The fact that the past year has been a rough time for the world cannot be overstated, but with some form of normalcy returning to our lives, it is paramount that we try to enjoy the things we have missed the most. The lockdowns and the pandemic scare have taught us to appreciate the things we take for granted. Something like heading out-of-town for a quick trip used to be a no-brainer for most of us, but the times have changed and the new normal has made a few lasting changes in our lives. Trips need meticulous planning these days, gone are the random drives to satiate the cravings for a hot cup of tea in a city 200 km away. Or are they?
As we glanced at our all-new fifth-generation Honda City looking supreme in its Lunar Silver Metallic shade, it called upon us to revisit the lost charm of just heading out. It was a cold morning with a thick blanket of fog covering the surroundings and we had to beat the blues. Thus, in a matter of minutes, we had gone through the list of places we wished to visit during the lockdowns and have decided on a place. Another hour or so later the three of us were on our way to Panchkula, a 240 km drive from Delhi. Our destination was Ramgarh Heritage, a palace hotel with a rich 360-year long history.
We believed it was the perfect destination to head to since the car we had with us boasted of a wonderful legacy of its own. A car that continues to have a strong presence even when the world is changing around it. The Honda City has been an icon, a car that has defined and then redefined its segment. It has been known to offer class, luxury, performance and that undeniable Honda quality in a package that has always been too hard to ignore. For a lot of us, this car has been among the first cars to aspire for and we have grown up with it still being the perfect example of what a sedan for India should be.
Ever since the all-new City arrived in our garage, we had been wanting to find out if it still has the highway mile-munching capabilities and the comfort of the old cars. And now, we finally had the perfect day to test it. At our disposal was the i-VTEC Manual version of the Honda City that offered 119 bhp of power and 14.78 kgm of torque. In the ZX variant, it came packed with features that make it as contemporary as it can get.
As we head out towards Panchkula, we decided to take a scenic route through Rohtak, Ambala and Jind. With the dense fog blocking our path, it meant we would be on the road for at least 7 hours before we reached the hotel.
Luckily, we had been on this route a couple of times before and we knew that the roads were in perfect condition and that no surprises would be thrown at us in terms of bad patches. The striking LED headlights helped pierce through the thick dense fog offering great visibility throughout the journey. When the fog subsided, the City stretched its legs offering a smooth, stress-free and rapid drive as it munched mile after mile flawlessly. The City can easily cruise at high speeds all day and you wouldn’t feel it inside the cabin. Throughout the journey, the City with its 1.5-litre 4-cylinder engine offered a comfortable, vibration-free, linear and tastefully smooth power delivery in all conditions.
Instead of being overly frantic, the experience of a mature, calm, stress-free engine that takes everything in its stride and doesn’t sweat even a bit is highly addictive. As for comfort, there is simply no match for the comfort that a sedan can offer, and the all-new City continues with its legacy of offering class-leading comfort and ergonomics. Draped in premium leather, the all-new City picks up where the old car left off and offers broad front seats that are supportive and exceptionally comfortable, and they benefit from the perfect amount of cushioning.
This time around, the rear seat comfort has been improved as well, as you get more leg room, a perfect angle to sit, and more of that outstanding cushioning. You also get three integrated head restraints for the rear seats which are tall enough to suit passengers of various heights. The rear seat comfort also offered an added benefit — we seldom see our rear passengers ask us to let them drive.
The new console design offers a digital screen with a plethora of data available on display. We are also glad that the smooth analogue tachometer remains. The steering remains a great thing to hold and we also liked how easy the cruise control is to use. The infotainment system is simple to understand, fast to work, and with Android Auto connectivity, an absolute breeze to use.
By the time we reached the hotel, it was already close to 4 pm and was a perfect time to sip some hot coffee and watch as the night approached us with its misty glory. We looked at our Honda City and smiled. The world might have changed, but there are still a few things that stay true to their legacy and we will always love them for it.