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Old 14th July 2014, 19:20   #1
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Default Perfection on wheels - My 2014 Golden Brown Honda City VX i-DTEC

Background Story
==================

2004. My 10th ICSE Board Exams are just a month away.
In an example of typical Indian parents' bribery, my father tells me, "If you can score 95% for these boards, I promise you we'll buy a new Honda City as our next car." Obviously, that was a huge bribe for a 16 year old, who always had a fascination for cars, at a time when the 2nd Generation City was just launched. But, as things would have it, I ended up with 86%, and we ended up with a Suzuki Baleno. Not to mention the relentless taunts by dad, "Honda, Hondaaa..." for the next 2 years, whenever he saw me doing anything but study!!

Fast Forward to 2013.

Having finally made it through to a career where I could seriously think of buying a car myself, I decided to check out the various options in the market, so as to shortlist options. I've always been a fan of sedans, as I find them immensely beautiful. Hatchbacks are the more practical solution in a place like India, where the roads are full of crazy bikers, but my love for Sedans overruled logic.

Shortlisting Process
==================

Now, I've often heard how much fun it is to drive a Petrol, and how it beats Diesel cars hands down in sheer driving pleasure. But, I feel when you compare the overall costs of a Diesel and a Petrol, including initial investment, maintenance cost, running cost and Resale Value, the diesel scores over its rival. I have a daily drive of around 40km, with 10km inside the extremely crowded Pondicherry City area and the rest being on the highway to Cuddalore. Additionally, I do have a proclivity to take long drives to random destinations, at the drop of a hat. So, a higher FE figure would help immensely. With the modern diesel engines, engine refinement and noise levels have been brought down to such low levels that the difference hardly matters. The petrol has zero noise whereas the diesel gives a slightly audible growl. Frankly, I'd prefer the latter, as it somehow adds character to a car, like a feisty temperamental lady, letting you know what she feels.

Coming to calculations, the workings are as below:
Perfection on wheels - My 2014 Golden Brown Honda City VX i-DTEC-comparison.jpg

I've assumed ARAI Mileage Values, 60% depreciation in value for Petrol and 50% for diesel cars in 3 years. With this calculation, it seemed like a no brainer to go for the diesel.

So, in terms of net investment, the diesel is Rs. 45k lesser than the petrol, and running cost is almost half.

Ever since my dad brought home a Volkswagen Vento, I've been hooked to Volkswagen. So the obvious first choices were the Vento and the Jetta. The superior performance characteristics and absolute WOW Factor when you drive one of these cars never fails to make me smile. Since we already had a Vento and the Jetta was the more comfortable/performing/beautiful of the two, my interest for the Jetta was steadily picking up.

The other choice was the Corolla Altis, but I guess it was always a weak contender, given how it has a very underpowered Diesel Engine. The TD Vehicle I drove in Mumbai was literally screaming "Please don't press that accelerator anymore! I can't take it!". Chevrolet Cruze was ruled out straightaway, as I felt it was even less powerful than the Vento when I took a TD. May just be the TD Vehicle, but that one drive pretty much spoilt it for me.

I had almost finalised that we would be getting the 3rd VW in the family (after Dad's Vento and Mom's Polo), when Honda came out with a stunner! The new Honda City iDTec was launched in India, that Jan. Going by initial reports and pics which were circulated on the net, the car looked impressive. I decided to take the City, which was outside the ring till now, owing to poor interior features and a petrol engine, into contention.

First Meeting
==================

As I was posted in Mumbai at that time, I went down to Arya Honda in Bhandup, one evening and checked out the new City. They had a Silver VX TD Vehicle, with a hundred people peeping in and surrounding the car from all angles. After about half an hour, I managed to get a TD of the vehicle. Got into the vehicle and it was love at first sight! The plush seats, the airy interiors, the smooth drive, the impressive stereo quality... it just ticked all the boxes!

I was especially impressed by the Touchscreen ACC & the superior stereo quality. Coming from driving a Volkswagen, the interior looked ultra-modern. The slight tilt of the 'cockpit' towards the driver, and the differently sized air vents all added to the modern nature of the interior. The TD vehicle had a sunroof & Keyless Start as well, which immediately grabbed my attention. These features were seen only on the Cruze among the alternatives considered. To get these in a car, which is a segment lower seemed very good value. I knew I would very rarely be using the Sun Roof, but I feel the extra light and airiness the closed sunroof gave the car was worth the extra amount.

