The Honda City is one of the most important models for the Japanese carmaker, and we’re finally being introduced to the fifth generation of the B-segment sedan (disregarding the first two generations that were hatchbacks), which makes its global debut in Thailand.

Styling-wise, the latest City wears a softer and more rounded look compared to the outgoing fourth-generation model. The front end continues to feature Honda’s Solid Wing face, with influence from the larger Civic, most notably by the “jewel eye” headlamps and large chrome bar linking them.

Viewed from the side, the sedan doesn’t deviate too far from its predecessor, although the distinct character line now originates from the top of the headlamps, and progresses above the door handles rather than below them. You’ll also spot the repositioning of the side mirrors to the doors from the A-pillars for better visibility.

Further down in the lower apron, we find large corner “inlets” on the corners of the bumper, while the lower intake is largely blacked out, with only a body-coloured strip at the base to highlight it.

At the rear, the reshaped two-piece taillights are reminiscent of those on the Insight, and boast a U-shaped light signature. As seen on the outgoing model, the clusters meet up with the prominent crease seen on the vehicle’s sides. The bumper here also mimics the one at the front, with decorative “outlets” on the corners, just behind the rear wheels.

According to Honda, the City is 113 mm longer (4,553 mm), 53 mm wider (1,748 mm) than its predecessor, but with a 10 mm decrease in height (1,467 mm) and a wheelbase that is 11 mm shorter (2,589 mm). The carmaker also states the car adopts polyurethane spray foam insulation and a thicker engine under cover insulator for better NVH.

The significant makeover extends to the interior, as the City’s dashboard layout is entirely new, and appears to be influenced slightly by the latest Jazz. Less cluttered in appearance, there are now vertical-style air vents, with the ones in the middle framing the touchscreen infotainment screen.

Below that, we find the climate control switchgear that appears to be lifted directly from the Jazz, with tactile dials and buttons rather than touch-sensitive controls. For the driver, the steering wheel carries a new design with a smaller centre boss and more conventional-looking on-wheel controls rather than the roundels on the outgoing model.

The positioning of the cupholders, gear lever and handbrake on the centre console appear unchanged from before, although there are now controls for the car’s Eco mode and other functions on either side of the gear lever, just like on recent Honda models.

The company also points out there is more leg room and knee clearance, as the front seat backs have been reprofiled, are 60 mm narrower, and have 15 mm lower headrests. The front seat rails are also spaced 25 mm further apart than before to provide more space for rear passengers’ feet.

However, the most significant change that comes with the new City is the adoption of a turbocharged petrol engine, which has a displacement of 1.0 litre (998 cc), with a 73 mm bore and 78.7 mm stroke, as well as a 10:1 compression ratio.

In terms of output, the direct-injected, three-cylinder DOHC mill puts out 122 PS at 5,500 rpm and 173 Nm of torque from 2,000 to 4,500 rpm. Other specifications include a BorgWarner single-scroll turbocharger, dual Variable Valve Timing Control (VTC) and Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (VTEC). The Thailand-spec engine is also E20 gasohol compliant.

For the Thailand market, the turbocharged engine is the only option made available to customers, with the previous 1.5 litre naturally-aspirated unit being omitted. Additionally, the downsized mill is mated exclusively to a continuously variable transmission (CVT) with seven virtual speeds – there’s no option for a manual gearbox.

The new powertrain setup is necessary to ensure the City meets Thailand’s Phase 2 Eco Car framework, which is stricter in terms of fuel economy and emissions. Among the conditions are Euro 5 compliance, CO2 emissions below 100 g/km, and a fuel consumption not exceeding 4.3 litres per 100 km (23.25 km/l). The City has a rated fuel consumption of 23.8 km/l, so it meets said requirements.

Other aspects of the Phase 2 Eco Car regulation include the fitment of various safety systems such as ABS, EBD, BA and VSA as standard across the range, which are present in all four available variants – S, V, SV and RS – of the City sold in Thailand.

No changes in terms of the City’s chassis setup, with MacPherson struts at the front axle and a torsion beam at the rear. The same applies to the brake system, with ventilated discs up front, while drums are used for the rear.

As for the list of available equipment, there’s projector headlamps, 15-inch alloy wheels, automatic climate control, keyless entry and start, cruise control, manually adjustable front seats (six-way driver, four-way passenger), fabric (S and V) or leather upholstery (SV), Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support and a Honda Connect telematics system (remote start, vehicle locator and remote lock operation).

The RS variant gets a few extra items, including a gloss black front grille with an RS logo emblem, a more aggressive bumper and honeycomb grille, LED fog lamps and headlamps, black-painted side mirrors and trunk spoiler, new-design 16-inch wheels, suede leather seats with red stitching, a red-themed instrument panel, and an exclusive Ignite Red exterior colour.

Safety kit includes six airbags (front, side and curtain), the aforementioned systems to meet Phase 2 Eco Car requirements, hill start assist, a rearview camera and Isofix child seat anchors on the outer rear seats.

In Thailand, the new City range starts from 579,500 baht (RM80,035) for the base S grade, and goes up to 609,000 baht (RM84,107) for the V. Meanwhile, the SV goes for 665,000 baht (RM91,848), while the range-topping RS is priced at 739,000 baht (RM102,061).