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Old 7th September 2011, 17:34   #1
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Default Our 2011 Silver Honda City (ANHC) VAT: A journey from Dreams to Reality

The prelude:
It was the mid of 2010. Our faithful ride (read Maruti Alto), was still doing fantastic, but we had been dreaming of graduating to a slightly bigger car.
There were also parallel plans being made to re-locate to our home town (what some people call Bang-galore, due to cars banging into humps/potholes/each other I guess). So the car upgrade had to wait.

But then I am a guy, and a true one at it. So once the new car came into the mind, I spent loads of time researching on it, a lot of which would pay dividends over a year later.

Not that we had a problem with the Alto. It really amazes me what Maruti has done with this car. A cheap, highly efficient, highly reliable and fairly comfortable car. I only had to take it to the service station once a year, and spend around 3K on it annually, and it would faithfully serve me, being really frugal on fuel consumption. A great car indeed. But we needed a slightly bigger car for those weekend runs we hope to do when in Bangalore.

A lot happened between then and now. VW and Toyota decided to get into the volumes market. Out came the Vento and Etios. Honda reduced prices on the City, and dealers continued the pre-reduction offers. The confusion kept mounting. I faithfully followed all review threads in T-BHP. My pass time changed from watching movies on my laptop, to reading reviews on T-BHP. Wife thought I was mad, but then who cares. I kept a close eye on the Vento, Etios, Fluidic and New Fiesta.


The decision making:
Finally, the move to Bangalore happened in July 2011. And it was time we started discussing what we wanted in our next car.
1. Slightly more spacious and comfortable than our current ride (Alto).
2. More luggage carrying capacity
3. Easy to drive in city. So an Automatic was starting to gain prominence. This would also help my wife drive around easily.
4. Reliability. Spoiled by the Maruti reliability, this would be a difficult one to get, especially from newer brands.
5. Budget could stretch upto the whereabouts 10L.
6. Did not expect to run more than 800-1000 kms per month. So a diesel was not very important.
7. Longevity. Having kept a humble Alto for 6 years meant a more expensive car would probably serve me for longer.

In the meantime, we had started traveling to office (30 kms up and down) daily. We noted the traffic conditions. Saw a lot of Auto i10s in Bangalore compared to Hyderabad. The desire to go for an Automatic became stronger. After debating the above points, we shortlisted the following:
1. ANHC V AT
2. Vento Highline AT
3. Hyundai Fluidic AT
4. Hyundai i20 Auto.

We did not consider the i10 and A-Star autos since they were small, and remember, we wanted a slightly bigger car.

One fine Sunday, I called a Hyundai Showroom in Bangalore to fix up a test drive. I was politely told they do not offer test drives on weekend. They would call me on a week day and get me the cars for test drives (the call is yet to come though).
I also tele-inquired the prices and any offers.

The Fluidic SXO AT was 11.74L OTR Bangalore, with no offers what so ever. This was pretty high considering our budget, and the Vento/City pricing. Also, the reviews indicated that the space in the rear was not great. And the car was pretty new to take a call on reliability. So we decided not to take this option further.

The i20 Asta AT was 9.23L with around 2.5K discounts. Paying a little over a lakh more would get me a more spacious sedan. Paying around 9L for a hatch did not make much sense.

So the options now narrowed down to the ANHC and Vento. Time to test drive and decide.

Last edited by Rehaan : 12th September 2011 at 18:38.
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Old 7th September 2011, 17:37   #2
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Default re: Our 2011 Silver Honda City (ANHC) VAT: A journey from Dreams to Reality

Evaluation in Flesh and Bones (Test Drives)
ANHC:
Visited Magnum Honda on Kanakpura Road on a Saturday evening. Was greeted by a sales rep. Told him we wanted to check the City Automatic. The rep explained the car and let me feel the demo car. The explanation in any case was redundant, thanks to my research (mainly on team-bhp). But a patient hearing does not harm.
It was then time for a test drive. I was driving an AT in India for the first time. So I was a bit careful initially. The benefit of an AT was immediately evident on the clogged Kanakapura road. We then entered a near-by road which was almost deserted. I was able to put the car through its paces here.

