If you haven't already heard, the refreshed Honda City landed in the Philippines late last month, and just in time for the traffic brought about by the government's push for better infrastructure and the unrelenting rainy season. With that in mind, it's important to choose a—pardon the pun—city car you won't mind spending hours on end stuck in traffic with. Does the City fit the description?
While there are no performance upgrades—it still runs on the same 1.5-liter i-VTEC engine capable of 117hp and 145Nm, on which we averaged more or less 12km/L in mixed city and highway driving—the Japanese carmaker has equipped it with a few new niceties both inside and out to make it worth considering as a daily driver. After a week with the new subcompact sedan, here's what we found:
1. It looks more "Civic-y." If we're talking looks, we'd argue that the City's bigger brother is the "it" car at the moment. Honda's given the refreshed City a new-look front fascia that gives the sedan a lower, wider stance and a sportier vibe. Plus, it now comes with LED daytime running lights, while its top-of-the-line variant gets LED headlights and foglights.
2. Those are some slick-looking wheels. Our test unit's 16-inch diamond cut wheels feature a fine finish and intricate design which suits its sporty new looks well. The snazziest set in its segment? It might just be.
3. We really dig the new trim. The City's interior gets new "gunmetal" panels and a new metallic trim around its A/C vents and gearshift. And while normally I dislike Honda's penchant for shiny black plastics and disregard for tactile feel, it really suits this interior's dark vibe.
4. A pulsating push-to-start button looks cooler than it sounds. We'll be honest: When Honda highlighted new pulsating push-to-start buttons in the refresh, we really didn't think much of it. Fast forward to me sitting in the cabin a few weeks later, not starting the vehicle, stuck in a trance and mesmerized at the thing. It looks cool, and it's a nice touch if you ask us.
5. Hooray for cruise control. It might be called the City, but it's more than capable of hitting the open road from time to time thanks to a capable engine and NVH levels—more so now with the inclusion of cruise control, which we used heading out to Clark over the weekend. Note: It's only available in the City's VX and VX+ variants.
6. Those prices. This is our favorite bit: Honda Cars Philippines has retained the prices from the pre-refresh model, which means the high-end VX+ variant we're testing goes for the same P1.003 million as before. Considering the improvements, this is very good to hear. On the downside, the "three" at the end will still continue to give obsessive compulsive readers fits.