Ratings: 2020 Honda City 1.5 L V - No AEB, but fuel efficient and practical

Arif · Jan 16, 2021 09:45 AM

The aptly named Honda City is one of the most popular city cars in Malaysia. Its latest iteration was revealed in 2020, powered by a new 1.5-litre DOHC engine.

Although the Honda City RS i-MMD is yet to have an official price, the new Honda City 1.5L V, E, and S are already increasing in numbers on Malaysian roads.

As always, we'll put it through our very own WapCar Rating system to break things down for you.

Let's see where it stands in the B-segment saloon category, against the Nissan Almera, Toyota Vios, and Proton Persona.

2020 Honda City 1.5L V: Driving Performance - 31.5/50 pts, Quick but uninspiring

2020 Honda City 1.5L V - Facts and Figures
Engine 1.5-litre 4-cylinder DOHC i-VTEC
Transmission CVT
Power 121 PS @ 6,600 rpm
Torque 145 Nm @ 4,300 rpm
Weight 1,135 kg
0-100 km/h 11.4 seconds
100-0 km/h 42 metres

Among the B-segment saloons that we have tested, the 2020 Honda City 1.5L V is actually the quickest.

We recorded a 0-100 km/h time of  11.4 s for the Honda City. (Toyota Vios -12.7 s; Proton Persona - 11.7 s; Nissan Almera - 12.4 s).

The segment is mainly naturally aspirated with the exception of the downsized Nissan Almera engine. 

Braking distance of the Honda City is also good in its segment with a recorded 42 m. An obvious thing you will feel in the Honda City is the more responsive throttle compared to its rivals.

Handling of the Honda City is uninspiring. the springs are perhaps a little bit too soft, but they make for a comfortable ride. 

2020 Honda City 1.5L V - Driving Performances Breakdown
Engine Acceleration 3.5 / 5
In-gear Acceleration 3 / 5
Throttle Response 4 / 5
Transmission Shift Logic 3 / 3
Smoothness 3 / 5
Sport/Manual Mode 1 / 3
Steering Accuracy 2 / 3
Response 1.5 / 3
Weight & Feel 1.5 / 3
Braking Distance 2 / 3
Feel 2 / 3
Handling Chassis Balance 1.5 / 3
Grip 2 / 3
Load Reaction 1.5 / 3
Total   31.5 / 50 pts

2020 Honda City 1.5L V: Ride Comfort - 35/50 pts, Plush & supportive seats

The seats in the Honda City are plush and the seat back supports your lower back nicely. Pair that with the soft springs, and the cabin of this B-segment saloon is fairly comfortable.

Cabin noise in the Honda City feels lower than the numbers suggest. Although engine noise is a bit high, the cabin is well-insulated from rolling noise. There are no jarring turbulent wind noises too, so we'll give some points to that.

Currently leading the segment in terms of cabin noise is the Nissan Almera with 68 dB at 110 km/h.

2020 Honda City 1.5L V - Noise Level
60 km/h 65 dB
90 km/h 68 dB
110 km/h 70 dB

In the back, the seat base offers decent thigh support, and the recline angle allows for a good seating position.

2020 Honda City 1.5L V - Ride Comfort Breakdown
Sound Proofing 6 / 10
Suspension 7 / 10
Passenger Comfort 7 / 10
Seat Support 4 / 5
Ergonomics 3 / 5
Engine Refinement 8 / 10
Total points 35 / 50 pts

2020 Honda City 1.5L V: Quality and Features - 29/50 pts, LaneWatch and Remote Start are super convenient

2020 Honda City 1.5L V - Panel Gaps (mm)
Location Driver Side Passenger Side Difference
Bonnet 3 2.5 0.5
Front Fender 3.5 4 0.5
Front to Rear Door 4 4 0
Rear Door to quarter panel 3 3.5 0.5
Tailgate 3.5 4 0.5

Exterior build quality of the Honda City is good. The panel gaps only show a maximum of 0.5 mm difference between the left and right side.

2020 Honda City 1.5L V - Paint thickness (µm)
Location Driver Side Passenger Side
Front Bonnet 157
Front Fender 111 105
Front Door 120 115
Rear Door 115 107
Rear Quarter Panel 110 103
Tailgate 125
Roof 118
Average paint thickness: 117 µm ±15 

Paint thickness is consistent and the averages comparably to its rivals.

2020 Honda City 1.5L V - Exterior Material Use
Bonnet Soundproofing Material Thin
Struts Manual
Front Fenders Soundproofing Material Yes
Doors Front Windows Single Glazed
Rear Windows Single Glazed
Construction One Piece
Tailgate/Boot Opening Manual 

As an affordable city car, the Honda City 1.5L V doesn't go beyond necessary in terms of exterior materials. There are no gas hood struts, elaborate styling pieces, or double-glazed windows.

The amount of hard plastics in the cabin is as expected of a B-segment saloon. The critical touch points have a slight luxurious feel, and white leather pieces brighten up an otherwise dull cabin.

Android Auto/Apple Carplay connection is quick and stable with a dedicated USB port.

The bulk of the controls are still tactile, allowing you to keep your eyes on the road as opposed to fully touchscreen controls only in some cars.

