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Honda City is a space station

The City plays second-fiddle to the Jazz in the hatchback-centric light-car segment.

On sale next month, the City is the four-door sibling of the Jazz hatchback, another urban friendly car noted for its capaciousness. That’s due for replacement midyear.

While Honda is coy about price tags, intense competition in the price-conscious end of the market demands that the City stays in the $16,000 realm for the entry VTi with upper specification VTi-L coming in under $20K.

The exterior styling is beefed up, with a sharper, less-rounded nose and shoulder line following the cues of the recently-released Odyssey. The sedan sits on a new platform it will share with the Jazz and while it hasn’t grown in overall length, its wheelbase has -- and that means more cabin space.

Never in a hurry to embrace new engine technology, Honda has retained the adequate 88kW 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, but mated it with a new continuously variable transmission. That helps the City to a fuel economy claim of 5.7 litres per 100km, almost a litre better than the outgoing automatic. But the entry model keeps the old five-speed manual.

Honda director Stephen Collins can at least point to “loads of standard features such as Display Audio and reversing camera, it represents excellent value for money”. 

The City has top-of-the-class cargo capacity, boot space growing from 506 to 536 litres, which would be generous for a Commodore or Falcon sedan. Its features list is upgraded to include the brand’s new infotainment system that mimics smartphone functionality, offering satnav, iPhone Siri Eyes free function and selected third party apps as well as Bluetooth phone and music streaming.

The City plays second-fiddle to the Jazz in the hatchback-centric light-car segment, this year selling 679 units to the Jazz’s 5726. By comparison Toyota’s Yaris sold 14,437 and the Mazda2 retailed 15,167.