Honda reveals India-bound fifth-gen City in Thailand

by Akbar Merchant 25 Nov 2019

Honda has revealed the all-new, fifth-generation Honda City, which debuted today in Thailand, Honda’s largest production base in the Asia and Oceania region. The latest City, which gets a new look, a sportier cabin and new engines, is to be launched in India in 2020.

Masayuki Igarashi, Chief Officer for Regional Operations (Asia & Oceania), Honda Motor Co, and President and CEO, Asian Honda Motor Co, said: “The Honda City, one of our most important models, was developed and launched as a regional model back in 1996. It has consistently received overwhelming feedback from the first through the fourthgeneration, with accumulated sales of four million units in 60 countries worldwide. The Asia and Oceania region is an important market for Honda City, with more than 100,000 units sold in the region in 2019 (January to September 2019), which accounts for almost 70 percent of Honda City sales worldwide.”

Bigger and better
The 2020 Honda City is over 100mm longer than the outgoing model, making it a fairly substantial car by midsize sedan standards. The new City is also wider by 53mm but its height is down 28mm. Interestingly, for its larger dimensions, the City also sits on an 11mm shorter wheelbase compared to the outgoing model.

While the fifth-gen sports new styling, its form is still easily recognisable as that of a City. Linking the City to the Civic and Amaze sedans is the thick chrome band atop the grille that forms the focal point at the front. The grille is flanked by wide and sharper-looking wraparound headlamps, embellished with LED projector units and daytime running lamps. However, what takes a bit away from the look is the simply-styled front bumper. Moving on to the sides, the new City gets a prominent character line that runs from the front door all the way to the back, eventually merging with the tail-lamps. The doors get subtle creases at the bottom as well, just like the outgoing model.

At the rear, the City gets elongated tail-lamps with LED elements and a simple boot and rear bumper design with vertically positioned reflectors placed at each end. The City for the Thai market sits on 185/60 R15 tyres shod with multi-spoke diamond cut alloy wheels. We expect the India-spec City to get a larger tyre size.

On the inside, the 2020 City gets an all-new dashboard layout that looks simple yet upmarket. The car that was on display had an all-black interior but the India car could get a beige-on-black theme, perceived to be more premium in our market. The subtle doses of brushed aluminium and piano black trim help uplift the look of things on the inside.

The outgoing City’s asymmetrical dashboard has made way for a more conventional-looking console. The centre piece here is a large 8.0-inch touchscreen that’s flanked by vertically positioned air-con vents. Notably, Honda seems to have ditched the outgoing car’s touch panel-based climate control arrangement for a more user-friendly setup that includes three rotary dials. Honda has provided two USB slots and one 12V power socket for the new City. The three-spoke steering wheel with leather wrapping looks chunky, and it gets dedicated buttons for volume control, cruise control and Bluetooth telephony.

The new City also gets brushed aluminium pedals and a large dead pedal that gets a subtle, brushed aluminium finish.  As far as instrumentation goes, the new City continues with the twin analogue dials with red outlines and a decent-sized multi-info display.  The fifth-gen City will continue to offer an Eco mode, as well as an automatic start-stop system.

Under the hood, the new 2020 Honda City for Thailand gets a 1.0-litre turbo petrol engine good for 122hp and 173Nm of torque. The sole transmission available for this engine is a CVT gearbox with paddleshifters offered on higher variants. This engine delivers an impressive 23.8kpl as per the Thailand test cycle.  Also part of the City line-up is a fresh 1.5-litre petrol engine coupled with Honda’s compact i-MMD mild-hybrid tech that made its debut on the new Jazz recently.  Honda has, however, not revealed any details of the hybrid powertrain yet.

For India, the new City will come with a 1.5-litre diesel engine as well, just like its predecessor.  This unit will be upgraded for BS VI emissions compliance and will continue to be part of the City and the Amaze's engine line-up in our market.

On the safety front, Honda has equipped the City with six airbags – dual front, dual front side and dual curtain airbags. It also gets a multi-angle rearview camera, ABS, EBD, vehicle stability control and hill start assist.

The new 2020 Honda City will come to India after mid-2020, a time when it will see newer and updated rivals like the heavily refreshed Hyundai Verna, the recently updated Vento, the Maruti Suzuki Ciaz and the Skoda Rapid. The City has been Honda’s backbone in India. And in an era where sedans are falling in popularity, it’ll be interesting to see if the City can mirror the success of its predecessors.