2020 Honda City 1.5L V - Cabin Material Use
Seat Seat Cover Leather
Armrest Armrest Cover Leather
Dashboard Upper Section Soft plastic
  Lower Section Hard Plastic
Front Doors Upper Section Hard Plastic
  Middle Section Leather
  Lower Section Hard Plastic

Although a full suite of ADAS is not available on the Honda City 1.5 L V, the LaneWatch feature deserves some credit. Since we share our road with motorcyclist, a lot of minor incidents could be avoided with this feature.

A full suite of ADAS is availble on the RS variant.

Under the ASEAN NCAP safety rating system, the Honda City scores an excellent five-star rating.

Another feature worthy of mention in the Honda City 1.5 L V is the remote start feature - very handy on hot days.

2020 Honda City 1.5L V - Quality & Feature Breakdown
Exterior Paint Finish 3 / 4
Panel Gaps 3 / 4
Assembly Quality 2 / 2
Interior Build Quality 3 / 5
Materials Used 3 / 5
Features Safety 6 / 10
ADAS 1 / 5
Luxury 2 / 5
Convenience 3 / 5
Infotainment 3 / 5
Total   29 / 50 pts

2020 Honda City 1.5L V: Space and Practicality - 31/50 pts, Good legroom and practical folding seats

Following other Honda cars, passenger room is not a big issue for the Honda City. It has managed to maximise space on the inside without destroying the proportions on the outside.

Boot space of the Honda City is 506 litres, just a few litres shy of the Proton Persona's 510 litres. Adding to the convenience of the Honda City are the seat release levers in the trunk for loading long items.

Legroom and headroom in the back seat

Although the Honda City is capable of seating 5 people, fitting 3 adults in the back is a squeeze and not recommended for long journeys.

2020 Honda City 1.5L V - Interior Space Breakdown
Front Row 7 / 10
Middle/Back Row 6 / 10
Third Row 0 / 5
Boot Space 3.5 / 5
Practicality 4 / 5
Storage Space 3.5 / 5
Visibility 4 / 5
Storage Flexibility 3 / 5
Total 33 / 50 pts

2020 Honda City 1.5L V: Fuel Consumption – 15.5/20 pts, Very fuel efficient

Two fuel consumption test were conducted with first returning 7.2 l/100km from a 102.3 km trip and refuelling 7.38 litres.

The second test resulted in 5.3 l/100km from a 97.1 km trip and refuelling 5.19 litres.

Without disregarding both results, an average fuel consumption of 6.3 l/100km is calculated.

More details on the Honda City's fuel consumption test can be viewed here.

Both the Honda City and Nissan Almera are very fuel efficient, making them excellent choices for daily drivers.

2020 Honda City 1.5L V - Fuel Consumption Test Breakdown
Fuel Consumption 12 / 15
Eco Mode 2 / 2
Indicator Accuracy 1.5 / 3
Total points 15.5 / 20 pts

2020 Honda City 1.5L V: Purchase and Cost – 23/30, sits in the middle of the price range

The Honda City 1.5 L V starts at RM 86,561*, which is cheaper than the Nissan Almera VLT (RM 91,310*) and the Toyota Vios 1.5 G (RM 87,584*)

Of course, all three cars cannot beat the RM 54,600* starting price of the Proton Persona 1.6 L Premium CVT.

*OTR without SST

Warranty Period
Honda City 1.5 L V 5 years / 100,000 km
Nissan Almera 1.0T VLT 5 years / unlimited mileage
Proton Persona 1.6 Premium 5 years / 100,000 km
Toyota Vios 1.5 G 5 years / unlimited mileage

The given warranty for the Honda City is of 5 years/100,000km mileage. Total maintenance cost over 5 years for the Honda City is slightly more expensive than its competition.

2020 Honda City 1.5L V - Service Costs
Month Mileage (km) Cost (RM)
1 1,000 -
6 10,000 243.74
12 20,000 301.69
18 30,000 319.53
24 40,000 446.83
30 50,000 243.74
36 60,000 391.29
42 70,000 243.74
48 80,000 446.83
54 90,000 319.53
60 100,000 712.79
Total 3,669.71

2020 Honda City 1.5L V - Purchase & Cost
Purchase Car Price 12 / 15
Warranty 4 / 5
Cost Maintenance 3 / 5
Fuel Cost 4 / 5
Total   23 / 30 pts

2020 Honda City 1.5L V: Conclusion - 165/250 pts overall

Overall, the Honda City 1.5 L V is practical and fuel efficient. As a year-2020 car, super convenient features like Android Auto/Apple CarPlay, LaneWatch, and remote start are available.

Although the Honda City does not offer ULTRA seats like the Honda Jazz, the seat release lever in the trunk and the comfrotable seats are plus points worthy of mention.

Negative points of the Honda City 1.5 L V are few. It is a bit uninspiring to drive, the suspension is a bit too soft, and there's obviously no AEB. The Nissan Almera is able to offer AEB on all of its variants.

Still, it is hard to go wrong with the Honda City as a daily driver. It strikes a good balance of our rating pillars. Try one for yourself and see if you like it.

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