment.IMO the interiors are well put together,feels like things will last long and fortunately I didnt feel any Squeaks and rattles till now.Touchwood.
Instrument Cluster+Head Unit:
The City in ZX trim gets a 17.7 cm semi digital display with Full Colour TFT meter along with Analog Speedometer. The digital display can be customized with the following content.
The display also shows if a door and boot is open but doesnt show incase if the hood is open.
The Headunit retains the same layout from pre facelift but got an update to make it more slick as per Honda. The wireless Android Auto and Apple carplay works seemlessly.The HU doesnt get any pre loaded maps and needs an update to improve its slickness further.I’m yet to use the Alexa remote functionality.
The lane watch camera gets activated when the left indicator is used. Also there is a dedicated button present in the light control stalk to activate this. The resolution could have been better.
Also the rear camera resolution isn’t great. There is a wide angle mode and top down mode available here.
The City gets connected car technology and we get a Honda Connect app for Mobile phone and Smart watch as well. Honda has a tie up with Vodafone for this and the customer gets a complimentary free 5 year subscription.
Through Honda Connect app one can control and monitor host of parameters. I have tried remote Engine Start, Opening up of all windows inculding Sunroof, remote AC ON etc and it worked well without any bugs.
The Honda Connect also stores all the ride info,gives you a driving score,has Geo fencing capabilities,fuel log info,service booking and SOS call etc. The app is buggy at times and shows that doors are open eventhough they are closed. It also requires a bugfix.
The Automatic Climate Control performs flawlessly and cools the cabin in no time.It also gets a Max cool option which would be useful during Hot days or in Summers. I usually set the temparature to 24.5 or 25 degrees here in Bengaluru which is more than enough as of now. The AC dials get a Click-feel and turns red if temparature is increased and blue if reduced.A very cool attention to detail.The rear gets AC vents and two 12V charging sockets.
Steering and Switches:
The Steering feels very nice to hold and has a right size.The leather stitching is of very good quality.It gets manual tilt and telescopic functionality and getting into a good driving position is fairly easy.The steering is very light and effortless to use in the city and gets weighted up sufficiently in the highways.The feedback is decent and you feel connected to the car but still I rate the steering feedback from the Figo S higher than this.The radio,music and telephone controls are on the left side and the right side gets the Cruise control and ADAS control switches.
The stalks for wiper and headlamps feels chunky and doesnt feel too plasticky. The City in ZX trim also gets Auto headlamps and Auto wipers.
The City gets one touch up and down functionality for the window switches which are back lit as well as for the sunroof control switch. The sunroof also gets a tilt functionality.
The front and rear doors get a space to store 1 liter water bottle along with map pockets.There are two cup holders at the front but to use the plug and play type wireless charger one should slot it into this. Wish Honda should have provided a dedicated Wireless charger like in eHEV version.
The front armrest has space to store decent amount of knick knacks.There is a dedicated storage space to store keys near the driver side. One has to remember to close it as it is easy to hit the knee to it which really hurts.The rear armrest also gets two slots for cup holders.Honda should have provided a sunglass holder other than this the car has good storage spaces which will do the job for all.
Seats and Space:
The front seats are supremely comfortable in the City and the quality of leather used is very good.Honda should have provided ventilated seats atleast in the ZX trim to elevate the experience further. Its a big miss. The seats are of beige colour which looks very premium but and im already scared of maintaining it because of my toddler.
The City has a wheelbase of 2600mm and this translates to ample space in the rear seats. The car is best suited for 4 decent sized adults and a fifth passenger in the middle row feels not very comfortable with the floor hump. That being said the City still has the best back seats in the segment in terms of space and comfort.
A massive boot capacity with 506 liters. More than enough for the family outstation trips.
The City in ZX trim gets 4 Speakers + 4 Tweeters setup. Each door gets a speaker and a tweeter. The Sound quality is decent for OEM standards but the excessive tire noise on Highways ruins the experience. One needs to increase the Volume for a better experience.Im not an audiophile and felt the sound quality as decent but still there is a room for improvement though.
There are some pre set modes available and that changes the quality of sound produced.
The 1.5 i-VTEC had been discussed at length and breadth in our forum.This is my first taste of the i-VTEC and I would say im delighted. Yes, the i-VTEC is best enjoyed in the MT to experience the full VTEC mode but the CVT with paddle shifters can also give you some fun.
I babied the Engine till first 1500 KMS due to run in period. I really started enjoying the car once I started stretching its legs. The Engine develops a peak power of 121 PS at 6600 rpm and a peak torque of 145Nm at 4300 rpm. Yes the torque is significantly lesser than Figo S which was a monster with 215 Nm in that segment.TBH the City never felt underpowered at all and the CVT (7 step) is tuned really well to deliver enough power on demand.Yes its a no match to the more powerful 1.5 Turbos and the lightning quick DSG’s or DCT’s of its competitors but the Power delivery of this Engine+CVT combo is very linear which will keep most of its owners satisfied.The performance is acceptable and the car picks up the speeds well.I didnt find issues while overtaking and the car performed reasonbly well during the highway runs.Being a CVT it still has that infamous rubberband effect but it is really masked well and its not really a very big deal breaker if one knows how to tame/handle it to extract best perfomance from this combo. Kudos to Honda for the tuning though.But one cannot expect an instant response in Kickdown mode and one should use paddles to shift down a gear or two incase of a brisk overtaking is required.
The City has the following three Drive modes:
Eco mode: In this mode the car will be very dull and struggles to accelerate quickly. There is no significant change in the Fuel efficiency and I wont be using this again as it takes away all the fun.
