Quick Review: 2020 Honda City 1.5L V - good choice for a zippy family car

Sanjay · Nov 9, 2020 05:00 PM

Quick Review: 2020 Honda City 1.5L V - good choice for a zippy family car 01

When we brought you the closer look of the 2020 Honda CR-V facelift last week, we also saw the all-new 2020 Honda City parking pretty outside. We know you're clamouring to know more - so we politely asked for the keys and took it for a spin.

Please note that this is a brief review, and a detailed review will follow post-CMCO.

Quick Review: 2020 Honda City 1.5L V - good choice for a zippy family car 02

We drove the V variant - which is the range-topping petrol variant before the upcoming hybrid RS - and here's what we think of it following a brief drive around Kuala Lumpur.

Exterior

Quick Review: 2020 Honda City 1.5L V - good choice for a zippy family car 01

V variant means LED reflector headlights, LED front fog lamps and LED daytime running lights (DRLs). The 16-inch wheels of 2020 Honda City are actually the same ones you'll find on the upcoming RS but they're dual-tone there.

Quick Review: 2020 Honda City 1.5L V - good choice for a zippy family car 02

Every variant of the City gets these cool LED combination tail lights.

Quick Review: 2020 Honda City 1.5L V - good choice for a zippy family car 03

This Modulo bodykit is available for all variants for RM 4,473.

Interior

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Small details like the leather shift boot make Honda City's interior a touch more premium.

Much like the equally-new Nissan Almera, this variant of Honda City comes with a smattering of white leather inserts in the cabin.

Quick Review: 2020 Honda City 1.5L V - good choice for a zippy family car 05

The white leather inserts at common touchpoints.

They feel good to touch and break the interior's monotony - but you need to be on the ball to take care of it, since that colour stains easily.

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The City has rear air-cond vents across all variants.

The rest of the cabin is give and take. The Honda City front seats aren't as "C-segment-like comfortable" as the Zero Gravity units in the Almera, but you get rear air-cond vents here instead - which are not available in the Almera.

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The Panasonic infotainment screen is bright, clear and smooth enough; air-cond buttons are satisfyingly clicky to use.

Infotainment wise, the Honda City wins points by including both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support (the Almera only has Apple CarPlay). The Honda City could do with improved camera resolution and sound quality though. 

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Boot space is 519 litres, bigger than the Almera's 485 litres.

Another aspect where Honda can improve in is cabin refinement. There's no vibration through the steering wheel or pedals, but the engine will make itself heard when you drive a bit harder. The Almera is more comfortable in this regard.

Driving experience

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RS variant notwithstanding, the S, E and V variants of the City are powered by a 1.5-litre, naturally-aspirated four-cylinder engine (code L15ZE), making 121 PS and 145 Nm. Power is sent to the front wheels via a CVT.

Quick Review: 2020 Honda City 1.5L V - good choice for a zippy family car 10

Honda City V comes with 185/55R16 Toyo Proxes R57 tyres.

How does it feel? Honda City probably has the keenest throttle response when compared to Almera or the Toyota Vios, with more than enough poke to make short work of overtaking and navigating twisty uphill stretches.

The CVT is smooth enough to make daily driving a breeze and if you so choose, there's paddle shifters to play with 7 virtual ratios.

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The City's got a lot going for its ride and handling as well. The steering is responsive and sharp (you'll know what the front wheels are doing), the suspension smoothens out pockmarked roads rather well, yet still retains a sporty character - in which it doesn't feel floaty around sharp back-to-back corners.

And to those raising an eyebrow at the City for having drum brakes at the back - it's more than enough.

Conclusion - A worthy contender

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Intial impressions of the City is positive. There is a bit more poke here compared to the Almera, thanks to its larger-capacity, naturally-aspirated engine. Interior refinement is where it loses out a bit though - the seats are not as comfortable nor is the cabin as quiet as it is in the Almera.

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Of course, this is just a quick review - stay tuned for our in-depth review post-CMCO.

You may want to keep in mind that the RS variant with the gearbox-less i-MMD engine will be out next year, and by then the facelifted 2021 Toyota Vios will be launched too.

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After reading our review of the Honda City, why don't you read our review of the Nissan Almera as well to help you decide?

Sanjay

Writer

With humble beginnings collecting diecast models and spending hours virtually tuning dream cars on the computer, his love of cars has delightfully transformed into a career. Sanjay enjoys how the same passion for cars transcends boundaries and brings people together.

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