Honda City CVT vs Maruti Ciaz AT: Which one for whom

The mid-size sedan segment gets a good number of customers. The presence of heavyweights like Maruti Ciaz, Honda City and Hyundai Verna makes the segment a highly competitive one. Honda recently launched the facelift of the City. If you are out in the market looking at automatic mid-size sedans, here is something that will help you through it.

Looks

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Honda City has always been an elegant car. It has matured over time to become good looking and modern while keeping the class intact. The City facelift gets a new grille, which is thinner than the previous model and gets a honeycomb mesh below it. Honda has also redesigned the bumper slightly to make it more aggressive.

Honda City automatic also comes only with the VXi and above trims, which means that all the automatic variants of the City get beautiful looking all-LED headlamps and tail-lamps. The standard DRLs on the City make it look much more premium.

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The Ciaz, on the other hand, is still in its 1st generation. The production version the Ciaz is very close to the concept model showcased during the Auto Expo. The Ciaz has multiple chrome slats at the front forming the grille. The vehicle does not get many sharp edges and has a soothing look to it. At the rear, Ciaz gets split headlamps just like the Honda City. The Ciaz is a good looking car if you look at it without comparing it with the City. With the facelifted City involved, the Ciaz begins to look slightly dated.

Interiors

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The new City gets minor updates on the inside too. All the automatic variants get 7-inch touch sensitive infotainment system that comes with navigation, MirrorLink, phone apps, WiFi connectivity. The cabin of the City feels premium with the leather seats and a sunroof on the top-end variant. The seats are very well cushioned, and the touch-sensitive controls of the AC feel very futuristic.

The Ciaz gets a very clean cabin layout. The Ciaz also gets leather seats and simple controls for the AC, unlike the Honda City. It is easier to operate it without removing the eyes from the road. The Ciaz misses out on the sunroof though. Both the cars come with features like Start/Stop button but City has a better layout with an illuminated button that changes colours.

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The rear seat of City is undoubtedly one of the most comfortable ones in the segment. There is enough under thigh support, back support and there is armrest for the rear passengers with two cup holders. The Honda City also gets a dedicated rear AC vent and two charging points, making sure that the rear passengers are not neglected.

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The Ciaz offers vast space to the rear passengers. Even with the front seat fully moved to the rearmost position, a tall person with five ft 10-inch height can be at ease in the Ciaz. The Ciaz gets single charging point at the rear with adjustable AC vents. Even though there is a lot of space, the rear seats do not feel as much comfortable as the City. Between the two, the City has a better equipped, and more comfortable cabin.

Engine and drive

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Both the City and Ciaz only get petrol option with the automatic variants. The City is powered by a 1.5-litre engine that generates a maximum of 117 BHP at 6,600 rpm and 145 Nm of maximum torque at 4,600 rpm. The Ciaz gets a 1.4-litre engine that generates a maximum of 91 BHP at 6,000 rpm and 130 Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm.

The City gets an advanced 7-Speed CVT. Even though a CVT can make infinite ratios, the transmission of the City gets fixed 7-speed ratio. The gear changes in the City is smooth, and you notice the gear shifts only if you are pushing hard in the automatic mode. For the enthusiasts, the gears can also be changed manually with the help of paddle shifters.

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The Ciaz offers a 4-speed torque converter gearbox. The gearbox is smooth enough but does not match the refinement offered by the City’s CVT. The 4-speed automatic of the Ciaz is good for stop and go traffic but you have to be gentle on the throttle, else the engine revs to very high rpm before shifting and that does not sound very pleasing.

Safety

The Honda has gone a notch up in terms of safety. The City comes loaded with safety features. At the top of the line, the City comes with six airbags, ABS with EBD, ISOFIX seat hooks. The Ciaz only offers dual airbags and ABS with EBD with the top-end variant of the car.

Which one should you buy?

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The Honda City comes fully loaded with features, but it is also priced way more higher than the Maruti Ciaz. The prices of City automatic starts from Rs. 11.54 lakh, while the Ciaz Automatic starts from Rs. 9.31 lakh, ex-showroom, Delhi.

So, who should buy what?

Now the City CVT gets all the bells and whistles and is also better to drive and comes with paddle shifters. If you are looking at a mid-size automatic to pass your daily commute comfortably, then City is the one you should go for. The City is for statement makers, for ones who want the premium looks, and features but then, there is the price factor too. The City is also perfect for people who want to drive enthusiastically.

Now, if you can live with a slightly less premium cabin, a more conventional (read less responsive) gearbox and a few lesser features, the Ciaz is what you need. The big thing going for the Ciaz is its price, which is a good 2 lakhs cheaper than that of the City. If you’re on a budget, but still need a comfortable petrol-automatic sedan, the Ciaz ticks all the right boxes.