The most recent era of the Metropolis is Honda’s try to reclaim dominance on a section that it created over 20 years in the past. However, with intense competitors and a fast-changing market, does the brand new Metropolis actually stand an opportunity?
I distinctly keep in mind what an enormous deal the Honda Metropolis was within the Indian market again in 1998. After years of Licence Raj, the Indian economic system had lastly opened up, and fashionable vehicles have been amongst many different issues that grew to become simply accessible for the primary time. The primary wave began with names solely a few of you would possibly keep in mind – the Opel Astra, Daewoo Cielo and Mitsubishi Lancer. However, by way of comparatively inexpensive mid-size sedans, the Honda Metropolis served because the gold commonplace.
Starting of a brand new period
The Honda Metropolis was the automotive that made a era of Indian prospects fall in love with vehicles. I ought to know – I spent my hard-earned cash shopping for the first-gen Metropolis VTEC, simply because it was about to exit of manufacturing in 2003. Actually, over the following 5 years, I drove it round as a lot as I might, masking a complete of practically 200,000 kilometres. So, after I say I’ve some expertise with the Metropolis, I actually imply it.
However, for a lot of, the Metropolis was by no means the entire automotive that the Lancer was. It had its share of flaws – the twitchy dealing with being one in all them. However I couldn’t care much less. For me, the fast-revving engine, with its 7,200rpm redline, phenomenal 5-speed handbook gearbox, chic steering, with oodles of really feel, and superb visibility from contained in the automotive meant greater than anything. Additionally, I cherished all of the boy racer touches – the spoiler, twin exhaust pipes, and (large-for-the-time) 14-inch wheels. In my defence, I used to be very younger.
However time glided by, and we noticed three Three generations of the Metropolis after the preliminary machine that I’d fallen in love with. And, frankly, all three upset. You see, through the years, the Metropolis modified from being a driver’s delight to be a way more relaxed cruiser that appealed to a wider public. It was a wise transfer, however what had appealed to me within the unique automotive was misplaced. Maybe I’m vital as a result of it was one in all my first ‘dream’ vehicles that I owned, and other people do irrational issues when in love, don’t they?
Anyway, coming again to the matter at hand. Over a decade has handed since I offered my beloved VTEC, and now Honda is launching the fifth era of the Metropolis. Being an essential product – it was Honda’s first mannequin in India, and offered over Eight lakh items in India alone – the success of the Metropolis, subsequently, is vital to Honda’s future within the nation. So, once we determined to check the brand new automotive, it took some rescheduling and modifications of plan, given the present Coronavirus insanity. However, lastly, we managed to get our palms on the brand new Metropolis. So, how is it? Nicely, learn on!
Whereas I haven’t been a fan of Honda’s present design language – its quirkiness makes me assume that the model is making an attempt too laborious to be totally different – I believe that the design of the brand new Metropolis works properly to a big extent. The chrome moustache – adios grille! – is built-in fairly properly on this case, and, general, with that swooping roof, the Metropolis appears fairly distinctive. I discovered a few of the detailing significantly interesting, such because the LED headlamps, that are superbly detailed, to not point out the taillamps – that are additionally a spotlight of the design. With a smoked, purple end and their wraparound form, the massive taillamps give the rear of the Metropolis a unique identification.
Now, if I had to enhance on one side of the Metropolis, it will undoubtedly be the stance of the automotive, even with these 16-inch wheels. Due to its sensible 165mm of floor clearance, there’s an excessive amount of hole between the wheels and the fenders, and I believe that 17-inch wheels would go well with the automotive significantly better.
As I stepped into the automotive, I discovered the inside significantly interesting. And, let me be frank right here, I don’t actually like beige, however I need to admit that the beige and black dual-tone theme provides the Metropolis’s inside an ethereal really feel. What additionally helps right here is that the Metropolis is by far the longest automotive in its class, with a size of slightly below 4.6 metres. It signifies that you get class-leading ranges of room contained in the automotive. Should you’re a rear-seat passenger, that is significantly interesting, because the Metropolis’s comfy seats are an awesome place to spend time in.
