Supplement, Wheelers

2020 Honda City debuts in markets where small sedans still matter

Published : 22 Dec 2019 06:35 PM | Updated : 07 Sep 2020 09:52 PM

Having been around since the early 1980s, the City is one of the longest-running Honda nameplates and is now entering a new generation with a raft of changes inside and out as well as underneath the skin. The exterior styling represents a subtle evolution from the model it replaces and the subcompact sedan borrows some cues from the Civic here and there while retaining its own identity.

A new RS trim level adds some excitement thanks to a somewhat sportier look and a new Ignite Red paint exclusive to this model. It rides on 16-inch alloy wheels and comes with a glossy black front grille to separate it from the standard model. In addition, the City RS gets a rear trunk lid spoiler also finished in glossy black, along with LED headlights with daytime running lights also using light-emitting diodes. Electrically retractable side mirrors and some sporty accents inside the cabin round off the upgrades.

It has considerably grown up in size as Honda claims the new City is 113 millimeters (4.4 inches) longer and 53 mm (2.1 in) wider than its predecessor, now at 4553 mm (179.2 in) and 1748 mm (68.8 in), respectively. It sits 10 mm (0.4 in) lower than before (at 1467 mm (57.7 in) and has a wheelbase shortened by 11 mm (0.4 in), now at 2589 mm (102 in). There are more changes than meets the eye as the car is better insulated now thanks to the use of polyurethane spray foam and a chunkier engine undercover to drive down noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) levels for better comfort.

Stepping inside the cabin, the 2020 City has an all-new dashboard design that appears to be pretty much straightforward with all controls where you’d want them to be. Despite the shorter wheelbase, there seems to be a generous amount of legroom for rear passengers. As a matter of fact, Honda says the cabin is more spacious than before as a result of switching to the same underpinnings as the new Jazz/Fit. The interior will be offered in black with optional leather seats and a two-tone ivory/black theme, along with chrome door handles and a shiny dashboard in piano black.

At the heart of the new City is a turbocharged three-cylinder gasoline engine promising to offer the torque of an equivalent naturally aspirated 1.8-liter unit and more performance than the 1.5-liter engine of the previous-generation model. The small 1.0-liter unit hooked up to a seven-speed continuously variable transmission (CVT) sending 120 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 173 Newton-meters (128 pound-feet) of torque from 2,000 rpm to the wheels.

The fifth-gen Honda City sedan will go on sale initially in Thailand from December 24 following its public debut on Friday at the 36th Thailand International Motor Expo 2019.