Despite being a 2008 design, the interiors of the Honda City still looks contemporary. Though most of the competition today is offering more bells and whistles than the Honda City. The cabin is spacious enough room in both the rows.
Sporting a much larger wheelbase that its preceding Dolphin-shaped model, the present version of City has an even larger room to offer its occupants. In other words, the head-room, the front row leg-room and the rear-seat knee-room get further enlarged, making easy and airy accommodation of five passengers no problem at all. Even the boot gets a very voluminous area to its name where travel kits can be stowed away very easily. On top of that, the seating chamber has stowage, spaces and holders in case the occupants wish to keep a few things handy.
As far as the comfort is concerned, the seats lining the cabin of Honda City have never been cosier. They are plush, well-contoured, complemented with supportive head rests and jacketed in premium grade sheathing, whether fabric or leather. The rear-seats incorporate a fold-able centre arm rest as well that can double up as a storage area too. The cabin area, meanwhile, receives a sporty three-spoke leather coated steering wheel and an auto gear shifter well-sculpted to fit the palm perfectly. In addition to all this, what makes the ride in Honda City even more joyous is the trendy and elegant dual-tone theme of beige-black that spans the entire cabin imparting a very fine and sophisticated feel to it.
Corporate: Honda City Corporate is the very base model of this beautiful ride and consequently, gets loaded with only the very basic characteristics expected of a sedan. For the driver's zone, the car packs some really nice features like power steering, front and rear power windows, adjustable steering column and triple-pod instrument console integrated with an electronic multi-tripmeter and low fuel warning light. For safety purposes, the Corporate version of City involves an extensive range of tools and technologies like ABS, BA, power door locks, child safety locks, anti-theft alarm, driver and passenger airbags, halogen headlamps, rear seat belts, seat belt warning, side and front impact beams, engine immobilizer and centrally mounted fuel tank. Apart from these, other additionals include an AC/heater unit, premium fabric upholstery, adjustable headlights, power adjustable ORVM and rear window defogger.
E: Next in line comes the Honda City E, which carries forward every trait and tool that Corporate offers while adding a couple of its own like a CD player/radio unit and front-end speakers, thereby, introducing the entertainment element that was missing in the lower-end variant.
S: One level higher than E stands the Honda City S which adds fitments like multi-function steering wheel, tachometer and audio system remote control for the driver's assistance, and along with that packs up a key-less entry mechanism, alloy wheels, speakers mounted both at the front as well as the rear end and power/manual adjustment options for the ORVM.
V MT: Another step ahead along the City range, and we meet the Honda City V MT, which, besides bringing in some novel features of cruise control, leather steering wheel, front fog lights, sunroof and ORVM-mounted turn indicators, also drops a couple like tachometer and power adjustment option for ORVM. Also, the fabric upholstery that lined the lower models get replaced with sporty leather covering in this variant.
CNG: The newest member of the Honda City clan that holds an environment-friendly CNG bank at its core as a power-source costs marginally more than the V MT variant but the bells and whistles that adorn both these models are exactly the same.
V AT: On a level higher than the CNG-fuelled version stands the Honda City V AT, which is nothing but the automatic counterpart of V MT, and hence, gets loaded with an almost identical set of features and fitments with the only differences being the substitution of leather with fabric and the abandonment of the sunroof and the leather coating of the steering.
V AT Sunroof: The sunroof version of Honda City V AT sports a leather sheathing for the seats and the steering besides incorporating a sunroof as well.
Honda is known for their engines and this engine is no different. The Honda City gets a 1.5-litre petrol engine with sufficient torque throughout the rev band to pull the car cleanly, even when in a higher gear.
Just like every other car from the Honda syable, City is also waiting for a diesel-mill to fill up the space under its hood, but that's not going to happen until mid-2013. For now, the entire line-up of Honda India is driven by the same petrol engine, which, by the way, happens to be the best man for the job. Famous for its frugal yet powerful and efficient performance that it has consistently delivered for a long time now, the 1.5-litre 16V SOHC i-VTEC petrol engine capable of churning out a very impressive 116bhp at 6600rpm for a peak torque output of 146Nm generated at 4800rpm works for Honda City, at present. This power-house comes mated either to a 5-speed manual transmission or a 5-speed automatic transmission (with paddle shifters) gearbox depending on the model that it serves. Both the automatic and the manual systems synchronize exceptionally well with the engine, facilitating extremely smooth and precise gear-shifts. While the automatic transmission excels at tuning in perfectly with the RPM and throttle input, extracting the maximum from the engine over the complete power band is the special quality that its manual counterpart exhibits.
As far as the NVH levels are concerned, the best way to express the kind of refinement that this mill has been blessed with is that its low audible levels might fool you into cranking the engine even when it is running, and that is nothing compared to the super-silent mode that it gets into when left to idle away. When it comes to overtaking, City will never disappoint you nor will its superb dash of speed ever keep you from staying ahead of all on the street.
The ride and handling of the Honda City are a good. Some enthusiasts may not like the light steering wheel as it feels a tad slack around the corners.
Suspension system that has been employed for Honda City consists of a McPherson Strut mechanism for the front end and a Torsion Beam Axle for the rear both of which come integrated with a Stabilizer and Coil Spring.
The incorporation of such an efficient suspension system ensures that potholes and bumps are ironed out perfectly well and irrespective of how well laid or how badly marred a road is, the occupants enjoy a smooth and jerk-free ride. Besides helping in making City the supple and composed ride it is, this suspension system also goes a long way in improving the handling characteristics of the car in its 2012 version as compared to the earlier generations.
While it is practically impossible to find a handling problem in Honda City along a straight road, the car does not present any issues, whatsoever, when it is thrown in corners and bends either. What further accentuates the overall drive and ride quality of the Japanese sedan is the light weighted steering that comes in very handy when we need to weave our way in and out of the busy city traffic or when we need to park in a very tight spot.
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.
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.
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.
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