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Old 4th January 2013, 09:59   #1
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Default My First Honda : 2012 City E-MT

Introduction

I took delivery of a new 2012 Honda City E-MT on 28 December 2012.

My First Honda : 2012 City E-MT-4cityfront.jpg

Unlike the Corporate Edition, the E-variant gets a badge at the rear just like the S and the V variants:
My First Honda : 2012 City E-MT-3citylogo.jpg

I am old enough to own a few cars in my life so far: from the stables of Ford, GM, Hyundai, Maruti Suzuki, Nissan and Toyota. But although coming pretty close to getting one on two previous occasions, I have never owned a Honda in my life. I do indeed own one now.

The search started about a year ago. Out of our two cars (2004 WagonR Lxi and a 2008 Hyundai Getz Prime GLE), the WagonR needed to be replaced while we still got a decent sale price. For more reasons than one, a new car purchase did not materialize at that time, the prime reason being a technical one (we realized that although we paid up our loan a long time ago, we never changed the RC smart card status, and to do it, needed to get the NOC etc documents again from the bank and get the no-hypothication status entered into the smart card). The arrangement in our family is that the chauffeur who drives my wife to work and for other purposes always drives the older car, and I drive the newer car. Hence if the new car is purchased, I'd of course drive it, and the chauffeur would drive the Getz. Our son who has been driving for the last 3 years usually drives the older car. Of course, the newer car is also used for all family trips and purposes.

The Getz and the outgoing WagonR. Standing by is my wife's chauffeur who is usually better dressed than me:
My First Honda : 2012 City E-MT-1getzwagonr.jpg

The WagonR is in pretty good shape despite the punishment it received for 9 years from Kolkata roads:
My First Honda : 2012 City E-MT-2getzwagonr.jpg

I owned cars (hatchbacks, sedans, a wagon and a coupe) from Ford, GM, Nissan and Toyota during my long stay abroad. Here in India, we owned only hatchbacks from Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai. This time we wanted more cabin space, more comfort, more boot space and more safety features in the new car. We decided, it is time to get a sedan.

Since my driving would be about 15 kms daily for work and then the usual weekend shopping and pleasure trips (usually not on the highways) with family, I do not reckon more than 700 - 800 kms of driving per month. All this suggested a petrol sedan which is fuel efficient. All cars we considered were on manual transmission.


The Selection

Here are the petrol sedans I considered but did not test drive (There are simply too many sedans in the C1 and the C2 segments right now. Unfortunately given the time at my disposal, we decided to test drive only the cars we were seriously interested in):

Swift Dzire: In its new version, the boot is almost non existent, and hence we could not consider it seriously, despite it being a very good proposition otherwise.

Linea: A close friend has the T-jet. My son and I always had an eye on the car. But based on the current sales figures, I was not brave enough to include it in our short list - a perfect example of how a good solid car suffers because of perceptions and fears.

Verna: Although I did not drive, but I sat inside the fluidic version when I went with a friend to take delivery of his i20, and did not like the rear seats at all. Then there are all the reports of boaty ride already above 80 kms, plus absence of ABS and dual front airbags in lower variants discouraged us from shortlisting this car.

Manza: I do not like the rear view of the car. Seats are very comfortable indeed. I feel a little guilty not to have shortlisted this car, but the petrol is reportedly not very enthusiastic.

New Fiesta: The variant having ABS and dual airbags was way above our budget (which was a flexible 9L OTR Kolkata).

Fiesta Classic: It's dated, but still wanted to test drive. I called up the two Ford dealers in Kolkata, and on the phone they showed a lot of interest, but despite repeated promises, never came with a test car. I waited a couple of weeks nearly, and then dropped it from our list.

SX4: I actually like the car, and have no idea why this car does not sell. A close friend owns one, and I have driven the car on a few occasions. The driving position is commanding. Despite a lack of ultimate refinement, I think this is a good practical car, and should have sold in good numbers, especially after the launch of the diesel variant. We are a little hesitant to consider something at this price band that does not sell well. Enough reason I guess for it not to make our shortlist.

Rapid: There were great discounts on offer, and I personally liked the look and the package. Had a great conversation with the friend who owns the Tjet. He said, great car, but finally advised against thinking about the Skoda.

Scala: Although the exterior look is subjectively better, I'd rather prefer the car in the Nissan avatar. I've owned Nissan before, and have great respect for the brand. I have driven Renaults when I used to live in Germany (not owned one though), and perhaps I am biased by my German friends against Renault and Citroen.

It is quite clear, we are not the adventurous type when it comes to buying cars, at least not now. Actually one finds out about oneself in these matters. For me it was quite interesting to note the difference in me in these years since the time I was 25 and bought my first new car in the US.

Finally the following petrol cars made our short list which we subsequently test drove (BTW, the test drives were along exactly the same route for all the cars except for the Etios. The route was about 20 kms long, and contained narrow and congested city roads, broader city roads, and 6-lane divided roads where one could speed up above 100 km/h) :

Etios: I liked the drive. Lively engine, good space, good boot, reasonable steering etc. Noise levels inside the cabin was quite high though, higher than in my Getz (BTW the Getz fed by Castrol Edge 5W40 drives pretty well and quiet on the Bridgestone Turanzas on the front and Michelin XMs on the back). However, the interior was down market and that dash was not at all liked by me (I apologise to all the Etios owners, only a personal and subjective observation). If these shortcomings can be ignored and lived with and if it has the same level of reliability as other Toyota cars and the same level of committment to after sales service by Toyota, it is indeed a practical and good car.

Jazz: Now what's that doing among all the sedans? Well, impressed by the cabin space and the flexibility of the arrangement of seats, we decided to keep this only hatch in our short-list, despite its poor sales record in India and an uncertain future. It was much cheaper too OTR compared with all the others we considered. I never drove a Jazz before, and based on all reports I got, the expectations were very high. The test drive left me dissatisfied. The engine did not seem energetic enough and I found it lacking both in ride and handling. The suspension was too soft for my liking and there was quite a bit of body roll, and the car got scraped at the bottom at the very first big speed-breaker it went over. It's still a pretty decent car, but it did not just cut it for me. I was very surprised, to say the least, and I was rather disappointed because deep inside somewhere I wanted to like the car. Was it the quality of the test car? I wouldn't know.