The keyless start is just too good! All one needs to do is have the key in one's pocket. With that, if one puts his hand on the driver/front passenger side door handle, the car gives a chirp and unlocks. Just get in, depress clutch and press the button. It takes just a second's delay before the car fires up. Again, having driven only the 'traditional' cars till now, this felt uber cool! Again, a must have feature for my first car!

Was not too keen on the Automatic Model, as I really enjoy driving stick. That and the fact that the CVT comes only with Petrol meant I was pretty much fixated on what I wanted - the Honda City iDtec VX.

Transfer, Booking & the Infinite Wait
==================

As luck would have it, I was transferred out of Mumbai and was assigned to head a couple of our factories in Pondicherry. Now, Pondy is famous for 3 things - French, Cheap Booze & Cheap Cars! Thanks to the reduced Road Tax in Pondy, getting a car from there meant a savings of about Rs. 2 lacs on the Mumbai OTR Price.

To my shock however, the guys in Capital Honda, Pondicherry were jacking up the rates on their invoices. They had quoted some Rs. 13,400 for Registration whereas actual charges are just Rs. 6,700. After a prolonged discussion with their Manager & mail conversations to the Transport Commissioner as well as to Honda, they agreed to waive off the extra amount and charge Rs. 7,500 for Regn & Road Tax. Finally, I booked my Golden Brown Honda City VX iDtec on March 25th, with a promised delivery in 3-4 months. On June 30, the SE gives me a call and tells me the car has been billed and is being dispatched, and that he wants full payment to avoid a price hike on 1st. Since the car has already been billed, technically they cannot charge me the additional amount even if I pay only after the car has come. However, having already locked horns with the dealership earlier, I let this go and arranged to release the funds that very day.

The car arrived at the dealership on July 5, and I had my first glimpse of my first car!!
Perfection on wheels - My 2014 Golden Brown Honda City VX i-DTEC-imag1336.jpg

Thanked the Gods that the stock tyres were Bridgestone, and not MRF!
Perfection on wheels - My 2014 Golden Brown Honda City VX i-DTEC-imag1334.jpg

Since I wanted my parents to be with me when I took my first car, I asked the dealership to wait till 11th. They would travel to Pondy from Trivandrum, and we would drive back via Coimbatore (to attend a friend's engagement) & Kochi (to meet up with my brother & get some work done at 3M Car Care).

11th July, 2014
==================

We reached the showroom pretty early, at around 10 AM, as we wanted to finish the formalities fast. Our SE had everything ready and the car was waiting outside for us, while we finished the paperwork inside. Now, being a Company Car Scheme vehicle, I required all the documents to be absolutely perfect. Imagine my horror when these guys present me with just a Statement of Accounts, an Invoice Copy, Insurance Certificate & RSA Receipt. No receipt for Extended Warranty or Road Tax/Regn. There is a difference of Rs. 25k between total bills and actual paid amount! We ask the Sales Manager for the receipt for this money and the response we get was a shocker! "We cannot give you an individual receipt for each item. I am giving you the car as a package, so the receipt will be a statement of accounts for the overall amount. I will not give you individual receipts". We asked him to give this statement in writing, so I could try and convince my finance team, but he flatly refuses. What confuses me is why I can't get a receipt for an amount that I have paid! At this point, I realise that the showroom guys may have overcharged in the Extended Warranty and therefore, cannot give the bills for the same. So, I tell them I will either take delivery of the vehicle today with the receipt for that money OR I will take it to Honda and take the receipt along with the car later.

After a lot of intense discussions, they finally agree to give me a debit note for the same. Since that would solve my purpose, as well as give me proof to come back and fight the case another day, I tell them to give it and get on with the delivery process. With that done, we finally get down to the delivery.

On a side note, I felt really bad that the Capital Honda - Pondicherry Sales Manager would behave in such a rude, unprofessional and disgusting behaviour, on the day my car was to be delivered. Buying a first car is a joyous occasion, and marring the same with such incidents leaves a bad taste in a customer's mouth.

