Honda unveils the all-new City in India

Honda City needs no introduction in India. Ever since its launch, the City has been very popular and a consistent best-seller in our market that’s widely considered ‘tough-to-crack’. It’s sharp styling, the smooth, powerful and efficient engine with the now-iconic “i-VTEC” technology and the solid reliability, not to discount the premium image that the ‘H’ logo carries, have earned the City legions of fans in India. Fifteen years, six facelifts and three generation changes later, it’s now time for an all-new City to take over.

As if to signify the importance of our market, Honda chose India for the global unveiling of the fourth-generation City. Unlike the three earlier generations which were all revolutionary compared to their predecessors, the new City is more of an evolution of the previous model. Blame it on the design of the existing City that, despite its age, still looks sufficiently chic and modern.

Adopting Honda’s new striking ‘H’ design philosophy, the new City looks much sharper and sleeker. A thick chrome grille and a bold new bumper dominate the proceedings up front, while the profile remains similar to the current City, save for a couple of character lines. The designers at Honda seem to have channeled their efforts towards the rear, which now looks far more exciting and sporty than the outgoing model. The split taillight clusters that extend into the boot and the muscular boot lid adds character. Despite these changes, the similarity with the existing City is quite apparent. And for that reason, the new City won’t be sending its loyalists into an excitement frenzy.

It’s a different story with the interiors though. All the flak that Honda received for the sub-par feature list of the previous City have ensured that the problem is addressed, and how. The cabin, sporting a fresh and modern theme, looks to be loaded to the gills now with the top-end variant of the new City even sporting features such as touch-screen air-conditioning controls, rear vents, sun roof and cruise control. Hyundai Verna’s rise to the top seems to have had an effect at Honda’s head-quarters in Japan.

Based on the same platform as the all-new Jazz that’s also due for an Indian launch sometime next year, the City will carry over the 1.5-liter i-VTEC petrol engine from the existing City, albeit with slight tweaks to the power and torque figures. More importantly, the 1.5-liter i-DTEC diesel engine that’s making waves under the hood of the Amaze will make its way into the City for the first time. If the existing City could do all that it did with just a petrol engine, the future looks super-bright for the new model with the diesel joining the lineup.

Bookings for the new City has started and the car is slated to go on sale in January, 2014. The specifications and prices are expected to be available only then.

After ruling the segment for more than a decade, the Honda City lost its ‘numero uno’ position to Hyundai Verna in 2011. Will the new City, with its much-improved interiors and the all-important diesel option, displace the Verna from the top? That’s gonna be one really interesting tussle to witness.

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