Honestly, as a previous owner of the Honda City, in red nonetheless, this review was a bit nostalgic to write. Coming from the 2009 “transformer” model of the Honda City GM, going to the Honda City GM6, and finally arriving at the all-new GN City, Honda’s got some sort of magic potion that it feeds into the Honda City nameplate. Let’s just forget about the ugly GD City from way back.
The subcompact nameplate got really good in 2009 then got better in 2014. Come its 2021 model year, the Honda City now has an RS variant and all the bells and whistles that a modern car should have. In all honestly, it’s already a stunner of a car, and we’re not saying that because one of us in the team used to own one, but because it seems to be one of the most standout models at least in terms of looks. The question is, does style meet substance? Let’s find out.
Engine Output (HP), Acceleration, Transmission, Handling 4.0/5
Exterior & Interior Design, Quality, Fit and Finish, Ergonomics 4.5/5
Cabin Comfort, Suspension, NVH Insulation 4.0/5
Convenience Technologies, Active and Passive Safety Features 4.0/5
Amount of the vehicle you get for the price, Fuel Efficiency 4.0/5
- 8-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
- Extremely good looking front and rear end
- Peppy and refined 1.5-liter DOHC engine
- Quality interior
- Rear headroom is not that great
- Backup camera is a bit blurry
- Wind noise penetrates the cabin
This generation of the Honda City is exactly what the doctor ordered in terms of styling. A lot of enthusiasts already said that the prior generation looked more Civic-like thanks to the angular headlights, but this new City is even more Civic and even Accord-like than ever. The front bar grille really stands out with its gloss black finish, then the multi-reflector LED headlamps are nothing short of stunning in the daytime and especially in the night time. It’s a great car to just look at.
The lines aren’t as aggressive as the Civic. It does exude some sporty character, but the lines aren’t as aggressive and angled down. Instead, you get a more sedate side profile that is stylish enough that it’s not boring, but subdued enough that you don’t feel like you stick out like a sore thumb. This profile and the general look of the car will lend themselves well to non-RS variants of the City.
The rear is perhaps and arguably one of the best-looking rears in the subcompact class of cars. The LED taillamps are very defined which is a radical departure from the previous generations which had massive surface areas for reflectors, and then only one bulb to serve as the brake and position lights, then you get a bit of attitude with that rear spoiler clad in gloss black.
It’s all sunshine and rainbows outside, then all of a sudden you get a pot of gold on the inside. It’s a pretty snazzy interior with a black and red theme that is in keeping with Honda’s color scheme for the RS models. The fit and finish of the interior are pretty great considering other rivals in the class, and it also looks really well put together. The steering wheel is a particular joy to use thanks to its nice shape and contours. On top of that, the gauge cluster is also a looker in its own right and also features a good amount of touches and splashes of color to really give it some style. The dashboard also feels a good level of premium and it also features soft-touch plastics as well, and a great touch of sportiness has to be with the pedals. Clad in rubber and light-colored metal, it gives a nice pop of brightness where you least expect it.
Then we move on to the seats which are clad in leather, cloth, and suede. Quite frankly, leather and suede would have been a more optimal combination, but the cloth keeps certain areas of your body cooler so it’s fine. The quality of stitching is also quite nice and really stands out in contrast to the multi-textured seats. The rear has enough space for 3 adults no problem. Legroom and headroom are good enough for individuals up to 6 feet in height, and width isn’t that big of an issue as well, plus you also get a center armrest as well as rear air conditioning vents and two power outlets that really make you feel like you are in a bigger car, though the headroom is a little on the shorter side.
The trunk is pretty wide as well, just like the Cities of old, you can expect a lot of practicality with this sedan, however, we would have wanted the ability to push the rear seats down for more storage space if need be, but you still have 519 liters of space which is plenty enough.
When talking about driving comfort in the City, the seats are supportive enough and the suspension is well damped enough to remain comfortable over bumps and potholes in the metro. However, once you are out on the highway, things start to get a little noisier because of some of the wind noise that creeps up on you once you hit the speed limit. Apart from that, however, the tire noise very tolerable, while the engine purrs like a kitten, very quiet but you know that it is there.
Passenger comfort is another strength of the City. Even with a semi-independent suspension setup, MacPherson Strut in the front, and a torsion beam in the rear, you get loads of rear comfort. It’s not as plush or as composed as the Honda Civic, but it does well to soak up moderately torn up roads, and it gets slightly better with more people weighting the rear.
The crown jewel of the technology package of Honda really is their new 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system. We first got a whiff of this on the Honda Accord, and now it’s found its way into the dashboard of the new City. You get premium features in this car, which include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The audio experience is pretty good. Hondas have had a reputation for being decent performers in the audio department, but your mileage may vary. Typically, we found that bass-heavy songs wouldn’t sound as full, but that’s all fine for the average consumer. For other driver toys to play with, there’s basic cruise control, but nothing special like the Honda Sensing package cruise control package, but that’s for a more expensive car. You can’t blame us for looking for it thanks to how good this car looks.
Apart from that, you’re going to end up with automatic climate control, which is absolutely stunning thanks to its special panel, then after that, you also get a nice instrument cluster down the middle with your digital trip computer on a screen at the center. It’s not the most advanced or the most tech-laden, however, it’s a nice change of pace from the triple-cylinder gauge cluster found in the previous generation City and Jazz, and it also looks polished and not as rudimentary as the base models of the prior generation.
