There’s no denying that we like the City. When it debuted in the mid-1990’s, the City really a spiritual successor to the 1.2-liter Civic EG hatchback; the one specced to comply with the People’s car program. Over the decades, the City has evolved far beyond its spartan roots. The car has really come into its own, and soon became Honda’s best selling model in the country. Heck, it’s even made here.
This current sixth generation is the culmination of that evolution. When Honda brought it to the market in 2014, it was a revelation of what can be done in what was still a B-segment car. The upscale design, the dimensions, the spaciousness, the advanced features and great powerplant all contributed to making an economical car feel truly aspirational. And now they’ve got an updated one.
The style has been refined very nicely, particularly the front end. The LED headlamps are new, and they come with LED DRLs for this VX+ variant. Even the foglights are LED. The grill has been revised along with the bumper; the air intakes are smaller, but properly proportional. The body is the same, but the wheels are new. The taillights are likewise new, along with a sportier rear bumper. Overall the updates are subtle, but very much appreciated.
Inside, not much was done, but that’s OK; the City still has one of the nicest and most spacious cabins in the market. I like how Honda did the dashboard; it’s clean and feels very well put together. The most noticeable change is the trim; they’re now gunmetal gray instead of silver. There were some changes in the other accents (i.e. the hazard button is now black instead of read) but overall it’s still several shades of gray (and black) in here.
Honda retained the push-button ignition as well as the touch-sensitive multimedia system and panel for the climate control. They added cruise control system (great for long drives), though if you explore the multimedia unit you’ll realize that it has some neat functions such as Miracast and voice recognition. The surprise was the dashcam; initially I thought it was standard, but according to Honda it’s an accessory.
Under the hood is the L15Z 1.5-liter motor that we’ve become familiar with in past generations; no, it’s not new, but at 120 bhp and with improvements for efficiency, it’s still one of the class leaders. And it’s matched with a CVT in this VX+; no, it’s not a standard automatic like the preceding generation, though the City of but this revised performs very well on the daily drive.
Driving the City around the, uh, city is quite pleasant; it just operates smoothly. The combination of the smooth i-VTEC motor, the seamless CVT, good noise suppression, and great suspension characteristics make the City a great drive for everyday commuting.
On the highway, the City is likewise superb. The same smoothness in urban driving makes it a breeze on fast expressway driving. And it’s efficient; on the highway at an average of 89 km/h, the City achieved an average of 13.1 km/l. In urban driving, that goes down to 8.8 km/l at an average speed of 24 km/h.
When taking on faster curves, the City performs exceptionally well; no, it’s not a sport sedan, but it has the manners of a well sorted car. And it’s got plenty of safety to back it up; six airbags, anti-lock brakes, and stability control, among many others.
Overall the Honda City still impresses in 2017 as much as it did in 2014. The revisions and updates are great, and surprisingly, they maintained the pricing from the pre-facelift model. Honda didn’t just make a good car at their Santa Rosa, Laguna assembly plant, they made a great one.
Engine: Inline-4, 1497cc, sohc, 16V, i-VTEC, CVT
Max Power: 120 bhp @ 6600 rpm
Max torque: 107 lb ft @ 4800 rpm
0-100 km/h: 10.3 sec.
Top Speed: 187 km/h
Fuel Mileage: 8.8 km/l City / 13.1 km/l Highway
+: Solid performance all around
-: A newer engine, perhaps
Price as tested: PhP 1,003,000