April 01, 2014

DRIVEN: 2014 Honda City !

 Everybody was asking the same question when Honda Malaysia first rolled out the all-new 4th generation Honda City: "Is it better than the 3rd generation Toyota Vios?". We'll soon find out. Being an owner of the 2nd generation City myself, I was eager to find out how much has the City improved, especially when CVT gearbox makes its comeback ever since the 2nd generation, where it went 'missing' in the 3rd generation.

 It's undeniable that the 2014 City looks better than its already quite good looking predecessor. Some say its rear end now looks like a Bimmer, classy indeed. The familiar but improved 1.5 litre i-VTEC engine from the 3rd generation City produces 120PS at 6600rpm and 145Nm of torque at 4600rpm. Coupled with a CVT transmission, the City is capable to achieve 17.5km/l fuel consumption figure. That's pretty close to the 1.2 litre Mitsubishi Attrage which is rated at 21km/l!


The 2014 City is available in S, S+, E and V variant, creating options for either the cost-conscious buyers or the buyers who prefer their cars to be laden with features. It has grown in size too, being 25mm longer but its wheelbase has increased by 50mm to 2600mm, matching one of its B-segment sedan competitors, the Nissan Almera. Sit in the rear seats and you'll be fascinated by the amount of legroom available, although headroom is a little limited to taller people around 180cm and above. Honda claimed that the City is bigger than the Camry in terms of interior space. Well, you be the judge. 

Open the front door and 3 blue rings in the instrument cluster of the Grade V lit up, welcoming you to the rather calm cabin. Piano black centre console is a classy touch, but it's also a fingerprint magnet. Make sure to touch only the 5-inch screen but not anywhere else. If you do, you will also find that the dashboard and door panel are all made of hard plastic, except for the small area above the glove box which is padded (only in Grade V though). The plastic doesn't felt neither as well-built nor comes with as good looking texture as of the Vios. Thankfully, the touchscreen air-cond panel is sensitive to the touch and the leather-wrapped steering wheel felt comfy when gripped. 


Stepped on the brake, pushed in the push-start button and the engine was awaken with a mild jolt. Perhaps the Honda City Hybrid, which is going to be launched later this year, would fair an even better job in creating a more refined start-up. Once on the move, it glided on the road without any noticeable shift-shock, thanks to the CVT gearbox.

I tried to imitate slow-moving traffic jam to bring out the infamous 'rubber band effect' and 'bunny hopping' but my efforts were to no avail. There is also no annoying whine when the gear is engaged in reverse or moving from standstill (by the way, rearward visibility is a little constrained due to the sloping roof line). This proves that Honda has modified and improved its CVT compared to the one found in 2nd generation City. However, it's still unknown on the reliability and durability of this CVT gearbox with Earth Dreams Technology.

Acceleration was a brisk with two adults on board, even on an uphill stretch. As a typical free-revving i-VTEC engine from Honda, the growl is raspy and addictive when it is revved. Not intrusive, but just enough to provoke the inner speed spirit within you. Brakes were strong enough to put the City into a halt rapidly if you are too carried away with the speed. Handling was good for a car of its class, however the steering feel was a let down, dull and uninspiring. It will be a boon in the city and when parking the City though. Suspension setup was slightly on the firm side, but still manage to isolate many road undulations with pride. 

The all-new Honda City is a better product compared to its predecessor, and is offered with more variants (and lower price) to make it more appealing to bigger range of customers. All in all, the all-new City is not exactly a winner in the ever-competitive B-segment. It has its areas to shine, but as a whole, there's still some catching up need to be done. 

Only time will tell on the durability of the newly designed CVT gearbox, one of the greatest problems occur in the 2nd generation Honda City. But considering the super stylish design, responsive powertrain, class-leading features and ample cabin space, the Honda City makes a good option when shopping for a B-segment sedan. 

+ Equipment for the high specs, styling, performance, rear legroom.
- Cabin materials, rearward visibility, CVT's reliability is still questionable.

*Thanks for reading! Please like my page at SimonHar.com and subscribe SiMon HaR_!

7 Gossips:

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