Sunny: Of course this is the CAAAR, so no problem with space inside. Not the most imaginative of exterior designs, but these days I do not care much about those things. The ride was pretty good, Nissan has achieved a mature suspension in this car. But overall the car did not inspire me very much for several reasons, most notably due to the lack of any thrust from the engine with 4 people on board in city conditions (despite opposite reports). At higher rpms the engine seemed to struggle and there was a huge amount of engine noise that filtered into the cabin. In addition there was significant free play of the steering, whether that was again because of poor maintenance of the test car, I wouldn't know. The braking needs some mention - whenever the brakes were applied, the car actually did stop safely but it was as if the car did not give the driver any confidence while in the act of braking - a hard thing to express in words. The sales guys too contributed by being pretty careless about letting me know of all discounts offered by Nissan. Despite the lack of energy in the car, I should mention one likable thing for city driving though. After reasonable application of the brakes with the car slowing down quite a bit, the Sunny could pull up without actually downshifting (if I remember correctly this happened in the 3rd gear).

Vento: Unlike the reports from many other cities, the sales people of the VW Kolkata dealership (only one dealer as with the case of Nissan) were very cordial and professional, both last year (end of 2011) when we actually visited the showroom and this time around (in late 2012) when they called me by themselves with the number given to them last year. I told them quite clearly that I was interested only in the Highline because ABS and airbags were essential features for us. But the Highline was very expensive and fell significantly beyond our OTR budget. They insisted that I should still test drive, so they came with the car. The drive was fine, the EPS steering definitely had a better feel than that in other cars (I did not drive the new Fiesta). The fit and finish and the overall environment was one of the best at this level. The drive was quite good, the engine response was reasonable but not better than the Etios' or the City's. Everything else was quite acceptable, and somethings simply excelled like the gearshift. Although the engine response seemed satisfactory, downshifting was necessary every time I applied brakes, unlike the Sunny. Unfortunately, that day the road was filled with traffic, and had to apply brakes on numerous occasions. (BTW, this afternoon, a VW SE called me up and told me that new variants of the Vento were coming up. Did he mean, lower variants would now have ABS and dual airbags? Does anybody know about this? Anyway, I had to tell him that my purchase was over for the time being).

City: Absolutely everything about the test drive went smoothly. There was a certain degree of refinement in the overall product that all the other cars failed to match up to. I felt completely at home in the car. Before I actually started driving, during the time I was adjusting the mirrors and the driver's seat, I felt uncomfortable initially and was thinking in my head that this was not the best driving position etc. Everything changed after I started driving the car. The clutch-accelerator was just made for me, it didn't need any fine adjustments on my part. Actually the steering was very light and I did not expect a lot of feedback (I would definitely have liked a hydraulic steering with the rest of the car being about the same). Still, in practice I was able to maneuver the car any way I liked in dense traffic and on free road up to speeds of above a 100 km/h (I could not test drive on highways). The braking was adequate. The car did not scrape a single speed breaker: in addition to 5mm more on the GC, the suspension of the 2012 version must have been firmed up appropriately. The only gripe was about the rear suspension - it was making a bit of a thudding sound every time we went over some rough patch. The SE said that they could not maintain the test drive car well enough as there was hardly any time for these cars for maintenance and people usually like to drive very hard while testing. I looked up the ODO, and it read only about 15k kms. However, clearly the best petrol engine of this segment sits in this car, no prize for guessing that. One other big point for us was that all the safety features including ABS and airbag were standard across all variants - from the lowest to the highest.

From the overall experience of the test drive of all the above petrol cars with manual transmission, I'd rate the cars as follows (best car first):

City > Vento > Etios > Jazz > Sunny

The City looks quite stunning from all angles. The front three-quarter view:
My First Honda : 2012 City E-MT-5cityfront34.jpg

And now the rear three quarter:
My First Honda : 2012 City E-MT-6cityrear34.jpg

Let me share a secret now. Before this whole process began, I was actually quite biased against Honda for whatever reasons. That is one big factor why I never actually considered a Honda seriously since I came quite close to buying a Civic in late 1992 in the US. But, this time around, the more I got myself involved into the decision making process of getting a petrol sedan in India at this point of time, the more the Honda City made sense to me, and it finally became as if an automatic choice for me, and justifiably so, in my mind.

Before we move on to the next post, let me, at this point, thank team-bhp, its various threads including all the recent City ownership reports. The wealth of information (on insurance, financing, PDI, extended warranty and numerous other helpful issues) here has helped me shape my decisions at various stages of the whole purchase procedure. Ultimately the impeccable record of Honda City, faithful after-sales-service and the bunch of happy customers in team-bhp and outside the forum convinced me about this purchase. I should also thank fellow member shuvc of Kolkata who supplied helpful information, generally on Honda and especially on the dealership (Pinnacle Honda).

Last edited by asitkde : 13th January 2013 at 11:18.
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Old 4th January 2013, 17:35   #2
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Default Re: My First Honda: 2012 City E-MT

Selection of the variant, booking, delivery and everything in between

The variant
During the Diwali (2012) time, the City S-MT had a very good deal, nearly 60k off from the OTR price. Unfortunately, we could not come to a decision at that time. When we made our decision, that offer was gone. Of all the variants, the Corporate Edition (CE) and the S-MT made most sense to me. But post Diwali, the only variant which had a similar offer was the E-MT. We waited patiently for several weeks (for a comparable offer on S-MT), and finally decided in favor of the E-MT variant.

The only important features the E-MT has in addition to the CE were factory fitted mud-guards, audio HU with front speakers. Of course, the E-MT has beige interiors as opposed to the black interior of the CE. The E-MT also has a few more exterior color options.

The significant features missing on the E-MT with respect to the S-MT were alloy wheels, steering mounted audio controls, rear audio speakers, remote control for the audio, keyless entry, driver's seat height adjustment and front center arm rest. Of these, the only feature that could be seriously missed by me would be the steering mounted audio controls. The keyless entry and the alloys could be fixed later. I got a deal of approximately 8.25L OTR (with rear speakers and floor mats thrown in free, inclusive of 2 years extended warranty and roadside assistance for 4+1 years) as opposed to approx. 8.85L OTR (without the rear speakers and the rubber floor mats). I decided to pay around 5k more for the zero depreciation feature added on to the so-called free insurance.

