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View Poll Results: What petrol C segment sedan would you buy?
Honda City 1.5 iVtec 113 55.39%
Fiat Linea 1.4 Fire 91 44.61%
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Old 17th January 2009, 14:13   #1
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Default Linea vs City Comparison Report

There has been a lot of buzz in the C/C+ segment as we have been virtually flooded with cars in this segment. The two latest entrants from Honda and Fiat have set the scene alight for most of us. So much has been the hype, controversies and divisions over these cars, that cars like i20 have failed to remain in the spot light for long. The two cars e.i. All New Honda City (refered to as City from here on) and Fiat Linea are targeted at the same audience. The sedan aspiring sedan/premium hatch segment users that want to upgrade to a new sedan.

Both cars have different USPs and their future would be a litmus test as to what direction the C-Segment in India would take. Keeping this background in mind I took upon me the task of test driving/comparing the two cars for the benefit of our forum. Of course these are merely my observations to begin with, but I am sure that as this thread comes along we will have more and more views. I do not own either of the two cars, and untill yesterday I did not have an inclination one way or the other. So hopefully my views would be as neutral as humanly possible.

Linea Exterior
Linea has perhaps set a benchmark in this dept. I personally loved the italian curves in the pictures. Untill I decided to go see the car in person. In person I found a few things of the car dissapointing. The problem with having your PC outputting to a 42 inch LCD (as in my case) is that your aspect ratio becomes screwed up. So when I used to see Linea in pictures, it used to appear more wider than it actually is. In real life the car is not as wide, and perhaps looks like a hatch if viewed head on (Punto roots). However the sides are absolutely to drool about. The wheel covers on the Emotion + model in Deisel look as close to an alloy as wheel covers can possibly look. I can only imagine how good the alloys will look.

The headlight setup of the car is mouth watering... The rear of the car is good too, with huge booth space. From the side the car looks from a higher segment, owing to its long length. However the fit and finish is not upto European standards though, and the black tape used on the A-Pillars and between the doors shows the cost cutting. I had a 5/5 in my mind from looking at the pics of the car, but an in person view has slightly dented that expectation.

Another thing that came to mind was, with the slightest accident the cars front grill and radiator can take the impact, as the front bumper is merged with the grill.

Exterior Rating: 4/5

Linea vs City Comparison Report-linea.jpg


Honda City Exterior
Now before Linea came to fray, City had all the world drooling over it specially caz of the aero shot design and the hood. It was truly a step forward from the boring looking NHC.

However as more and more bhpian's saw the car in person their opinions started to change. The front of the car was truly remarkable (ala Civic) but the side profile of the car was boring, specially when pitted against the likes of Linea. The rear is perhaps the most controversial aspect of the cars design. When I had initially seen the car, I quite liked the BMWish rear setup. But when I saw the car on road, it looked wierd from the rear. Specially as the rear made the car appear less wide than the previous City and almost a segment smaller. All of a sudden this car looked like a C segment size as opposed to C+ segment size of its previous avtaar.

I must admit though, seeing the rear over and over again on Indian roads, the car has started to grow on me. The fit/pinish and paint job though very plain, but does not show visible signs of cost cutting. My heart is begining to change, but than giving it the same marks as Linea perhaps would take away from the wonderful effort that Fiat as put in.... So keeping that in mind here is the rating.

Exterior Rating: 3.5/5

Linea vs City Comparison Report-city1.jpg

Linea vs City Comparison Report-city2.jpg


Fiat Linea Interior
The interior of Linea is not as exciting as the exterior. Having said that its not a dissapointment either. At the first look the biege interior look great, the seats have good thigh support, the doors close with the traditional fiat thud, the central console has soo many gizmos to play with. But on a closer look, you'd find cost cutting is evident here. And its quite noticeable too. The quality of plastic users specially on the door panels with black and biege scheme is not upmarket. Now the problem with Linea is that it makes you feel that its an expensive car, so you automatically start expecting high quality finish and material. Whereas since the car is not priced exhorbitantly, its quite obvious that the material used is not of high quality. The fabric too that is used at the door panels is too light and would easily get dirty in India.

