We are here at the 2019 Thailand International Motor Expo. The highlight of the show is of course, the all-new 2020 Honda City.
Viewed in metal, the all-new Honda City looks really good, which is a surprise because initial impressions from the press photos weren’t great.
Like many of today’s cars, the all-new Honda City’s exterior styling cannot be appreciated in a two dimensional photo.
The all-new City’s Civic-esque styling has a lot of edgy, sharp character lines that can only be appreciated when viewed under natural light.
It’s quite a step up from the outgoing Honda City, which is already the best looking (and most practical) sedan in its class.
The interior is a bit of a hit and a miss though. Like every Honda, the interior is a welcoming place to be in. Controls are laid out logically and are easy to reach.
There are cubby holes exactly at where you expect them to be, with enough depth and width to empty your pockets into.
The infotainment looks good but we are not sure if our forthcoming locally-produced ones will get the same unit (current Honda City uses a different, locally sourced head unit which looks very after-market and doesn’t work very well).
Where the all-new Honda City misses the mark, at least in our opinion, is with the instrument panel.
Compared to the current model’s three binnacle unit, the all-new Honda City’s VW-style twin binnacle layout with a driving information display in between feels like a downgrade from the current blue-background dials.
Cabin materials are pretty much the same as the outgoing generation model, which is to say that it’s nothing exceptional but good enough for this segment.
In terms of size, the all-new Honda City is quite big car. It’s a lot longer (+111 mm) and wider (+54 mm) than the outgoing model. In fact, it’s even bigger than the FD generation Honda Civic from last decade.
At the same time, it’s also 10 mm lower than the outgoing City, thus giving it a rather sporty looking, low and wide profile, almost like a mini-Civic, minus the sloping C-pillars.
The all-new Honda City’s 2,589 mm wheelbase is actually 11 mm shorter than the outgoing model but curiously, the cabin still feels just as spacious as the outgoing model.
Sitting in the rear, there is no noticeable compromise in head, leg or shoulder room.
The Thailand market Honda City comes with a 1.0-litre three-cylinder VTEC Turbo engine that makes 122 PS at 5,500 rpm and 173 Nm at 2,000 – 4,500 rpm, paired to a CVT-type automatic transmission.
For comparison, the outgoing City’s i-VTEC 1.5-litre four-cylinder naturally aspirated engine makes 120 PS at 6,600 rpm and 145 Nm at 4,600 rpm.
As mentioned in our earlier article, we don’t think this new engine will be coming to Malaysia, as our country lacks the necessary incentives to offset this higher cost Euro-specs low CO2 emissions engine.
Thailand’s EcoCar II policy provides lower excise duties (8 percent reduction for all-new City, from 20 percent to 12 percent) for cars that emit less than 100 g/km of CO2.
The low emissions engine also needs low sulphur petrol, and our Euro 2M RON 95 petrol certainly isn’t one.
Malaysia will probably see the same 1.5-litre four-cylinder naturally aspirated i-VTEC engine carried over to the next generation model.