Honda City vs Honda Elevate: Space And Practicality Compared

Modified On Apr 12, 2024 10:05 AM By Sonny for Honda City

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Which compact Honda is right for you - the sedan or the SUV?

City vs elevate, sedan or SUV

Honda has one of the smallest model lineups for a successful automotive brand in India. The Japanese carmaker finally entered the highly competitive compact SUV segment in 2023 with the Honda Elevate. It is based on the long-standing foundations of the highly successful Honda City sedan, which is currently in its fifth generation in India. Therefore, both models have a high number of similarities. So, if you were thinking of buying a premium Honda model today, you might find it hard to pick between the Elevate and the City. Well, that’s exactly why we’re doing a breakdown of their differences to help you pick the right one.

Design

Honda Elevate front
Honda Elevate

From a design standpoint, it’s not as much a competition between them as it is about personal preferences between these siblings. Both have similar design cues of course, but both use them differently. While the Honda Elevate has a relatively safe design, its taller stance and butch profile gives it decent road presence. It also gets bigger 17-inch alloy wheels wrapped in thicker tyres. However, that big grille that dominates the front could have been more premium.

Honda City CVT

In comparison, the Honda City sedan looks sharper and you can tell that this has been the carmaker’s favourite child (so far) thanks to the attention to detail. Those 9-piece LED headlights and Z-shape LED tail lamps combined with the sporty styling for the front and rear bumper give the fifth-gen City a sporty look.

Boot Space

The Honda City reminds us of the main reason why sedans were the go-to body type for family road trips before SUVs took over the market. It gets a bigger boot than the Elevate on paper: 506 litres compared to 458 litres for the SUV. 

Honda City boot space

We were able to prove the sedan’s superiority in this regard with our very own luggage test. Both the City and Elevate can fit in a full-size suitcase, a medium-sized suitcase, a carry-on suitcase as well as two duffel bags with some room to spare (for a backpack or two). However, the City can fit even bigger bags. The sedan’s appetite for luggage is more impressive when you consider the design limitation of the boot-hinges that eat into the boot when closed.

Honda Elevate boot space

However, we would like to mention that if you were using one of these Honda models to shift house, without passengers, the Elevate has an added ability over the City. The compact SUV’s rear seat can be folded down (split fold 60:40 if needed) to make more room which is something that the sedan cannot do.

Getting In And Getting Out

Time to find out what the Honda cars have to offer inside the cabin. But first, let’s start with how easy it is to get in and out of their respective cabins. Now, the Honda City has the typical sedan’s low seating for a sportier and more executive experience. However, in terms of practicality, the high-riding Honda Elevate has the advantage for climbing in and out of those seats, especially for older family members. Also, the high driving position with a clear view of the front does give more confidence to new drivers.

Interior - Fit & Finish

Honda City interior

The Honda City has maintained a high bar for interior quality in cars costing less than Rs 20 lakh, with a focus on the fit and finish rather than an abundance of features. With the creamy light cabin theme, the interior of the City feels spacious and the premium materials make for a pleasant experience all around.

Honda Elevate interior

Now, given that the Elevate is meant to be the SUV-equivalent to the City sedan, it should at least match it for the cabin quality. However, it seems Honda may have fallen slightly short of its own mark here, with certain areas not using the same level of materials or finish as one would expect in the Elevate. It does get a brown and black cabin theme for a more upmarket visual appeal but the large surfaces of black plastics make it feel less premium than the City.

Honda City dashboard
Honda Elevate dashboard

Both cars feature a wooden trim finish on the passenger side of the dashboard, and the driver’s side is the same. However, the central console layout has different designs. The City’s infotainment unit is flanked by the AC vents while the Elevate’s central AC vents are positioned below the freestanding display. They also have very different climate control panels, with dials for the sedan and toggles for the SUV, the latter being more common in modern SUVs.

Features

Honda Elevate sunroof
Honda City semi-digital driver display

Both the Honda Elevate and Honda City are well-equipped in terms of comforts but both suffer from a lack of a “wow” factor in the features department, compared to their segment rivals. Yes, both models come with a semi-digital driver’s display, a sunroof, lane-watch camera, as well as a suite of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) for features like autonomous emergency braking, lane assist and adaptive high beams.

At the same time, these premium offerings miss out on a 360-degree camera, ventilated front seats and a premium audio system. When buying a fully loaded top variant, these are expected comforts in their segments and Honda buyers do feel a bit left out.

Honda City infotainment system
Honda Elevate infotainment system

Then there are the odd misses between the two, such as the Elevate’s larger and newer touchscreen infotainment unit compared to the dated system on the City’s dashboard. Meanwhile, the sedan does get one-touch auto up-down power windows all around whereas the SUV only offers it for the driver’s side. Then there’s the matter of the boot release: the City has a spring release system with a dedicated button on the key as well, for easier access, which is missing on the Elevate.