Test drive impressions for ANHC (all IMHO):
1. Space: The cabin was very spacious. Both front and rear seats were comfortable with sufficient head and leg rooms. Boot was huge.
2. Interiors: Decent. Most of the interiors looked good. But the silver center console was a eye sore.
3. Exterior looks: Good. Does not feel outdated (even after 3 years). More sporty.
4. Engine: Butter smooth engine. You can hardly hear the engine idle. Very slight noise during the drive, only during the initial pickup.
5. Transmission: Gear changes were smooth, but noticable. The paddles did not seem very responsive. Not sure if this was specific to this car, or since I was driving one for the first time. The rep suggested I use the paddles in S mode. Shited to S mode. Still, the gear changes did not seem as quick as I would want. The tranny response to sudden accelleration seemed good though.
7. ICE: The music system was good (not a big sound freak, and this one was way better than the Pioneer I had in my Alto).
8. Ride and Handling: The ride was smooth. No GC issues during the test drive. Did some maneuvers at around 80. Felt safe. No issues here. Did not face any of the most read about GC issues.

So far, all was as per research. An overall great package. Now with reduced price and more offers.

Back at the showroom, I learnt that Jazz is off the shelf now, awaiting a facelift. So I started doubting if Honda would bring in a Jazz AT. I have loved Jazz for its city practicality and space. But the lack of AT was ruling it out. So was now confused if I should wait for the facelift. Told the rep I would wait for the Jazz release to confirm there is no AT. Also got the quote and best offer he could make for the City AT. Told him I would get back after a week, by when I can check the Vento out, and will have more details on the new Jazz.

Vento:
I called VW on Monday. Asked for a AT test drive of Vento. Was told all sales reps are in a meeting and someone would would call back. I then went back to work, waiting for the rep's call at the back of my mind.
Nothing happened till Wed, no call, no test drive. So I had to call the showroom again. I was told the AT is out for service. Ok, so when will it be back. "Sir, 3-4 days, can't say". You need 3-4 days to service a car, that too, a test-drive one?. "Yes sir, it met with an accident". Wow. Ok, Then I will have to buy the City. "No sir, will give you contact of our other show room. They have an AT for test drive". Oh. Why then did you not coordinate with them yourself? Anyway, I got the other showrooms number and called them. I got the same dreaded response again. "Sir. All our reps are in a meeting. Will ask our sales rep to call you". Why do the VW reps get into a meeting always? Beats me. But this time, got a call back, and fixed up a time for test drive.
The rep was in my office next day with the Car.

Test drive impressions for Vento (all IMHO):
1. Space: The cabin felt spacious. Front seats were comfortable. Now checked out the rear seat. Felt good. Moved to the center of rear seat. Wait...am I a sitting in a car, or on a wall with one leg on either side? This is a HUGE hump. Pointed it to the rep who says, "sir this is the catalytic converter (really?). This makes the car stable and stick to the road. The City will fly away over 100 kmph (oh really, great, then I should go for the city, I will get a free air ride when I go over 100!)". Boot was huge.
2. Interiors: Felt good. Better than the city.
3. Exterior looks: Classy. Elegant. I personally preferred this.
4. Engine: Butter smooth engine as in the City.
5. Transmission: Gear changes were smooth, almost not noticeable. The tiptronic was great. Very responsive, and was fun to use, compared to the paddles.
7. ICE: The music system was ok, but did not feel as good as the one in ANHC.
8. Ride and Handling: The ride was smooth. I drove it on the Marathhalli ring road. No opportunity to push the car due to the traffic. But the car was nice and comfortable in city traffic and potholes, seemed very very solid.

Overall, the car felt very solid, nice to drive, but less roomy than the City (especially the rear seat). We then discussed the pricing and offers and told him we would get back in a week.

In the meantime, called another Honda dealer (Whitefield Honda, Sivajinagar) and asked for a TD. Was told the rep would call back. That never happened. So called them back next day and got the number of the rep. Called the rep myself, and fixed up time for a TD. He was at my house on a Tue evening. The test drive felt slightly better this time, especially the transmission. It felt smoother, and the paddles felt more responsive. This was the only thing which did not seem right the first time. Again, no GC issues. So the biggest concern reported in the forums was not an issue for my driving style (there were some BIG humps near my house where I did this TD)

Then discussed the price with the rep. He offered 11.48L OTR - 58K cash discount. I told him I am looking for 85K cash discount, plus accessories (side beading, bumper protectors, 3M sun film, floor mat, body cover, reverse parking sensor), thanks to the new car price check thread on team-bhp. He said he can do the accessories. For the cash discount, he said he would check and call me the next day.

