There is not a single person who is not familiar with the story of Honda in India. When it was introduced here, it truly was an overnight sensation. People booked the City sedan, as if it were the king of cars and Honda had made a car that the country was waiting for. It was amazing how sales jumped through the roof and even when Honda announced the facelift, there were many takers. But it's been a while now that Honda has seen an upward curve in the sales figures of the City and though there were many 'limited editions', 'exclusive editions' launched to keep the customers interested, there were other players in the market to keep them interested.
The biggest drawback of the Honda City was it did not have a diesel powertrain as an option while most of the competitors had jumped into the market with a diesel option. Honda took this criticism with a bitter pill and decided that it was time to make matters difficult for the others. It was then that they decided with a diesel engine. But the City is not the first to receive the diesel engine, it was the Amaze who came in and knocked the socks out of everybody with the 1.5-litre diesel i-DTEC engine.
It was obvious that the car which was the most successful of the Honda machines, will be the recipient of this very engine. Honda has finally placed a diesel engine at the heart of the City.
The new Honda City is based on the new Jazz platform, Honda has planted the same .5 litre i-DTEC diesel engine that does duty on the Amaze but the difference here is that it has been tuned for more power and a 6-speed manual gearbox will be mated to it.
The new City is as long as the outgoing model but the wheelbase has been increased by 50mm which takes the tally upto 2.6 meters and that directly translates into more leg room at the rear. 6-footers will be a happy bunch in this car as there is enough and more space to accommodate them and their long legs.
But all the attention is focused on the engine. The 1.5 litre i-DTEC engine that does duty in the Amaze finds a home in the City. The engine comes mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox that generates 99bhp@3,600rpm and generates a torque of 200Nm. Yes, it is a noisy motor and though Honda has tried its best to dampen that noise, it needed some more effort. The diesel is all about fuel efficiency here and don't expect it to be fun to drive.
The petrol one however is the one with all the fun packed into it. The CVT is quick to respond and the paddle shifters add to the fun element.
Inside, the City has room that has been given a complete makeover. Features like push-button start, climate control with a touch sensitive panel, a parking camera , steering mounted controls, options to play all formats of music, rear aircon vents, and 4 charging points all make its way into the car. Honda really has made an effort to make the cabin as user-friendly as possible and the lengthy features list speaks volumes about their determination to make this one shine.
The new and improved City is fun to drive and also comes with a diesel option. People have already started to book their cars and now we know exactly why they are doing so.