Up entrance, apart from the nice seats and good house, Honda’s engineers have paid particular consideration to enhancing visibility from the driving force’s seat – a specific weak spot of recent-generation vehicles. The elevated visibility not solely makes driving simpler, but in addition enhances the sense of spaciousness. Additionally, it’s price noting that the standard of the inside surfaces and fitment is sensible – the Metropolis actually seems like a high-quality product. That stated, it might do with a bit extra headroom within the rear seat. Given the sloping roof design, you’ll wrestle for headroom within the rear seat in the event you’re above 6-feet tall.
Loaded with Tech
In fact, connectivity and know-how are two essential elements of vehicles in the present day, and the Honda Metropolis has taken some critical steps forward in each. Now, you may verify your Metropolis’s vitals by way of the Honda Join app and begin the automotive remotely as properly, to not point out do one million different issues. The Metropolis now presents Alexa integration, which is an trade first in India. This implies that you could verify your automotive’s info or flip it on & off remotely by asking Alexa to do it for you. Nonetheless, whereas all of the features work fairly properly, as a result of present limitations of mobile know-how, working your automotive by way of the app or Alexa shouldn’t be instantaneous – there’s a lag of some seconds. That is one thing that may enhance because the know-how advances and connectivity improves.
Now, we nonetheless don’t know what number of trim ranges of the Metropolis shall be supplied – that info shall be revealed someday in July. What we do know, nevertheless, is that the highest trim degree – the one which we drove – has a powerful tools listing. The brand new Metropolis comes with 6 airbags, ABS, EBD, LED headlights & taillights, an 8-inch touchscreen multimedia system, and a 7-inch digital instrument cluster – solely the speedometer will get an analogue needle.
Moreover, now the Metropolis additionally will get Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a rear sunshade, and Blind Spot Monitoring – a function borrowed from its greater cousins that’s improbable to make use of. Mainly, there are cameras mounted within the exterior rear-view mirrors that activate if you use the indicator to indicate you if there are individuals or automobiles in your blind spot. As a security function, it’s an absolute attraction. Honda has additionally labored on small issues, like the texture of the local weather management knob, all of which makes all the really feel finely engineered.
The Metropolis shall be supplied with two engines – the present 1.5-litre diesel and a brand new 1.5-litre petrol unit. Whereas the diesel is obtainable solely with a 6-speed handbook transmission, the petrol presents the choice of a 6-speed handbook or a CVT computerized.
Now, I first examined the 1.5-litre petrol variant. With gasoline costs and automotive life limitations, as they stand, petrol is actually making a comeback. After driving the automotive in early morning site visitors, I hit the expressway and opened the faucets of the petrol engine. In heavy site visitors, the engine was refined, tractable and simple to drive, however going full throttle on the freeway revealed a totally totally different aspect of the engine.
A brand-new unit for Honda in India, the brand new 1.5-litre petrol not solely options Double Overhead Camshafts (DOHC), but in addition presents Variable Valve Timing Management (VTC), along with the ever-present VTEC system. That’s plenty of technical gobbledygook, however, as a buyer or a driver, how does all that have an effect on you? Nicely, with twin camshafts, VTEC, and VTC, the engine within the Metropolis is an absolute scream. Mainly, beneath the 4,500rpm mark, it maintains sufficient energy and torque whereas sustaining optimum gasoline effectivity, however, in the event you open the faucets additional, the second cam profile takes over, making it really feel as if the engine has grown by one other 500cc.
Throughout my first couple of minutes of quick driving, I used to be reminded of my unique VTEC. The brand new Metropolis’s petrol engine revs quick, and, in the event you go above the 4,500rpm mark, it modifications its character and begins to sing. Above that rev level, not solely do you get improbable energy but in addition a reasonably good snarl – which was actually a pleasing shock. Paired with the fantastically quick-shifting and correct handbook gearbox, with pedals positioned completely for heel-and-toe shifting, the Metropolis reveals its sporty character when pushed laborious – one thing that I first skilled in my unique VTEC, and one thing that was subsequently utterly lacking in later generations. Till now!