The lack of the driver's seat height adjustment on the E-MT (and also on the CE) could potentially be an important issue. I asked the SE and he confirmed that the seats on the E-MT and CE were placed at the lowest possible
height, and that was okay with a reasonably tall person like me. Before I signed the contract, I actually sat in the driver's position and made sure it was okay.

Although there are no rear speakers on the E-MT, I was told that the cabling was all laid out. It is just a matter of putting the rear speakers in place and connecting them up.

The booking and the pre-delivery work
On 9 December 2012 I visited the showroom. I was insisting on a car with Michelin tires. The dealership was unsure about this. They said, the cars came randomly in Goodyears, MRFs or Michelins regardless of variants. Finally they let me visit their inventory on the 5th floor of the dealership building (BTW, the Pinnacle Honda, the dealer has everything including the after-sales-service under the same roof in a multistoried building) and I was asked to choose the E-MT I liked. I found 5-6 E-MTs there, and I chose the one in Alabaster Silver, the only one with Michelins, and the only one made in November 2012 (the 9th and the 10th characters of the VIN were respectively LC). All the other E-MTs were made in September 2012 and none of them had Michelins on them. I wonder what happened to the cars made in Oct 2012. Any way, the dealership then checked if the car of my choice was already allotted to somebody. That was not the case, so we proceeded to sign the contract form with all details including the VIN of the particular car. I wrote a personal cheque of Rs 50k as the booking amount. The dealership was ready to get rid of the car. However, I was going to be busy for the next week or so, and told them I'd be thinking about the financing part only after that. BTW, I was told, there were 4 other City E-MT bookings on the same morning.

About a week later, I was ready to think about the financing part. I decided to pay about 40% down and the rest had to be financed. The dealership sent some guy (working on behalf of ICICI finance) to my office, and I negotiated a bit with him and finally settled on a deal on a 4 year term (my favorite loan duration for cars). The loan was approved in 3 days. After that, I went to the dealership on 23 Dec and again wrote a personal cheque for the rest of the down payment amount. They said if I opted for the fancy registration, I could take delivery on 28th which finally happened. I had to pay an extra 1k for the fancy registration for which I got a receipt from the RTO a few days later. The RTO receipt actually mentioned 'fancy registration' (meaning a quick process I suppose) - the normal registration process takes about 3 days, so I opted for the quicker option. The dealership was also happy about this, because they did not want to have the delivery process spill on to the new year.

On 27 Dec I decided to have a pre-registration inspection done on the car. The dealership agreed, and so I along with two friends of mine (one of them, fellow bhpian cranky) and my son arrived at the dealership some time in the afternoon. The car was again on the 5th floor, but this time the exterior was thoroughly washed. We did not find any major issues with the car. Notably, the ODO showed only 2 kms, an indication perhaps that the car was offloaded from the truck right at the dealership. My SE told me that for registration purposes, they did not need to take the car to the RTO, only the papers would go.

The delivery
Before lunch on 28th, my SE called me to come around 5 PM to take delivery of the car. We reached the dealership in time. My wife and son accompanied me and the chauffeur (who drives my wife's car) drove our Getz to Pinnacle Honda. That was the first time I sat on the back seat of my Getz, and from there I was trying to gauge how the chauffeur drove the car that I had been driving for the last almost 5 years, and unfortunately it left me unsatisfied, for the duration of the whole drive he could not master the first gear.

There were about 10 cars to be delivered that evening - we soon realized we were the last in the queue. The dealership was filled with people including small children running around. It was the atmosphere of a festival. Even at my ripe age, I could feel the excitement of some of the younger members of the families taking delivery of a new Honda car that evening. It would be a lie if I say nothing happened deep inside me.

Our SE was busy delivering other cars, and he deputed some other person from the dealership to take care of us. We were served coffee several times, and in the middle of all this, the paperwork was handed over and explained to me. To my disappointment, I was told that the rear speakers (bundled free with the offer) could not be installed in the car, because they ran out of them. Actually, as a matter of fact, I am still to receive them even today. There was a confusion regrading after market remote lock and security installation and whether it would invalidate the warranty. Finally I instructed the dealership accessories guy to install the Autocop Cobra there at the dealership. I also chose an art leather seat cover for the car. It was the best art leather seat cover they had, I believe the make is Autoform. I later asked a very good accessories store in Kolkata (Glix in Salt Lake) and they quoted Rs 300 more for the same. All these would be fitted in the car some time in the near future when the rear speakers arrive.

The car was brought down to the delivery area. I asked the people there to remove the plastic covers from the seats because the noise and the discomfort of seating on plastic sheets would spoil all the fun of driving a new car home. I checked with the customary PDI sheet I brought along with me. I could not spot any problems. The ODO still read 2 kms. There was a panditji available at the dealership and my wife insisted that we had the Puja done right there, so for the first time in my entire car-owning life, I stood in bare feet in front of the car along with my wife and son, all three of us with folded hands, in worshipping the almighty for the well-being of the car and I suppose for us too.

There was a photo shot by someone from the dealer of the three of us standing alongside the new car (they gave the print to us, framed nicely, before we left, but the guy could not focus correctly). A cake-cutting ceremony also took place before 5 liters of petrol were poured in by the dealership and we finally drove out of their premises around 7 PM. My wife tipped all the cleaners and such people quite handsomely. I forgot to take some sweets for the sales people.

The EM Byepass (the road we had to use for getting back home) usually sees its busiest hour during that time. I was unusually cautious and took an unbelievably long time reaching home. After dinner, quite expectedly, I had to make an excuse to come down from our 12th floor apartment to have a look at the car.

