Road Test : Honda City VTi
Review by Tristan Tancredi - 24 October 2012
The new and improved Honda City has arrived. Not only have the folk at Honda upgraded the interior quality and the exterior styling, they have managed to squeeze the price down even lower.
Available in both VTi and VTi-L (Luxury), the Honda City isn't exactly a major player on the Australian market. However, by minimising the price yet increasing the quality of the product, Honda will hope they can rekindle the small family sedan segment.
It's been a battle for Honda to bring this car to fruition. Is the wait worth it? Let's take a closer look at the VTi City 5-Speed Manual and find out.
The seating position of the Honda City sets the scene for a well engineered, intrinsically designed yet simple Small Family Sedan.
The driver sits in a high position that is in perfect alignment to the gear stick yet remains ideal for views to the road ahead (and behind). This not only gives the driver a sense of total control of the vehicle, it makes the driver feel at one with the car, a total sense of comfort.
It may not have the luxurious sports leather interior, or the fancy gizmos of a car in a different price realm, but the Honda City nears brilliance with what it intends to be. A simple, easy to drive, stylish and engaging sedan.
Hitting the tarmac and it was time to test out what the 1.5 litre i-VTEC engine could deliver. Could the 5-Speed Manaul Gearbox live up to what we have come to expect from the folk at Honda?
Whilst not death-defyingly fast, the Honda City held it's own when we put the pedal to the floor. Despite being a little slow and unresponsive in the bottom gears, the car levelled out when reaching the mid to higher gears. Thus providing an entertaining driving experience.
The engine does create a bit of a rattle/tinny noise when pushing through the gears, none of which is unbearable.
We were pleasantly surprised with the handling of the Honda City. Whilst not perfect when throwing the car into corners it more than adequately provides a comfortable ride on all tested surfaces.
Oh, and a nice touch is an ECO light which illuminates when the car is driving "Eco Friendly". Just like a gentle pat on the back from Honda saying, "Job well done, nice driving".
The Honda City is powered by a 1.5 Litre 4-Cylinder SOHC i-VTEC Engine. This is the same Engine used in the Honda Jazz (A hatch slightly cheaper and grossly more popular than the City).
Available in both 5-Speed Manual and 5-Speed Automatic transmission (VTi-L only avaiable in Auto) the Honda City delivers maximum power of 88kW @ 6600rpm and maximum torque figures of 145Nm @ 4800rpm.
The 5-Speed manual VTi we put to the test on a variety of Aussie Terrain performs admirably for a small sedan powered by a 1.5 litre engine. Consuming 6.3 litres per 100kms, the Vti Manual is very Eco Friendly. (6.6 litres for the VTi-L and VTi Auto).
In fact, the City Vti Manual emits 148g/km of CO2.
The notable differences between this the 2012 City and the previous model are the redesigned brake lights, the redesigned front and rear bumpers and the addition of a chrome grille up front.
15" Alloys come standard with the City VTi. It must be said that the 15" Alloys did seem a little lacklustre. Perhaps a little too bland. Picture this: A bold front grille, style lines running the length of the vehicle and halogen headlights. And to top it off, the car we were given was black, my personal favourite. Now add to the equation 15" Alloys and you see what's letting this car down.
Thankfully 16" Alloys are available as an option. We'd take that option in a heartbeat.
Overall, the Honda City is a stylish, modern, 4-door family Sedan.
It's almost guaranteed that any new vehicle will come with a 5-star safety rating. Hell, it's one of the most important, if not THE most important aspect new car buyers look for.
So without furher adou, we give to you another 5-star rated Honda. The City passed all crash tests admirably. Combine this with a full sized spare wheel in the spacious boot and a host of other safety features and you get yourself a very safe small sedan.
Safety features include; Front, Side with Front Passenger and Curtain Airbags, ABS, EBD, Progressive Front and Rear Crumple Zones and Vehicle Stability Assist with Traction Control.
The Honda City provides all that is to be expected from a well-priced Honda sedan. It doesn't come with all the luxuries of a car three times its price and nor should it. What it does come with is sufficient, pleasant and nothing fancy yet decent bang for your buck.
The front cloth seats are comfortable and provide adequate back support. It's back to the basics for the Honda City. No electronic seat positioning with this vehicle. Manual labour dominates proceedings.
The Base model City (VTi) that we threw around for a week comes with cloth interior, a simple dash with an on screen computer and a neat layout. However a City Luxury is available (VTi-L) and this comes with Chrome plating inside the door handle and on the centre console control dials and knobs. It also comes with aluminium looked painted finish door inner lining and switch panel. Overall a slightly more refined interior finish.
The biggest flaw we found with the Front Dash is the lack of Radio Buttons (1-6) for designated stations, instead you have to scan through the frequencies using the steering wheel. Terribly annoying!
Other then that issue, the sound system is decent with 4 speakers (2 more optional) up the front and back. Bluetooth, USB Connectivity and AUX input are all standard.
So, does the Honda City deliver enough bang for your buck?
Priced from only $18,490* the City doesn't pretend to be any more than it is. It provides high quality interior, a five star safety rating and a pleasant driving experience all for less than $20,000. Honda has won us over with this four door sedan, that's for sure.
In Hondas own words, The Honda City is a "Brilliant, Practical, Safe Small Car". Damn right it is!
* Prices are manufacturer list prices only, for the drive away price please contact your local authorised Honda dealer.
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