DRIVEN: 2017 Honda City facelift – 1.5L V sampled

DRIVEN: 2017 Honda City facelift – 1.5L V sampled

The Honda City has undoubtedly been a hit with Malaysians, and the response to the recently-launched mid-lifecycle facelift says so, the car managing to rack up 2,000 bookings in the first 10 days following its launch in March. Beyond the requisite cosmetic updates, the City is mechanically similar to its pre-facelift form. Is it, then, a case of leaving well enough alone? It would appear to be largely so.

Save for select detail updates, under the hood, the 120 PS and 145 Nm 1.5 litre i-VTEC naturally-aspirated inline-four cylinder petrol engine, which is paired with a continuously variable transmission with a torque converter, continue on unchanged.

Being a mid-lifecycle update, the facelifted Honda City retains the same overall structure, which means the cavernous (for a B-segment sedan) cabin and the 536-litre luggage compartment is untouched. Conveniently for reference, its Japanese competitors the Nissan Almera, Toyota Vios and Mazda 2 Sedan were present at the media drive, and the City’s best-in-class luggage capacity dealt with luggage duties effortlessly.

DRIVEN: 2017 Honda City facelift – 1.5L V sampled

Ditto the front half of the cabin, where the dashboard architecture remains the same as before, and as is the case elsewhere on the car, detail updates aim to spruce up the proceedings. Paddle shifters for ‘manual’ override of the continuously variable transmission appears behind the steering wheel here, while the infotainment touchscreen unit receives a new trim surround, which matches that of the air-con vent.

At the back, the usual Honda City hallmarks of spaciousness and ease of use remain, along with its marvellous amount of rear legroom. There is space to stretch not just fore and aft, shoulder room remains as accommodating as when the car first appeared. All these come together with further detail improvements which, as we will explore later, make for a more amenable environment. Front and rear, so far so familiar.

It has been some time since the Honda City was driven at length by yours truly, however it was all very familiar as soon as the engine was started and the wheels were turned. No changes to report where the steering and suspension are concerned, and unsurprisingly the City drives exactly as it did like before.

The 1.5 litre i-VTEC mill is adequate in its assumed duty, and just as its name implies, the compact four-door’s skill set is skewed further towards handling urban environments rather than prolonged high-speed jaunts out on the open highways.

On the latter note, the City has actually been improved in a number of areas, chiefly with regards to its soundproofing. No empirical data was retrieved, however the purely subjective observation is that occupants will emerge from the facelifted model feeling less fatigued from a long journey than they might have in the previous car.

For the one behind the wheel, the experience remains largely the same as with the pre-facelift, with the same clear and simple instrumentation in view. Ditto the switchgear, which is easy to locate and use. Once on the move, steering the City is effortless, if rather numb.

Meanwhile, the power and drivetrain combination continues to be obliging rather than outright enthusiastic, though the torque converter-equipped CVT has been improved further with better lock-up for better engine drag, and the paddle shifter-equipped ‘manual’ over-ride now gives a more pronounced impression of stepped ratios.

Again, the clue’s in the name, where Honda’s updated B-segment sedan is rather more adept at navigating the urban hustle and bustle in a civil manner, rather than tackling the twisties with significant effervescence.

A trait of most, if not all cars in this segment is their susceptibility to crosswinds due to the generous overall height relative to its width, with the swaying effects just about discernible to its driver on longer stretches of highway. On the day, it was more noticeable, particularly through more wide-open spaces.

On this occasion, we were also given the opportunity to put the City through more vigorous paces. Its Japanese B-segment competitors were also present on a closed-off, touge-style twisty road course, where the City acquitted itself fairly well.

Here, the tighter torque converter lock-up plays to its advantage, allowing for more confident corner entries rather than the ‘runaway trolley’ sensation of cars with more freewheeling transmissions off-throttle.

Also present for this exercise were the Toyota Vios and the Nissan Almera. Given the whip on this stretch, the Almera turned out to be surprisingly entertaining in a slightly wayward manner, with its most pronounced body roll almost, but not quite nudging it into roll oversteer. The Vios fared slightly better than the Almera with better body control, and the Toyota also had the sportier, angrier engine note of the three here. The Mazda 2 Sedan was not present for this exercise.

DRIVEN: 2017 Honda City facelift – 1.5L V sampled

In the end, the handling exercise, while offering a good take, seems almost peripheral to the concerns of the typical prospective buyer of Japanese cars, considering that many in that group will be upgrading from smaller vehicles.

Of greater concern will be practicality and accommodation, which the City has in very large spades, as well as the breadth of a strong service network, which Honda Malaysia of course has. These have been among the Honda City’s great strengths, and to that the update has brought further refinements and improvements to the way it drives, which is a nice bonus.

This facelift is a classic example of yielding a favourable result from a sparing approach to changes, and at RM92,000 for the top V variant, there little to count against the Honda City with.

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Mick Chan

Open roads and closed circuits hold great allure for Mick Chan. Driving heaven to him is exercising a playful chassis on twisty paths; prizes ergonomics and involvement over gadgetry. Spent three years at a motoring newspaper and short stint with a magazine prior to joining this website.

