2020 Honda City—First Impressions
Competition in the B-segment looks to be heating up this 2020, with the Mitsubishi Mirage, Nissan Almera, and now, the Honda City are finally revealed. Honda has just unveiled the all-new City in Thailand. So what does the latest version of Honda’s popular urban driver have in store for its owners? Let us count the ways.
The City as we know it is currently on its fifth generation, although the nameplate goes two generations back, beginning life as hatchbacks that bear no resemblance to the compact sedan introduced in 1996, save for the name. The Honda City currently available locally—a 2019 model—houses a 1.5-liter i-VTEC engine mated to a continuously variable transmission. As the last of the fourth generation, the 2019 Honda City has six trims in all, and is still available in Honda dealerships nationwide.
The fourth generation City has been around since 2014, enjoying a major refresh in 2017 when Honda upgraded to the Solid Wing Face design aesthetic. With an almost six-year lifespan, the fourth-gen City has certainly enjoyed a formidable run, but sad to say, it’s finally time for the old to give way to the new.
Exterior-wise, although the fifth-gen Honda City has a lot in common with the car it’s based on—the Honda Jazz—many of the new City’ design elements appear similar to its bigger sibling, the Honda Civic. The upswept matrix headlights in particular, look the same in both cars. A mesh on the grille’s lower half and a sportier lower bumper helps the City’ fascia stand out from the Civic. Of course, the latest City carries the Solid Wing Face signature design philosophy. Truth to tell, compared to the Civic though, the City looks a lot prettier from the front.
The rear is a further departure, as the City comes with more traditional wraparound taillights compared to the Civic’s bracket-shaped pair. The boot lid is also takes on a more conservative shape this time around. The rear windshield is also less raked than its bigger sibling, which should help boost headroom in the rear cabin.
In terms of size, new City is longer, wider, and lower than its predecessor, measuring 4,553mm long, 1,748mm wide, and 1,467mm tall. This makes the new City 113mm longer, 53mm wider, and 10mm shorter. Wheelbase has also been reduced by 11mm, from 2,600mm previously to the current 2,589mm.
Under the hood
Rumbling beneath the City’s bonnet is a 1.0-liter three-cylinder DOHC engine that’s boosted by a BorgWarner turbocharger, pushing the City to do 120 hp and 173 Nm of torque. This engine is mated to a seven-speed continuously variable transmission (CVT). The pairing helps the car attain an impressive fuel economy rating of 23.8 km/l, as claimed by Honda. The Japanese carmaker also says that the engine meets Euro 5 emission standards.
The wheelbase has been reduced as mentioned, but this doesn’t mean that the cabin feels more cramped. In fact, legroom at the rear sees an increase because the underpinnings have been swapped for the same one used in the new Jazz. This also means that the City interior sports a completely new look. Although the instrument cluster remains traditional (read: non-digital), the rest of the cabin reflects a more contemporary design, especially when compared to the outgoing model.
At the heart of the dashboard panel lies a touchscreen complete with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Mirroring the angle of the rear windshield, the dashboard also appears at a steeper incline than before. The air-conditioner vents are also noticeably upright instead of sideways like in the old model. Honda says that the interior will be made available in black. Leather seats and a two-tone ivory/black theme will be offered as an option, along with chrome door handles and a glossy dashboard in piano black.
The Thailand reveal showed the 2020 City in an RS trim, making the car look even sportier. Bold 16-inch alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, some sporty accents and a new Ignite Red Metallic paint finish further adds street appeal. Other paint options include Platinum White Pearl, Crystal Black Pearl, Lunar Silver Metallic, Modern Steel Metallic and Taffeta White.
The fifth-gen Honda City begins selling in Thailand on December 24 in four variants: 1.0 Turbo S, 1.0 Turbo V, 1.0 Turbo SV, and 1.0 Turbo RS. No word yet on when it will reach the Philippine market or how many variants will be made available locally.