The car that cares

2020 Honda City review, test drive

What is it? SUVs might rule the roost nowadays, but the Town, even 22 decades...

What is it?

SUVs might rule the roost nowadays, but the Town, even 22 decades on, is continue to alive and kicking, and is a single of the longest-operating nameplates at this time on sale in India. The City’s India tale began in 1998 and we’ve experienced four variations due to the fact. The initial three cars and trucks were all extremely exceptional in character, with each product becoming a achievement for Honda.

Uncharacteristically then, the 4th-technology was a lot more of an evolution, but many thanks to the even more enhancements and introduction of a diesel alternative, it went on to grow to be the most thriving Town in India, and it’s this extremely evolutionary solution that is been carried ahead to the fifth-gen Town.

Really do not feel for a instant nevertheless that it can be a basic update of the prior auto. Even though it is based on a modified variation of the earlier Town, the engineering improvements are substantial. The new City’s physique shell packs in a lot more superior-tensile-toughness steel and a stiffer roof area, ensuing in a twenty per cent improve in torsional rigidity. The physique shell is marginally lighter much too, but the total excess weight of the auto is up by all around 40kg many thanks to other enhancements like a firewall that is two hundred per cent thicker aiding stiffness, security and seem insulation.

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3D surfacing provides character.


The Town has also grown in size, featuring a tiny a lot more interior house, and it’s received a lot more tech like a lane observe digital camera and Alexa voice assistant integration. On the powertrain entrance, the petrol motor is a new DOHC 1.5-litre unit that is now coupled to a 6-speed guide gearbox. CVT is continue to an alternative. The older City’s 1.5 diesel and 6-speed guide carry ahead much too, but with some modifications to strengthen refinement and, of program, meet up with BS6 emission norms.

The new Town won’t have it simple nevertheless. Motion in the midsize sedan phase has absolutely hotted up in a limited a span of just a few months we’ve noticed Skoda update its Speedy, as did VW its Vento, while Hyundai gave the Verna a important overhaul. The Ciaz carries on to be a robust participant much too. So can the new Town leapfrog all its rivals?

What is it like on the outside?

The Town appears to be a lot more of an evolution of the prior product and the total stance, form and design and style of the personal features remind you of the earlier auto. Even though the wheelbase is the same as ahead of (as this system shares a ton of the hardpoints with the prior-gen), the new auto has grown a truthful little bit in length and width, nevertheless the top is much less than ahead of.

Honda’s signature entrance chrome bar is now thicker with the top rated strip stretching across the width of the nose, previously mentioned the LED highlights. The sharp-hunting headlights with their many reflectors and techy detailing glance good, and make the new Town stand out as genuinely new.

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Alloys glance intelligent, but wheels are much too little for the wheel wells.


It is from the facet that you get a great thought of the new City’s huge length, which at 4,549mm, helps make it not just for a longer period than just about every other midsizer but even for a longer period than the initial-gen Civic! Yes, the Town which is similarly appreciated for its entrance and back seats, has grown with each successive technology. On the other hand, with no corresponding improve in wheelbase around the prior auto, the proportions have a little long gone for a toss. The long, superior bonnet and chunky bumper make the auto glance a lot more grown-up than ahead of, but the nose sticks out really a little bit, ensuing in a entrance overhang that is a contact excessive.

This dwarfs the intelligent 16-inch hunting alloys shod with 185/fifty five tyres which really do not really fill out the wheel arches. The earlier car’s shoulder line has been moved greater up and it operates the length of the auto, and this, alongside with the sharp crease across the bottom of the doors, provides a wonderful stress to the physique.

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The 9 LED array appears to be putting.


The 3D-hunting tail-lights are also extremely putting and the blacked-out features glance extremely neat. What also stands out are the vertical reflector strips that sit inside a sculpted housing in the rear bumper. On the complete, nevertheless, this is not a auto that will convert heads simply but it’s neatly intended and appears to be really contemporary.

What is it like inside?