Last edited by krishnadevjs : 15th July 2014 at 19:12.
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Old 14th July 2014, 19:37   #2
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Default re: Perfection on wheels - My 2014 Golden Brown Honda City VX i-DTEC

Delivery of the Car
==================

We came out, after all the drama inside, and there she was, all decked up and ready to receive us!

Perfection on wheels - My 2014 Golden Brown Honda City VX i-DTEC-img_1493.jpg

Took her out after the Puja, and all the customary photos.

Another angle

Perfection on wheels - My 2014 Golden Brown Honda City VX i-DTEC-img_1522.jpg

My favourite shot

Perfection on wheels - My 2014 Golden Brown Honda City VX i-DTEC-img_1532.jpg

We went straight to a nearby petrol pump and filled her up. 35L and the diesel was brimming at the fuel tank inlet.

Interior Shot. We didn't get any carpets, as I wanted to put in Nomads later.
Perfection on wheels - My 2014 Golden Brown Honda City VX i-DTEC-img_1535.jpg

Bluetooth works like a charm. Connects to my phone automatically every time!
Perfection on wheels - My 2014 Golden Brown Honda City VX i-DTEC-img_1542.jpg

Keys to happiness. Of course, with Team-BHP badging
Perfection on wheels - My 2014 Golden Brown Honda City VX i-DTEC-imag1404.jpg

Half an hour to remove all the plastic over the seats, the ribbon, the garland and all other paraphernalia and we were ready to hit the road! Off to Coimbatore, Kochi and then Trivandrum!!

It was a blistering 40 Degrees outside, but the Superb AC kept us cool throughout! Have to commend Honda on this. Way better than the Vento!
Perfection on wheels - My 2014 Golden Brown Honda City VX i-DTEC-img_1553.jpg

Last edited by krishnadevjs : 15th July 2014 at 08:07.
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Old 14th July 2014, 20:02   #3
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Default re: Perfection on wheels - My 2014 Golden Brown Honda City VX i-DTEC

We drove close to 600 km from Pondicherry over the next couple of days, after a temporary stop at a very windy Coimbatore. From what I felt during this drive (all highway), the drive is supremely smooth. Suspension is extremely good and the suspension filters all small to moderate potholes. However, at around 100kmph, the ride feels a bit 'bouncy' - like one would feel on a boat. This might have to do with the soft suspension, but given how Indian highways are often uneven, one ends up bouncing about frequently, when at those speeds.

There was this one location before Coimbatore, where the 4 lane highway suddenly stopped, and there was no more road for another 100m! :O This was the highway, by the way, but the Honda handled admirably. Braking was good and the vehicle came to manageable speeds before exiting the road. The stock headlamps too performed adequately and I did not have any problems with visibility. The clear glass that new cars are blessed with helped immensely in preventing light scattering.

Kochi welcomes us with Monsoon showers
Perfection on wheels - My 2014 Golden Brown Honda City VX i-DTEC-img_1579.jpg

Next stop was 3M Car Care in Kochi. Had arranged all the stuff earlier itself. I was planning to do the Underbody Coating, the Nomad Matting and Paint Protection Films on high risk areas. Got a discount of 10% and ended up paying close to Rs. 25k.

Underbody Coating at 3M
Perfection on wheels - My 2014 Golden Brown Honda City VX i-DTEC-img_1592.jpg
The engine guard of the car did have some scratches, which we noticed when we lifted the car up. 3M folks say this is common practice with Honda cars.

PPF on Rear Bumpers. Did it to both bumpers, ORVMs, Handle Wells & Door Sills
Perfection on wheels - My 2014 Golden Brown Honda City VX i-DTEC-img_1607.jpg

Perfection on wheels - My 2014 Golden Brown Honda City VX i-DTEC-img_1614.jpg

Nomad Matting
Perfection on wheels - My 2014 Golden Brown Honda City VX i-DTEC-img_1633.jpg

Perfection on wheels - My 2014 Golden Brown Honda City VX i-DTEC-img_1634.jpg

Notice the back seat leg space in the above picture. In my mom's words, "You could play football in here!"
The rear air-con vents too do an admirable job. Much better than the VW Vento IMO.

