The 2017 Honda City has been just launched in India but it's had a tryst with India for a long time. First launched in 1998, the Honda City has been the most popular C-segment sedan sold in the country. Though it has completed almost two decades in the market, the Honda City moniker is still relatively fresh, mainly because of the popularity it commands. India has seen four generations of the City in the 19 years of its existence and the car was the top-seller in its segment for the most part of it. Things actually started to change when Maruti Suzuki came out with an all-new rival, the Ciaz in 2013. Aggressive pricing, fuel efficiency and better feature offerings made the Maruti Suzuki Ciaz its greatest rival, which soon took over the top spot from Honda. Now the Japanese carmaker has launched the 2017 Honda City facelift and we have already driven it. We've told you all there is to know about the new Honda City and well it comes with a host of updates to go up against its rivals and hopes to regain its position in the market. But is that enough?
Let's start with the most relevant difference between the two cars - Price. As mentioned before, the updated 2017 Honda City comes with several changes and the price tag is also among them. There is a marginal hike in price compared to the older version as the car now retails at a starting price of ₹ 8.49 lakh for the base petrol variant going up to ₹ 13.56 lakh for the top-of-the-line diesel variant. In comparison, the Maruti Suzuki Ciaz's base variant is over ₹ 77,000 cheaper at ₹ 7.72 lakh, while the top variants is priced at ₹ 10.52 lakh, which is over ₹ 3 lakh cheaper than the Honda City. (All-prices ex-showroom, Delhi).
While we can argue that the Honda City 2017 is now better looking and gets several new features to justify the higher price tag, but that is not exactly the case. Yes, the styling is new and better and the City now comes with a new front equipped with a new single chrome-slat grille, muscular front bumper, LED headlamps and LED daytime running lights (the DRLs are standard). The alloys are also nice and sportier and the rear also gets LED taillamps. Most of these features only come with the top-of-the-line variants. Moreover Honda also offers several additional accessories and customisation packages.
On the other hand, the Ciaz doesn't get daytime time running lights at all, but projector headlamps are standard across variant. The Ciaz also gets a 4-slat chrome grille and similarly well-designed front bumper. It also comes with a sporty set of multi-spoke alloy wheels and LED taillamps. Even though these features are offered only with the range-topping variants, they are priced at par with the lower and mid variant of the Honda City 2017. So even though the Honda City facelift might be a notch higher in terms of styling and features, the Ciaz surely isn't far behind and practical choice as well.
Coming to features and equipment, the Honda City 2017 gets a new 7-inch touchscreen audio-visual navigation system with an Android based interface, rear view camera and an electric sun-roof. The cabin comes in both fabric and leather upholstery option along with the use of premium quality material and soft touch panels for the interior and several other bits that give it an upmarket feel. We've already given you'll an idea as to which is the ideal variant of the 2017 Honda City to buy Maruti Suzuki has also upped its game in offering high-quality features in fact, the Ciaz's cabin offers similar features options like fabric or leather seats, soft-touch panels and more. The Ciaz also gets a touchscreen infotainment system with navigation, smartphone connectivity and even voice command. That said in terms of safety, the 2017 Honda City offers dual airbags, ABS with EBD, and ISOFIX mounts for child seats as standard. While the Ciaz also offers similar safety features, ABS and passenger side airbag come only as an option on the base variant.
Both the cars have petrol and diesel trims on offer. Honda's 1.5 litre i-VTEC and 1.5 litre i-DTEC engines are more powerful than the 1.2 litre petrol and 1.3 litre diesel engines of the Ciaz, but in real world conditions the difference isn't all that drastic. Ciaz is also the only car in its segment to come with a smart diesel hybrid - Smart Hybrid Vehicle From Suzuki (SHVS). The petrol version of the Honda City 2017 comes mated to either a 5-speed manual or a CVT unit. Whereas, the diesel trim only gets a 6-speed manual gearbox. The Ciaz, on the other hand, offers a 5-speed manual gearbox for both petrol and diesel trims, while a 4-speed automatic gearbox is also offered as an option with the petrol trim.
So in a nutshell, both the 2017 Honda City has been recently updated, comes with better styling, and gets better safety features. But the Maruti Suzuki also excels in certain aspects like the smart hybrid system, better fuel efficiency and lower price point, which still makes it a smart choice. While the updated Honda City does get a slight advantage and has already managed to bag over 5000 bookings. manages to get the initial hike in sales the Ciaz might still come back with a vengeance, especially with a facelift rumoured to be on the cards.