10 High-end Features That Are Now Common In Compact Sedans

Published On Mar 21, 2021 12:19 PM By Dhruv for Honda City 2020-2023

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The trickle-down effect in cars has been constantly delivering new tech to accessible car segments over the last few years

Compact sedans have been the middle ground between economy cars and luxury cars in India for years now. There was a time when owning a Honda City meant that you had reached a certain level of success. That’s because these cars offered relatively powerful engine performance along with comfort and features that were out of reach for most common folk. This mantle might have been taken over by SUVs, but that hasn’t stopped compact sedans from still offering the latest when it comes to technology. Here are ten examples of the same:

Turbo-petrol engines

Models: Hyundai Verna, Skoda Rapid and Volkswagen Vento

Least expensive variant and its starting price: Skoda Rapid Rider Manual at Rs 7.79 lakh (ex-showroom)

Up until five years ago, turbo-petrol engines were the mainstay of premium cars, usually priced upwards of Rs 25 lakh. The only exception to this rule was the Volkswagen Polo GT TSI ( BS4 model). Turbo-petrol engines offered a combination of torquier performance and decent fuel efficiency, a win-win in most driving scenarios. Now, the VW Group, Hyundai (and Kia), Tata, and even Mahindra have adopted and developed this technology so that it could be used in their smaller cars too. The end result is that the Hyundai Verna, Skoda Rapid and Volkswagen Vento now make use of turbo-petrol engines and in case of the Rapid and Vento, the turbo-petrol engine is your only option.

LED Headlights

Models: Honda City, Hyundai Verna, Volkswagen Vento and Maruti Ciaz

Least expensive variant and its starting price: Maruti Ciaz Zeta Manual at Rs 9.79 lakh (ex-showroom)

That elusive white-lighting was once reserved for heavyweight cars like the Toyota Fortuner but the economies of scale in the last few years have pushed LED technology into lower segments as well. One of the most beautiful applications of this technology is seen in the new-gen Honda City that has an array of nine LEDs for the headlamp unit. The Hyunda Verna, Volkswagen Vento and Maruti Ciaz also offer this feature. Not only do LED headlamps offer better visibility at night, they also raise the style quotient of the car.

Large Touchscreen Displays

Models: Honda City, Hyundai Verna, Maruti Ciaz and Volkswagen Vento

Least expensive variant and its price: Maruti Ciaz Zeta Manual at Rs 9.79 lakh (ex-showroom)

Touchscreens for infotainment systems have been available on mass-market cars for quite some time now. Over the years, they have grown in size, sophistication and technological capacity. With the help of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, they can even mirror your smartphone on the big screen. This helps with bundling music, navigations and phone calls, all into one convenient interface. The Hyundai Verna definitely has the best touchscreen here with its big size, crisp display quality and great touch capabilities. Only the Skoda Rapid and Toyota Yaris don’t offer Android Auto and Apple Carplay compatibility even in their range topping variants, but they still get touchscreen setups.

Semi-digital Instrument Cluster

Models: Hyundai Verna, Honda City

Least expensive variant and its price: Hyundai Verna SX 1.5 Petrol Manual at Rs 10.89 lakh (ex-showroom)

While infotainment systems have been going digital for quite some time now, instrument clusters have just begun trickling down to more affordable cars. Only the Hyundai Verna offers a digitised gauge cluster with a 4.2-inch coloured MID (multi information display) that you can customise to an extent, flanked by digital readouts for the speed and tachometer. The Honda City has a partly digital setup though it’s more advanced than the Verna’s, with a 7.0-inch coloured display alongside an analogue speedometer. The screen in the City can show readout like the G-forces as well. Semi-digital clusters are great not only for the usual information like speed, engine revs and warning lights, they also pack in navigation, music and in-depth vehicle data into one screen.

Others like the Maruti Ciaz, Skoda Rapid, Volkswagen Vento and Skoda Rapid still offer an analogue setup with a smaller, less versatile MID. 

