Honda City S CVT Car Review
Contents

When you think of an entry-level variant, you would typically assume it's the model that has the most affordable price tag but comes with the least amount of features to help keep it within its affordable price range. This isn’t the case for the Honda City in its S CVT variant as it brings a lot to the table despite being the entry-level automatic variant of the sedan. It checks all the right boxes for what many Filipinos will look for in a sedan but with more features that are typically found in more expensive and higher tier vehicles all at an affordable price point. With that said, find out what Honda City S CVT has to offer with our review of the vehicle.

3.9 / 5
2021 Honda City S CVT Review
Performance
Engine Output (HP), Acceleration, Transmission, Handling
4.0/5
Design
Exterior & Interior Design, Quality, Fit and Finish, Ergonomics
4.0/5
Ride Comfort
Cabin Comfort, Suspension, NVH Insulation
4.0/5
Safety and Technology
Convenience Technologies, Active and Passive Safety Features
3.5/5
Value for Money
Amount of the vehicle you get for the price, Fuel Efficiency
4.0/5
What You Will Like
  • Powerful yet frugal gasoline engine
  • Great handling
  • Has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
What You Won't Like
  • No Reverse camera or sensors
  • We wish it had LED headlights
  • No rear air vents
How We Do Our Reviews

On the outside, the Honda City S retains much of the same look as the range-topping RS variant. There are a few key differences though, and these come in the form of the wheels, the grille design, the fog light housings, headlights, and the lack of the RS badging around the vehicle. It is important to note that the S variant does not come with the LED headlights found in the RS model but instead comes with halogen projectors which do their job well. In its S variant form, the City goes for a more subtle look than one that helps it stand out in a sea of traffic.

Moving on to the side of the vehicle and there isn’t much to talk about aside from a prominent beltline that stretches from the front of the sedan and goes all the way to the rear. It also comes with a small accent line on the lower portion of the vehicle just to help give it a more angular look. As for the wheels of the sedan, Honda has given it a multi-spoke design with pairs well with the more subdued look it is going for. 

At the rear, Honda has done well to design the City to come with a sportier back. It comes with LED taillights that give it a similar look to a high-end German sports car while still retaining its Japanese looks. There are a few creases found on the lower part of the bumper which helps give the vehicle a little bit of a more imposing rear. Overall it's a great-looking package for those who want something a little more subtle compared to the sportier RS variant.

Stepping inside the Honda City S, you are greeted by a clean and simple dashboard layout. Save for the one silver accent that is found on the middle section of the dashboard, the Japanese sedan gives you a more minimalist look with black plastic being the predominant material of choice. The all-black look also continues with the rest of the vehicle as even the door cards are all black with no contrasting elements.

One thing to note though is unlike the Honda City V variant, the S model does not come with rear vents for the passengers at the back. While the air conditioning of the sedan is strong enough to keep the entire cabin cold it does take a little more time to do so since only the front air vents are doing all of the cooling.

Storage space is also still decent inside the S variant even without the extra space that the center console in the V and RS offers the user. You still get two cup holders at the front of the vehicle along with bottle holders on all the door sidings. 

Honda City comfort

Like the rest of the Honda City lineup, the S variant shares in the same semi-independent suspension setup. It comes with MacPherson Strut in the front and a torsion beam in the rear. This gives the sedan a comfortable ride even while going through the occasional bump or pothole. Even with the fabric seats, the ride is still smooth and the bolstering is still on point, its stiff enough to hold you in place, but comfortable enough as to not fatigue you on long journeys. 

NVH is also fairly good with a bit of road and wind noise only entering the cabin at speeds upwards of 80km/h. The engine noise is also kept to a minimum thanks to the CVT finding the right ratio for cruising speeds. Overall a well manner vehicle on the road that you probably won’t find fatiguing to drive whether it be in traffic or on the highway.

Honda City S CVT infotainment

At the heart of the dashboard of the Honda City S lies its standard 8-inch infotainment system that comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The operation of the information system is smooth and easy to do and the additions of physical buttons make it easier to get to where you need to go in the user interface. While there are volume buttons, we do wish that Honda included a knob instead to get to your desired volume level much quicker. 

Just like the V variant, this S model also comes with a 4-speaker sound system. The sound is decent but it does lack in the middle and more bassy tones. All in all, it's a good basic sound system that gets the job done well. It also comes with two USB ports at the front and a 12volt socket as well.

One thing to note is that this variant does not come with a reverse camera and also does not feature reverse sensors as well. This makes reversing the car a bit of a difficult task but is otherwise doable regardless of whether these features are present or not.

Honda City S safety

Similar to its higher-tier V variant, the Honda City S also comes with the same safety features. These include dual front and side airbags, ABS, EBD, stability control, hill-start assist, child safety lock, speed-sensing door locks, ISOFIX child seat anchors, a vehicle stability assist system, emergency stop signal, and immobilizer. A great number of features to have especially for an entry-level variant. 

Honda City S driving and handling

The entry-level Honda City handles much like the rest of the other models. It's still a breeze to drive thanks to its light steering and good visibility all around. Even the new 1.5-liter DOHC naturally aspirated motor works well with the vehicle giving you the right amount of power when you need it. 

The one thing that is evident with this variant of the City is that it is tuned for fuel economy rather than for a sportier driving dynamic. There are also no paddle shifters on the vehicle but the transmission does its job to give you the power when you want it.  The CVT will do its best to lower the engine revolutions to keep you within a fuel-efficient range. When push comes to shove and you want to maximize the full 119 hp and 145 Nm of power that the 1.5-liter offers you, the CVT will give it to you and it will even “pretend” to shift gears as well. It's a neat trick that helps give you a sportier experience without really affecting the sedan’s performance. 

Honda City fuel economy

For our testing of the Honda City S, we were able to get similar figures to V and S counterparts. In the city (no pun intended) we were able to get around 8km/L. While the V variant was able to get around 7.6km/L the differences can be attributed to the route taken as well as to traffic conditions at the time of testing. On the highway, the sedan was able to produce 22.5 km/L but at an average speed of 90 km/h. All in all, these are very good fuel-efficient figures especially coming from a naturally aspirated vehicle. 

Honda City S Verdict

The Honda City S CVT presents itself as an ideal starter vehicle for those who want something with a sportier drive but is working on a smaller budget. While it does miss out on a few features that are found in the RS and V variants such as the rear air vents, the sedan already ticks all the right boxes. It comes with a frugal yet powerful 1.5-liter and already has an 8-inch infotainment system as standard that comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. As for its lack of a reverse camera and reverse sensors, the price point of the S variant which is at P888,000 gives you some wiggle room to have these features added on at the dealership as accessories when you buy the vehicle. 

The Honda City S CVT does face some stiff competition from the likes of the 1.3-liter Toyota Vios variants, the Volkswagen Santana, and the MG 5. While some of its competitors do come with more features available, the City has them beat when it comes to the infotainment system and with the power that it offers.

If you are looking for an affordable sedan that checks all the right boxes for your use case then the Honda City S CVT could be for you. It comes at an affordable price point of under P900,000, it has an 8-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, it gives you a fun driving experience, and comes with a powerful yet fuel economic 1.5-liter gasoline engine. It's an ideal driver for those looking for an affordable feature-packed car that is also fun to drive. 


Specifications

Engine

1.5 L

Fuel Type

Gasoline

Performance

119 hp @ 6,600 rpm

Transmission

CVT

Summary

Name Honda City 1.5 S CVT
Body Type Sedan
Price ₱899,000
Transmission Type CVT

Engine

Performance

Economy & Environment

Dimensions

Safety & Security

Features

Technology


Colors

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