At the delivery bay of the dealership. The registration number plate is getting affixed:
My First Honda : 2012 City E-MT-delivery1.jpg

A dealership person explaining stuff underneath the hood:
My First Honda : 2012 City E-MT-delivery2.jpg

Last edited by asitkde : 13th January 2013 at 12:08.
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Old 9th January 2013, 15:06   #3
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Default Re: My First Honda: 2012 City E-MT

The Experience so far

In a sentence, the overall experience so far is very satisfactory. The car drives effortlessly.

The first and the only significant thing so far we did was to fill up the tank in the same evening with fuel (regular petrol, should be 91 octane) from a gas station near our place.

The other thing, apart from just driving 20 kms per day on an average, is to occasionally check the engine oil with the dip-stick. The oil has so far appeared quite transparent and light.

One thing I should have done but have not yet got around doing it is to take the City to the Nitrogen place (Bridgestone dealer on VIP Rd near Ultadanga) and get the tires (including the spare one) filled up with Nitrogen at proper pressure, as I do with my Getz. The Nitrogen keeps the air pressure far longer than usual air (not a myth, got it confirmed by my experimental physicist colleagues), and because of my schedule and also long queues at the tire fill-ups at regular places I cannot get the air filled and checked once every couple of weeks. Do the City-owners of the forum or anybody else have any special recommendation on the tire pressure of the stock tires?

The operating manual (quite a thick book, nicely printed) does not mention any thing super special about the breaking in period. It just advises the driver to take it easy on the car during the initial period of ownership. On page 163 it says: "During the first 1,000 km of operation, avoid sudden acceleration or full throttle operation so as to not damage the engine or powertrain. Avoid hard breaking for the first 300 km. You should also follow this when the brake pads are replaced". I am using the same routine of self-restraint that I used with all the 6 new cars I owned before. And that means, up to about 1000 kms, no hard braking, no hard acceleration, no sharp turns and no speed driving over rough patches and bumpers. Things automatically get relaxed gradually after that, and one could drive freely after 2500 kms or so. There is nothing magical about the number 2500, the driver knows when the car starts responding better. Depending on the car (mostly the engine), the break in period may differ to some extent. I'd expect feedback on this point from the current City owners, especially on the duration of the break-in period as perceived by them and the changes observed during this period, if any.

For the first 100 kms or so, it was difficult to slot the shift-stick in the lower gears, first and second, and once or twice just a bit uneasy to slot it even in the third. Unless the car was at dead rest, it was not possible to slot the car into 1st gear (even at very lowish speed). While in my Getz I can very easily shift to 1st gear at small enough speeds, with most cars it is difficult to shift to the 1st gear while the car is moving at whatever low speed. After this very initial period, I see noticeable improvement, especially after the car is warmed up. I do not have the habit of fighting with the stick and forcing it into a slot. For me, gear changing is usually an ultralight operation (with the tips of the two main fingers and the thumb). I expected some problem with the reverse gear slotting, but have not experienced any problem with that.

The other slight issue was that, initially the braking lacked quite a bit of the bite (the test car was not like that). Now, after a few hundred kms, I think it is adequate, but still I'd like a bit more bite as in the test car. Is it something that is adjusted at the first service? Has anybody observed this in Honda City before? Some times even our minds play games with us, and we tend to notice minute effects which may not actually be there.

Although I have spent two separate paragraphs on these two issues in the above, I should mention that neither of them has so far come significantly in the way of effortless driving, and I do face some very nasty and suddenly moving vehicles, a lot of them actually (guess what these are) on my way to office on a daily basis.

I do not have the habit of looking at the Tacho while driving. I tend to have a general feel about the rpm of the car as I rev. The pleasant problem with the City is that the engine is so smooth even at this initial stage and it loves being revved so much that there is a natural tendency to push up the rpms. I have generally tried keeping it under 2500 or even 2000, however, on a couple of occasions, I may have revved it just beyond 3000 for a second or so. I hope this is alright. And then, only once, I had to brake a bit harder than usual to avoid a cyclist who suddenly came in front just as I was shaping to accelerate. Safety of all, inside and outside the car is of paramount importance and comes ahead of all other statutes.

On a different note, I received documents from the RTO via the dealership people in three steps. First, the receipt for the registration, then the tax token, and finally the receipt of the payment for the high security number plate along with a date and time for me to go to the RTO for them to fix the high security plates on my car. Somebody from the dealer brought these documents to my office on three different days. On 9th January, in a bitingly cold morning with temperatures hovering comfortably in single digits, I went to the RTO and got these plates installed. So I am in good shape now regarding paperwork. Only remaining thing is the arrival of the RC smart card and that takes a bit more time.

The display on the dash shows a cumulative trip fuel consumption of 13.6 km/l right now over a distance of 280 km. A few of my colleagues in office commented that this was unreally high for the initial period - the i20 owner told me, he was getting only 8-9 km/l before the 1st service. While one should not take the display literally or too seriously, I would not completely discard it - I would take it as a rough indicator. I usually employ the tank-full to tank-full method done at the same gas station. Even there, an average estimate should be made after repeating the tank-full method several times. Given my driving these days, we all have to wait quite a few months to ascertain a more reliable estimate of the fuel consumption.

I cannot comment too much on the supplied audio quality. I am yet to use the USB for source, I have so far listened only to radio. The speakers (only in front at the moment) are breaking in at the moment - there was a bit of boominess initially, and with every passing hour of playing, it is gradually improving, I suppose. My friend who owns the Tjet liked these speakers better than the stock speakers his Tjet came with.