Mild hybrid technology

Model: Maruti Ciaz

Least expensive variant and starting price: Maruti Ciaz Sigma Manual at Rs 8.42 lakh (ex-showroom)

Electric power has been touted as the fuel of the future and hybrids are considered a smooth transition in between. This tech has been trickling down to mass market cars in select international markets over the years and has for some time been available in the Maruti Ciaz. The Ciaz uses its hybrid tech  for the idle engine start/stop feature, shutting down the engine when it’s not required. It also aids in acceleration slightly, and overall is a great way to save some fuel.

Connected car tech

Models: Honda City and Hyundai Verna

Least expensive variant and its starting price: Honda City V 1.5 Petrol Manual at Rs 12.29 lakh (ex-showroom)

Connected car tech is a great way to stay in touch with your car, using just your smartphone. It helps in gauging the vehicle health, the fuel level and other parameters important in day to day running. It also offers features like geo-fencing and speeds alerts, to instantly alert you in case your car is being misused or has been stolen. Then there are the remote features that allow you to remotely switch on the engine and pre-cool the cabin, a seriously cool feature for a hot and sunny day. The Verna also offers a hotkey for SOS services and roadside assistance as part of the package. However, it is the Honda City that takes the cake by offering remote AC operation capabilities, albeit only in the CVT version. Honda has also provided the City with Alexa voice command functionality, a feature that’s usually seen on premium models.

Ventilated seats

Models: Hyundai Verna

Least expensive variant and its starting price: Hyundai Verna SX (O) 1.5 Petrol Manual at Rs 12.75 lakh (ex-showroom)

This is one feature that many Indian buyers will appreciate. The harsh summers in India often have people sweating in their seats and cooled ventilated seats are a great way to tackle this problem. It’s not a gimmicky feature either as the cooled seats in the Hyundai Verna work really well with three different settings. However, it is limited to the Verna and that too only the top-of-the-line SX(O) variant.

Six airbags

Models: Honda City, Hyundai Verna and Toyota Yaris

Least expensive variant and its starting price: Honda City VX Petrol Manual at Rs 12.35 lakh (ex-showroom)

Safety features were once given the importance that elaichi holds when it comes to biryani, but nowadays, they have become one of the biggest selling points for cars. This has encouraged some carmakers to up their game, with Honda, Hyundai and Toyota offering six airbags on their compact sedans. The Toyota is actually one step ahead of the competition in this regard as it offers up to seven airbags on the top variants, with added protection for the driver’s knee. At Rs 12.39 lakh (ex-showroom), a Yaris with seven airbags is only four thousand more than the Honda City VX, the least expensive compact sedan variant to offer six airbags.

Traction control/ ESP

Models: Honda City, Hyundai Verna, Skoda Rapid, Volkswagn Vento, Maruti Ciaz and Toyota Yaris

Least expensive variant and its starting price: Skoda Rapid Rider Plus Manual at Rs 8.19 lakh

Traction control along with other safety programs like ESP have gained prominence over the last few years. More and more cars are getting equipped with these features, and compact sedans are no exception to this. In fact, all the compact sedans sold in India get some form of traction control or ESP and some get both. Traction control and ESP are active safety features that help prevent a crash by allowing the driver to keep the vehicle in control, instead of safeguarding you during one, like airbags do.

Lane Watch Camera

Models : Honda City

Least expensive variant and its starting price: Honda City ZX 1.5 Petrol Manual at Rs 13.34 lakh (ex-showroom)

Blindspots can be a big issue in everyday driving and Honda has addressed that problem with its camera on the City’s left-side ORVM. Everytime you hit the indicator stalk to go left, the camera relays its feed of the car’s blindspot onto the touchscreen unit in the car. While it is a handy feature, the angle of the screen to the driver and the camera quality in the City is not on par with what we are used to seeing in higher-end cars. That aside, it is definitely a feature that, with improvement, can find its way onto other cars in the segment.

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