Home / Reviews / First Drive / 2023 Honda City First Drive Review – City. Slicker


The 2023 Honda City has received some sharp new styling bits with both the i-VTEC petrol and the e:HEV hybrid models getting touched up, while the former has also been enhanced with Honda Sensing advanced driver assistance systems. We head to Noida to drive them.

2023 Honda City

Story: Jim Gorde
Photography: Sanjay Raikar

The Honda City is an extremely popular name in India and recently celebrated its 25th anniversary in the country. The City revitalised the sedan segment back in 1998 and the first model is still popular with car enthusiasts to this day; the VTEC model being a major reason for that. It has cultivated an enviable reputation of being the sedan for many. Its tussles then were with the Ford Ikon and Maruti Suzuki Esteem, later the Baleno. Now, it has newer rivals, unlike any before them—the Hyundai Verna, Škoda Slavia and, of course, the Volkswagen Virtus; more formidable in advanced and sporty GT guise. Yes, they have all grown and gained a lot of electronics and assistance systems. Can the new 2023 Honda City take on this evolved sedan arena and hold its ground? We were in Greater Noida to try out the new model close to its production home.

2023 Honda City

2023 Honda City – Design and Style

The City has received a bold new grille that sets it apart from its predecessor which had its front end dominated by the Honda Insight-like thick chrome strip going across. The new grille has two variations, a standard one with a horizontal profile as well as a sporty one with a diamond-chequered pattern, the latter of which we have here on the City ZX CVT. It looks neat and adds a new layer of attractiveness to the overall styling. There are also some edgy new elements on the front and rear bumpers, including a carbon-fibre diffuser-like finish on the rear one. The new Obsidian Blue paint finish looks sharp and brings out the City’s elegant side as much as its sporty one.

2023 Honda City

2023 Honda City – Interior and Equipment

The cabin in the new Honda City feels plush and nicely put-together. It feels a tad more premium now with everything from the door panels, premium upholstery and wood-finish trim accents looking—and feeling—better quality. The PM 2.5 cabin air-filter is a necessary bit of equipment these days, especially where we are. The 7.0-inch TFT driver information display is a neat touch and shows a variety of information. The 8.0-inch touchscreen centre display has been an object of focus and runs a slightly higher resolution to offer better clarity and quicker response. It also integrates wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, as well as features Weblink smartphone connectivity. The wheel is loaded with controls within easy reach: media, voice commands, adaptive cruise, distance level, and lane keep. The seats are supportive enough and should be comfortable on journeys short and long. Besides, there’s also an eight-speaker premium surround sound audio system. There is also the remote engine start feature in the CVT automatic models and a welcome addition: remote access to the windows and sunroof for conveniently opening or closing one or all of them in case one forgets.

2023 Honda City

2023 Honda City – Safety And Autonomy

The big new addition, however, is the inclusion of Honda Sensing, the suite of advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) features which includes adaptive cruise control with preset distance levels and follow, road departure mitigation, lane keep, collision warning as well as a collision mitigation braking system. These systems make use of the by-wire electronic controls as well as a wide-angle camera mounted behind the inside rear-view mirror. The adaptive cruise works well and follows the vehicle in front maintaining a set distance. The collision warning also chimes in when the vehicle in front gets too close for comfort. The new walk-away lock feature is also a useful addition. The car locks automatically when the keyfob moves more than five feet away.

2023 Honda City

2023 Honda City – Ride And Handling

A Honda City petrol is always going to be fun. There is a manual choice as well, but I had the top-spec ZX CVT automatic variant. The City stands out with its driver appeal and for good reason. The weight is low, the engine revs high and rather sonorously, the steering feel is excellent and feels engaging, responsive and offers great feedback. It is certainly fun to drive. The CVT is aimed at convenience, but offers F1-style—and Civic-style—paddle-shifters. The engine produces its peak output of 121 hp at 6,600 rpm. Intelligent VTEC kicks in seamlessly and the surge is subtle. The torque peak is 145 Nm at 4,300 rpm and driveability is good across the band. That said, the engine can get rather noisy at the top and I have to say refinement could be better. Another change is the material compliance with E20 fuel (one-fifth ethanol blended petrol) that is set to arrive shortly.

2023 Honda City

2023 Honda City – Space And Practicality

The City is an extremely spacious car and offers a good amount head and legroom front and rear. The steering wheel is adjustable for tilt and reach and the driver seat is height-adjustable, with front seats being four-way adjustable. There are USB ports front and rear to help with charging. The 500-litre boot makes it easy to pack in a load of luggage for four, even five, passengers for a trip away. For it’s asking price of almost Rs 16 lakh (ex-showroom), the City does have a good bit of kit on offer. However, the range now starts from Rs 11.49 lakh with the newly-introduced “SV” trim available only with a manual transmission.

2023 Honda City

Need To Know – 2023 Honda City i-VTEC ZX CVT

Price: Rs 15.97 lakh (ex-showroom)

Engine: 1,498 cc, in-line four, petrol
Max Power: 121 hp @ 6,600 rpm
Max Torque: 145 Nm @ 4,300 rpm
Transmission: Continuously variable, automatic, front-wheel drive
Suspension: MacPherson strut front, torsion beam rear
Weight: 1,160 kg (estimated)

2023 Honda City e:HEV petrol-hybrid >


About the author: Jim Gorde


Deputy Editor at Car India and Bike India.
Believes that learning never stops, and that diesel plug-in hybrids are the only feasible immediate future until hydrogen FCEVs take over.

t: @CarIndia/@BikeIndia
IG: @carindia_mag/@bikeindia/@jimbosez


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