2020 Honda City debuts in Thailand – new fifth-gen model gets a 1.0L turbo engine with 122 PS, 173 Nm


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 sixth-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 larger corner “inlets” on the corners of the bumper, while the lower intake is largely blacked out, with only a blacked-out strip at the base to highlight it.

At the rear, the slimmer, two-piece taillights boast a U-shaped light signature, and as with the outgoing model, 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 11 mm less wheelbase (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.

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 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).

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 paired exclusively to a continuously variable transmission, with 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.

As for equipment, all variants come with remote engine start, LED daytime running lights, a shark fin antenna and a Honda Connect infotainment system with support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Fabric upholstery is found on S and V grades, while the higher-spec SV and RS get leather seats instead.


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