In its segment Honda’s oldest flagship sedan, the City has been a master blaster since 2 decades in India and this car has quietly slipped into our long-term fleet over a month ago. Undoubtedly, this car has made huge waves in this span of time. And going by its name was just being curious about driving the City automatic in Delhi’s sound traffic.
Appearance is a matter of being subjective, but it feels to get a touch of subtleness with simplicity. Yes! A simple design that matches the class of an executive with a fine touch of aesthetic lines. It’s not only the design and features that matter, but the Japanese badge alone makes a difference, wherein its segment it sits on the nose of one out of every five sedans sold in this very market, the City very much guarantees a close look at.
For me, there’s no better way of getting to really know a car than a city drive in the peak hours towards my work station in Gurgaon. Though direct connectivity for my office is way too easy for me via metro, surely you won’t miss a long-termer like this one. The route is a mix of single lane, bottlenecks and expressway too, and the unforgettable thing is the wall of traffic that you will be welcome with, while entering Gurgaon or be it Delhi, what you will experience is bumper to bumper traffic.
The first thing that you will notice when you slip inside the cabin is the roomy cabin that gives you a sense of airiness. The leather seats with comfortable cushioning in it and a 7-inch Digipad info system that will keep you out of traffic boredom and everyone knows long drive with good music is the best therapy. City gets a combo of 8 speakers and tweeters which have great sound balance and depth. Also, a big help in traffic is the good all-round visibility (though you just have to keep up the seat height), which helps keep an eye on impatient bikers and other impatient drivers.
Driving down home in the dark the broad spread of the City’s headlamps light up the stretch fairly well. Won’t say they are intensely powerful but do the job with good spread. When dipped, the lights pick out unmarked speed breakers early enough.
I drove it around with friends as well and they too agreed to the comfort of the rear seats with more than adequate amount of knee room offered by it. Not forgetting the near flattish hump that adds a generous amount of space for the third passenger in the rear row.
City's 1.5-litre petrol engine has always been one of the gem from Honda that offers 117bhp with 145Nm. Undoubtedly the engine is no less when it comes to refinement and efficiency. It's hard to know whether the engine is running on idle - it’s the silence that speaks for itself. While driving in congestion I pulled off a fuel efficiency of 12.3kmpl, and on highway, I could get it up to 14.2kmpl, thanks to the smart trip computer.
Driving the City automatic in urban conditions is like a bucket of convenience – it is well responsive to part throttle inputs that means cruising can be done with ease, it is only when you are trying to overtake or being a track enthusiast in a need of sudden acceleration that won’t come easy. In this situation, the CVT needs more time to fill that gap, while you shove in the acceleration pedal and does get noisy as well. Though, you also get a Sport mode that might help you in such tricky situation.
The ride quality is really good and balanced, especially at low speeds and there’s a nice, mature way in which the City rounds off the multiple surfaces that make up Delhi roads. You won’t even find a hint of judder over bumps or small potholes, it is only when you get through some sharp pothole that gets inside. The light steering wheel will help you manoeuvre through city traffic, but when driving at high speed, you need to take charge to keep it in a lane.
As easy it is to drive around in the city and let's just double it up when on the highway. That said, the City would be one of the best pursues when it comes to ride and comfort in its segment, with its character to gulp irregularities and cruising just gets better on long traffic-free stretches.
With all of it, City’s reliability cannot be questioned from Honda and for the after-sales too the Japanese have been ahead. Though there is a stiff competition in the market and but here in India consumers not only look for engine refinement and features but spacious cabin too. The efficiency is also decent enough to keep a check on your pocket.