No alloys for the moment. The stock tires are Michelin Energy XM1 175/65-R15. Unlike in the Corporate Edition, the black mud-flaps come as a factory-fitted standard feature on the E-MT:
My First Honda : 2012 City E-MT-7michelin.jpg

Huge boot - 500 liter of space. The boot lid goes all the way up:
My First Honda : 2012 City E-MT-8boot.jpg

A view of the dash and the steering - elegant and functional:
My First Honda : 2012 City E-MT-9dashsteering.jpg

Rear door opens almost 90 degrees. The front door also opens wide open, but not quite 90 degrees. All door openings take place in 3 stages:
My First Honda : 2012 City E-MT-10dooropen.jpg

A view of the front seats - comfortable and offering good support. No height adjustment of the driver's seat for the Corporate Edition and the E-variant:
My First Honda : 2012 City E-MT-11frontseats.jpg

Comfortable rear seats. The center arm-rest does not have slots for holding cups/glasses unlike the higher variants:
My First Honda : 2012 City E-MT-12rearseats.jpg

This and the picture just above shows the space available with the front seats pushed back (for nearly 6 footers in the driver and the passenger seats):
My First Honda : 2012 City E-MT-13rearspace.jpg

The cabin lamp - switches itself on when the doors are unlocked and whenever the doors are opened. Also switches itself off when the doors are locked:
My First Honda : 2012 City E-MT-14lamp.jpg

The bottle holders are not quite big enough for 1 liter bottles:
My First Honda : 2012 City E-MT-15bottleholder.jpg

It would be a struggle to keep the fabric on the door arm-rest clean. Time will tell:
My First Honda : 2012 City E-MT-16doorfabric.jpg

The glove box is smallish. Not a lot of other storage space:
My First Honda : 2012 City E-MT-17glovebox.jpg

The beige rubber mats provided free from Honda - they do not cover the entire floor space:
My First Honda : 2012 City E-MT-18hondamat.jpg

These are the mats I bought (the Honda mats are used on top of these):
My First Honda : 2012 City E-MT-19mymat.jpg


Likes
  • The engine is great, quite clearly the best engine in its class. Don't I get a prize for stating the obvious and the most well-known of facts about the City without bringing in butter and the knife?
  • All safety features including ABS and dual front airbags are standard across all variants. While Honda is criticized for not offering too many bells and whistles, credit should be given where it is due.
  • I like the tuning of the accelerator and the clutch, the way the car gets in to a gear and accelerates - it suits me perfectly. I also like the generous space in the footwell - especially the space between the clutch and the brake pedals (I do have wide feet), and the space on the left of the clutch pedal to rest my left foot when I am not using the clutch. I do not miss the dead pedal (my Getz has one) at all. Also, the heights of the pedals are just ideal for me. In one of the test cars of other makes (I do not remember which one), the clutch pedal seemed a bit too high.
  • The seats are comfortable. All controls are well within reach, ergonomic and intuitive. So far I did not have to read the book to understnad any control (It's true that a guy explained to me and our son all the controls at the delivery ceremony, but I was not really listening). The finish on the steering is good, it is very good too hold. Before I got the car, I was thinking of getting the steering leather wrapped like I have in my Getz, but I don't think that will be necessary.
  • Despite all the talk of a less-than-ideal-handling of the City, the car is actually very easy to maneuver up to reasonably high city speeds (I have not tried higher speed maneuvering, of course) and can get itself out of a tight spot in traffic almost in the manner of the double-decker bus squeezing itself through as in the Harry Potter movie. Obviously, the real test of handling would be at higher speeds and sharp cornering etc which are a no-no at this point of time.
  • Although the City is not the CAAAR, but the leg space provided to the rear passengers is very good and appears significantly better than what's available in a Vento. I am nearly 6 feet and and my son is just a bit shorter than me, and directly behind the driver's seat, he has plenty of space with me in my normal driver's position (and I like the seat backs slanted quite a bit).
  • The boot is humongous and would meet our needs adequately. I think it will hold long musical instruments quite well.
  • The NVH level inside the cabin is very good (among the cars test-driven, the Etios came last in this department). I always drive with all windows rolled up. Minimum of outside noise filters in. The engine is quiet and vibrationless. It is hard to detect the engine vibrations and noise while idling once the car is warmed up. Even when revved up (to the limit advisable during the break in), the noise is well controlled and there is a solid feel to the overall response of the car wanting to be pushed harder. BTW, the idling rpm initially is 1500 and after warming up it is about 850 - 900.
  • The increase of the GC from 160 mm to 165 mm together with a firmer suspension in the 2012 City has a much desired result - the City does not scrape any speed breakers now, at least my car has not scraped any so far.

Dislikes
  • The boot opener feels very light, also the rear doors. Only the front doors seem heavy enough and close with a semblance of the proverbial 'thud'.
  • The beige interior upholstery is going to get dirty pretty soon I guess. Well, I am going to get art leather seat covers soon, but to keep the fabric part on the door-insides clean would be a headache. Any suggestions here?
  • While Honda has provided power locks (i.e. power central locks) on the E-MT, they should have provided keyless entry for all the variants to avoid all sorts of confusion regarding installtion of after-market units like Autocop. Cars at this level should come with keyless entry.
  • Ideally I would have liked the steering to be a bit heavier and a bit more feedback would have been better, although as I have already said, it is quite easy to maneuver the car quite precisely up to the speeds I have gone so far.
  • The brake seems to lack a bit of the bite that I would like. Whether this is due to the initial stage and it would improve with time or there is some adjustment needed to be done at first service, I do not know.
  • Although I have not put the car under any sort of pressure and the car is beautifully planted, it is undertired for sure. Even my 1.1L Getz Prime has 175 tyres (actually I upgraded from 155 to 175 right after purchase). City should come in 195s. Since I got the Michelins in my car, I will continue with them right now.
  • The accessories people at the dealership does not instill any confidence. I am still to get my rear speakers although each time I enquired the guy told me the stuff was expected the next day. The floor mats I was supposed to get as part of the deal were taken from a Brio in front of us and put in my City. Amazed at this, when we asked them if these would fit, they said these were the universal mats for all cars. Obviously they were not big enough for City. As a result, a few days into the ownership I bought some mats (from Glix at Salt Lake, price is 2k for the whole set inclusive of the boot) to protect the carpeting underneath. Even their own people (SEs and other stuff at the dealership) yelled at the accessories guys in front of us on other issues.

Last edited by asitkde : 13th January 2013 at 16:37.
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Old 14th January 2013, 10:20   #4
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Default Re: My First Honda : 2012 City E-MT

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Initial Ownership Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 14th January 2013, 10:36   #5
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Default Re: My First Honda : 2012 City E-MT

Sir, Congrats on your new car
Nice writing style !
Please do keep the thread updated.
Wishing you Happy miles with your i-VTEC machine.
Drive Safe
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Old 14th January 2013, 12:54   #6
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Default Re: My First Honda : 2012 City E-MT

Very well written and nicely compiled review.