Altogether, we travelled close to 860 km, and ended up getting a Fuel Economy of 21 KMPL. We had the AC on all the way and drove at very moderate speeds (70-80, touching 100 at times. Less than 2200 RPM always). The Mileage figure includes the 2 days City Drive in Chaotic Kochi. Guess those are pretty good figures but hoping it improves significantly. Tyres are still the stock Bridgestones. Planning to change them only post 40k km.
Perfection on wheels - My 2014 Golden Brown Honda City VX i-DTEC-img_1643.jpg

And finally, she's home! Waiting for all the Greater Drives that Lie Ahead!!
Perfection on wheels - My 2014 Golden Brown Honda City VX i-DTEC-img_1630.jpg

Last edited by krishnadevjs : 9th August 2014 at 19:33.
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Old 9th August 2014, 20:34   #4
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Default re: Perfection on wheels - My 2014 Golden Brown Honda City VX i-DTEC

The Good

Coming from a family that's been driving Volkswagens and Balenos for the better part of my post-driving license life, I'd have to say the biggest plus on the Honda City is the number of features! I mean, the list is just so exhaustive!!

1. The Start Stop Button:
Now, I know it's gimmicky and doesn't serve any real use, but the Push Start Stop Button has got me completely sold out! Feels very F-1ish. Every time the car is switched on, you hear a slight mechanical sound from the steering column. My guess is it's the steering lock being disengaged. Same sound comes back when you switch her off, and voila - the steering is locked!

2. The Sun Roof:
9th Standard Physics tells us that Hot Air Rises, whereas Cold Air comes down. There's no better example of this in practice, than when you get into your car after parking it right under the piping hot Pondicherry sun. Pop open the Sunroof into the 'Vent Mode', put your ACC on full blast, and that's it! In 2 minutes flat, the car temperature comes down from the mid 40s to the late 30s, and soon to the much much more comfortable early 30s. In normal driving conditions, just having the sunroof adds so much more light to the interior of the car. Everything instantly feels so much more roomier. And don't even get me started on how much fun it is to drive in the rain! The drops of rain on the sunroof are just a treat for backseat passengers.

Cool nights? Pop open the Sunroof and take a ride under the "Sky Full of Stars" with Coldplay's similarly titled song on the Audio - Bliss!!

3. The Seat Belt Reminder
Oh yes, something even so normal and ordinary as a seat belt reminder can make such a lot of difference! As a habit, I normally always buckle up whenever I enter a car. Although most modern cars have a seatbelt reminder, the one in the City keeps reminding you, making it almost impossible to drive without pulling the belt across. Having not seen these features in similarly priced cars such as the Volkswagen Vento or the Rapid or even the Cruze, I felt this feature was a well thought out one.

4. The Seats
Honda really has outdone itself with the foam selection on the new City. The seats are extremely plush and comfortable. The softer firm is perfect for my daily commute of 40 km, and even on the long highway drives, I haven't had any issues of back pain. In fact, after driving 700 km from Trivandrum to Pondicherry, I still wanted to get back in and drive some more! That's the kind of welcoming comfort that this car offers.

5. Practicality of Engine and Gearbox
A lot has been said about how the City's 1.5L engine has been used in the Amaze, the City and now, the Mobilio. But honestly, I felt this engine to be as good as if not better than ones in the more famed German ones like the Vento or the Rapid. To relate it in terms of my other passion - food, Vento is the Italian Pizza, City is Ghar ka Daal-Chaawal. The former is good for an occasional night out on the town, but the latter is best in a day to day scenario.
You may get an unparalleled kick when the turbo of the Vento kicks in at that 2000 RPM mark, but the smoothness and consistency of the linear torqued City would serve you better in a daily commute situation. Not to take anything from the Vento, it's a brilliant car and easily, one of the best engineered cars in this segment.
Gear Shift in the Honda is really smooth. The gears slot into place perfectly, with an audible slotting sound. Shifts are perfect, and I've rarely felt any jerking or sudden burst. The 6th gear is however, more of a dud, with no real power going through to the wheels. Anything below 80, and you will have to downshift for acceleration.
Add to that supreme mileage figures and you have a keeper! I've gotten figures of 23-24 kmpl on the open highways for my long trips (700km each) and around 20kmpl for my daily commute, which comprises a city drive of about 10km and congested highway of about 30km. To put things in perspective, my daily commute fetched me 17kmpl on the Vento. So, the City is 3kmpl more per trip (~.34L savings on daily basis = Rs. 500 savings per month)

6. Audio System
Hands down, this has to be one of the best OEM Audio Systems in this segment. Plug in your iPod, play your favourite song and just take the volume up to a level 14, and you'll be immersed in the sound. Music Clarity is also wonderful. Great work here, Honda!

