Review: 2023 Honda City Facelift

Honda gives its fifth-gen City more arsenal with features from the strong hybrid version. We get behind the wheel.

By Girish Karkera


5 mins read


Published on March 9, 2023

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  • Two design packages and new features including ADAS in petrol variant
  • More affordable base variants for both petrol and strong hybrid
  • No change in powertrain options

Two years ago, Honda launched the fifth generation of its evergreen sedan – the City – in India. A full model change made the once compact sedan grow, add some oomph and still stay no-nonsense. Last year, the strong hybrid version arrived – the first in the segment and the second ever from the Japanese car maker. Now, it has managed to pack the same features and updates in the petrol version too. Here’s what’s new.


2023 Honda City Facelift IVTEC Static 1

Some of the bigger changes in design can be seen on the face.


The City is available in two different 'looks' - Elegance and Sporty. The latter is restricted to the City e:HEV and top petrol trim (VX). The Elegance trim which is closer to the pre-facelift design. The Sporty one gets more pronounced bumpers with a mesh grille and faux carbon fibre finished lower extensions. The fog lamp housings are also more elaborate. At the rear the bumper sports a diffuser-like design. 


2023 Honda City Facelift e HEV Static 1

The Sporty trim is restricted to the City e:HEV and top petrol (VX).   


The fifth-gen City is arguably one of the better-looking over the last few generations. This face-lift adds to its premium look. Silhouette is the same as the pre-facelift car. The only difference in profile are the different-looking alloy wheel options. 



2023 Honda City Facelift IVTEC Tracking 3

The City Petrol now gets 6 ADAS functions in all but base variant.


It looks like advanced driver assist systems is what is differentiating premium cars with mass cars. So, Honda has packed the full suite it offered in the City e:HEV in the petrol version too. Honda Sensing essentially uses a high calibre camera embedded behind the front windscreen that can scan the road ahead to assist the driver with braking, sticking to the centre of the lane and even adaptive cruise control where it can slow and speed up by latching onto the vehicle ahead on the highway. 


2023 Honda City Facelift e HEV Tracking 4

The lane departure and brake assist works full time. 

Additionally, in the e:HEV, this feature goes a step ahead by being able to slow down follow and maintain speed even below 30kph. In fact, now it can even come to a complete stop and then restart again as the vehicle ahead starts moving. The lane departure and brake assist works full time. Steering assist and adaptive cruise control can be initiated only at highway speeds - 65kph and 72kph respectively. Importantly it works pretty well although you need to get used to it. 


New features

2023 Honda City Facelift IVTEC Interior Wireless Charging

A removable Wireless Charging pad is now provided in City Petrol.


Wireless charging and wireless Android Auto and Apple Car Play make their debut in the City. While in the e:HEV the charging pad is neatly integrated into the centre console near the centre armrest, in the petrol version it is available as an additional unit that fits on top of the cup holders. This is because the City still comes with the manual handbrake. In the hybrid you get the electronic parking brake. 


2023 Honda City Facelift e HEV Interior Wireless Charging

In the e:HEV the charging pad is integrated into the centre console. 


The centre touchscreen is the same size as before however the resolution has improved a bit. Also of the rear camera which now is capable of showing less grainy images. There is also the side camera (in the top variant) which shows the driver what’s on the far side when he/she gives a left indicator to help with changing lanes. 


2023 Honda City Facelift e HEV Interior Instrument Cluster

The instrument cluster looks modern and provides key information.


The instrument cluster also looks much neater and sharper. A cool bit is that needle in the speedometer is an actual one while the one on the left is a display but it is hard to tell the way both light up and move in sync. The left pod is actually a digital display and you can toggle multiple information sets on it. 


What doesn't change

2023 Honda City Facelift e HEV Interior Dashboard Full Wide

The cabin of City facelift is still a very comfortable space to be in. 


Still a plush cabin with big comfy seats. Steering can adjusted for height and rake and it is very easy to get a good driving position. However there are no power seats in most variants even for the driver. No ventilated seats either. This is still a very comfortable space to be in. 


2023 Honda City Facelift e HEV Tracking 2

The car feels fairly planted on most surfaces.


Powertrains remain the same. So you get a 1.5-litre mated to a six-speed manual or a CVT. In the e:HEV there is the 1.5-litre Atkinson cycle engine with an eCVT. Both are refined and smooth. Also free revving but don’t sound too happy when shown urgency, especially so with the automatic. The petrol manual is a bit more engaging with its quick shifts although we are not sure how relevant it is if you drive mostly in congested traffic. The car feels fairly planted and you will appreciate the confidence you get as a driver and the comfort you experience as a co-passenger. 



2023 Honda City Facelift IVTEC Tracking 4

The new City justifies the premium sedan tag it comes with.


The City may have originally conceived to be a compact sedan but in India it managed to earn a premium tag. Honda almost lost that tag over the last few years, as it tried to dabble with 'more affordable' cars. The City brand withstood that rough patch well and with the fifth gen car it arguably looks the part of a premium sedan the most than it ever has. 


2023 Honda City Facelift e HEV Detail Honda Logo

The City continues to remain a no-nonsense car 


The face-lift and the enhanced feature list that has come with it, justifies this tag even more. The City has always been like that no-nonsense car that gets the job done in finesse with very little drama. It still is the same. One can argue if that is better or not in the current world of make belief but there is little doubt it fits into the various Indian scenarios with ease, even more effortlessly now. 


Video review here: 2023 Honda City & City e:HEV Facelift Review


(Photographs: Apoorv Choudhary)


Last Updated on March 9, 2023

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