Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Review: 2018 Honda City 1.5 VX Navi

Normally, it’s hard to get excited over a midcycle refresh. Apart from the cosmetic nip and tuck, you cannot expect the driving experience to be any different. This is the sort of predicament that faces the 2018 City, a car so well-received by Honda buyers in the Philippines, that HCPI didn’t actually need to do anything with it and it’ll still sell. But they did. And you know what? The City’s all the better for it.

Strictly speaking, the City’s changes are largely focused on the aesthetics, but all things considered, it’s a great effort. The new face manages to modernize the City even more. The front-end also manages to give it a stronger familial semblance to its bigger brother, the Civic. In fact, the handsomeness rubs itself well, particularly with the upright, protruding Solid Wing grille and LED daytime running lights. The denouement could have been stronger though, but alas, the rear end has been left unchanged. The 16-inch alloy wheels though have a new two-tone design, but the execution could have been sportier.

Inside, the changes are far harder to spot, especially at a glance; yet look closer and they’re there. The first point of contact, the gauges, are new. Simpler in execution now, it’s bright and highly legible. It’s also free from the distracting blue surround that was in the older City. Next up, the metallic accents running across the upper part of the dashboard has been darkened into a gunmetal tone. This along with the new monotone push-button start/stop reduces the distracting “visual noise.” Finally, the 7-inch touchscreen is also new. It’s quick, responsive, and replete with all the connectivity options available including Miracast smartphone mirroring.

If there’s one complaint that could have been addressed (but wasn’t) in this 2018 update is the lack of physical knobs and controls for the infotainment and climate. Like before, all of the controls, be it major or minor, are all touch sensitive. The infotainment system, in particular, is a pain to use. Most of the retail space is occupied by the display itself reducing the Volume, Home, and Back button into an afterthought. Thankfully, steering wheel controls are standard. It’s the same with the climate control system which is nice to look at, but hard to operate based on touch alone.

The rest of the City’s packaging remains the same which equates to first-class space. For its footprint, it sure is comfy whether at the front or the back. The rear is particularly inviting because three Pinoy adults can actually manage to squeeze in there thanks to the flat rear floor. Plus, they get their own adjustable headrests and 3-point seatbelts. Meanwhile, those in the front will love the wealth of available space. The driver also has a multitude of adjustments available to him (the steering wheel adjusts for both tilt and reach while the seats move 6 ways), but the thin padding does produce some aches in pains after about 3 hours of continuous driving.

Onto the driving aspect itself, the City remains one great all-rounder. It keeps the same 1.5-liter SOHC i-VTEC engine as before and as a result, packs 120 horsepower and 145 Nm of torque. In urban confines, it’s responsive enough for stop-and-go traffic, with just the right amount of smoothness and pull. Though engaging the ECON button does dull up its responses noticeably, it never once felt lacking. As traffic lightens up, the City shines even more. With its peak power and torque available higher up in engine’s rev range (6,600 rpm and 4,800 rpm respectively), it’s even livelier when pushed. And with the added comfort of cruise control, it can do long distance driving comfortably.

In terms of handling, it veers more toward the spirited side of the driving equation. Not only does it feel safe, secure, and predictable, but it can also be quite fun. The steering, though lacking in feedback, is actually precise and obedient. Understeer is pronounced at the limit, but anything below that, the chassis is balanced. It absorbs road imperfections very well without the feeling of hollowness while remaining light and predictable through bends. The brakes though could use better modulation as they feel like an on/off switch.

Limiting the City’s spiritedness is the CVT. It works well enough for the daily commute, boosting its smoothness and fuel efficiency, but try poking it and the response lacks credibility. There’s a noticeable delay before the ratios are shuffled and it rockets off. But by then, the cabin would have been drowned out in a mechanical whine and the overtaking opportunity would have disappeared. Disengaging the ECON mode or engaging the Sport mode would help, but it doesn’t quell the CVT’s characteristic low speed whine.

The most interesting (and welcome) aspect of the 2018 City though is its immunity to inflation. Despite the increase in equipment, it remains pegged at P 913,000, or the same price as the outgoing City. And while some may complain that that’s already quite a price for what’s still a sub-compact sedan, it’s got every feature that counts. Whether it’s aesthetics, comfort, convenience, or safety, the City pretty much stuns its competitors. It’s an excellent mix of features, performance, and practicality making it a smart choice in its segment.

