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Honda Locks City

BY RORY DALEY
Observer writer

Friday, August 11, 2017

THERE'S no better way to start your journey with the Honda brand than in the 2018 Honda City. It boasts all the elements one expects from the Japanese marque.

Fit would be the best word to describe the external look of the City, as it has aggressively chiselled edges that are topped off by a sloping roofline, giving it a coupe-like appearance despite it being a Sedan. For 2018, it's got a front fascia to match the rest of the Honda models — a larger, more prominent badge on a black matte grill and the now signature chrome bar between the headlights. Opt for a few accessories like the rear spoiler and the compact City on its 15-inch polished alloy wheels is easily on the sporty side.

That all continues inside with Honda's Smart Entry system making entry a breeze. Just have the keys on your person and doors open and close at the touch of a button or the pull of a door handle. Inside, the dashboard design took plenty of thought as it's pleasantly uncluttered. All buttons, of which there are few, are easily within reach of the driver. The textured materials, soft cloth seats and the piano black trim put the City on par with higher-level rivals. A proper driving position is easily found and passengers will enjoy the space on hand. The same goes for the luggage compartment. At night, it's even more spectacular as soft blue lights give the gauge binnacle a cool crystalline futuristic look.

Where the interior shines is its level of refinement. Fire up the engine with the push-to-start button and the City settles into an imperceptible idle as noise barely enters the cabin. Cruising with the windows up, with the great stereo system blasting your favourite tunes, the City is an insular space. The muted sounds of tyre noise and the growl of the 1.5-litre i-VTEC engine when under acceleration are the only two things that ever come close to entering the passenger compartment.

Having only 118bhp isn't going to make the City win at the stoplight drag strip, but it has no reason to be ashamed of its performance either. Progress is brisk when the gas pedal is stepped on, allowing the car to zip comfortably through holes in traffic or manage long triple digits stretches of highway. For the twistier roads, slip the CVT into Sport mode and shifting gets more aggressive to take advantage of the revvy powerband. The chassis is more than up to the task, rewarding a clean, smooth driving style. The suspension is soft enough not to upset the car, but stiff enough to keep handling tight. The standard ABS brakes are also wonderfully sharp.

Ultimately 2018 City isn't about raw speed. The City is at its finest just cruising around, a/c, stereo on, and windows up in ECO mode as the cabin becomes a relaxing place to be, since it contains the all core elements of the brand that are available further up the model line, but it hasn't forgotten the company's sporting DNA.