Ed’s take: The interiors of the City are stylish and trendy and yet they come loaded with several new features too.
If you think that the exteriors are similar to that of the outgoing version than the interiors are absolutely new. The three dials on the instrument cluster have a blue backlit dials that even change colour to green when you drive with a light foot. The City has a touchscreen infotainment system with Bluetooth and another segment-first is the touchscreen for climate control as well. The space on offer in the new City is good and it has large front row seats. There is sufficient legroom and headroom. It does feel almost like a D segment sedan than a C+. Crawl into the rear seats and the knee room it offers will amaze you. The knee room on the new City is increased by 70mm when compared to the outgoing version. To our dismay, the rear head room is a bit tight and even the headrest at the rear is fixed. The boot is also extremely spacious at 510 litres of space, but the access to the boot could have better as it a tad higher.
As the car is full of tech, we will also like to address that it also has four charging points— two in the front and two at the rear. The new three-spoke steering wheel also looks stylish and upmarket than the previous generation cars. The City also gets rear AC vents, which will help to cool the cabin faster in summers as well.
Maruti Suzuki has cut the length of the new DZire and also introduced new features in it like the new Swift. To differentiate it form the Swift, it has black and beige interiors instead of the black that come with the hatchback. The Swift Dzire is the sedan to buy, if you want it just for the heck of a three-box, else the Swift does the job.
Just like the new Swift, the interiors of the new DZire have also been redone. The DZire’s interiors are based on that of the new Swift. Swift gets all black interiors, while the DZire has black and beige colour combination. The plastic quality of the materials doesn’t just look good, but it also feels good. It has a lot more features than the previous generation Swift DZire, and it looks more premium also.
The space in both the rows is decent and the knee room even in the second row is good, which was a problem in the outgoing version. Though to our dismay, the boot of the Swift DZire is small for a sedan. The cut length of the DZire doesn’t have a large boot.
LXI/LDI:Talking about the LXI/LDI, Maruti Suzuki hasn’t scaled down the base versionas it has loaded the new Swift DZire LXI with body color bumpers and tubeless tyres. Other exterior features are 2 intermittent wipers in front, steel wheels with centre cap, remote fuel lid and back-door opener.
VXI/VDI/VXI automatic:Unlike the LXI/LDI model, VXI/VDI has body color door handles in addition to body color bumpers, electrically powered ORVMs with turn indicators, front and rear fog lamps for enhanced visibility during unfavorable weather conditions, black out film on A and B pillars and 165/80 R14 steel wheel cap. The instrument cluster includes tachometer along with standard equipments like seat belt, key-off, and door close and light-off reminder for driver, low fuel warning, multi information display etc.
ZXI/ZDI:ZXI/ZDI is loaded with comfort factors like power and tilt steering, power windows with auto down function on driver side window, driver seat adjuster, automatic climate control, lane change indicator, high-end stereo with radio and CD Player, intelligent speed based auto volume, Aux-in and USB socket, 2 front and 2 rear speakers, 2 integrated front tweeters, steering wheel mounted audio controls with illumination. Not the luxury, but practical options are available in the model like accessory socket, retractable cup holder for passengers and in centre console, rear seat back folding centre locking, keyless entry, front seat back pocket and remote fuel lid opener.
Ed's take: The engines on offer in the Honda City are brilliant and we like the peppiness of the petrol mill. This is one of the most powerful engines in the segment and also fuel-efficient.
1.5-litre petrol: The Honda City will be offered with two engines, one is the petrol and the second is the diesel. The petrol is the 1.5-litre i-VTEC that has propelled the previous generation too. The friction on the cylinder walls has been reduced, which means that the fuel efficiency has been bumped up. The engine now produces a power of 117bhp and 145Nm of peak torque. The power delivery is linear and the engine has sufficient torque throughout the rev range. The petrol is available with a five-speed manual and CVT box too. The CVT has paddle shifts and it has a five-speed set-up if you wish to use the paddles. The gear ratios will be the same like the five-speed manual to add-on to similar power. The CVT’s drivability is good when you accelerate gradually, it is only when you accelerate hard, the response isn’t that phenomenal.
