Sedans and the City: The Honda City vs. other subcompact sedan options
The all-new Honda City from Honda Cars Philippines Inc. (HCPI) is arguably one of the best vehicles in the local subcompact sedan segment. The Philippine-spec Honda City comes with a Euro 4-compliant 1.5-liter DOHC i-VTEC engine mated to either a six-speed manual transmission or Honda’s industry-leading continuously variable transmission (CVT). This gives Honda’s city slicker 199hp and 145Nm of torque. The Honda City is offered in four variants: 1.5 S MT (P848,000), 1.5 S CVT (P888,000), 1.5 V CVT (P978,000), and the 1.5 RS CVT (P1,058,000).
Outside, the all-new Honda City takes cues from the dynamic design of its bigger stablemates, the Civic and the Accord. Halogen headlights can be found on the S and the V variants, while the RS model gets LED lights. Likewise, all S and V variants get a chrome front grille while the RS model gets a glossy black grille adorned with the RS badge. For kicks, the S variants are outfitted with 15-inch alloy wheels while the V and the RS variants come with 16-inch ones.
Inside, the Honda City is lined with black interior panels with varying contrasting trims: silver for the base S models (both manual and CVT), a touch of ivory for the V variant, and sporty red trims befitting the RS model. In terms of car tech, the manual S model offers a 2DIN audio system with Bluetooth and USB while the rest of the lineup comes with eight-inch touchscreen audio systems with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and WebLink. They also support Bluetooth and USB. Across the board, all models come with a tachometer, speedometer, fuel level indicator, fuel consumption meter, trip meter, range computer, temperature meter, and illumination control.
Those concerned with safety need not worry. The all-new Honda City offers a rigid body structure with its G-Force Control (G-CON) technology. Furthermore, features like anti-lock braking system (ABS), electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), vehicle stability assist (VSA), hill start assist (HSA), and emergency stop signal (ESS) come standard for all models. All variants are outfitted with child safety locks and Isofix child seat anchors — just in case you’ll be bringing your little ones along.
That said, the Honda City makes for a great choice for those looking for a subcompact sedan that’s right on the money. However, if you feel like the City isn’t exactly your type, here are some segment competitors worth checking out.
This car needs no introduction. The Vios is Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP)’s best-selling subcompact sedan and is currently offered in 10 variants: the Vios 1.3 Base M/T (P681,000), Vios 1.3 J M/T (P707,000), Vios 1.3 XE CVT (P753,000), Vios 1.3 XLE M/T (P801,000), Vios 1.3 XLE CVT (P851,000), Vios 1.3 E M/T (P851,000), Vios 1.3 E CVT (P901,000), Vios 1.5 G M/T (P911,000), Vios 1.5 G CVT (P970,000), and the top-of-the-line Vios 1.5 GR-S (P1,020,000).
When it comes to looks, all the variants are virtually identical with the GR-S model donning sportier body kits as well as a few GR-S branding inside and out.
Seven of the cars in the lineup are outfitted with Toyota’s dependable 1.3-liter dual VVT-I, four-cylinder in-line, DOHC 16-valve EFI engines while the G and the GR-S variants come with 1.5-liter 1.3-liter dual VVT-I, four-cylinder in-line, DOHC 16-valve EFI engines. The Vios 1.5 G M/T, Vios 1.5 G CVT, and Vios 1.5 GR-S are capable of putting out 106hp and 140Nm of torque while the rest of the Vioses can deliver a maximum output of 98hp and 123Nm of torque. These engines can either be mated to a manual transmission or CVT.
Depending on the model, you either get a 2DIN with CD/MP3 with Bluetooth, USB, and AUX connectivity or a 6.75-inch display audio with AM/FM, AUX, Bluetooth, USB, voice command, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and SDL. All models come with a suite of safety features including vehicle stability control, hill start assist, and anti-lock braking system with electronic brakeforce distribution and brake assist.
Powering the base LT MT model is a 1.3-liter DOHC with VVT engine while the other two come with 1.5-liter DOHC DVVT engines. The 1.3 model can generate a maximum of 100hp and 127Nm of torque while the 1.5 variants deliver 108hp and 141Nm of torque. The engines are mated to either a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic transmission with active select manual mode.
