When it comes to compact sedans, the traditional expectations range from ‘Oh it can get me from A to B’ to ‘Oh it’s perfectly competent’. On paper, the City seems to be more of the same – after all it has the same CVT and 1.5-litre engine as the previous one, no there’s no 1.0-litre turbo since it would have made the car at least S$10k more expensive.
In practise, it’s probably the best driving compact sedan we’ve ever tried, out of the box. It’s still not a fast car, but it is relatively sprightly and quick with a 0-100km/h time of 10.9 seconds compared to 12.8s for the Vios and 13.3s for the Attrage.
The City’s never a chore to drive, the seats and cockpit ergonomics are flawless, while the refinement below 100km/h is excellent as well. The ride quality is generally good, it does get a little unsettled over really rough roads, but it still rides far better than similar sized SUVs.
As a daily driver, it’s almost sin-free – besides the slightly vocal engine drone – since it has all the things that make a good city (ahem) runabout: Great visibility, easy-to-judge dimensions, perky low end acceleration , and excellent fuel efficiency. Hitting sub-6.0L/100km should be easy, especially if you turn on the Eco drive mode.
But putting the heat on the City in a small handling course is where it shines. While the car has the familiar compact sedan suspension setup (McPherson front, torsion beam rear) it handles like it looks, with a surprisingly deep well of capability and grip, and it actively engages you in the process, something few other sub-$100k cars can boast.