Normal mode: I mostly use this and the car has enough grunt in this for the City and Highway runs.For a quick overtake I still prefer shifting down the paddle shifter and its always a fun to revv the i-VTEC to get into that VTEC mode.
Sports mode: This is the sportier version of D mode as it will try to keep the revvs little higher and keeps the car in its Powerband always.This will be the goto mode during the Highway runs when there is a mood to have some fun. But still this wont hold a candle against the turbo variants of its competitors though.
The ARAI certified fuel efficiency for the CVT is a whopping 18.4 KMPL. That is a very ambitious number and so far in the real world inside the Bengaluru city traffic the car used to return 9-10 KMPL and on the highways 14-15 KMPL with a light foot. Probably these figures will improve after the first oil change.
Suspension and NVH:
The City uses McPherson strut with coil spring at the front and Torsion beam with coil spring at the rear.The suspension is really cushy and glides over small potholes with ease.Coming from Figo S,I really like the ride on the broken or bad roads.It absorbs the road bumps well and only the big bumps are felt inside the cabin.The City has a unladen ground clearance of 164mm but so far I havent scraped her belly. I usually stay extra cautions when I encounter speed brakers and always baby the car.It has a good balance and the feels planted till 100-110 KMPH on Highways and beyond that ride gets little bouncy particularly on the undulated highway sections. Also the annoying continous beep past 120 KMPH didnt allow me to drive beyond this speed on a perfectly designed and vacant highways.The Engine is very refined and hardly one can feel the vibrations inside the cabin.Only during cold starts the Engine feels coarse and during hard revving the Engine noise kicks into the cabin which again is music to the ears. Other than this its a very silent cabin to be in when on the go.My sore point is lack of full insulation/cladding in the wheel wells. This results in excessive tire noise seeping into the cabin. In this regard the City is same as my Figo which is from a segment below. This cost cutting is totally unnecessary for a car that is costing 20 big ones on road.
Honda Sensing (Level 2 ADAS Tech):
Honda calls its Level 2 Advanced Driver Assistance System technology in the City as Honda sensing. Its a Camera based setup and as per Honda it has been calibrated really well for our Indian road conditions.One gets Six Level 2 ADAS functionalities here.One should note that these camera based ADAS systems are as good as or maybe marginally better than human eye and may perform poorly in foggy or rainy conditions.
Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS): This system starts monitoring the roadway ahead when the vehicle speed is above 5 km/h. It monitors for the vehicle,pedestrian or moving bicycle infront of the car and activates the braking if there is a chance of a collision when there is no braking pedal input is received.The CMBS will be cancelled when the driver operates the steering wheel or the brake or accelerator pedal to avoid a collision.This works fairly good but sometimes it gets activated for no reason but not too intrusive.So far I have no complaints here. CMBS can be turned off in the safety support menu but it gets activated again as soon as the engine is restarted.
Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS): This can be activated when the vehicle speeds are in between 72-180 km/h. This is useful in the highways with clear lane markings.This system provides steering input to help keep the vehicle in the middle of a detected lane and provides tactile,audible and visual alerts if the vehicle is detected drifting out of its lane.
Road Departure Mitigation System: This system alerts and helps to assist you when it detects a possibility of the vehicle unintentionally crossing over detected lane markings or leaving the road altogether.One needs to activate the indicators to cross to another lane otherwise the system in addition to a visual alert applies steering torque and alerts you with rapid vibrations on the steering wheel to retain the vehile within the detected lane.This can be turned off in the safety settings.
Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC): This is the enhanced version of the normal cruise control.This helps to maintain a constant vehicle speed and applies braking as well as accelaration. It follows the detected vehicle ahead and performs accelaration and braking by maintaining the pre set distance to the lead vehicle. This can be activated when the vehicle speed is above 30 km/h.
Lead Car Departure Warning: This system informs the driver with visual and audible alerts when the vehicle is stationary eventhough the vehicle ahead started moving.
Auto High Beam Assist: If the control stalk is set to auto this system detects the light sources ahead of the vehicle such as lights of a preceding vehicle or oncoming vehicle,street lights. It automatically switches to high beam when the road ahead detected is dark and switches to low beam as soon as it detects some light in the opposite direction.
Mods in the Pipeline:
- Tyres: I will upgrade to the 205/50 R16 rubber as soon as the current stock tires completes 30-35K KMS. This car definately requires a fatter rubber and this should ideally improve its handling capabilities and highway manners a notch better.If the tires are being upgraded is there a need to re calibrate the ADAS system? Can someone throw a light on this regard.
- Cosmetic: Plan is to make the car dual tone.I’m waiting for the RS specific grill to hit the online stores for the 2023 Model.If its not available I will blacken the chrome bar at the front with a wrap which will workout much cheaper.I’m also planning to get a gloss black roof wrap and a gloss black wrap for the boot lip spoiler and the ORVM’s.
- Damping: I’m planning to dampen the doors and expecting that it will improve its NVH capabilities.
The City might not be a perfect car for everyone. Infact there wont be a perfect car which will satisfy every requirement. But the City does most of the things right. IMHO the competition is as fierce as ever and among the sea of Crossovers & Pseudo SUV’s cars like these are still like a breath of fresh air.
I am happy with my choice and I have no regrets.My next car would be probably an EV but that will be only after 6~7 years. Till then I will enjoy driving the City and being a Honda I have a total peace of mind with respect to the reliability and ownership experience.On this note i’m ending it here and will update the thread as and when I perform the mods and incase of suggestions and advices from you are required.
Cheers and drive safe.
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