All models come with halogen headlamps, foglamps, and bulb-type tail lamps. Likewise, all variants are outfitted with a black grille. Tech-wise, the LT models are equipped with a single DIN, with AM/FM, AUX, MP3, and USB. On the other hand, the LTZ model comes with a 4.2-inch display screen with AUX, MP3, USB, and MirrorLink. It also features HDD media storage and offers iPod compatibility.
All models are offered with engine immobilizers, an anti-lock braking system with electronic brakeforce distribution, and Isofix child seat anchorages. Rear parking sensors are only made available for the LTZ variant.
Another competing model in the subcompact sedan segment is the Nissan Motor Philippines’ Almera. They are offered locally in six variants: 1.2 MT (P657,000), 1.5 E MT (753,000), 1.5 E AT (P824,000), 1.5 VL AT (P933,000), 1.5 N-Sport MT (P753,000), and the 1.5 N-Sport AT (P890,000).
The base variant comes with a decent 1.2-liter inline three-cylinder, DOHC, 12-valve engine with 77hp and 106Nm of torque. The rest can be had in a 1.5-liter inline four-cylinder, DOHC, 16-valve engine with 97hp and 134Nm of torque. They are mated to either a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic transmission.
As with most base models, the 1.2 MT variant comes with the bare essentials. That means 14-inch wheels, halogen headlamps, a matte black front grille, and fender-mounted turn signals. Inside, the 1.2 MT model sings the same tune with modest interior amenities and a “dealer option” audio system. On the other hand, the E variants give you 15-inch wheels and a 6.75-inch touchscreen display audio system with Bluetooth. The VL variant takes it a step further with choice leather seats and leather interior trims, a rear spoiler, rear parking sensors, front fog lamps, and an intelligent key with push engine start/stop.
The N-Sport variants treat you to Nissan’s body kit package including an N-Sport front bumper, chrome front grille, side skirts, a rear skirt, a lip-type rear spoiler, and N-Sport 15-inch wheels.
Considered as a segment staple, the Hyundai Accent makes for a great option for those shopping for a subcompact saloon. Brought to you locally by Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc. (HARI), the Hyundai Accent can be had in six different variants. Included are 1.4 GL MT without airbag (P790,000), 1.4 GL MT with airbag (P838,000), 1.4 GL AT without airbag (P838,000), 1.4 GL AT with airbag (P890,000), 1.6 CRDi GL MT (P910,000), and the 1.6 CRDi GL AT (P1,038,000).
The GL variants are powered by Hyundai’s Euro 4-compliant Kappa 1.4-liter MPI dual CVVT engine while the CDRi models use the South Korean car manufacturer’s Euro 4-compliant U-II 1.6-liter CRDi VGT engine. The 1.4- and 1.6-liter mills are mated to your choice of six-speed manual or automatic transmission.
From the outside, all Accent models look virtually identical, with the same halogen headlamps. In terms of in-car entertainment, all variants come with a 3.8-inch LCD display with AUX, USB, and a portable ashtray for those who like to light up a cigarette along the way. That said, the models are differentiated by their engine capacity and airbag availability.
Last, but definitely not the least, is the Ciaz from Suzuki. Suzuki Philippines Inc. offers the Ciaz in a single variant. It's equipped with the Japanese car company’s K14B engine mated to a five-speed manual transmission. With its 1.4-liter gasoline engine, the Ciaz can generate 92hp and 130Nm of torque.
As for its looks, the Ciaz is equipped with a chrome front grille, halogen projector headlamps, two-part combination rear lamps, and 15-inch alloy wheels. Inside is a touchscreen audio system (with navigation, Bluetooth, USB, and radio) and a slew of pockets for cups and bottles.
Safety-wise, the Suzuki Ciaz is outfitted with the brand’s TECT (Total Effective Control Technology) body as well as dual airbags, ABS with EBD, and childproof rear door locks.
Photos from Honda, Toyota, Chevrolet, Nissan, Hyundai, and Suzuki