After that, you get keyless entry, a push-start button and on top of that, you also get speed-sensing door locks which can be configured in the infotainment system like most Hondas in the upper price range.
For safety, the City comes well equipped with everything you need and not much more. You do get a full suite of airbags, two in the front, a pair for the side, and another pair of curtain airbags for maximum protection. You also get vehicle stability assist with agile handling assist, which should help you corner better and quash out some of the more minor mistakes committed while driving. You also get hill start assist and the standard ABS with electronic brakeforce distribution. It is also complete with speed-sensing door locks, seat belt reminders, a child safety lock, and ISOFIX child seat anchors.
Really, it’s everything you need to stay safe. It’s the standard safety kit that should be the standard for cars of this type and of this price, which we will touch upon later.
Driving the Honda City is a joy in the city. The dimensions of this subcompact sedan are really tailored to the metro. On top of that, visibility is also top-notch so you will find it easier to see other cars or even potholes if need be. The premium-feeling interior really helps you feel like you’re piloting a more expensive car, plus it handles well over bumps and potholes as well as the tight city streets. It has a good turning radius, and you may find that the 134mm of ground clearance enough for most reasonable speed bumps.
Then when you get up to speed, the wind noise gets a little more pronounced, but you will notice that the City does have a bit of power to spare even if it is just a 1.5-liter gasoline engine. The performance over the previous generation is slightly improved, and we fully mean that because we’re only seeing 1 hp up from before, resulting in 119 hp and 145 Nm of torque. Where the real difference lies in the torque band of the City, which hits a little earlier giving us ample pulling power faster than before. That minor adjustment makes a lot of difference in terms of responsiveness and it shows in the driving. Acceleration wasn’t exciting thanks to the transmission. It tends to like rubber banding more than anything else, but at least you have the paddles if you want to control your engine speed.
Then on handling at speed, you can expect the unibody chassis of the City to handle sharply and precisely. It’s not going to be a sports car in terms of sharpness, but the steering is communicative enough, and you don’t get unreasonable amounts of body roll. It’s no performance car, but it handles as expected if not better than the subcompact sedan segment needs to, it just feels a bit weighty, which is a good thing if you are talking about stability.
After everything is said and done, the fuel economy figures that we managed to get 8.5 km/L in the traffic of Metro Manila, which is pretty good, and then we managed to push it to 14 km/L on the highway cruising along at about 90 to 100 km/h.
All things considered, we would have liked it to perform a bit better in terms of the highway fuel economy, but that’s alright considering that it’s a bit more fun to drive than most sedans anyway.
At P1,048,000, the Honda City is an exceptionally good value for a subcompact sedan. It almost makes up for the fact that this nameplate isn’t made in the Philippines anymore. That’s sad, but if that means that we get a better car to drive, then that’s great. We just wish that over time, Honda can bring back the local manufacture of the City as soon as possible because having this car locally produced, in our opinion, is a very enticing value proposition.
The City stands as one of the best options in the subcompact segment of the Philippine market, and Honda’s offering seems to be one of the freshest-feeling and looking models on offer. Of course, the RS model is the most expensive, but it is also the best looking. Though, if you want a car that looks more mature, the mid-level V variant of the City does well to class it up with a light-colored interior and a not so sporty exterior and interior, though the NVH isn’t as good as wanted it to be it’s a City, so it does its best driving in the city.
Exterior Photo Gallery
Interior Photo Gallery
Performance119 hp @ 6,600 rpm
Name Honda City 1.5 RS CVT Body Type Sedan Price ₱1,093,000 Transmission Category CVT
Engine Size 1.5 L Displacement 1,498 cc Number of Cylinders 4 Number of Valves 16 Transmission Type Continuously Variable Transmission
Drivetrain Front-Wheel Drive Max Output (HP) 119 hp @ 6,600 rpm Max Torque (nm) 145 Nm @ 4,300 rpm *Acceleration Rate (0-100 km/h) n/a Top Speed n/a *estimated
Economy & Environment
Fuel Type Gasoline CO2 Emission n/a Fuel Capacity 40 L *Fuel Consumption 9.1 L/100 km *Range n/a *estimated
Length 4,553 mm Width 1,748 mm Height 1,467 mm Wheelbase 2,600 mm Turning Circle 10.0 m Ground Clearance 134 mm Wading Depth n/a Trunk Capacity 519 L Max Cargo n/a Number of Doors 4 Number of Seats 5
Safety & Security
Driver's Airbag Front Passenger's Airbag Side Airbags Curtain Airbags Knee Airbag Auto Brake System Electronic Brake Distribution Anti-lock Brake System (ABS)
Anti-lock brake system with electronic brake force distribution.
Immobilizer Security Alarm Stability Control Electronic Door Locks Speed Sensing Door Locks ISOFIX Lane Departure Warning System Blind-Spot Detection System
Cruise Control Front Parking Sensors Rear Parking Sensors Leather Upholstery Push Start Button Wheel Size 16 in Wheels Metal Type Aluminum Alloy Airconditioning System Automatic Air-Conditioning Entertainment System 8-inch infotainment system Connectivity Bluetooth, USB, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay Navigation Ready Warranty 3 Years (100,000 km) Keyless Entry Roof Rack Sunroof Electric Adjustable Seats Power Steering Power Windows Power Outlet Steering Wheel Audio Control
Active Park Assist Hill Start Assist AWD Modes n/a Tire Pressure Monitoring Heads-up Display Power Liftgate Start-stop System
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