It was now time for more concrete discussions on these two cars. I was sold out on the feel and looks of the Vento. But wife pointed the main reason for considering this class of cars, the space. Surely City won on this front.
I pointed to the features in Vento (rear AC vents, remote control of windows, boot etc.). But she pointed to the better mileage possibility of the ANHC and its proven track record. I also reminded myself of the better reports of A** for ANHC, vs lack of substantial reports for VW.
Then there were reports of an impending facelift for ANHC. Buying a Vento would ensure I have a newer model of the car and would not feel shortchanged soon. But wife pointed to the discounts we are getting for the ANHC. Who cares about the facelift? We are getting our dream car at a discounted price.

In the meantime, forums in team-bhp confirmed that there would no AT for the Jazz. I also was closely monitoring ownership thread from mdsaab, carthom, noopster etc. With all the discussions and information, we finally made up out mind. The ANHC seemed to slightly better fit (only slightly) the 7 requirements I listed above. So, the ANHC it will be (with a sad good bye to the Vento option...yes I still turn to see a Vento while sitting in my ANHC). Now, it was the time for serious negotiations on the ANHC.

Last edited by Rehaan : 12th September 2011 at 18:38.
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Old 7th September 2011, 17:39   #3
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Default re: Our 2011 Silver Honda City (ANHC) VAT: A journey from Dreams to Reality

Price negotiations
The Whitefield Honda rep never called back the next day on the offer I asked for (he called me the day after, by when the deal was finalized). In the meantime, the Magnum Honda rep kept calling me for the final decision. I called him home for negotiations. He came with his manager. He had initially quoted 11.38L OTR - 65K cash discount, which was 10.65L. This was without 3+4 yr warranty + RSA. I asked for the same 85K cash discount, plus accessories listed above. After a little haggling, the price was finalized. The final deal:

What I pay:
10.68 OTR (which is 80K less than the OTR including 3+4 yr Warranty).

What I get:
Of course a ANHC VAT
3M sun films (windows and rear, no front)
Body Colored door protectors
Black Bumper protectors (I can get the body colored ones by paying 6K extra)
Reverse Parking Sensor
Floor mats (these actually come from Honda itself. So nothing from the dealer)
Body Cover.

Gave an initial booking amount cheque and said we will visit the showroom next day for choosing the color and other formalities. All colors were available for ready delivery.


Dealer Experience (booking) at Magnum Honda, Kanakapura Road:
We had a black car all these years. While it is a great color on any car, we also knew even a small scratch and a little dust would show up on dark colors. So we wanted a light one. White was not considered. We had to choose between Alabaster Silver (AS) and Bold Beige (BB).

Wife and I went to the show room the next day, i.e. on Thu 18-Aug-2011. A BB and AS were standing next to each other for delivery. We took our time. Walked around the cars. And both agreed AS was better, looked more sober and classy (yes, we are husband and wife, but somehow agreed on this point).

Once we confirmed the color, the rep gave us the VIN, which confirmed it to be an Apr 2011 made car. We walked down to the stock yard (which was right next to the showroom). Checked the car which looked fine. No issues visible to the naked eye. He then offered to wash and bring car to the showroom for a short spin within showroom. The drive was tense and slow, but was a trailer to what would come in future.

I asked for the invoice breakup. Everything seemed fine. We then finished the remaining paper work and handed over the cheque for remaining amount of our contribution. He said he would get the car registered the next day, and I could take delivery the day my cheques got cleared. Fair enough. Since I was going for silver, and silver color sensors were available for the reverse parking sensor, asked them to fit that and left the showroom. Overall the booking experience was transparent.

Before leaving the showroom, snapped the car that would enter our life soon (mobile pic, pardon quality)
Our 2011 Silver Honda City (ANHC) VAT: A journey from Dreams to Reality-imagse0134.jpg

Dealer Experience (delivery) at Magnum Honda, Kanakapura Road:
On Sat Aug 20, 2011, my bank statement indicated my cheques had cleared. I called the rep, who asked me to send him a copy of my statement and he would deliver. I sent them an email and was asked to come by 4:00 pm for delivery.