Here I would like to add, I quite like the interiors of SX4 as opposed to Linea. Before ppl jump the gun on me, here is why. If you have a budget to make the interiors, I rather prefer you choose black/brown plastic and fabric and at least dont try to look like upmarket. I think SX4 truly represents a car of its class. With Linea you have some peaces that are truly good, and some peaces that look cheap. So its a mixed feeling you get. I hope there was a better way to describe how I felt, but I hope it makes sense.

The internal space on Linea is not as big as the car appears from outside. The shoulder room is cramped (per the cars standard) and with the protruding central console, and bloated seats taking a lot of space, it actually made me feel a little claustrobic. I am sure it was just me. The rear headroom as has been rightly pointed out by many is cramped and can be very dangerous for rear seat passengers in the time of an accident. This might also have to do with the fact that the cars back seat is a little upright as opposed to comfortable seating position. This posture may be leading to less head space than there actually is. The rear also gets an AC vent, the first in its class to keep your knees cool

The silver central console has a lot of features to play with. The climate control is neat feature to have, though its difficult to judge in this weather how effective it would be. But the blowers are nice and powerful. The Emotion model does not come with steering mounted audo controls. The steering is nice, leather wrapped and meaty, but awkwardly looks kind of old. The music system does the job well, and even better is the fact that you can see what radio station/track is playing on the central console inside the speedometer. This is an uber cool feature to have.
To sum it all up, one expects lot, gets most, but is also dissapointed in some areas where quality of materials dampers the whole mood. Given the cost of the car though, it maybe too much to ask Fiat to work on this end. As stated before though, I rather sacrifice some features than to see Alto quality material used in some places.

Interior Rating: 4/5 (Subtracting .25 due to quality of material)

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Honda City Interior
When I first saw it, I liked a few bits. When I sat in it the second time, I was dissapointed as I started comparing it with NHC, after I sat again in the City after the Linea, my prespective had changed. OK, to begin with Honda has tried to save costs, but unlike the Linea they havent tried to make the car look upmarket. Therefore the quality of materials used is not in your face as they have tried to make it a no frills interior. Few things that definitely can improve the interiors a long way are:

Automatic Climate Control (unfortunately missing)

The silver finish central console

The problem with the interiors of Honda is that the color scheme of silver console in middle of the biege interiors (only in India) doesnt gel. I would have rather like a black silver scheme that they have internationally. But as there is the biege fixation in India, I cant really blame them. The AC controls look outright downmarket. The door panels look from a car of segment below.

The saving grace is the steering, the seats (I love the front seats) with ample thigh support, a more roomy feeling when compared to Linea, and the fact that somehow I feel that this car's material would age better than Linea. The new City does not pretend to be a car of a higher segment like Linea, so basically you get what it is on the face value. The audio quality is better than the Lineas, but not many gadgets to play with.

The car definitely feels wider, more roomier from the inside than the Linea. The rear head room though not good, but is still better than Linea. The rear seat posture is not upright and would be comfortable for long rides.
City's biggest undoing perhaps is the NHC, and what it made us expect from Honda in the interiors. The new City is a mixed bag, between the Linea and City its actually a close call than one would actually think. No frills quality (City) versus fully loaded car with quality mistmatch.

Interior Rating: 3.5/5

Linea vs City Comparison Report-city-interior.jpg

Linea Features and Gizmos
Now Linea has many Gizmos and Features. But going by just the top end emotion model for Diesel (which I think is going to be the most popular model), here is what you dont get:

- Alloys
- Airbags
- ABS/EBD
- USB Stereo
- Blue and Me
- Foldable side view mirrors

If you do go with Option pack you still dont get the alloys (they are available as acceriors in Deisel), the reason I am hammering this point is that Honda has been blamed a lot for not giving alloys and somehow Fiat has escaped the radar by not giving alloys in the Diesel model. Emotion Pack however does pack a punch of features, many of which like Blue and Me that can put cars of higher segments to shame. Some nice features like having the boot opener on the central console.

Features Rating: 4.5/5

Honda City Features and Gizmos
Honda has deprived Indians of alloys, climate control, perhaps the two biggest features why it has got such an unfavorable rating from most bhpians in this dept. They cant be singled out for not giving alloys though, but climate control is a definite thing thats missing for a car of its cost. Not much to write here so lets just give the rating.

