Honda reveals all-new City and refreshed Accord

The fifth-gen City goes on sale on April 1, while the Accord is available from March 14

Japanese carmaker Honda unleashed its latest contender in the tiddler sedan category – the fifth-generation City – at a virtual Middle East launch on Tuesday.

The newcomer – sourced from Honda’s Tapukara plant in India – is a distinct departure from its predecessor, ushering in a more angular look that’s consistent with its Accord and Civic big brothers. It’s also substantially larger than its forerunner, stretching 90 millimetres longer and 53mm wider. In fact, its length eclipses even the previous-generation Civic.

The City may be Honda's least expensive offering in our market, but the sub-compact sedan is still a crucial model for the brand, targeting fleets and value-conscious private buyers with its sub-Dh60,000 ($16,337) entry price.

Honda ME hasn’t yet announced pricing for the new line-up, but it’s likely to be in the same ballpark. There are four spec levels – DX, LX, LX Sport and EX – with the range-topper expected to be priced around the Dh70,000 mark.

Tech goodies

The fifth-generation City goes on sale locally on Thursday, April 1, and it comes loaded with far more generous kit levels than its predecessor. Among the goodies is an eight-inch audio touchscreen (a rarity for this category) with Apple CarPlay or WebLink. You also get two USB ports in LX grade upwards.

Another welcome feature for this ultra-price-sensitive category is a rear wide-view camera that provides three angles – normal, top-down and wide – to take the guesswork out of reversing.

Fuel efficiency

Nothing much has changed in the drivetrain department, as the latest City is propelled by a carryover 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine with 119 horsepower and 145Nm, and these outputs are channelled to the front wheels by a CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission).

From LX grade upwards, you get steering-mounted paddle shifters that enable you to take manual control of the transmission.

Fuel economy is again a strong suit, with Honda quoting a consumption figure of 4.7L/100 kilometres (21.1km per litre).

Safety features

The new City is touted as one of the safest cars in its segment, with six airbags – front, side and curtain – and a rigid passenger cell said to provide a high level of crash protection.

Of course, it’s preferable to avoid a crash in the first place, and to this end there’s Vehicle Stability Assist with Electronic Stability and Traction Control.

There’s also Agile Handling Assist, which supplements the VSA system by enabling the driver to get through corners with smaller steering inputs.

Sporty iteration

Another first for the latest-gen City is the addition of the LX Sport grade, which is pitched at younger customers. Befitting its sporty aspirations, this trim level comes with blacked-out trim elements, LED taillights, a bootlid spoiler and Sport badging. This variant also comes with black 16-inch alloys.

The new City’s substantially roomier cabin will doubtless boost its appeal, but it faces tough opposition from the Nissan Sunny, Hyundai Accent and Toyota Yaris sedan, so it will be interesting to see how the sales race pans out.

Accord revamped with autonomous braking and 10-speed auto

Honda also used its online launch event to reveal its face-lifted Accord, which goes on sale locally on Sunday, March 14. Among the key changes vis-a-vis its predecessor is a refreshed exterior design with a wider restyled grille and the addition of full LED headlights for 2.0-litre models.

All models now get LED taillights, and there are new-design 17-inch/18-inch alloy wheels. Another minor addition is a new Sonic Grey colour for the Accord Sport.

The 2021 Accord is offered with an eight-inch audio touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and you also get wireless charging, USB ports in the rear cabin and rear wide-view camera.

Interesting new features include rear autonomous braking, which automatically applies the brakes if on-board sensors detect an imminent collision when reversing.

As before, lower-spec models are powered by a 1.5-litre turbo engine with outputs of 192hp and 260Nm, sent to the front wheels by a CVT auto. The range-topping 2.0T Sport gets a beefier 2.0-litre turbo with 252hp and 370Nm, channelled to the front wheels by a segment-leading 10-speed auto.