Japanese car manufacturer Honda Cars India Ltd's iconic mid-size sedan 'Honda City' has completed 25 years in the country. Honda City, a model that has formed the bedrock of the company's sales in India, started its journey in 1998 and is now in its fifth-generation avatar. Interestingly, the sedan is also the longest-running mainstream model in Indian automotive history.
India, which is the largest and most important market for the Honda sedan, currently accounts for more than 28 per cent of the car's sales in Honda's Asia Oceania region. Currently, the Honda City series' cumulative sales are 4.5 million units globally. To mark the beginning of Honda's electrification journey in India, the company has also launched the Honda City e:HEV in 2022.
First generation: 1998 - 2003
The first-gen Honda City marked the Japanese carmaker's India entry and was sold in the country between 1998 -2003. It was based on sixth-generation Honda Civic (FERIO) and used a VTEC Hyper 16 valve engine that produced a 106hp of peak power in first-gen City. It was introduced with 1.3- and 1.5-litre petrol engine options.
Second generation: 2003 - 2008
The second-generation Honda City, known as 'Dolphin' City in car enthusiast circles, was conceptualised on the Honda Jazz platform, designed with the fuel tank being at the centre of the car known as the 'Centre tank layout.' It was a massive departure from its predecessor in terms of driving dynamics and styling.
However, due to this innovation, the second-generation model was more spacious, comfortable and fuel-efficient. It also got a new 1.5L i-DSI or “Intelligent Dual & Sequential Ignition” engine that offered 77hp. The second-generation City also saw the introduction of a CVT variant – a first for any car in India. It was also equipped with ABS.
Third generation: 2008 - 2013
The third generation City was launched with a completely new sleek look, a new 1.5L i-VTEC engine and a spacious cabin. However, it lacked a diesel engine option. It also offered safety features like Dual Front Airbags and ABS with EBD as standard in all variants.
Fourth generation: 2014 - 2020
The fourth generation of the Honda City was launched in 2014, with an option of a 1.5L i-DTEC diesel engine along with the 1.5L i-VTEC petrol engine. The sedan was also more spacious and far better equipped than any of its predecessors. In addition to this, this version was also the best-selling City during its period.
Fifth generation: 2020 onwards
The fifth generation of the Honda City was introduced in July 2020 and took a huge leap in connected Car services as standard. It also became the first car in the country to feature Alexa Remote Capability.
The newest edition also receives a strong hybrid system in the City e: HEV. It has a two-motor e-CVT hybrid system connected to a 1.5-litre Atkinson-Cycle DOHC i-VTEC petrol engine, an Intelligent Power Unit (IPU) with Lithium-ion Battery and an engine linked direct coupling Clutch.
The new City e: HEV will also have the company's advanced intelligent safety technology "Honda SENSING" for the first time in India and comes with 37 Honda Connect features.
Takuya Tsumura, President & CEO of Honda Cars India Limited, talking about the milestone achievement for Honda City in India, said, “Honda City's Silver Jubilee celebrations are being organised across our pan-India dealer network of 330 facilities in 242 cities and we are taking this opportunity to engage with our consumers and Honda City fans. A communication campaign around this special milestone will also be promoted extensively on digital and social mediums.”
“Further to the launch of the 5th generation City in 2020, we also introduced Honda City e:HEV this year as India's first mainstream model with Strong Hybrid Electric Technology. This model will play a key role in Honda's electrified vehicle plans in the country going forward,” Tsumura added.
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