 

Comments

  • Prabanathan Muthusamy on May 29, 2017 at 1:58 pm

    why settle for City? when you can Toyota CH-R^^

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 100
  • Stranger on May 29, 2017 at 1:59 pm

    HM: How can we make Msian happy with this cr*ppy model?
    Also HM: Give paddle shift. They’ll like it even they didnt know how to use.
    HM: Done.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 48 Thumb down 14
    • In fact, it is very useful, especially during down hill.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 3
      • Bobby on May 29, 2017 at 2:53 pm

        Paddle shift is good emergency safety spec. Arigato Honda Japan !

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 32 Thumb down 10
        • Paddle shift is a good emergency safety spec????ok…

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 7
          • Bobby on May 29, 2017 at 5:24 pm

            Yes, emergency downshifting via the paddle kept my Civic from rear ending someone Myvi who locked up their brakes in front of me.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 33 Thumb down 8
        • Abah kau on May 29, 2017 at 5:07 pm

          emergency safety spec abah kau.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 20
        • Bunbun Maru on May 29, 2017 at 9:59 pm

          Wut m8?

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
        • Emergency safety spec?? You must be thinking your paddle shift is a F1 paddle shift..Oh, did you know this City is not even a normal torque converter and only a CVT??

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4
  • Ex-VGM staff on May 29, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    So you all agree bigger speedometer is easier to read at a glance, right? Pls tell proton to change all the Lotus Elise-inspired one. One reason why the british didn’t buy the savvy and gen2 sold in UK. The other thing or course, is lack of low end power.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 5
  • dkm2350 on May 29, 2017 at 2:15 pm

    Why was the Mazda 2 not present for the actual driving part of the event?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 40 Thumb down 3
    • Outclass all 3 lmao. No other reason.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 1
    • Enzo611 on May 29, 2017 at 8:59 pm

      Hahaha.. Most probably blast all the others after the corner exit

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0
    • Bunbun Maru on May 29, 2017 at 9:57 pm

      They’re no match for Mazda 2

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1
      • Siegfried on May 30, 2017 at 9:45 am

        Soo…..u rather resort to engine braking when 4 disc brakes could have done the job for you? pathetic defence. one of the things Honda is hiding from you. Only 2 disc brakes

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0
    • Lance on May 30, 2017 at 9:47 am

      Obviously the only area that beats Mazda 2 is luggage space…lol.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0
  • Cam2pro on May 29, 2017 at 2:16 pm

    Proton Preve more powerful, spacious & safety features.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 33 Thumb down 37
    • Powerful, yes.
      Safety is same same except Preve has HPF body.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 3
    • Somebody on May 29, 2017 at 6:00 pm

      The Preve is not in the same segment as the Honda City.If you want to compare, go compare with the Civic.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 2
  • Anything But Toyota, Greedy Honda, Nissan Tidur on May 29, 2017 at 2:18 pm

    Wah, my uber and grab driver’s car is getting safer and more luxurious xD

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 2
  • Jonn Dol on May 29, 2017 at 2:54 pm

    Would be interesting to see the test drive/review of the facelifted Honda City against the Mazda 2 & the (facelifted) VW Vento..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 0
  • Tidur nicer than P1 brain dead on life sapott!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 18
  • Dare2dream on May 29, 2017 at 4:22 pm

    Better add money and buy a HRV. no regrets!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 14
  • Semi-Value (Member) on May 29, 2017 at 4:27 pm

    hahaa dodgy people…i liked how they remove the mazda from the handling test…for reasons everyone knows heheheh

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 51 Thumb down 1
  • Erm…honda choose to add in paddle shifter rather than rear disc brake. Hope they will add it back as on previous models, though some may say for small B segment car drum brake also no problem, it save more $ on service and maintainence, but if someone know how the drum and disc brake work, u will know there is still a downgrade compared to previous model. Saving money or safety, i personally opt for safety.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 2
    • It might be gud but for a B segment 1.5L car, u wondered if its necessary. Just take a look at vios rear disk. Its pitifully small compared to my Gen2.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2
      • alldisc on May 30, 2017 at 8:18 am

        FYI, gen2 rear disc brakes are slightly bigger than the front one. Try measure.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1
      • I expected ppl will doubt that is the rear disc necessary for B segment car, yes it might not be necessary, but compare a small disc to a drum, which will have a better braking force especially when rainy day. My point is that, previous City used rear disc but now get downgraded to drum even on full spec

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
      • Pls lah on May 30, 2017 at 7:21 pm

        Gen 2? Wakakakakak pls lah….

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
    • Bunbun Maru on May 29, 2017 at 9:53 pm

      Because car companies love to add useless stuff

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  • Mick-san,
    Did u try to mirrorlink smartphone to the HU?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
  • Stranger2 on May 30, 2017 at 1:22 am

    Bias review, why left out Mazda 2 in performance and handling section?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0
    • Lance on May 30, 2017 at 9:43 am

      “The Vios fared slightly better than the Almera with better body control, and the Toyota also had the sportier, angrier engine note of the three here. The Mazda 2 Sedan was not present for this exercise.”

      Obviously we now know which car handles best when they dare not put this car for handling test…lol

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0
  • burning question….how is the ‘fit & finish’ quality? heard alot of complaints in forum :D

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0
  • semua poyo. semua kereta tak bagus. semua perasan bagus. takda kerja lain ka?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
  • PANG KIN SOON on Sep 11, 2017 at 10:41 am

    May I know the price for air compressor for new city hybrid

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  • Still sohc? My saga flx wt dohc

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
 

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