Overall, both the Elevate and City present a full package of practical features and are priced accordingly. However, there are two key comforts that I hope Honda plans to integrate soon: ventilated front seats, and a 360-degree camera for the SUV.

Cabin Practicality

Even though Honda takes some criticism for its minimal approach to premium features, it is impressive with its cabin ergonomics. The placement and positioning of various features feels sensible for the most part, and the Elevate is clearly a copy of the City in this regard. 

Honda City front armrest

Both get a front armrest with storage and the door pockets are quite accommodating as well. Even though the front armrest cannot slide forward, the central console has additional storage design elements like the slats that can be used to keep the average-sized smartphone on its side. The sedan and the SUV also come with tilt and telescopic adjustment for the steering wheel so finding a suitable driving position is easy. However, the newer Elevate SUV takes the lead from the City here.

 

The integration of the wireless charging pad in the Elevate is not only easy to use, but also gets the benefit of an on-off button right in front. Most other brands make you dive into the system settings from the infotainment unit to toggle that control. However, the City offers this feature as an afterthought – a tray-like design that takes up the cup holders when in place. This is not a good trade as the latter are far more important any given day.

Honda City rear power socket

Both the Elevate and City get the same number of charging points in the front: a 12 V socket and 2 USB ports (not Type-C). The SUV gets a 12 V socket for the rear as well, while the City gets two, likely for those who plan to use them for charging their work laptops while on the go. However, the rear passengers should have received a more up-to-date charging option of a USB port as well.

Rear Seat Space And Experience

Honda City rear seats

Here too, the Elevate tries to copy its sedan but their cabin differences are most notable here. The SUV has a relatively upright seating position with plenty of legroom, headroom and kneeroom. In comparison, the Honda City has a more relaxed angle for the rear seats which should be comfier over longer journeys and gets the benefit of a rear sunshade (manual). But the biggest differentiator in the back is the provision for the middle seat where the Elevate misses out on a headrest as well as a 3-point seatbelt, both of which are present in the City.

Honda Elevate rear seats

These Honda siblings are most similar in terms of storage and practicality. Both have the same style of rear AC vents, a fold out centre armrest with cupholders that tend to droop, spacious door pockets, and clever pockets for smartphones and wallets in the backrests of the front seats. Honda also missed a trick by not offering either the Elevate or City with sunshades for the rear windows.

Performance

Honda City and Elevate petrol engine

The Honda siblings are powered by the same 1.5-litre naturally-aspirated engine which makes 121 PS and 145 Nm. It gets the choice of both 6-speed manual and 7-step CVT automatic transmissions, the latter with paddle shifters. This Honda i-VTEC powerplant revs freely and is well-tuned with the CVT automatic for a smooth drive experience.

Honda City and Elevate driving

Driving the City and Elevate back-to-back, we were quick to notice that the drive experience is much smoother in the sedan than in the SUV. It’s also quicker and more efficient thanks to an Econ mode, the button for which is placed right next to the drive selector on the CVT variant we tested.

Honda City econ mode

We also put both Hondas through our real world tests for performance and efficiency, and here’s how they fared:

 

Honda City CVT

Honda Elevate CVT

City fuel efficiency (as tested)

16.28 kmpl

12.60 kmpl

Highway fuel efficiency (as tested)

20.62 kmpl

16.41 kmpl

0-100 kmph (acceleration)

10.94 seconds

12.35 seconds

100-0 kmph (braking)

41.88 metres

37.98 metres

Ride and Comfort

Even though both cars essentially have the same underpinnings, there is quite the difference between how they behave on the road. When it comes to driving on tarmac, the Honda City is a clear winner in terms of the ride comfort especially at highway speeds. It deals with the mild bumps with ease without unsettling any of its passengers and gives a reassuring sense of stability to the driver as well. Sure, you’re more careful with taking the sedan over rough patches with potholes, but with some careful driving the City can conquer worse terrains than you think.

Honda City driving
Honda Elevate rough road

Meanwhile, the Honda Elevate SUV shines on rough roads, and no-road stretches. Its longer suspension travel and higher ground clearance eats up broken patches quite well. While the Elevate loses to the City in urban driving environments, its ride quality is decent overall.

Verdict

Honda City and Elevate

Picking between the Honda City and Honda Elevate is a bit like picking between two siblings. Both have their strengths and weaknesses, each appealing to a different set of buyers. The sedan does get the benefit of having been developed and fine-tuned for Indian buyers for nearly three decades, the SUV offspring is not far behind. 

The Honda City is more refined in terms of design, cabin quality and drive experience, while also offering a more spacious boot. However, the Honda Elevate offers the advantage of higher seating, added practicality, more ground clearance and more modern features. 

Honda City
Honda Elevate

They’re both similarly priced as well, approximately between Rs 11.5 lakh to a little over Rs 16 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), not including the City Hybrid. You wouldn’t go wrong picking between either of these Honda cars, it’s just a matter of which one is better suited to your needs and preferences.

Read More on : City on road price

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