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Old 21st April 2012, 16:15   #1
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Default My Pearl Red Honda City V-AT

My Honda City CVT was in its 6th year of existence. For quite a while now, I had been vaguely thinking of changing cars. Around the last week of March, vagueness changed to determination – I would sell the 6 year old if I could get a reasonable price. Of course reasonable could have different interpretations but having scoured the web, and contacted the local auto brokers, I got a fair idea of the current market – which ranged between 3 and 3.5 lacs here.

Meantime I was also trying to narrow down on the next car, if and when the old one was sold. It had to be an automatic (since I’d got used to the convenience of one). I would have gone in for a roomy hatch if there had been more of a choice in that segment apart from the i20, about which one didn’t have too good an impression (on the AT version) thanks to the feedback on Team-BHP. I was also wary of the steering rattle issue about which quite a bit has been posted here. Small hatches like the i10 & A Star were not under consideration, these being too small for my needs. I toyed with the idea of the newly launched Dzire AT – took a look – but the main deterrent was the lack of airbags. I had decided that the new car should have all the important safety features (at the sub 10/12 lac range).

Also the Dzire seemed a bit cramped. My budget was originally in the 8 to 9 lac range but I realised that my choice was bound to be more expensive so it had to be squeezed up by a lac or two. I would have gone in for a Honda Jazz like a shot if it had offered an AT version. Vento and Rapid were out – again thanks to the many horror stories floating around (no offence meant to VW/Skoda owners and fans). That left me with the SX4, the Verna, the Honda City & the new Fiesta. Somehow the Verna & SX4 with their four speed boxes did not find favour – although I quite fancied the Verna’s looks (no – I did not test drive either). I called up the Ford dealer and they were obliging enough to send an AT TD vehicle to my office. I spent close to an hour driving it around town, took it home to show the wife and daughter. It was pretty good to drive – the suspension felt a trifle stiff. The black interiors however, did not go down too well with me/us and the rear seating felt a bit claustrophobic – and pretty cramped as well. My daughter and I quite liked the looks especially the front – but in the end it was thumbs down from the family (my son entered the discussion in the evening when he returned from college). It seems Honda Motor Co has a diehard fan following in my house. Well – the die was cast and the Honda City AT it would be.

The next step was obviously to sell the old car. The ad in the paper came out on Sunday – a go between called me Monday to tell me that a prospective buyer would come from Dubai (on holiday) on Tuesday morning (straight from the airport) take a look and close the deal pronto if he liked it. Since I was out of town on Tuesday, I left the car & the required papers with a friend. The deal was indeed closed on Tuesday. Earlier, on Monday, I went to the Honda showroom in the hope of test driving an AT if available. Unfortunately it wasn’t but that did not make a difference. I was quite taken with the colour of a car on display – Carnelian Pearl Red I’m told is the name – but wasn’t sure of the response at home. The last 3 cars have been silver/new warm silver. The sales personnel told me they’d bring the vehicle home for the family to take a look – and they came in the evening as promised. This time my son was around while my daughter hadn’t got back from work. Luckily both my wife and son liked the colour and a 10 K advance cheque was given on the spot with a proviso that the cheque would be presented only if my (old car) sale went through the next day. A couple of days after the sale I handed over the balance payment. The final OTR price was 10.66 lacs (should have been 10.81 but I got a 15 K no claim insurance advantage). I took delivery on the 19th and got the customary puja done in the evening. Have currently run about 830 kms with one highway trip to Guruvayur.

Initial impressions

Equipment - I am fairly satisfied with the gizmos on offer. The car comes with airbags, abs with ebd, alloy wheels, height adjustment (driver's seat), usb/aux ports, trip meter with FE. Just a couple of things I wish they had added - climate control & electronically folding orvms.

Styling - We really like the styling of the car - the arrow design - which is enhanced by the recent facelift - the chrome on the front grill. The rear is also good to look at. Generally a (big) notch above my earlier model.

Overall build quality and fit & finish and interior quality - The built quality is decent but the fit & finish and interiors do seem a notch below my earlier City- esp in terms of plastics. The a/c vents and the knobs (on the side vents) are a case in point. I also think the fabric upholstery of this model looks/feels inferior to the earlier car.

Interior space and comfort - definitely a notch (maybe 2) over the earlier model - and I feel it is class leading. The increase in length from 4390 to 4440 seems to have done the trick. The seats are well bolstered and the thigh support overall is pretty decent. Legroom at the rear has increased - with a big thumbs up from the family. The armrest in front helps in (what I would call) relaxed driving on the highway.