Quote:
Do the City-owners of the forum or anybody else have any special recommendation on the tire pressure of the stock tires?
For me the stock pressure recommendation works well even after filling in Nitrogen. Suggest you try a few psi combination depending on the load and ride comfort you want.

Quote:
The other slight issue was that, initially the braking lacked quite a bit of the bite.
It would break in slowly but don't expect a VW kind breaking.


On the FE part, its a bit early to comment but most users report very decent FE in city / highway runs. I get 15-16kmpl regularly on city runs while highways I've even managed to notch up 22kmpl .

On the rear speakers, suggest you get it done at a good accessory shop. As long as they dont cut any wires, there's not harm done to your warranty.

Hope you enjoy long drives with the i-Vtec and have a uninterrupted niggle free ownership.
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Old 14th January 2013, 13:20   #7
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Default Re: My First Honda: 2012 City E-MT

Hearty Congratulations, Asit! Welcome to the City owners club!

Excellent write-up, with very notable attention to detail. Reading through it made me relive the days when I took delivery of my Silver Pegasus. Ahh the nostalgia!

And the absolute excitement of owning your own car, that too a Honda! That too, the Honda City!

Quote:
Originally Posted by asitkde View Post
Do the City-owners of the forum or anybody else have any special recommendation on the tire pressure of the stock tires?
No special recommendations as such. See which makes you feel most comfortable. I usually drive with +2 psi all around (over the company specs), and that makes the car feel planted and extremely comfortable to ride.

Quote:
Originally Posted by asitkde View Post
The operating manual (quite a thick book, nicely printed) does not mention any thing super special about the breaking in period. It just advises the driver to take it easy on the car during the initial period of ownership. On page 163 it says: "During the first 1,000 km of operation, avoid sudden acceleration or full throttle operation so as to not damage the engine or powertrain. Avoid hard breaking for the first 300 km. You should also follow this when the brake pads are replaced".
Yes, take it easy with the speeds, braking and frequent gear-shifting for the first 1000 kms. After that you can take her to redline in most gears to open the engine up nicely. By 2000-2500 kms on the ODO, it should be nicely run-in.

Quote:
Originally Posted by asitkde View Post
For the first 100 kms or so, it was difficult to slot the shift-stick in the lower gears, first and second, and once or twice just a bit uneasy to slot it even in the third. Unless the car was at dead rest, it was not possible to slot the car into 1st gear (even at very lowish speed).
This is a problem inherent in all Citys, unfortunately. Initially Pegasus also suffered from the same problem. Now, the 1st gear has smoothed out but the 2nd gear still tends to be iffy at times. Keep it within 2nd and 3rd gears at all times and it should be fine. You can tackle normal-sized breakers at ~20-ish speeds without fear of scraping, so downshifting regularly shouldn't be a problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by asitkde View Post
The other slight issue was that, initially the braking lacked quite a bit of the bite (the test car was not like that). Now, after a few hundred kms, I think it is adequate, but still I'd like a bit more bite as in the test car. Is it something that is adjusted at the first service? Has anybody observed this in Honda City before? Some times even our minds play games with us, and we tend to notice minute effects which may not actually be there.
I haven't experienced this. In fact, on my maiden journey home, at 1-2 places I needed to brake quite quickly and the ABS-loaded brakes responded within the blink of an eye. One of Pegasus's rear-ended scrapes came from the sudden braking as well. The brakes have a lot of bite.

I suggest you get them checked during first service.

Quote:
Originally Posted by asitkde View Post
I do not have the habit of looking at the Tacho while driving. I tend to have a general feel about the rpm of the car as I rev. The pleasant problem with the City is that the engine is so smooth even at this initial stage and it loves being revved so much that there is a natural tendency to push up the rpms. I have generally tried keeping it under 2500 or even 2000, however, on a couple of occasions, I may have revved it just beyond 3000 for a second or so. I hope this is alright. And then, only once, I had to brake a bit harder than usual to avoid a cyclist who suddenly came in front just as I was shaping to accelerate. Safety of all, inside and outside the car is of paramount importance and comes ahead of all other statutes.
Occasional revving up and hard braking is normal (also dependent on traffic conditions, you can't do much there). Don't worry about these moments. Just enjoy your ride.

Quote:
Originally Posted by asitkde View Post
The display on the dash shows a cumulative trip fuel consumption of 13.6 km/l right now over a distance of 280 km. A few of my colleagues in office commented that this was unreally high for the initial period - the i20 owner told me, he was getting only 8-9 km/l before the 1st service. While one should not take the display literally or too seriously, I would not completely discard it - I would take it as a rough indicator. I usually employ the tank-full to tank-full method done at the same gas station. Even there, an average estimate should be made after repeating the tank-full method several times. Given my driving these days, we all have to wait quite a few months to ascertain a more reliable estimate of the fuel consumption.
Excellent FE figures. Remove 0.5 from the figures (to add in FE discrepancies) and it's still 13.1 kpl in city traffic - quite commendable. But stick to the tankfull-to-tankfull method for calculating exact FE. I recommend the FuelLog application (if you have an Android phone) to keep a tab on the expenses and FE. It's a great tool.

Quote:
Originally Posted by asitkde View Post
All safety features including ABS and dual front airbags are standard across all variants. While Honda is criticized for not offering too many bells and whistles, credit should be given where it is due.
And that speaks volumes about the manufacturer. Compromise on anything, but no compromise on safety. Others need to learn from Honda here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by asitkde View Post
So far I did not have to read the book to understnad any control (It's true that a guy explained to me and our son all the controls at the delivery ceremony, but I was not really listening). The finish on the steering is good, it is very good too hold. Before I got the car, I was thinking of getting the steering leather wrapped like I have in my Getz, but I don't think that will be necessary.
Would you believe if I told you that I have opened the manual only ONCE till now? Most things are self-explanatory, and the car pretty much drives by itself.

Yes, the City has a very chunky, grippy and comfortable steering. If you have to have a wrap, then I suggest going for a thin leather one. Otherwise you don't need to have a wrap. I am using mine as it is - got to love the grip!