Features Rating: 3/5

Linea Safety
The top Emotion Option pack model gets Airbags, ABS/EDB, 3 point seat belt system. But Fiat has left us wanting here, specially as Honda has done a one up on them as providing ABS and Airbags as standard on all varians. Fiat does not give an option to have Airbags even in Dynamic variant and they dont come as standard in Emotion. Its not a move that I like, as I dont think Indians should be given an option of safety or saving the buck. Force safety like Honda even if it means increased price.

Safety Rating: 2.5/5 (As I dont see many buying Emotion Option Pack)

Honda City Safety
It seems to me that Honda have taken all the negative feedback of NHC and tried to revert that in ANHC. However in doing so they forgot some of the key things that NHC was famous for, mainly interiors and FE. Having said that they do seem to have upped the game for all cars in this segment by making ABS and Airbags as standard across all models. Even they could have priced the car less by 40-50k by not giving these features or launching another model without these features. That would have meant more sales, but they have taken the higher moral ground here and I salute them for this!

Saftey Rating: 4.5/5

Linea Engine and Driveability
Perhaps the most dissapointing aspect of Linea is the detuned 85 bhp MJD engine. No matter what Fiat advocates tell you about gear ratios, torque curve, driveability, etc. This car is SLOW.

Its not painfully slow, it does pull, but its not a drivers car by any criteria. The car is heavy and the MJD which famously does duty in the Swift struggles to pull a car thats nearly 1300 kg kerb weight. With full 4 passengers I can imagine it would struggle even more. The VGT never lets you feel the kick that its younger sibbling is famous for.

This perhaps would translate in to good FE, and this car would become an instant hit with tour operators buying a Corolla at the moment. But for a self drive owner, this is perhaps the biggest let down. Now you'd get many ppl say that even NHC was 77 bhp and was a hit. But somehow 0-100 in NHC was around 13-14 seconds, and it felt light and zippy in traffic. But Linea feels sluggish and heavy and turbo lag is quite evident below 2k RPM.

It took me forever to reach 120 kmph. I think I dozzed off and woke up again by the time it reached 120.... Fiat has gambled heavily in this dept. I cant believe the only manfacturer to give a truly Sports version of a hatch in India, has now retorted to this.

The suspesion is a fine balance of performance and comfort, no complaints on this front. Steering too is fairly responsive.

Engine and Driveability: 2.5/5 (taking into consideration the FE, I still cant give more)

Honda City and Driveability
I must admit, I had driven Honda City before Linea and it hadnt felt all that great. Specially when you think it had 116 bhp on the tap. The top end was great, the pull was linear but it didnt give you the feeling like OHC Vtec. But after having driven Linea I went to Honda's showroom again for a test drive. Boy, does having a back to back test drive change your opinion or not!

I was blown away of how quick the car reached 100, even though it didnt feel like I was doing 100 kmph. In no time I was doing 140 kmph on NH8 near Haldiram and the Pearl Honda sales rep was already sweating. The car FE was being shown as 10.5 kmpl. Which was ok, as I felt the car had much more to offer and I could have easily done 160 kmph. It is definitely under tyred unline Linea and tyre upgrade is mandatory. The steering was very responsive though the suspension was a tad stiff. If it was a heart over mind decision, Honda City wins hands down. If its an FE issue, I guess the MJD scores high.

Engine and Driveability: 4.5/5 (taking into consideration the painfully sluggish Linea experience)

Overall Rating:
Now I havent compared pricing. You may ask why? Well firstly I dont think its fair to compare the Petrol Linea with the Honda City as the quality of engines make the two cars a segment apart. So the only meaningful comparison would be of Honda City and Fiat Linea MJD. The only meaningfully close model that comes in comparison with Honda City E is Linea Dynamic Option Pack. Honda has additional airbags and Linea gets the Stereo. Now both can be had at around close to 8 lakhs in Gurgaon. Linea might be cheaper by 20k, but that is probably going to be offset by the resale value.

Total Rating Linea:
4+4+4.5+2.5+2.5=17.5/25

Total Rating City:
4.5+ 4.5 + 3 + 3.5 +3.5 = 19/25

Fiat has begun their second innnings in India and I hope things get better!

PS. Thanks to Bhpians for the pictures.

Note from Mod : Omar's comparison report of the ANHC & Linea have been added as an attachment to this post.

