the base model honda city proves every bit as good as its higher-specced sibling, but is it worth the price of entry?
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the new honda city is an impressive car. it moves the compact sedan game on significantly, with its premium features and entertaining drive, and proves that driving a car in this segment doesn’t mean that you’ll have to settle for less.
but it also comes at a cost, with the top-spec city rs variant going for s$92,999 inclusive of coe. it is quite a premium to pay over its segment rivals, and puts the city within touching distance of its bigger brand stablemates like the civic and hr-v – read all about it in our video/written review below.
if that’s a bit much for you to stomach, then you might want to consider the entry-level version, the city sv, which dips right below the 90 grand mark at s$89,999 including coe. it’s still a fair bit more over, say, an equivalent toyota vios, but you have to consider what you’re getting for the money.
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for the s$3,000 you save over the rs, you lose out on items such as paddle shifters, front led fog lamps, and a rear armrest. you also get 15-inch wheels instead of 16s, four airbags instead of six, and a four-speaker stereo system instead of eight.
cosmetically, the sv looks a bit toned down from the rs’ sporty stance. the grille is now chrome instead of gloss black, as are the door handles. the wing mirrors and rear ‘shark fin’ antenna are now body-coloured too, while the rs’ bootlid spoiler has also been omitted.
but that said, you still get quite a bit of the good stuff left over from the rs, including keyless entry/start, led lights front and rear, android auto & apple carplay, and the nifty remote start function that allows you to start the engine while outside of the car using just the key fob.
mechanically, the car remains unchanged, with the city still being powered by a 1.5-litre engine paired with a continuously variable transmission (cvt). performance figures are identical to the rs, with 0-100km/h coming up in 10.3 seconds, which is not particularly quick but it does outgun its main rivals like the vios and mitsubishi attrage.
similarly, the city is still a fuss-free, easy to drive compact sedan, with a decent enough ride and neat handling manners that easily outclasses most of its key rivals. the city feels lively and energetic to punt around a corner, and it’s probably the most entertaining compact sedan to drive at the moment, bar none.
is it worth its asking price though? like the city rs, the sv isn’t cheap, but we think if you’re in the market for a honda you’re not looking for the bottom line.
it’s really boils down to what your expectations are when shopping for a compact sedan. if all you need is a set of wheels with no frills, then perhaps you’ll be better served by some of the cheaper options available out there.
but if you don’t mind paying a little more for a slicker, better-engineered product, then the city should be right up your alley, since with its extra cost comes class-leading status.
as to whether the three grand extra for the rs is worth paying for, again it comes down to your own set of priorities. to our mind, aside from the six airbags and eight-speaker system, you really don’t lose out on too much by going for the sv over the rs.
think of it this way: the sv is your standard value meal, while the rs is the ‘upsized’ portion. fundamentally you’re still getting the same thing, and it’s just a matter of how much of it do you want. for some people, a regular serving should be more than enough to suffice.
honda city 1.5 sv
|engine||1,498cc, inline four|
|power||121hp at 6600rpm|
|torque||145nm at 4300rpm|
|ves band / co2||b / 135g/km|
|price||s$89,999 with coe|
|verdict:||entry-level sv variant offers most of the good bits from the rs, and remains the clear class leader|
about the author
carbuyer’s senior staff writer went out to explore the great big world, including a stint working in china (despite his limited mandarin). now he’s back, ready to foist upon you his takes on everything good and wonderful about the automotive world. follow ben on instagram @carbuyer.ben