Quote:
Originally Posted by asitkde View Post
The beige interior upholstery is going to get dirty pretty soon I guess. Well, I am going to get art leather seat covers soon, but to keep the fabric part on the door-insides clean would be a headache. Any suggestions here?
You can't do much with the door fabrics. Just keep them as clean as you can.

Quote:
Originally Posted by asitkde View Post
Although I have not put the car under any sort of pressure and the car is beautifully planted, it is undertired for sure. Even my 1.1L Getz Prime has 175 tyres (actually I upgraded from 155 to 175 right after purchase). City should come in 195s. Since I got the Michelins in my car, I will continue with them right now.
Definitely. This car demands 195/60 sections for the best performance on the road. I will be upgrading on Pegasus's first birthday. Michelins are the best of the lot, so I suggest sticking with them for awhile.

Quote:
Originally Posted by asitkde View Post
The accessories people at the dealership does not instill any confidence.
...
Even their own people (SEs and other stuff at the dealership) yelled at the accessories guys in front of us on other issues.
That is precisely the problem with my dealership as well. The fitting guys don't know half the things they are themselves fitting inside the car! (I had to actually SHOW an official Honda Accessory guy what a tweeter is, as he had no idea what they are!) The only person having some knowledge of this is the Sales Manager, and he can't be in several places at once.

Anyway, enjoy your steed and may it provide you several years of faithful service! Drive safe, my friend!
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Old 14th January 2013, 15:12   #8
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Default Re: My First Honda: 2012 City E-MT

Thank you VishnuNarayanan, arum.mishra and RavenAvi for the encouraging words and the helpful comments.

Quote:
Originally Posted by arup.misra View Post
On the rear speakers, suggest you get it done at a good accessory shop. As long as they dont cut any wires, there's not harm done to your warranty.
The rear speakers are to be provided free of cost by the dealership, they are included in the offer. Hence, I am waiting. Let's see. I know the OEM quality will not be something to write home about, but usually I only listen to radio while driving. OTOH I have been a huge audio buff for more than the last two decades, but I usually do not listen to any audiophile grade music in a car.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RavenAvi View Post
Reading through it made me relive the days when I took delivery of my Silver Pegasus. Ahh the nostalgia!
All the recent City ownership reports including yours have helped me immensely in making my decisions. That's when, I actually understood the real value of the ownership reports and decided to write one myself for the first time in my life.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RavenAvi View Post
No special recommendations as such. See which makes you feel most comfortable. I usually drive with +2 psi all around (over the company specs), and that makes the car feel planted and extremely comfortable to ride.
That's what I do with my Getz as well, at least for the front tires and the stepney.


Quote:
Originally Posted by RavenAvi View Post
This is a problem inherent in all Citys, unfortunately. Initially Pegasus also suffered from the same problem. Now, the 1st gear has smoothed out but the 2nd gear still tends to be iffy at times.
But not many people have reported it in their ownership reports. In any case, as I already mentioned, both gears have eased up considerably (behavior is usually much better after the car warms up). I can now even put the car in first gear while the car is moving albeit at a very slow speed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RavenAvi View Post
I haven't experienced this. In fact, on my maiden journey home, at 1-2 places I needed to brake quite quickly and the ABS-loaded brakes responded within the blink of an eye. One of Pegasus's rear-ended scrapes came from the sudden braking as well. The brakes have a lot of bite.

I suggest you get them checked during first service.
Yes, I shall certainly mention this to the service guy at the first service, meanwhile I will keep an eye and report any change.




Quote:
Originally Posted by RavenAvi View Post
I recommend the FuelLog application (if you have an Android phone) to keep a tab on the expenses and FE. It's a great tool.
Unfortunately my phone is a Nokia E6.



Quote:
Originally Posted by RavenAvi View Post
That is precisely the problem with my dealership as well. The fitting guys don't know half the things they are themselves fitting inside the car! (I had to actually SHOW an official Honda Accessory guy what a tweeter is, as he had no idea what they are!) The only person having some knowledge of this is the Sales Manager, and he can't be in several places at once.
I will have to find a way to deal with these folks. Actually, after the delay and especially looking at the unreliability of their words, I am having second thoughts on getting the Autocop and the seat covers installed by them. I may even give up on the rear speakers which they are supposed to provide free of cost.
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Old 14th January 2013, 15:25   #9
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Congratulations ! A well thought out decision that I'm sure appeals to the heart too

Hope the ICE bug bites you. I'm sure the car will then have a wonderfully tuned setup !
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Old 14th January 2013, 19:28   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asitkde View Post
All the recent City ownership reports including yours have helped me immensely in making my decisions. That's when, I actually understood the real value of the ownership reports and decided to write one myself for the first time in my life.
I am glad my report could help in any way. Trust me, this report/log book will be of immense help for you and other prospective City buyers in the days/years to come. Keep it maintained fairly regularly, if you can.

Quote:
Originally Posted by asitkde View Post
But not many people have reported it in their ownership reports. In any case, as I already mentioned, both gears have eased up considerably (behavior is usually much better after the car warms up). I can now even put the car in first gear while the car is moving albeit at a very slow speed.
Yes they haven't, but most of them have experienced it (as they have reported in my thread and on PMs). I think it's a problem inherent in this generation City only (older generation owners can clarify this). Hopefully Honda is working on this and will resolve it for the next-gen City, due in 2014.

The problem is pretty much gone once the engine is nicely warmed up. It usually happens during cold starts, and is at it's worst if your car hasn't been driven for a few days.

Quote:
Originally Posted by asitkde View Post
Unfortunately my phone is a Nokia E6.
From the OVI store, you can download Fuel Manager/Fuel Mate application. Works just as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by asitkde View Post
I will have to find a way to deal with these folks. Actually, after the delay and especially looking at the unreliability of their words, I am having second thoughts on getting the Autocop and the seat covers installed by them. I may even give up on the rear speakers which they are supposed to provide free of cost.
On the contrary, get the free stuff from them and get it fitted from outside at a reliable accessory shop who has some good reputation in dealing with fitments for Honda City. I suggest sticking to the dealership only for servicings and get everything else done from outside. Just ensure that the internal wiring and electricals are not tampered with, as that can void your warranties. You can get them rear speakers fitted from outside, as the coupling/wiring is already provided inside the doors and will not hamper your warranty in any way.
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Old 15th January 2013, 11:29   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asitkde View Post
I took delivery of a new 2012 Honda City E-MT on 28 December 2012.
Thanks for the review. Am taking delivery of my Silver S-MT today

Quote:
Originally Posted by RavenAvi View Post
Hearty Congratulations, Asit! Welcome to the City owners club!
Good to know there is a club that I can join! Have rarely wandered outside the 4x4 section on Tbhp so will be good to get in touch!

