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.
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.
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 facelift version of the Etios gets improvement in quality. The sedan has always been practical, with loads of space to seat five and a massive boot of 595 litres. The brownies on the Etios are decent. The only thing we are against is the plastic quality.
Major changes have been made on the interiors of the Etios and the results are positive. The dashboard now has beige and grey trim and even the quality has been improved by a couple of notches. The interior trim has been changed from grey to beige fabric and even the headrests are no longer integrated and can be adjusted. This alone changes a lot in the interior, and it does feel premium than before.
The music system on the Etios has been changed and even the new 2 DIN music system does look a lot more stylish and better in design. Toyota built a sedan for a family that can only afford a single car, so the Etios had to be spacious. The Etios can comfortably seat five adults and to make things easier the central tunnel has almost been flattened. Even the boot space is large, as it can swallow 595 litres of luggage, making one the best in its class. The driving position is great and the light steering makes maneuvering in city convenient.
J: This is the base variant of the Etios and now comes in diesel variant also. This version comes with body coloured bumpers, tubeless tyres, air conditioner with heater, cooled glovebox and digital tripmeter. It even misses out on power steering.
G: This is a variant higher than J and is available in petrol and diesel engine options. It also includes body coloured door handles, body coloured ORVMs, B-Pillar Black-Out, intermittent wiper, chrome garnish on boot, power windows, electric power steering and central locking.
G Safety: Similar to the above variant, it comes with some additional safety features that include SRS Airbags, ABS (Antilock Brake System) with EBD (Electronic Brake Distribution) and Driver Seatbelt Warning. Hence, the name is G Safety. It comes in petrol and diesel variants.
V: This variant encompasses front fog lamps, 12 spoke alloy wheels, and roof-mounted antenna, and rear defogger, tachometer and in-dash music system with USB & Aux-in.
V (with safety pack) A top end variant in Toyota Etios includes side skirt, steering mounted audio controls, leather wrapped steering wheel and chrome-accented shift knob. Similar to the above variant, it comes with some additional safety features that include SRS Airbags, ABS (Antilock Brake System) with EBD (Electronic Brake Distribution) and Driver Seatbelt Warning. Hence, the name is G Safety. It comes in petrol and diesel variants.
The petrol engine of the Etios is amazing, thanks to the power to weight ratio. It is one of the quickest sedans in the C segment and even efficient. There is always enough power to drive through city lanes, and downshifting might not be required.
1.5-litre petrol: The petrol engine of the Etios is a 1496cc mill that churns out 89bhp@5600rpm and a maximum torque of 132Nm@3000rpm. The engine isn’t a stonker of a performer, but there the power to weight ratio of 90bhp/tonne changes the entire game. The Etios weighs 930kg, which is hatchback territory. The engine is perky and power is always available at the tap of your right foot. One usually doesn’t require a downshift to overtake.
This motor happily revs upto 6000rpm, but it tends to get a bit noisy when it crosses the 3500rpm mark. The torque spread is good and the power delivery is linear like any other efficient petrol engine. The 5-speed manual transmission comes mated to the petrol engine. The gear lever is small and the shifts are precise.
1.4-litre diesel: The 1.4-litre engine that powers the Etios is the same that also does duty on the Corolla Altis. In the Etios, this engine has been detuned to generate maximum power of 68bhp and 170Nm of maximum torque. The Corolla Altis it gets a variable geometric turbocharger in the Etios it gets a conventional fixed geometric turbo. With the same engine block, there is bit of diesel clatter during cold starts but this is muted once the engine warms up. The throttle is fairly responsive and the engine has good mid-range and is drivable around the city. The engine is drivable as the power delivery is linear. It is on the open road you feel that the engine lacks that extra punch.
The engine is mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. Gearshifts are positive and slick. As per ARAI test cycle, Toyota claims the Etios diesel to have a fuel economy of 23.59kmpl.
The ride of the Etios is fairly composed and most of the road shocks are absorbed by the suspension. The handling on the Etios is good enough even driven within city speed limits.
The suspension set-up is soft and it ensures better ride and fairly decent handling characteristics. The Etios smoothly glides over potholes with a muted thud and most of the road shocks are ironed-out by the transmission. The ride is smooth, but some road noise does intrude the cabin.
The Etios’s handling is decent, when within city speed limits. The sedan can zip through busy streets but things get difficult as you make it to twisty roads. The steering wheel of the Toyota Etios is light and feels slack around the corner as the car gathers speed.
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