A/C - The aircon in the previous City was just about adequate - not a real chiller. This one appears to be more powerful.

Engine performance and driveability - I would rate this as pretty good - both in town and on the highway. Without the rubber band effect of the CVT, overtaking feels easier. The max speed I have gone up to till now is 110 kms and the car feels fairly stable at that speed. I do not think I will drive at speeds in excess of that, given the kind of road conditions in Kerala. I have now got used to the slight jerks at gear shifts and feel the transmission is smooth enough.

Handling - I just love the super light/easy Electric Power Steering - every bit as smooth as the previous model. Handling at my driving levels - I do not zip and throw the car around corners - feels spot on. The brakes are excellent - far better than the earlier car's.

Suspension - I think this is an area which could be a bit better - thuds over rough roads filter in quite prominently - much like the earlier model. I also suspect minor rattles could develop if driven constantly over rough roads.

The headlights while not blinding strong, seem to have adequate power for night trips on highways (I have not made one thus far).

Fuel Efficiency - in the short time that I have driven it, I have used the full tank to full tank method (as usual) to give me an idea of FE. Inside town I seem to be getting around 8.5 and on the short highway trip that I made (200 kms), I got around 13.5 kms. While these are in no way remarkable, they are pretty similar to what I got in my previous City.

The car goes for its first service tomorrow at which time I shall (sadly) have to get the sun control film removed.

Overall it appears to be a satisfactory purchase. Shall update this thread from time to time.
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Last edited by GTO : 16th May 2012 at 12:24. Reason: Adding paragraph spacing for better readability
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Old 16th May 2012, 12:24   #2
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Default Re: My Pearl Red Honda City V-AT

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Initial Ownership Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 16th May 2012, 12:36   #3
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Default Re: My Pearl Red Honda City V-AT

Contratulations wilful.

City with new price tag and features is a good buy.
Can you post a couple of photos of paddle shift?
I had done City TD last year and the shifter behind steering wheel felt quite good.

Also your feedback if you had a chance to use that.
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Old 16th May 2012, 13:03   #4
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Default Re: My Pearl Red Honda City V-AT

Congratulations, I would say this is a wonderful purchase. When it comes to petrol, the Hondas are the best.

I am curious about the fuel efficiency figures, is it normal for Automatics to give ~8.5 in the city? My manual civic in bangalore give above 12.

On the suspensions, did you find them too soft or too hard. The earlier City suspensions were too soft and hence it used to scrape, it seems Honda has hardened the suspensions so as it does not scrape.
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Old 16th May 2012, 13:31   #5
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Default Re: My Pearl Red Honda City V-AT

Congrats wilful, that's a great purchase I'd say. Leaving a Honda for another speaks for how much ownership satisfaction one has derived over the years.

Did you try out the paddle shifts yet? Must admit the car looks much more appealing than in the pictures. Wish you continue your long trouble free experience.
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Old 16th May 2012, 14:19   #6
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Default Re: My Pearl Red Honda City V-AT

You will love the car. Do not get taken in by he three month service story. See the manual, six months / 10000km. Also, watch out the first oil change may be at six months since the original fill is now synth. If so keep an eagle eye if they want to change the oil at three months (second service).
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Old 16th May 2012, 14:27   #7
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Default Re: My Pearl Red Honda City V-AT

Wishes Wilful

Honda enjoys the bullet proof reliability !!! Great choice of Colour in deed
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Old 16th May 2012, 16:15   #8
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Default Re: My Pearl Red Honda City V-AT

Thanks a lot friends!
@advaitlele & arup.misra - I'll post a couple of pics of the paddle shift soon. I have tried it out a couple of times (in short bursts) on that highway trip. Feels pretty nifty to use. That said, I don't think I'll be using it too often although they certainly are great for more spirited driving than my usual style. (I know this is sacrilege to purists but I honestly wish that they had given climate control instead of paddle shift)

@mayankjha1806 - You bet Hondas are the goods - this is my straight 3rd Honda - I have now owned all 3 generations of the City that have been launched in India.
I am afraid that's the figure (FE) one can expect to get in the twisting, narrow, busy roads of Cochin.
I honestly do not find that much of a difference in suspension between my earlier City CVT and this one- but I must mention that road surfaces in Cochin have improved a great deal so a proper feedback on that will have to wait. The ground clearance has been increased - no nasty scrapes with speedbreakers thus far - though I have not really been tested (and with full load).