GTOs summary of the C Segment:

Quote:
Lets look at the other factors that make a car:

- Performance : City > SX4 > Verna > Linea

- Fuel efficiency : City > SX4 > Linea > Verna

- Ride quality : Linea > City > Verna > SX4

- Handling : Linea > SX4 > City > Verna

- Interior space : City > Verna > SX4 > Linea

- Looks : Linea > City > SX4 > Verna (purely my opinion)

- Overall Fit / Finish : City > Verna > SX4 > Linea

- Features : Linea > SX4 > City > Verna

- Brand (for those whom it matters to) : City > SX4 > Verna > Linea
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Linea_vs_Honda City_v1.pdf (32.0 KB, 1282 views)

Last edited by GTO : 8th October 2009 at 19:24.
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Old 17th January 2009, 14:23   #2
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@aseem
I have read that ANHC steering is adjustable for both reach and rake but did not check it personally if 'reach ajustment' is present. Do you have any insights on this?
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Old 17th January 2009, 14:24   #3
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well written comparison.You have taken into account every aspect - safety,driveability,resale,exterior,interior,featu res e.t.c.
would be nice if you add service costs, accidental repair costs into account as well!!
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Old 17th January 2009, 14:40   #4
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This is one fine and detailed comparison. Thanks Aseem.

Can understand all the above differences, but where Linea could have scored well was with the engine and it seems that is where they goofed up the most! Sad!
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Old 17th January 2009, 14:46   #5
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Nice and detailed comparison.
But I think that you could have considered that Linea runs on diesel fuel and will be cheaper to run. Other advantage Linea has is ride and handling, and may be sound insulation from the outside noise entering the cabin.

I think this a very close fight and eventually Honda would win.
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Old 17th January 2009, 14:47   #6
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Great comparison almost felt as if I was reading some genuine auto magazine

Both the cars appeal to different segment of buyers. For people like me who self drive would prefer a zippy car with a slight compromise in FE. However people with chauffeurs driven cars (which is a very common sight in India) might not really care about the power and go for the looks and FE of the Linea.

For Fiat its a gamble and wish them luck for the second innings. For Honda it will sell no matter what.
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Old 17th January 2009, 14:49   #7
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@aseem
I am also curious when team-bhpians (even Auto magazines ) say about the quality of plastics in a certain car.

In your case did you go by the 'feel' of the plastics, which is basically a perception of quality? Becasue quality of plastics has many other dimensions from engineering pespective. What we can see and feel are the colour, texture(grain) and the hardness of the plastic used.

We can also see the fit and finish (like spalshes and panel gaps) but they have less to do with the quality of plastic and mostly decided by the pecision of the moulds.
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Old 17th January 2009, 14:51   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aaggoswami View Post
Nice and detailed comparison.
But I think that you could have considered that Linea runs on diesel fuel and will be cheaper to run. Other advantage Linea has is ride and handling, and may be sound insulation from the outside noise entering the cabin.

I think this a very close fight and eventually Honda would win.
I dont remeber who the inventor for the theorem was, but it went like this:

You cant accurately measure anything without changing it.

Similary one cant objectively review anything without being slightly subjective. In the end there had to be one winner, and I promise you I didnt know who it might be untill I totalled my own observations. I totally agree cost of running for Linea would be low, but its safe to assume that would be offset by the high resale value of the City. We also have to see how Fiat does on A.S.S and spares. Leaving the FE and Resale out of equation, I have given you a review merely on my test drive observations.

Last edited by aseem : 17th January 2009 at 14:52.
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Old 17th January 2009, 14:53   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aseem View Post

Linea Safety
The top Emotion Option pack model gets Airbags, ABS/EDB, 3 point seat belt system. But Fiat has left us wanting here, specially as Honda has done a one up on them as providing ABS and Airbags as standard on all varians. Fiat does not give an option to have Airbags even in Dynamic variant and they dont come as standard in Emotion. Its not a move that I like, as I dont think Indians should be given an option of safety or saving the buck. Force safety like Honda even if it means increased price.

Safety Rating: 2.5/5 (As I dont see many buying Emotion Option Pack)

Honda City Safety
It seems to me that Honda have taken all the negative feedback of NHC and tried to revert that in ANHC. However in doing so they forgot some of the key things that NHC was famous for, mainly interiors and FE. Having said that they do seem to have upped the game for all cars in this segment by making ABS and Airbags as standard across all models. Even they could have priced the car less by 40-50k by not giving these features or launching another model without these features. That would have meant more sales, but they have taken the higher moral ground here and I salute them for this!