I had printed my PDI checklist. Took gifts for the two reps I dealt with. We went to the showroom by 5:00 PM. The rep was waiting for me. A board at the showroom read out my name, and congratulated me for taking delivery. The car was there; ready to join its new family. All accessories were fitted.

I took out the PDI check list. Checked the car in and out for the next 30-45 mins. The rep and their PDI manager waited patiently. No issues found. Only two minor ones:
1. Bad painting of the body colored side protector at some places. I was promised this will be rectified in first service.
2. Air bubbles in the sun film on some windows. Was told these should go away in the next 24 hours. If not, it will be replaced.

A pooja was done, photos taken, and chocolates given to our little princess. The photo was immediately printed, framed and given to us (impresive).

We then went in, finished some paper work. The number plates were fixed. Happy we got a good number; some people ask if I paid for it.

I was then introduced to the service manager. I asked him if he had any tips on maintaining the car. He said for ATs, people mostly wait in D at signals. Make sure you shift to N or P. Point well taken. Then asked him for tips on improving mileage. Was told to anticipate traffic and drive. Knew that, but a reminder always helps.

Overall a great delivery experience. Also checked the new Jazz. Not much different from the old one I thought. In any case my new car was calling out for me. So sat in the car at around 7:00 pm and drove out. As soon as we drove out of the showroom, the Gods decided to bless the car with light showers. Felt great. Went to a near-by petrol station, and filled in some petrol. Did not check tire pressure due to the rains.


The Initial Experience
It has been close to 20 days and 800 kms since I have been driving this car. So time to put down the initial feeling.

The Drive
In essence, this was the most important factor which pushed me to buying this car. The super smooth, reliable engine, and the spacious interiors. So far, no disappointment on this front.

The engine seems to be becoming more and more smooth as it runs in. I can hardly hear it at idle, and even while cruising in 5th gear. Puts a smile on my face when ever I drive this beauty. The gear shifts are very smooth, contrary to what I noticed during the first TD that I mentioned above. I am getting used to the paddles, though I have used it only in the D mode so far.

The Comfort
The interiors feel good and comfortable. There is ample space for every one. No one has complained about the lack of it so far. And people are amazed with the boot size. The beige fabric interiors are a dirt magnet. The driver door handle was clean when I reached the showroom to do the PDI on the delivery day. By the time I was done with the PDI, it already looked dirty. They had to clean it again at my request. The fabrics need a change. And I did not remove the annoying plastic covers on the seats till I did that. The car comes with City badged, black colored fabric floor mats, which seem easy to clean. All I have had to do is take them out, and dust them. This has made me push the 3D Kagu mats purchase. The only benefit now I see with the 3D mats is they may not allow the dirt to spread across. The cabin is fairly quite at most speeds. This is not the season to test the AirCon. We usually switch it off after 2-3 mins, and switch it on again when we feel sultry (I can see the Vento owners smiling...the lack of ACC).

The ICE
The music system sounds very good. Used mostly for the FM radio. Have hardly used the USB, and never used the Aux. The sound quality is good, with more of bass, which is good for me. However, on some songs, when the volume is set higher than 10, there are some vibrations. Point to be mentioned during the first service. It took me some time to realize there are steering mounted controls. My wife used to laugh when I at times took my hand to the central control for changing the volume, and then remembered about the steering control and used that instead. Am now used to the steering controls, and are very convenient.

Head Lights
Decided to have a separate section for this since this is one thing which bothered me, and I thought this is pretty important for safety. The car has been to only one long drive so far. Bangalore-Mysore-Bangalore. Both the onward and return journey were mostly after sunset.
The onward journey was in rains. The headlight felt very in-adequate on the highway in the rains. Had to use the high beam to be able to see the road somewhat clearly. The fog lamps seem to illuminate the road very close to the car, which hardly is of any use. Not sure if this is the case with all fog lamps (never used fogs lamps before, nor have researched their use). The return journey was ok since there were no rains, and speeds were low due to heavy traffic. But I think headlights need to be better.

