Honda City RS sedan – setting a new standard for the segment

“Black is confident, black looks good.” I can’t help but remember those lines from an old shampoo ad when I saw this Honda City. It looked stealthy thanks to the almost all-black exterior resulting from the Crystal Black Pearl paint job and the RS accents. This might be the City’s first time with an RS badge but it certainly knew how to flaunt it.

Having driven the lower V CVT variant before, I’m excited to take the City RS out for a date. It’s Php 80,000 more expensive than the former and with that comes a few toys aside from the aesthetic touches on the exterior. Will these make a significant difference or are they just glorified vanity bits? Let’s find out.

The executive appeal of the sedan was definitely enhanced with its stealth look, as it also gave emphasis to the shiny 16-inch wheels. The sporty side of the City RS was subdued in this all-black guise thanks to the color palette that hid the RS touches like the front bumper garnish, lip spoiler, and rear diffuser.

It’s upmarket demeanor continues inside with major contact points – steering wheel, shifter, door and center armrests – being wrapped in smooth leather. Finishing the executive appeal are the seats that are clad in a combination of leather and suede. As for the sporty side, the driver gets metal pedals while the cabin has red stitching for a subtle hint of aggression.

But even if you put aesthetics aside, Honda ensured the City RS sedan is not just eye candy. The LED headlights have a much better illumination than the halogens of the lower variant. There are also two more 12V sockets for the rear passengers, additional side curtain airbags, and the remote engine start which I’ve come to love. Aside from firing up the engine from a distance, it will also turn on the aircon to cool the cabin which is very, very useful for me since half of the parking lots I go to are open parking spaces. It was glorious not having to endure the heat when you enter the car on a hot day.

Another nifty advantage of the City RS was the addition of paddle shifters. You don’t have to bury your foot on the throttle and wait for the rev to climb since you can now just blip it for a downshift and have a higher rpm and faster increase in speed. It’s also useful on steep climbs like garage and parking entries since it eliminates the car’s tendency to shift up at the middle of a climb.

The added toys are few but combine them with the other features that are also present in the lower V variant and you’ll see a holistic modern sedan. The City RS has an 8-inch touchscreen with Apple and Android connectivity, rear air vents, tilt and telescopic steering wheel, automatic climate control, cruise control, and push start button. Safety bits include rear camera, ABS with EBD, stability assist, speed-sensing door locks, and the RS exclusive 6 airbags.

Fuel efficiency is another similarity with the lower variant V CVT. It was able to run at 8.3km/l with traffic inside the city, which is remarkable considering the traffic before the third ECQ. Highway runs yielded 21km/l and that’s me not bothering to be really frugal with my throttle input. For me it’s the best trait of the Honda City since it’s not dull to drive but also won’t sip gas like a kid drinking coke.

In color psychology, black is used to connote authority, power, and elegance –  which is also apt for the Honda City RS sedan. The right amount of aesthetic, leather, sportiness, and modern features added up into a well rounded sedan that sits at the upper end of its segment and sets a new baseline standard. The P1,058,000 price tag might be a bit of a reach but rest assured if you can muster that amount, the only downside is this City RS sedan might not come in your favorite color.

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