Since the introduction of the Honda City in the market it has been very successful in keeping its competition with the likes of Ford, GM, Hyundai at bay attributed to the Civic's solid brand value which has made others at the trail playing catch up. Suzuki would like to try to topple down Honda's City with its new Maruti SX4. How good is Maruti? Does it have what it takes to compete with Honda City?
Let’s face it not everyone are attracted to the Honda City with its protruding Honda antenna and compared to the Maruti SX4, appearance wise it looks like Angelina Jolie while the City looks more like Dr. Spock but of course Suzuki will not agree with such comparison especially since the ad campaign tagline for the Maruti is “Men are Back”. But in fairness to the Maruti, it is sporty and sexy plus it has successfully hidden its hatchback roots.
The SX4 has a nice flat integrated dashboard and sporty touches of chrome everywhere, which adds up to its good looks unfortunately it failed to surpass the hand feel and rich textures found on the City’s interiors. But to make up for what it lacks, the SX4 has leather seats, steering remote control airbags, and pockets for bottle holders on all four-doors.
In terms of exterior, it is quite obvious that the SX4 is longer, taller, and bigger. But you know Honda it won’t just sit around and wait for competition to stomp over it, the engineers at Honda has made sure that the size of the Civic will not become a disadvantage. Honda’s engineers have developed a backseat that can comfortably seat three people despite its being narrower than the SX4.
The SX4 despite its larger size has some drawbacks like for instance the armrest in the back of protrudes into the third person’s spine just imagine if sudden brakes are applied that would definitely hurt. And that’s not all the tunnel in the flooring of the SX4 does not provide much legroom. It boot also loses out marginally. On the other hand the Civic despite its small size manages to pack in a lot of space with more headroom, legroom not to mention more space for the driver.
In terms of driving performance the City can provide you with the regular 77 bhp or V-Tec powerplant with 100 bhp, which is very much closer to the SX4. The Maruti SX4 is powered by a new M-16 engine, which has one twin overhead cams, a driveby-wire throttle and revs up a healthy 102 bhp compared to Cuty’s 77 bhp. The Maruti has also an extra 2 kgm of torque which obviously makes it much faster on the road.
When it comes to accelerating from 0 to 100, the SX4 is the winner but in terms of gear now that is another story. This is because the SX4 seems to lose steam at around 5,000 rpm while the torque curve on the City is by far crispier and linear making it perfectly suitable for city driving. The Honda City has also a more refined engine.
But of course the comparison doesn’t end just yet both the City’s and SX4’s gearbox are good although the SX4 would require for a much firmer hand. On the hand the City as expected is light and easy. Over bumps and undulations the SX4’s steering gets jumpy while the Honda City’s steering although light to handle feels unsettling at high speeds.
Driving through traffic, the SX4 and the City both scored well however the SX4 leads in terms of ground clearance where the City suffers caused by its low ground clearance. The SX4 with its 16-inch rims and 205 tires provide better grip but so does the City with its ABS. The City wins when it comes to fuel efficiency but in terms of styling and price the SX4 wins it by landslide. Now that we know the advantages of both cars it would be easier to choose which one to buy.
Ally Wahlberg is a Computer Information Systems specialist. Ally leads an active lifestyle and he is a fan of extreme sports. He is also a car enthusiast and writing about his interests is one of his passions.