The FE
The fuel efficiency is hovering around 9 in the city. I mostly drive in bumper to bumper traffic. The FE indicator reached around 15 during the onward journey to Mysore. The return journey was pathetic with a lot of traffic, including bumper to bumper traffic at some points on the highway! The overall FE of the trip (410 kms including within city runs) was 13.3, calculated Full tank to Full tank. The real time FE bar was annoying in the beginning (I think some one else pointed out the same in their thread). But then, I have gotten used to it now.


Other Nuances (likes/dislikes)
Automatic Locking of Door (dislike):
I really wish the doors locked on their on their own when the engine is started. I had this in my Alto which was fitted the Minda central locking. My family is used to being driven that way. And my 3 year old is getting naughtier by the day. So it is really a pain for me to remember to lock the doors every time we start out in the car. I forget to do so on most occasions. The sales rep said this "feature" is available only in higher end cars of Honda, Civic and above. Not sure how true that is.
Also, my alto used to lock/guard itself once the engine was shut off, and the driver got down (meaning, open the driver door and close it). This kind of comforted me even if I did not remember if I had locked the door. The City does not do it. It however locks itself if we press unlock on the remote, and none of the doors are opened within 30 secs. So the system is in place to lock all doors, the computer needs to be tweaked.

Sounds on locking the door (dislike):
This is one thing I always forget..."have I locked the door or not". The alto used to give me a beep (not very loud to wake every one up) when I locked/unlocked the car. I also had the option to operate the locks silently. For some reason, Honda has decided not to give any kind of noise making device in the car. So after I park my car in the office lot and got a little distance, if I want to check if the car is locked, I need to walk back, and be in a position to see the indicators, to make sure the car is getting locked. Why can't it just beep? A feature I sorely miss. I believe there is no break-in alarm too.

Storage spaces (like): There is lots of it. Am not referring to the boot. There are 5 cup holders in all (2 in front doors, 2 in front of the gear lever, 1 behind the handbrake). And 3 storage compartments that I have seen so far (driver arm rest, glove box, and a small one to the right of the steering). The rear seats have space under them too.

Will add more of these if and when I come across them.


Credits
Thanks to all ANHC/Vento ownership reviews in T-BHP.
Thanks to T-BHP for some great and detailed official reviews on Vento/Fluidic/New Ford Fiesta/ANHC

Photos will follow shortly

Last edited by Rehaan : 12th September 2011 at 18:37. Reason: Splitting up your 1st post. It was super long :)
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Old 12th September 2011, 20:54   #4
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Default Re: Our 2011 Silver Honda City (ANHC) VAT: A journey from Dreams to Reality

Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Initial ownership forum. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 12th September 2011, 21:22   #5
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Default Re: Our 2011 Silver Honda City (ANHC) VAT: A journey from Dreams to Reality

A very well written review! Crisp and comprehensive! Congrats on your new acquisition! Drive safe
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Old 13th September 2011, 09:25   #6
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Default Re: Our 2011 Silver Honda City (ANHC) VAT: A journey from Dreams to Reality

Congratulations on your City!

About the auto lock, doesn't it auto lock when the car reaches a certain speed (say 15kmph)?
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Old 13th September 2011, 09:52   #7
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Default Re: Our 2011 Silver Honda City (ANHC) VAT: A journey from Dreams to Reality

Quote:
Originally Posted by _raVan_ View Post
Congratulations on your City!

About the auto lock, doesn't it auto lock when the car reaches a certain speed (say 15kmph)?
Thanks raVan. No. The doors do not auto lock at any speed. If there are any ANHC owners for whom this is happening, please let me know. It may be some setting.
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Old 13th September 2011, 13:16   #8
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Default Re: Our 2011 Silver Honda City (ANHC) VAT: A journey from Dreams to Reality

Congratulations on your new acquisition.

As you have found out, it is the "driving experience /comfort" factor made me to decide on Honda City.

Regarding the auto lock of the door, this feature is not there. You have to manually lock them. With kids at the back, it's very important to do that.

You can improve your mileage by using certain driving style. Same has been explained in detail on various ownership threads (StarVB, charthom,mdsaab and others).