Open the doors and you’re greeted by a quality-hunting, gentle brown and black interior. The plastics all around the cabin also glance great but they are a little bit much too shiny we would have most well-liked duller, smooth-contact textures. This aside, there is tiny else to complain about. Honda has been generous with the use of gentle brown leather-based it can be on the seats, doorway trims, sprint panel and the centre console much too, and it truly does add to the abundant experience inside. The sprint and centre console trim are fantastically styled with neat stitching and the properly-sculpted seats glance extremely inviting. They are at ease with great all-round bolstering, but if I experienced to nitpick, the decreased lumbar aid is a little bit excessive on the entrance and rear seats.

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Dashboard is properly laid out and appears to be wonderful and quality, but the plastics are a little bit much too shiny would have most well-liked duller, smooth-contact textures.


Honda aced backseat comfort and ease with the 4th-gen Town, and has carried out it however again with a rear bench that is the most generous in the course. The wide and deep seat foundation, positioned at the right top, will hold you at ease for several hours on the road. Like ahead of, the little rise in the flooring powering the entrance seat, functions as a all-natural footrest which even more improves comfort and ease amounts. What is wonderful is that all three rear passengers get three-stage seat belts and correctly sized head restraints. On the other hand, headroom at the back was just about adequate for my 5ft 8in frame I experienced a three-finger gap to the top rated, which usually means taller individuals might uncover it limited.

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Just like the rear, entrance seats are comfortable but lumbar aid is a bit excessive.


There’s a great deal of the typical storage spaces all around but what’s truly clever are the ones for telephones. Entrance passengers have two slots on both facet of the parking brake lever, while those at the rear have handy felt-lined pockets sewn into the entrance seatbacks. Boot house has long gone down by a little 4 litres and is now at 506 litres so it’s continue to extremely substantial and useable.

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Comfortable seats and great legroom, headroom is limited for taller passengers.


The boot-opening mechanism works by using torsion rods which act as elastic springs to carry the boot lid, but they are not robust more than enough so the lid does not pop open on its possess and you have to carry it all the way to the top rated.

How about machines? 

Hondas usually are not normally what you’d phone properly-outfitted, this Town, however, is really unique. There’s a ton of machines such as a sunroof, a lane observe digital camera, a rear-see digital camera with normal, wide and top rated see, a tyre tension checking system with deflation warning, entrance facet and curtain airbags, and auto weather command that fortunately isn’t going to get contact-operated buttons but neat knurled knobs that have a wonderful simply click to them this usually means you really do not have to just take your eyes off the road to use the controls. The steering wheel much too has controls such as a roller change that lets you obtain various options of the instrument panel.

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Dials convert with a satisfying simply click.


The instrument panel by itself is made up of an analogue speedometer needle that operates across a digital dial on the 7.-inch display screen. The tachometer is an all-digital exhibit and the display screen can also exhibit a G-force meter, and other excursion-connected info. The design and style of instrument panel exhibit is really basic but its clarity is good and isn’t really distracting like in the Verna. The vibrant and sharp instrument cluster is very simple to read through, however, the same can not be claimed of the eight.-inch touchscreen.

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Sunroof is not extremely substantial, can be opened and shut remotely.


Honda claims it has employed an optical bonding software that lessens reflection but the issues is that this coating has significantly decreased the brightness of the display screen. Even on the brightest setting, the display screen is tough to read through in direct sunlight, and it often appears to be smudgy like it could use a great wipe down. The system, of program, has all the typical connectivity bits such as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

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The display screen is dim and picks up smudges simply.


Also on the fifth-gen Town is a new variation of Honda’s connectivity tech that gets you all the typical bits like remote motor commence, pre-cooling, but the occasion trick here is the Alexa voice assistant integration. So, from your dwelling, you can basically check with Alexa to pre-great the cabin or get you details of the gas degree in the auto or its present-day place. 

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A phase-initial lane observe digital camera is presented on the new Town.


What is it like to push?

