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Maximum City

The segment-defining model, which slipped for a bit, is back with a diesel engine and whole range of amazing features. Competition, beware.

Honda City has historically been the segment topper in India. The past three generations of the car were considered the gold standard by customers for its quality, reliability and resale value. It was only during the recent diesel dominant era that Hyundai Verna, Skoda Rapid and VW Vento took advantage of the City’s lack of a diesel unit, and climbed higher up the rungs.

The new version of the car is all set to take on its adversaries. And this time, it’s got a diesel engine in its arsenal. Honda Car India organised the global unveiling of the fourth-generation City in New Delhi for select media. The new car looks impressive, going by its styling, features, cabin space and the fact that it’ll have a very powerful oil burner propelling it.

Engine power
The new Honda City will be powered by the same 1.5-litre i-DTEC diesel doing duty on the Amaze. This engine, however, will be tuned to produce more power and torque. While exact figures for the City have not been revealed yet, Honda is claiming class leading fuel efficiency with the diesel mill. Power too, will be on par with the class.

In its petrol-powered variant, the City will have the familiar 1.5 litre i-VTEC power plant throbbing under its bonnet. While the engine will remain largely unchanged, expect improvement in terms of power output. In terms of design, the new City incorporates what Honda likes calling the ‘Exciting H Design’, the company’s new design concept. The new design on the City is underlined by a massive front grille with loads of chrome, a low bonnet and wide, tapering lights up front and at the rear, highlighting the width of the car.

In style, the new City seems to have been influenced by the current generation International Civic. In terms of overall form and proportions, the car is unmistakable as a City — Honda has done a great job of keeping a visual connection between the new and old models.

Bigger, better
The new City hasn’t grown in terms of absolute size, but with increased 50 mm of wheelbase, it has managed to release more space for the occupants inside the cabin. It is also taller by 10 mm. Honda claims that the new car offers more head, leg, knee and shoulder room too. Overall, the new City looks nice. It’s well proportioned, and has a good mix of elegance and muscle. It’s evolutionary in nature.

Sitting on a lighter, yet sturdier body and an all-new chassis, the new City is expected to get dynamically better endowed than its predecessor. The suspension system has been given a good makeover all around, with all the chassis and suspensions system having been re-examined. The steering system is an electrically powered unit, which consumes less power and contributes its bit in saving fuel. It also works on a more rigid setting to allow for a more reassuring drive feel.

The biggest talking point about the new Honda City is the whole host of features that it’ll come laden with.

‘Spec’tacular
At the forefront of the lucrative features would be the centre console mounted five-inch capacitive touch monitor. This high quality screen will allow control over the audio system as well as the automatic air conditioning via its on-screen menus. Featuring easy menus for simple operation, the system will have Bluetooth Audio with Aux / ipod / USB connectivity. It will offer hands free telephony, and will also have the traditional FM/ AM Radio and Music CD / Data CD playability. The screen also offers custom-wallpaper functionality. To top all that up, the audio system will boast an eight speaker system with claimed high quality sound.

There would also be a rear camera on the top spec versions. The feed for the live pictures from the camera would be displayed on the central screen. This camera will offer three views to the driver — wide, normal and top-down to enhance visibility while reversing.

Like most of the exterior and cabin, the instrument console would also be brand new. The blue backlit three-pod instrument panel will feature a digital analogue combo.On the right, you have the third pod featuring a clock, fuel gauge, temperature and fuel efficiency meter.

Verdict
In addition to a sunroof (available on the current gen model as well), the new City boasts some first-ever features too. Push button start / stop system with a proximity sensing Honda Smart Key tops this list. You also get a cruise control system on top variants and a segment first feature of as many as four power outlets across the cabin. Rear AC vents are getting increasingly popular as a feature and even some hatchbacks are offering the luxury these days. Honda City, thus, adopts the trend and offers separate A/C vents for the rear passengers. On the outside, a shark fin antenna will work its bit to enhance the looks.
With the new City, Honda have left no stone unturned in creating a product which is worthy of leading its segment. It looks good, has loads of space inside, boasts some segment first features and is now armed with one hell of a diesel engine. If priced right, the new City has the goods to be able to once again place Honda in the leadership position in its segment. Competition should be very, very, worried!

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