1.5-litre diesel: Honda City finally gets a diesel, and it is the same 1.5-litre i-DTEC that powers the Amaze. However, this comes mated to a six-speed manual transmission instead of the regular five, as the torque spread is better and even the higher end. Honda has done what we expected it to. The i-DTEC oil burner already had sufficient power and torque for the City, just that it needed some mechanical advantage over the Amaze. The NVH levels of the diesel engine has been reduced with better dampening material. The power delivery is linear and the turbo kicks in at about 1800rpm. The power produced is good enough for driving in the city and even on the highway.
The Honda City is the most fuel-efficient car because the ARAI test cycle states that this sedan returns 26 km/l. This is also thanks to the six-speed transmission that helps the City to stretch its legs on the highway without affecting the fuel efficiency. The box is slick and even the throws are positive and short.
The petrol and the diesel versions of the Swift DZire are both reliable and highly frugal. With highly refined mills, Maruti Suzuki has played well with its cards on the new Swift DZire. The new petrol engine now gets an addition of variable valve timing and also the DZire is the only sedan in the C segment to get an automatic transmission.
1.2-litre PetrolThe new Swift DZire’s petrol engine received the variable valve treatment. This augments performance and fuel efficiency, though on paper, power ratings for this engine are 86bhp – a mere increase by a couple of horses. Like any modern petrol, the engine is quiet and low on NVH (noise, vibration and harshness).
When off the gas, the low engine whining sound— as experienced on the old 800s— is audible. Mid- range is good, but it does make you work-hard a bit to extort performance. Overtaking in city might require a downshift, despite the engine’s gradual power deliverance.
The DZire comes with a 5-speed manual and it is also available with a 4-speed automatic transmission also. The gear shifts on the Swift are short and effortless. The previous-generation Swift DZire had good shifts; these are a further improvement over those.
Talking of the 4-speed automatic, the shifts are slow and there is some latency in it. But it is good enough for city driving. We wish, it had a 5-speed box atleast.
1.3-litre Diesel:Previous generation Swift DZire had earned notoriety with its diesel engine. The engine was highly refined with low NVH levels and sufficient torque. The engine however had a noticeable amount of turbo lag. The R&D team of Maruti Suzuki has rectified now this issue in the current-generation Swift and the DZire.
The low-end pull is cleaner making the engine more drivable than the outgoing version. The NVH levels and refinement is far more superior as well. Crank the engine and it springs to live without the slightest of hesitation or melodrama. Driving in bumper-to-bumper city traffic and overtaking isn’t a tough ask in the Swift DZire. The gear shifts are also positive and the engagement process is smooth.
Ed's take: The Honda City is a bit softer than before which means better ride, however it is a bit choppy on bad roads.
The handling of the City is good, and it carries forward the existing Honda’s fun to drive image. The steering wheel is also light and easy to drive in city. The steering response has been enhanced by changing the steering ratio and this has made it even better, as before it felt a bit vague especially around a corner.
The Honda City springs on McPherson at the front and Torsion Beam at the rear. The underpinnings are stiffer on the front, especially in the diesel due to the increased weight. The rear is soft, however it is wee bit softer than our expectations. As this was pre-production model maybe that is why the set-up was a bit too soft. The ride on smooth roads and even at high speeds is decent, and the ride at the rear is more pliant in the petrol.
The ride of the Swift DZire is well composed as the rear springs are softened, as compared to the Swift hatch. The handling is decent, but the soft rear doesn’t mean a lot of fun driving can happen.
The ride on the DZire is softer at the rear when compared to the Swift. This gives it better riding characteristics than the Swift. The bumps are soaked in much better and even the ride is more plush than the Swift, atleast for the back row occupants.
The handling isn’t that bad alright. Apart from the rear being soft, there isn’t so much to worry. Minor corrections can be made through the steering that weighs well, giving an accurate feedback. The flexibility of the chassis adds to the enjoyment. Being engineered for city and highway, the steering wheel is light for easy manoeuvrability.