If there is a single superior stage of a Honda, it’s the motor and it’s the same here with the new DOHC 1.5-litre petrol which is a real delight. It is not punchy like a turbo unit but it’s extremely robust and tractable and will work properly at both of those finishes of the rev variety. At low revs, it pulls cleanly even in greater gears, and it revs freely until the 7,000rpm redline. Compared to the older auto, gear ratios are a little bit taller here, permitting you strike greater speeds in each gear, but what’s great is that the motor is adaptable more than enough to provide good overall performance all during. This tractability allows you to push right from 15kph all the way past 150kph in 3rd! This usually means you will have fewer gears shifts to contend with. Honda promises a gas performance of 17.eight for the guide and 18.4kpl for the auto, which is marginally greater than the earlier car’s SOHC motor which sent 17.4 and 18.0kpl, respectively.


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The new Town gets a DOHC 1.5-litre petrol motor.

The new motor does get audible at all around three,000rpm but it’s not severe just loud. It is also rather potent much too the Town hits 100kph from a standstill in 10.20sec, which is just .07sec off the earlier car’s time, and only marginally powering Skoda’s turbocharged 1. TSI Speedy time of 10.09sec.

Taller ratios also signify in-gear moments are slower. twenty-80kph in 3rd arrives up in thirteen.23sec, while forty-100kph in 4th normally takes 18.23sec.The Speedy 1. TSI clocks 11.sixty nine and 14.38 sec, respectively.

Coupled to the CVT, the Town does -100kph in 12.05sec. Even though slower, it continue to will be suitable for most, and you will also have the benefit of an automated kickdown throughout in-gear acceleration which confirmed a time of 6.58sec in twenty-80kph, and eight.52sec in the forty-100kph sprint.

2020 Honda Town overall performance figures (as examined)
Petrol MT Petrol CVT* Diesel MT*
-20kph 1.17sec 1.45sec 1.17sec
-40kph two.74sec three.39sec two.97sec
-60kph 4.53sec 5.54sec 5.30sec
-80kph 7.22sec eight.38sec eight.64sec
-100kph 10.20sec 12.05sec 12.90sec
-120kph 14.98sec 16.69sec 18.26sec
-140kph twenty.71sec 24.30sec 27.05sec
twenty-80kph thirteen.23sec 6.58sec** 11.40sec
forty-100kph 18.23sec eight.52sec** thirteen.89sec

*Checks not to Autocar India expectations, **acceleration in kickdown

What is wonderful is that the normal rubberband outcome of the CVT is extremely properly managed. For most daily driving situations, the rise in revs matches the rise in road speed and it can be only when you mash down on the accelerator that you get the normally stretchy experience, with the revs climbing more rapidly than the precise road speed. Furthermore, of program, you can also use the paddles and have correct guide command around shifts with the ‘box permitting you redline the motor much too.

Honda claims it has calibrated the command unit’s software package, and it works by using what the corporation phone calls ‘full-open acceleration move-up shift control’ and ‘brake operation move-down shift command. Very a mouthful, certainly, but what this does is, throughout acceleration, relatively than permit the CVT slide its way up, it performs stepped upshifts and tries to match the car or truck speed with the motor speed and seem. And beneath really hard braking, the CVT shifts to considerably decreased ratios hence furnishing motor braking this is some thing we saw put into outcome when driving down a winding road.

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Engines are phenomenally tractable, in 3rd gear the petrol can go all the way from 15kph to around 150kph!


If you have read through our past evaluations of the Town diesel, or even cars and trucks like the Amaze that use the same 1.5 diesel, you will know we have not been followers of the refinement amounts. On the other hand, Honda has worked to strengthen NVH amounts on the new Town, utilising bits like supplemental seem deadeners in the flooring, a thicker firewall, and by also spraying the motor bay with a unique seem-deadening coating. The outcome is an motor that is noticeably quieter and pleasantly refined. At low revs, this motor isn’t going to get obtrusive, and that annoying, sharp diesel clatter that characterised the prior iterations is all but removed. Yes, the motor drones loudly at superior revs, and, in absolute conditions, isn’t really as silent as Hyundai’s 1.5 diesel, which is continue to the benchmark for refinement.