2018 Honda City 1.5 VX Navi 
Ownership 2018 Honda City 1.5 VX Navi 
Year Introduced 2017
Vehicle Classification Sub-compact Sedan
The Basics
Body Type 4-door Sedan
Seating 5
Engine / Drive F/F
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 1.5
Aspiration Normally Aspirated
Fuel Delivery Fuel Injection
Layout / # of Cylinders I4
BHP @ rpm 120 @ 6,600
Nm @ rpm 145 @ 4,800
Fuel / Min. Octane Gasoline / 91~
Transmission CVT
Cruise Control Yes
Fuel Economy @ Ave. Speed 9.82 km/L @ 12 km/h
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,440
Width (mm) 1,695
Height (mm) 1,477
Wheelbase (mm) 2,600
Curb Weight (kg) 1,107
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, MacPherson Strut
Rear Suspension H-Shaped Torsion Beam
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Drum
Tires Bridgestone Turanza ER370 185/55 R 16 H (f & r)
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 2
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes, with EBD
Traction / Stability Control No
Parking Sensors No, with Camera
Other Safety Features No
Exterior Features
Headlights Halogen
Fog Lamps Yes
Auto Lights No
Rain-sensing Wipers No
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjust Tilt/Telescopic
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment Manual
Seating Surface Fabric
Folding Rear Seat No
On-Board Computer Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes, with Fold
Climate Control Yes
Audio System Stereo
Smartphone Mirroring
# of Speakers 4
Steering Controls Yes


  1. It looks good and all... but I think the best looking City exterior-wise is still the 2009 - 2011 model, particularly in their polished metal and urban titanium colors.

  2. ugh... still can't decide if this one or hyundai accent (na hindi pa lumalabas ang 2018 model)


    1. get this one. more space and toys than the accent

    2. Of course it has more toys since it costs 900-1m while the accent is only 700-800 diesel na. Ang accent lang ay mabilis at laking tipid sa fuel

    3. g@g0 hyundai, driver side airbag only WTF!

    4. City is more reliable, parts are easier, and all around better drive and comfort.

    5. So he's basically asking whether to choose a reliable, practical, feature-packed Japanese car versus an unreliable piece of crap, underspecced Korean car. Does this guy even have a brain or what?

    6. Choose the accent you will save more on purchase, save more on gas and have more fun driving since its freaking fast. Iiwanan ang city nito

    7. Pangmatanda na yung styling ng city accent hb na lang looks way cooler

    8. to August 23, 2017 at 2:00 AM
      i am weighing on all things, as much as possible, tulad ng mga sinasabi mo. pero much helpful ka sana sa pagiging mas matalino mo kung may sinabi ka man lang na experience sa dalawang sasakyan na yan, if you had a chance to drive them both. unless anonymous commenter ka lang.

      i'd rather be someone without a brain trying to have one.. than like you na may utak pero paurong at nawawala unti-unti


    9. "So he's basically asking whether to choose a reliable, practical, feature-packed Japanese car versus an unreliable piece of crap, underspecced Korean car. Does this guy even have a brain or what?"
      Pare, hindi tayo pare-pareho ng priorities sa pagpili ng sasakyan. Kun iisa lang isip natin e di iisa lang sana ang klase ng nabebentang sasakyan.

    10. Dati maiintindihan mo bakit merong bumibili ng Korean car, yun ay dahil mas mura ito. Now, they're more expensive but has less features than some Japanese cars. Ano pa priorities sinasabi mo? Kung bumili ka ng Korean car ngayon, para kang kumuha ng bato at pinukpok mo sa ulo mo.

    11. Bro, believe me. Even if you're using ECON mode in Honda City, it still has a good acceleration plus good fuel economy. Turn off the ECON mode, you'll get instantaneous acceleration with a slight jab of the pedal.

      Don't buy that Korean piece of crap. It's devoid of all those necessary safety features.

    12. Honda ... u won't regret

    13. Maybe the city is the crappier car since honda is too embarassed to sell it in more developed countries. Accent is a global car sold from us to asia. If it were a crappy car it would be a lawsuit magnet in litigation happy western nations

    14. ^
      Wtf kind of thinking is that? Just because it's considered as a "global car" doesn't mean it's better.

      As an example, the Mitsubishi Mirage can be considered as a global car since it's being sold in the USA and etc. Is it a good car? F*** no! It's actually one of the worst cars ever made and is only good as a point A to point B car!

      That being said, the honda city is objectively better than the POS Korean accent, feature-wise and in terms of reliability.