Saftey Rating: 4.5/5
very well written comparo Aseem. But I would disagree on safety. What you have written holds true if MJD (8.35 for E+) is compared with iVtec (7.95 only for E). But if a person is considering iVtec E then he will atleast take a look at FIRE (7.20 for E+). then Linea should also score 4.5 on safety. isn't it??

According to me Linea 19.5/25 (increasing those 2 points for safety) and city 19/25. Cheers

Last edited by Comrade : 17th January 2009 at 14:57. Reason: added a line
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Old 17th January 2009, 14:54   #10
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While I agree with most of the review, here is my take on this comparison-

1. You have given 2.5 for the linea on the safety parameter, assuming that most people will not go in for the emotion pack version. However in my case, if I do get myself a linea, it will be the emotion pack version which has ABS and airbags. So just like the city, my rating on that front would be 4.5. This makes it 19.5 for the linea and 19 for the city.

2. I would also include another parameter- FE and keep it separate from engine or driveability. I would rate the linea as 4.5 on this front and the city as 3 or 3.5. This would make it 24 for the linea and 22 for the city.

3. Lastly, I'm sot sure if I would add up all the ratings to come up with an overall rating. In a generic comparison, maybe I would, but realistically, I would give different weightage to each of these parameters. In my case, outright power and accereleration is not half as important as safety, FE or build quality (and the linea scores better on the last 2 points). I try to stick to the speed limits as much as possible, which means most of the time I do 40-60 within city limits and 80-100 on the highways. I'm sure there are others for whom it might be the other way round so it all boils down to individual prferences.
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Old 17th January 2009, 15:02   #11
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very good writeup!

but i think that ABS/Airbags is available in Dynamic Option Pack and is standard in Emotion. I feel Dynamic Option Pack would be the biggest selling variant of Linea.

about the power, yes, its not a "driver's car" but it will hit the right note for the majority of car buyers who would not be ripping it anyway and would enjoy the great FE! Fiat has done a wise thing here but they could have introduced a "sporty" variant with a 1.9 MJD engine targeting driving enthusiasts.

Last edited by CtrlAltDel : 17th January 2009 at 15:12.
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Old 17th January 2009, 15:13   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aseem View Post
I dont remeber who the inventor for the theorem was, but it went like this:

You cant accurately measure anything without changing it.

Similary one cant objectively review anything without being slightly subjective. In the end there had to be one winner, and I promise you I didnt know who it might be untill I totalled my own observations. I totally agree cost of running for Linea would be low, but its safe to assume that would be offset by the high resale value of the City. We also have to see how Fiat does on A.S.S and spares. Leaving the FE and Resale out of equation, I have given you a review merely on my test drive observations.
Nice detailed review. More such detailed inputs from other t-bhpians will make it wide comparison adjusting for individual preferences and points of need - be very helpful for potential ANHC or Linea buyers.

The principle you refer to is probably the Heisenberg's Uncertainty principle :-)
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Old 17th January 2009, 15:35   #13
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Superbly written review. Which ever car scores more is indeed a bit subjective, but Honda deserves kudos just for the fact that they have provided ABS and airbags as standard. I dont think it would cost Fiat much to do the same.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lancer_rit View Post
The principle you refer to is probably the Heisenberg's Uncertainty principle :-)
It is indeed Heisenberg's Uncertainity Principle. In plain English it says that whenever the position of an atom is measured, its momentum changes by an uncertain amount.
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Old 17th January 2009, 15:43   #14
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@aseem - 2.5 on safety for Linea is a joke. I cannot buy your argument that FIAT has lower end versions - so should suffer on security. The lowest model City E will come around the same price of Petrol Topend which has airbags - so your logic is flawed.

While its easy for us to blame FIAT that it should provide airbags for all versions, we should understand that that would increase prices by 20-30K, and FIAT is right in pricing lower variants - due to its current circumstances. FIAT is an nderdog and it cannot afford such a risk. Besides a safety minded buyer always have the option to buy it.

Last edited by SkyWalker : 17th January 2009 at 15:44.
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Old 17th January 2009, 15:47   #15
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i guess this comparison is wrong.especially comparing it with diesel version.please compare the petrol engine which i feel could be even worse
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