Cheers,
Adi
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Old 15th January 2013, 12:45   #12
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Congrats on your new buy and enjoy the drives. I agree with the refinement part of Honda. Engine and transmission work really well and provide a calm feel.
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Old 15th January 2013, 20:16   #13
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Default Re: My First Honda : 2012 City E-MT

Thats a very well written buying experience and ownership review there.
With great deals going around the City, it makes the best petrol sedan even better to buy. Recently a relative of mine got a great deal in exchange to his SX4 and he was sold to buy it wrapped with this tempting offer.

Good to know some where that the ground clearence has improved and now the City does not scrape one and all skyscraper err speed breakers. This has been one of the top grouse of Honda owners be it City or Civic.

Congrats and enjoy your drive in your new ride!
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Old 16th January 2013, 15:04   #14
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Originally Posted by shuvc View Post
Hope the ICE bug bites you. I'm sure the car will then have a wonderfully tuned setup !
Well, I do not think the ICE bug will bite me, as long as I can listen to the radio at a reasonable level with the stock audio. As I hinted in my initial posts somewhere, I am into audio in a big way for a long time and do not hesitate spending on home 2-channel system in an extravagant way, but I have never done that on car-audio for close to 3 decades now (and nearly half of that was spent in much more serene traffic conditions in the Western world). Now in Kolkata, tell me how can I enjoy serious music in a car when there is an auto-rickshaw from the left trying seriously to put a scratch on my car, a huge bus just trying to turn me over from the right, a two wheeler just stopping suddenly in front of me because a mother with a two-year old is trying to cross the street, and there is a Sumo-driver honking from the back in the hope that all traffic in front just vanish (no offense to the owners of Sumo).

Quote:
Originally Posted by RavenAvi View Post
I am glad my report could help in any way. Trust me, this report/log book will be of immense help for you and other prospective City buyers in the days/years to come. Keep it maintained fairly regularly, if you can.
I will try seriously to document everything in this thread. You are right, that will benefit me as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RavenAvi View Post
Yes they haven't, but most of them have experienced it (as they have reported in my thread and on PMs). I think it's a problem inherent in this generation City only (older generation owners can clarify this). Hopefully Honda is working on this and will resolve it for the next-gen City, due in 2014.

The problem is pretty much gone once the engine is nicely warmed up. It usually happens during cold starts, and is at it's worst if your car hasn't been driven for a few days.
Are you saying, the problem is only with the 2012 City or persisting from the 2009 City? It will be interesting to know the experience of the previous Honda owners regarding this issue.

It is true that the problem reduces a great deal after the engine warms up. The important question for me is, if this will go away completely as the car breaks in. Actually I am noticing a gradual improvement, most notably after the car went past 300 kms of running.


Quote:
Originally Posted by RavenAvi View Post
From the OVI store, you can download Fuel Manager/Fuel Mate application. Works just as well.
Thanks for that information.


Quote:
Originally Posted by RavenAvi View Post
On the contrary, get the free stuff from them and get it fitted from outside at a reliable accessory shop who has some good reputation in dealing with fitments for Honda City. I suggest sticking to the dealership only for servicings and get everything else done from outside. Just ensure that the internal wiring and electricals are not tampered with, as that can void your warranties. You can get them rear speakers fitted from outside, as the coupling/wiring is already provided inside the doors and will not hamper your warranty in any way.
Honda dealership has clearly said that any cutting of the original wiring will invalidate the warranty. This is my fear. In addition, for the seat-cover, I have heard that sometimes original foam of the seats are cut to make the cover a perfect fit -even the Stanley people did this to some car. That was another reason I wanted everything done at the dealership. But the behavior of the accessories people there is making me think otherwise. I am still in doubt what to do here. Still to get a call from them on the rear speakers.


Quote:
Originally Posted by AVR View Post
Thanks for the review. Am taking delivery of my Silver S-MT today
Best wishes for your City S-MT. Please share your experience.


Quote:
Originally Posted by srishiva View Post
Congrats on your new buy and enjoy the drives. I agree with the refinement part of Honda. Engine and transmission work really well and provide a calm feel.
You are very right about the 'calm feel'. I am much calmer driving my City than in my previous car, for sure.


Quote:
Originally Posted by girishglg View Post
Thats a very well written buying experience and ownership review there.
With great deals going around the City, it makes the best petrol sedan even better to buy. Recently a relative of mine got a great deal in exchange to his SX4 and he was sold to buy it wrapped with this tempting offer.

Good to know some where that the ground clearence has improved and now the City does not scrape one and all skyscraper err speed breakers. This has been one of the top grouse of Honda owners be it City or Civic.

Congrats and enjoy your drive in your new ride!
Thanks. You are right that for a petrol sedan with discounts available, it makes great sense to buy a Honda City now, even if there is a planned new version in 2014 with diesel too. And on the scraping issue, I think all the owners of the 2012 City will agree that the new City does not scrape the speed breakers any more. Of course, this is under normal driving. Any sedan or hatch will scrape if one is totally careless. We have to remember, the purpose of a speed breaker is to reduce vehicle speed.
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Old 16th January 2013, 15:36   #15
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Post Re: My First Honda : 2012 City E-MT

Congratulations Asit on a very detailed, well complied review and on adding the City to your stable!

I think you'll notice that the brakes on the City will bite increasingly as the kilometers pile on. Initially though, they do tend to be a little spongy and soft, so factor that into your driving style.

Anyway here's wishing you tonnes of enjoyment with that superb i-VTEC engine and a hassle-free ownership of the City.

Last edited by Omtoatom : 16th January 2013 at 15:37.
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