7. Design
The Car looks exquisite! I had a colleague, who's less initiated to the world of cars, commenting how the City looks like a Sports Car! (the exhaust fan alloys notwithstanding!) From every angle, the car looks brilliant. Especially the parts Honda 'borrowed' from BMW - the rear lights and the Shark Fin Antennas. I like even the 'garish' chrome grill that everyone has been complaining about. Somehow, I feel it looks good on darker shades. On the interior side, everything looks superbly placed. The asymmetric design that Honda has done with the cabin looks cool, and gives the car a futuristic feel. The fact that all of the Air Con Vents and completely different from each other might be a put off to people who like order in their world, but me - I love it!
As pointed out in an earlier pic, the cabin space in this car is HUGE! You'd feel like a king sitting on the back seat of this baby! Even on the driver seat, there is ample head room, leg room, and footwell space. I'm a guy who wears a 44 size shirt, but even I didn't feel one bit cramped in the City.

The Bad

1. Cost Cutting EVERYWHERE!:
This is a 12 lakh car, right? So, why does Honda want to take away that 'oomph' factor from the car by visible blatant cost cutting measures! And it's not like they're smart things which save lots of money. Things like:
a) Partial Rubber Beading on the Doors: Seriously?? How much did you save there, Honda?
b) Naked boot lid: Exposed Boot Opening Mechanisms and cavities look extremely ugly!
c) Spare Tyre: The spare's a full size regular wheel - no alloys. This is in stark comparison to a Vento or a Verna which offers full size alloys as spare. And it's not like that exhaust fan design is a Michelangelo master-piece, now, is it Honda?
d) Sun Roof Cover: There is a sliding cover beneath the Sun Roof, which allows you to either expose or cover the glass roof. This is made out of a cheap, cardboard like material, which feels like it could break at the slightest force.
e) No Height Adjustment Seatbelts: The belt just keeps rubbing against my neck. Nothing great about this.

2. The Curious Case of the Invisible Rear
The parcel tray is a good 5 cms above the top of the rear seat (not including the headrests of course). This renders the IRVM useless! While reversing, this is not an issue, as Honda as provided a very good rear view camera. However, during normal driving, you cannot see anything behind the car! I've had at least a dozen idiots bang their scooters on to the rear side in traffic. Thankfully, they were all at sub-10kmph speeds, and as such, no damage was done, courtesy the 3M PPFs.

3. Dust Magnet:
I guess the blame falls completely on me here, but this colour - the Golden Brown is an absolute dust magnet. Even with a Jopasu routine every day morning, the car looks visibly dusty by the time I get to my office 20 km away. Add that with the Indian mentality of making artwork on dusty cars, and you're looking at a lot of micro-scratches on that wonderful colour.

The Ugly

1. Dealership:
I've heard a lot from other owners of previous generation Honda Citys of how pleasurable the experience of buying a Honda has been. However, in my case, I've had a really bad experience. Quite interestingly, I've had extremely good experiences with the VW folks, who people say suck at this.

2. Body Rigidity:
So I was driving on one of the Golden Quadrilateral highways at around 120 kmph, and there was this distinctive sway to the right whenever there was a cross-wind. I was extremely surprised by this cos I'd taken the same route a month back on the Vento, and there were no issues whatsoever, inspiring me to go quite fast. Considering how the City is just 35kgs lighter than the Vento. Safe to say that the City doesn't inspire you to go above 100-120. Maybe, that's a good thing??

3. Service Schedule:
The City is one good car, but to make sure she's running well, you'll have to take her to the Service station very frequently! Within 4 days of delivery, I had to give in my car for her first service at 1,000 km. Another 3 weeks and I had to give her for the second service at 5,000 km. Compare this to an annual service regimen for the German rivals, and the City feels like a finicky woman, touching up every 10 minutes.

