Honda City tested

By RIZAL JOHAN | 30 September 2014

This year’s Hari Raya celebrations was not unlike previous years as I made my yearly sojurn to Pekan, Pahang, the birthplace of my mom, and where my grandmother, uncles, aunts and cousins currently reside

But I was still "working" in the sense that I had the top-of-the-range 1.5-litre Honda City V variant for the whole week to try out.

No rest for the wicked, right?

Honda City 1.5 V with Modulo bodykit - 01

While my attempt at sarcasm is laughable (it is funny, right?), driving around in the new City always puts a smile on my face no matter how hard a critic I was every time I drove the car.

Sure, there are some noticeable changes with the fourth generation in terms of design, especially the grille, the arched rear beltline and a sleeker appearance overall compared to its predecessor.

I could argue about the design but the subject matter will always remain relative and in this case, the test car was fitted with the Modulo bodykit which included side skirts and a wing in the rear.

Believe it or not, this bodykit made a whole lot of difference because the car looked sportier without drawing too much attention to itself.

Plus, you stand out among the other sea of Citys out there.

But there is a big difference inside.

The new City has refreshed its design of the dash, which now incorporates a seven-inch touch screen display, a touch panel climate control and push-start button.

It is also a lot more spacious for its occupants but the capacity of storage bins, cubby holes and the glove box have been reduced in the process compared to the previous iteration of the City.

Honda City 1.5 V with Modulo bodykit - 13
It is a fair trade-off because you will not get to clutter the car as much since storage spaces fill up fairly easily.

There are however, a total of eight cup holders so nobody will ever need to hold a drink longer than necessary.

And in keeping with the times, the new City has upped the features for all your gadgets with an HDMI socket, two USB ports and three 12-volt outlets.

The only problem I had is that the car’s Bluetooth system only recognises iOS devices, so I was not able to use my Android-based smartphone with it.

The three dial instrument cluster now emits a bluish-purple hue in the perimeter which very nicely matched the colour of the car known as Brilliant Sporty Blue Metallic.

Call me shallow but I like these type of touches.

As I mentioned earlier, it has a roomier interior as the wheelbase now measures at 2,600mm, which comes very close to the dimensions of a bigger segment car like the Civic.

Honda City 1.5 V with Modulo bodykit - 03
In fact the Civic’s wheelbase is only longer by 70mm compared to the City.

Since my wife was the only other occupant in the car, there was more than enough room for the two of us but most importantly, the seats were soft which made it very comfortable and relaxing especially for the outstation journey we undertook.

As for performance, the City has 120PS and a maximum torque of 145Nm which is more than adequate for this sedan but with the continuously variable transmission (CVT), you get a smooth delivery on top of it.

It does drone a bit when flooring the throttle but it is not overwhelming.

The trick here is to be light-footed and you will soon realise how much better the car responds and how it should be treated.

Honda City 1.5 V with Modulo bodykit - 04
Steering is responsive and light but it does not take away your confidence when you’re travelling at higher speeds.

And with the Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA), the car handles really well during the windy turns as I discovered on the Karak highway.

I also discovered that the City is really frugal with fuel and even more so with the Econ mode turned on.

Honda City 1.5 V with Modulo bodykit - 05The official consumption figures is at 17.56km per litre and I was pleasantly surprised with how economical this car is, so it is a big plus for those of you who want to save on petrol money.

After Raya day prayers and eating the Raya food fare which is also a big part of the celebration, it was time to go visiting extended family members in and around Pekan and eat some more.
So there I was ferrying my wife, parents and nephew around in a particularly hot and sunny day but everybody was cool and comfortable (the rear air con vents does help).

I had no problems getting in-and-out of some of the narrower roads found in the villages in Pekan and the City’s suspension setup is firm but soft enough to absorb bumpy and gravel surfaces we encountered.

I have come to the conclusion that the new City has really leaped forward from the previous generation with the convenience (keyless entry and push start engine), functionality (the larger cabin and 536 litres of boot space) as well as improved safety, performance and fuel efficiency.

Is it any wonder then that there are so many Citys on the road?




CarSifu's Rating: 7.5