    15. Tingnan mo nga naman tong quality survey ng JD Power - five stars sa reliability ang Accent while ang Jazz/Fit na much much better car kesa City ay 3 stars lang: http://www.jdpower.com/cars/study/2016-Initial-Quality-Study/1221ENG/Small-Car/1086

    16. city has more advanced technology. . more spacious also. . if youre budget is 700k-800k then get the lower variant simple as that

    17. Either way both accent and city are excellent choices. City is more refined and has a lot of toys while accent is bare but has an awesome diesel engine and cheaper too

    18. Hyundai Accent para sa mga bobong pilipino. Driver side Airbag lang, ni walang ABS. Tinipid. Anung mura dun? Tignan mo naman yung gulong, steelies din. Yuck. Basura, parang mga basurang nag tatanggol ng accent dito.

    19. eh paano pa kaya yung mga crosswind. walang airbag? yabang mo naman ano ba sasakyan mo? kung makapanglait ka ng sasakyan kala mo ganda ng minamaneho mo eh

    20. Mga bobo nga naman talaga. Di ko kelangan pag mayabang kung ano sasakyan ko.

      Yan ugali ng mga bobong katulad mo, mag-aassume agad na hindi ka yabang yabang ang sasakyan ng kausap.

      Pero para matahimik ka. 2016 Civic Baseline 1.8E minamaneho ko. Hindi man top of the line, pero siguradong mas matino kesa sa minamaneho mong bobo ka.

  3. Suzuki CIAZ na lang kayo. Mas mabilis pa!

    1. Pano naging mabilis ang 92hp Ciaz sa 120hp City?

    2. Say kasi fren ko di daw umabot sa kanya yon city at vios pag akyat nila sa bagyo. At tsaka super tipid pa daw sa gas. Accent lng daw na crdi ang medyo lumapit sa kanya pag lagpas nila sa TPlex.

    3. well, kelangan ko reliable at hindi sakit sa ulo. suzuki ba no issue sa parts and services kumpara kay honda? same goes with hyundai.

    4. First yung honda sa sa service 2nd hyundai while suzuki second to the last

    5. Salesman siguro yun fren mo ng suzuki autoactiv

  4. ^ LOL at you friend sir autoactiv. Obviously the vios and the city are not racing your friend's ciaz. And i doubt the ciaz can outrun the accent diesel.

  5. Sir uly, will you test drive the new crv 2.0 cvt? I really that you would. Thank you!

    1. Maybe the Ciaz got better Power to Weight Ratio.
      The reason why he outrunned the Vios and City also Hyundai's Accent.

    2. Power to weight ratio?!? LOL!!!!!

      Big words coming from the guy who claims his heavy 200hp and 500Nm Colorado can outrun lighter turbocharged cars like the 1.5L Civic. Akala ko ba non-believer ka ng power to weight ratio? Anyare???

  6. Not really a flat rear floor like the vios, there is a little hump. but still smaller than a mazda or a ford.

  7. Honda city is nothing special just a third world car built for third world standards banking on the honda brandname. Me touchscreen lang ayos na!

    1. I'm not even a honda fanboy but this hurts me kasi totoo.

  8. Hi Uly! What's the problem with Honda? There's a very long line for the Civc RS. My reservation was made almost 2 months ago and I'm still #5 on the list. Maybe it would help if you would write something about this in your newspaper columns? Thanks

    1. That's also my predicament right now, nag iikot ikot na ako sa mga casa nowadays and i have a target date of delivery. I think Honda is having a hard time coping up with the demands here in our country or they're hoarding up the units in anticipation of the excise tax.

      If Honda doesn't shape up, i'll consider other brand.

    2. No, they are not hoarding. That doesn't make sense kasi hindi mapupunta sa kanila yung dagdag tax.

    3. It make not make sense in a shallow standpoint. But with the way they increase the prices of their cars(considering how other carmakers increase as well), anything is possible.

  9. a couple of price increase already from 1.403M to 1.415 and now 1.425. I heard that the Philippines is not a priority destination for Civic RS delivery. Hope the motoring journalists could be of help. Maybe they can persuade HCPI to do something.

    1. Actually, the price of the Civic RS started at 1.398m.

  10. Help me please.
    Honda City or Honda Civic?

    1. Ikaw din makakasagot niyan. Depende sa fuel consumption na gusto mo or iba pa

  11. I owned Honda city 2018. walang pag sisisi guys. two thumbs up.

  12. Matipid po ba sa gas? Balak namin kac bumili at ok po ba talaga? Thanks


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