Waiting for the detailed pictures.
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Old 13th September 2011, 18:02   #9
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Default Re: Our 2011 Silver Honda City (ANHC) VAT: A journey from Dreams to Reality

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ram_NP View Post
Congratulations on your new acquisition.


Regarding the auto lock of the door, this feature is not there. You have to manually lock them. With kids at the back, it's very important to do that.
Hello Ram,


I would like to add one more thing.
Since there is no auto lock in the car and as you say when kids are at back, it might be dangerous, then you can always do the child-lock on rear doors.
In this case, even if you forget to lock the car then kids at the back wont be open the door from inside even if car is unlocked.
There is a small switch which you will find once you open the door of your ANHC. There is a small lock-unlock picture near that switch. You can change its position whenever you want.
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Old 13th September 2011, 18:57   #10
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Default Re: Our 2011 Silver Honda City (ANHC) VAT: A journey from Dreams to Reality

Congrats Bh.P on your shiny new acquisition and Welcome to the ANHC club.

A very well written report and hope to see a lot of pics of your ride. Are you planning any upgrades for the headlights? I found them to be seriously weak for night drives and have upgraded to HIDs

About the storage spaces I particularly like the small slot below the driver's side AC vent - useful to stash away your company ID card ( I use it to keep the parking lot access card there) On the cup holder count - there is one in the rear seat arm rest too

Drive Safe.

Cheers
Uday

Last edited by uday.ere : 13th September 2011 at 19:01.
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Old 13th September 2011, 20:11   #11
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Smile Re: Our 2011 Silver Honda City (ANHC) VAT: A journey from Dreams to Reality

@BH.p

Congratulations on the new buy. Good writeup.

Please dont opt fotr the black bumper, do go for the body coloured one or have already gone for one now that the car is delivered. The black ones would have looked horrible. Do attach interior pics too.

Happy mile crunching and drive safely.
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Old 13th September 2011, 20:20   #12
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Default Re: Our 2011 Silver Honda City (ANHC) VAT: A journey from Dreams to Reality

Congratulations on getting the Honda City and welcome to Honda club.

Good to see another fresh review of ANHC.

Wishing you happy and safe driving!
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Old 14th September 2011, 01:09   #13
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Default Re: Our 2011 Silver Honda City (ANHC) VAT: A journey from Dreams to Reality

Congrats on the new buy.

I was also expecting the doors to auto-lock on reaching certain speed during the test drive. On inquiring, the sales rep mentioned that it might not be working on the test drive vehicle!

Do post detailed interior pics.

Do you find shifting frequently from D to P/N in bumper to bumper traffic?
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Old 14th September 2011, 01:22   #14
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Default Re: Our 2011 Silver Honda City (ANHC) VAT: A journey from Dreams to Reality

Quote:
Originally Posted by vasanthn21 View Post
Congrats on the new buy.

I was also expecting the doors to auto-lock on reaching certain speed during the test drive. On inquiring, the sales rep mentioned that it might not be working on the test drive vehicle!

Do post detailed interior pics.

Do you find shifting frequently from D to P/N in bumper to bumper traffic?
There is no need to shift from D to P/N in bumper to bumper traffic or while normal driving. You can just slot in D and if at a signal you can just slot in N and pull hand brakes.

Also when at traffic signal no need to shift to P, because if we shift to P then generally we wont apply any brakes and transmission will get the load and it wont be good in the long run.
Similarly, whenever I park my car I always ensure I first slot in N, pull hand brake and then shift to P so that load is bear by hand brake and not by transmission. I slot in P only while parking the car.

Last edited by Vtecguy7166 : 14th September 2011 at 01:30. Reason: Additional comments
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Old 14th September 2011, 10:04   #15
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Default Re: Our 2011 Silver Honda City (ANHC) VAT: A journey from Dreams to Reality

Congratulations on your new ride!! That is an excellent, honest and a straight forward review Bh.P. Thoroughly enjoyed reading it. As you rightly pointed out, the design still looks refreshing even after 3yrs. Wonder how would be the face lifted one! And you got a fairly good deal in the end, for the OTR price and the accessories.

We need more pictures of the beauty, in and out. No ownership thread is complete without them. :-)

Wish you many more happy miles. Drive safe.

Last edited by flyingkolors : 14th September 2011 at 10:06.
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