4. Tyres:
Did the Honda Engineers wake up one day and think, "What can we do to screw up our Indian customers?" I mean, why does the International version get the better alloys AND the correct size of tyres, whereas we are stuck with crazy Exhaust Fan alloys and tip-toeing 175/65 tyres? And what's up with the luck factor which decides whether you get crappy MRFs or the better Michelins/Bridgestones? Honda should've at least given an option to upsize the tyres to the international one, and a change of alloys to the international one. A company offered optional arrangement would have been so much better than the alternative of resorting to after-market modifications and risking voiding the warranty/insurance of the car. Apparently, as per law, absolutely NO modifications are to be done to a registered vehicle. A 0 to Honda for this atrocity to Indian customers!

Talking about other details,

Pros:
1. Superb Seats, Ride Comfort, Air Conditioner, Stereo
2. Silky Smooth on the road. Much better ride quality than the Vento.
3. Killer Looks.
4. Peace of mind at the Gas Stations!
5. Fit and finish of the plastics. Interior quality feels extremely good. GTO had pointed out stuff like the carpet in the storage space below the armrest in his official review. Small stuff like this really makes a difference.


Cons:
1. Maybe a tad more torque would've been welcome. The need is prominently felt during overtaking.
2. The brown colour is a pain to maintain! Especially in the monsoon.
3. Honda could've added a storage space beneath the seats, to store away some prized possessions, away from prying eyes.
4. Piano Black finish is a finger-print and dust magnet. Get ready to wipe the interiors daily, to keep it glossy and shining.

Overall, I guess I am completely hooked on to the new City. Feels good to have a smooth, clean vehicle which couples the best of features with the best of comfort. Full marks on practicality as well. Overall, a good job, Honda. You've truly created a Greater Driving experience.

Last edited by GTO : 14th August 2014 at 14:48. Reason: PM coming up :)
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Old 13th August 2014, 14:58   #5
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Default re: Perfection on wheels - My 2014 Golden Brown Honda City VX i-DTEC

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Initial Ownership Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 13th August 2014, 15:26   #6
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Default Re: Perfection on wheels - My 2014 Golden Brown Honda City VX i-DTEC

Welcome to the 2014 Honda City club, krishnadevjs.

The City i-DTEC is a fantastic little powerplant, and that coupled with the immense cabin space and comfort that brand City provides, makes for a compelling case in the C2-segment. No wonder it still reigns supreme today, seven full months after it's launch.

I had absolutely no idea how the Golden Brown Metallic looked, before taking delivery of my Empress. A truly stunning shade, reminiscent of the elite-class 30L+ cars. Yes, maintaining it is a bit of a pain but worth it, since the shade looks absolutely drool-worthy when the City is parked anywhere in the sun.

Wishing you plenty of trouble-free, happy and cheerful miles in the days to come. Rev hard but drive safe, my friend!
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Old 13th August 2014, 16:18   #7
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Default Re: Perfection on wheels - My 2014 Golden Brown Honda City VX i-DTEC

Congrats on the lovely ride !

I just love the overall look and feel of the car. I have just acquired my silver VX-MT Diesel this week and my ownership thread is in progress. Any more upgrades planned ?

How much did the mats cost ?
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Old 14th August 2014, 14:56   #8
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Originally Posted by Alive2Drive View Post
Congrats on the lovely ride !

I just love the overall look and feel of the car. I have just acquired my silver VX-MT Diesel this week and my ownership thread is in progress. Any more upgrades planned ?

How much did the mats cost ?
Hi, Alive2Drive,
Congrats on your new car. The mats cost me 5.7k approx at 3M Car Care, Kochi. All that cabin space means more mat, and hence more cost. (Vento costed me 4.8k)
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Old 15th August 2014, 21:56   #9
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Default Re: Perfection on wheels - My 2014 Golden Brown Honda City VX i-DTEC

Quote:
Originally Posted by krishnadevjs View Post
Hi, Alive2Drive,
Congrats on your new car. The mats cost me 5.7k approx at 3M Car Care, Kochi. All that cabin space means more mat, and hence more cost. (Vento costed me 4.8k)
Hey krishna. Congrats on the car. Can you please share the break-up of the exact OTR of Mumbai and Pondy?
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