@sgiitk - thanks. I will take care that they don't fleece me on the oil change.
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Old 16th May 2012, 16:24   #9
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Default Re: My Pearl Red Honda City V-AT

I must say the shifter is so good, you seldom need the paddles. For hill driving you should be in S and use the paddles. The reason is that this way you get engine braking.

As for oil changes it is just lethargy and lack of information. From the VFM perspective six monthly change of semi- is cheaper than the annual change of synth-. I am now using the Honda Synth - Idemitsu 0W30 as it is about 1k cheaper than using Mobil1.
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Old 16th May 2012, 17:02   #10
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Default Re: My Pearl Red Honda City V-AT

Congrats Wilful on the purchase. Once you are used to a Honda you will end up going for one always. Excellent choice of color as well, I quite like the new tail light at night when the parking lights are on there is a red band glowing in the center of the taillight cluster. Any accessories fitted on the car apart from the sunfilm which you are removing.
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Old 17th May 2012, 14:42   #11
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Default Re: My Pearl Red Honda City V-AT

@sgiitk - thanks again for that useful info!

@motomaverick - thank you! No - I have not added anything to the original apart from the sunfilm (given by the dealer -now removed) and reverse sensors (also given by the dealer). I do not get any accessories fixed on my cars as a rule - just go with the original.

Am uploading 2 pics of the paddle shifts as per advaitlele's request. I'm afraid my pics are not of good quality since these are taken with my mobile camera - not being a photography buff I do not have a camera.
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Last edited by wilful : 17th May 2012 at 14:47. Reason: typo
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Old 22nd May 2012, 09:14   #12
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Default Re: My Pearl Red Honda City V-AT

Isn't the rear headroom a big problem. Recently I was deciding a car (an automatic) for my cousin brother. We drove corolla, city, even bmw 320d ( as my brother wanted to have a feel of a benchmark), fortuner AT.
Ultimately considering ease of use, parking issues in kolkata and most importantly not to be marked in corporate hierarchy we booked CITY AT. But I found rear seats simple not usable by any adults (I am 6') of our family as even with those sculptured grooves in ceiling heads kept hitting the ceiling all the time.
Front seats are quite comfortable though and thus chosen as this would a office commuter only.
Bur seriously I was amused to notice such a major flaw in such a successful product. I am sure even if any one in Team BHP ever complained about the same.
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Old 22nd May 2012, 09:49   #13
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Default Re: My Pearl Red Honda City V-AT

Quote:
Originally Posted by sinhsha View Post
Isn't the rear headroom a big problem. Recently I was deciding a car (an automatic) for my cousin brother. We drove corolla, city, even bmw 320d ( as my brother wanted to have a feel of a benchmark), fortuner AT.
Ultimately considering ease of use, parking issues in kolkata and most importantly not to be marked in corporate hierarchy we booked CITY AT. But I found rear seats simple not usable by any adults (I am 6') of our family as even with those sculptured grooves in ceiling heads kept hitting the ceiling all the time.
Front seats are quite comfortable though and thus chosen as this would a office commuter only.
Bur seriously I was amused to notice such a major flaw in such a successful product. I am sure even if any one in Team BHP ever complained about the same.
Being an 'average' sized family (both my son and I are at 5.8" - and the better half and the daughter are under 5.4") we have not had any issue with rear headroom. I guess 6 footer Honda City owners would be better placed to answer this one.

A point I missed out in my pros and cons of the new vehicle is the improvement in the blind spot problem with the A pillar. It is definitely better than the earlier model though not completely ironed out.
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Old 23rd May 2012, 10:37   #14
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Default Re: My Pearl Red Honda City V-AT

Quote:
Originally Posted by wilful View Post
I guess 6 footer Honda City owners would be better placed to answer this one.
I am 5"11 and has no issue with front/rear headroom/legroom but yes anything over 6"2 you are in trouble.
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Old 23rd May 2012, 14:15   #15
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Default Re: My Pearl Red Honda City V-AT

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluevolt View Post
I am 5"11 and has no issue with front/rear headroom/legroom but yes anything over 6"2 you are in trouble.
Hmmm... but I guess very tall people will have this prob' i.e. headroom - with most hatches & sedans. Suvs/Muvs of course could offer better headroom.
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