2020 Honda Town petrol sounds amounts (as examined)
Idle with AC off 39.4dB
Idle with AC blower at half 51.7dB
Idle with AC blower at total sixty four.5dB
50kph in 4th gear sixty four.5dB
80kph in sixth gear 69dB
Complete revs at redline in 1st gear 78.2dB at 7000rpm

The diesel also astonished us with its un-diesel-like power supply. It is rather tractable from low revs and turbo lag is really negligible much too. Confident, at low revs, beneath 1,500rpm, the power is muted, but you really do not truly wrestle with a deficiency of reaction. And when you cross the 1,500rpm, it can be not a unexpected spike but a brief move up in rate, soon after which power builds really evenly all the way to 4,200rpm smooth rev limiter. The diesel posts a -100kph time of 12.9sec, while twenty-80kph in 3rd and forty-100kph in 4th are considerably more quickly than the petrol, with 11.4 and thirteen.89sec, respectively. As with a lot of BS6 updates, gas performance has dropped, the new unit returning 24.1kpl as towards the prior 25.6kpl. Honda has employed a NOx Storage Catalyst (NSC), hence avoiding the use of the AdBlue liquid that SCR programs want. The penalty for this, of program, is the slight fall in performance, which is due to the added gas becoming employed for exhaust soon after-procedure.

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Diesel motor refinement better and the annoying clatter is all but long gone continue to not phase-major nevertheless.

What is the trip and handling like? 

Many thanks to the stiffer physique, Honda claims it can be been capable to go softer with the suspension, and this has absolutely assisted the trip. The Town absorbs no matter what the road throws at it and it soaks up potholes and ruts with no crashing by them. The trip is really experienced in experience, considerably like what you’d count on from European sedans. It is also flat and composed at freeway speeds, but if you press on to greater three-digit speeds, with the speedo needle sitting down in the very last quadrant of the dial, the Town, which has a rather superior floor clearance, is not as planted as we would have liked. You want to have a organization grip on the wheel as the nose tends to wander.

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The trip feels really experienced.


Managing, however, is benign and extremely predictable, which helps make the Town an simple auto to push. The steering is properly weighted and the grip from the tyres is shockingly great and could tempt you to have some exciting, in particular when you have a rev-content, by natural means-aspirated motor that is often completely ready to play ball. But, if you force much too really hard, the smooth-suspension will give way to a truthful little bit of physique roll, which is a lot more pronounced in the entrance.

Braking overall performance is great, however an earlier chunk stage and a much less spongy pedal experience would’ve assisted. All in all, this is a auto that will reward all but the keenest of motorists.

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Irrespective of the narrow tyres, cornering grip is great but there is recognizable physique roll.

Must you buy a single?

The new Town might not glance all that new and it does not deviate from the tried using and examined components of its predecessors. The handling is not sporty both, and the chassis set up does not really match the enthusiasm of the rev-content petrol, and that might disappoint eager motorists. But there is tiny else to fault with Honda’s newest midsize sedan and it scores wherever it matters most. Area and total comfort and ease are the best in course, the sensible cabin with plenty of considerate touches appears to be extremely quality, and, for a modify, it’s extremely properly specced with some neat occasion tricks like the Alexa integration. Equally engines are robust and provide a strong overall performance, and the trip is extremely properly sorted much too.

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On the complete, Honda has carried out a large career with the new Town, and it appears to be all set to leapfrog the competition. A spoiler, however, could be its cost. For the initial time in its record, Honda India will have on sale two generations of the same auto, and the present-day product with a starting cost of Rs. 9.91 lakh, is already pricier than rivals. Consequently, Honda will have to place and cost the new product smartly to make sure it does not leap out of the phase and rivalry.

Also see:

2020 Honda Town movie assessment

2020 Skoda Speedy 1. TSI assessment, take a look at push

2020 Hyundai Verna review, take a look at push

Honda City