The diesel engine, alternatively, is a well-known unit that has been refined additional. In contrast to the older variations of this engine, the diesel unit has a really linear energy supply, which is an enormous enchancment and it now presents ample torque so that you can potter round in site visitors with none worries. Though, regardless of all of the enhancements, I nonetheless assume that the engine is a tad too loud contained in the cabin.
Summing it up
Up to now so good, however all this doesn’t imply that the brand new Metropolis doesn’t have its share of issues. As an example, its delicate suspension setup – you’ll find it irresistible in the event you’re a rear-seat passenger – causes fairly a little bit of physique roll if you’re pushing the automotive. Secondly, the steering setup of the Metropolis nonetheless wants extra work. Whereas it does present a good quantity of really feel, there may be nonetheless an odd weight to it that’s typical of electrically assisted steering setups – and it feels a tad gradual to reply.
Whereas I get that Honda engineers have fitted the Metropolis with 185-section tyres for effectivity, however, for top pace stability, I believe 205-section tyres would do a significantly better job. Which brings me to 2 elements of the Metropolis that may have an effect on a buyer’s buy resolution – first, rear seat headroom goes to be a deal-breaker for taller individuals, and, second, there’s the difficulty of the decision of the multimedia display and the rear and side-view cameras. Whereas, in sensible use, the display works very well, the decision and UI design already feels a era behind. Because of this, each time I began the automotive, I needed to flip the brightness and distinction settings of the display to its most to make it seen. In its commonplace setting, it was very tough to make use of the display beneath direct daylight. Equally, the decision of the cameras additionally feels a era behind and must be up to date.
Now, I don’t know the costs of the Metropolis – they too shall be introduced at its launch in July – however right here’s what the I consider the automotive, with out factoring within the value. I cherished driving the brand new Metropolis, particularly with its new petrol engine. With the short and responsive engine, nice handbook gearbox, it rewards you in the event you put in some effort into your driving – and that at all times brings a smile to my face. Additionally, given its giant dimension, it clearly is a lower above most different vehicles in its section by way of practicality. And with its new options, high quality ranges, and know-how, there is no such thing as a doubt that it’s very class aggressive.
So, is it good? Nicely, like the unique VTEC, it’s not. I’d say that it might do higher with a stiffer suspension setup, better-tuned steering, and a few extra rear headroom. However, truthfully, after a really very long time, I’ve loved driving a Honda Metropolis. And, in the event you’re an fanatic, it ought to make you very excited. After a very long time of manufacturing individuals pleasers, evidently Honda is coming again to its roots of creating driver-focused vehicles. And, for me, it’s superb information certainly.
Positive, my love for the VTEC could also be a bit irrational, however that simply signifies that I’m already emotionally concerned with this automotive. And I actually hope to get to comprehend it even higher within the weeks and months to come back…
- Honda Metropolis 1.5 Petrol
- Honda Metropolis 1.5 Diesel
Engine: 1,498cc / Inline-4 / DOHC / i-VTEC with VTC
Energy: 119bhp @ 6,600rpm
Torque: 145Nm @ 4,300rpm
Transmission: 6-Pace Handbook / CVT Automated / Entrance-Wheel Drive
X-factor: The brand new Metropolis, in its petrol guise, has all of the making of a pleasant driver’s automotive!
• Terrific petrol engine
• Driving attraction
• Rear seat headroom
• Multimedia decision
Engine: 1,498cc / Inline-4 / Turbocharged / DOHC
Energy: 98bhp @ 3,600rpm
Torque: 200Nm @ 1,750rpm
Transmission: 6-Pace Handbook / Entrance-Wheel Drive
Additionally learn – New Honda City scores 5 stars in ASEAN NCAP