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Old 17th October 2015, 22:07   #1
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Default My 2002 Honda City Type-Z

The Type - Z has always held some kind of fascination for me in my heart and mind. We've never been a Honda family (I'm not sure why), but all I've ever heard about Hondas are the fact that they are refined, powerful, and reliable. The search began almost a year ago and I had gone through almost 10 City's in the city with not one being even close to well maintained. Almost all of them were 3rd or 4th hand vehicles, plenty of denting painting, rattling under-revving engines, plastics dilapidated, interiors raggedy and forlorn.

Then out of the blue, during my usual browsing of the Olx app on my phone, I came across a very unpretentious advert that mentioned a family owned City. I had almost come to the end of my tether with looking for Honda City Type - Z's and I wasn't too excited about this one either because they all somehow turned out to be junk at the end.

The car however was in absolute mint condition. The owner, god bless his heart and fervor, had maintained this 2002 City with such dedication, that even the plastic cover wasn't pulled off the AC and defogger buttons! The engine came to life with absolutely no effort and hardly any cranks and it purred like it was new. The entire interiors were so shiny and even had the new car smell (how in the world?!).

The model turned out to be a 2002 1.5 Exi with about 1,11,000 kms on the Odo. This didn't phase me as I had heard about the potential of these Hondas easily crossing three times those figures with minimal maintenance except the normal wear and tear components.

Initial Drive
The gears slotted extremely well and surely as I eased it into first and let go of the clutch a little warily. My other car is a 2013 Bolero and I also had a Palio Stile MJD so I was used to that initial torquey clutch release where I never had to compensate the release with a press of the accelerator. The Type - Z it seems was very easy to drive unlike certain other petrol cars I've driven. The 1.5 purred and powered the car so linearly and powerfully that it completely blew me away. The breaks were fine, the suspension seemed a little worn out, the AC worked perfectly well and there were absolutely no red flags raised during the test drive.

I was absolutely smitten with the vehicle, didn't even negotiate (well, he refused to), and paid for the car the very next day and took her home.

Here are some pictures of the car.

My 2002 Honda City Type-Z-img_0984.jpg

Beige interiors, top end model, pristine maintenance.

My 2002 Honda City Type-Z-img_0986.jpg

Rear seats had plenty of leg room even with adequate seat positions up front for guys with 5 8 to 5 9 height.

My 2002 Honda City Type-Z-img_0987.jpg

All four door sills had nice shiny scuff plates and chrome handles with power windows. All four power windows working perfectly.

My 2002 Honda City Type-Z-img_0989.jpg

Driver side door panel. Power window control with nice and chunky window lock.

My 2002 Honda City Type-Z-img_0991.jpg

Driver side scuff plate with remote boot and fuel lid opening levers. Absolutely perfect function and no sign of wear on these.

My 2002 Honda City Type-Z-img_1068.jpg

Crisp and clean dial layout. The speedo needle wobbles a little bit. Reminds me of old amby speedo pins which used to do the same thing. The dials aren't backlit but are illuminated by a top side bulb, which isn't visible. Nice white light though, refreshing to look at the dials at night. Tacho works perfectly and engine idles at 850 to 900 rpm with no fluctuation.

My 2002 Honda City Type-Z-img_1140.jpg

Air vent control shows little or no sign of wear. It isn't loose at all, and the vents stay in perfect position. Look at that plastic!

My 2002 Honda City Type-Z-img_1141.jpg

A closer look at the driver side door controls.

My 2002 Honda City Type-Z-photo-141015-5-17-52-pm.jpg

Impeccable dash condition. Four spoke steering is light and responsive and a joy to drive and control. I still can't think of a single negative thing thus far. Oh wait! The air direction control knob does nothing. The air just blows from the front vents. No legs, no windscreen directions working. This goes on the to do list for the first service after purchase.

My 2002 Honda City Type-Z-photo-141015-5-17-04-pm.jpg

Another look at the rear seats.

My 2002 Honda City Type-Z-photo-141015-5-00-53-pm.jpg

Always been a fan of the design

My 2002 Honda City Type-Z-photo-141015-5-13-35-pm.jpg

Chico thinks he's better looking than the Type - Z!

My 2002 Honda City Type-Z-photo-141015-5-13-47-pm.jpg

A Mahindra towing a Kaiser as Chico looks on

My 2002 Honda City Type-Z-photo-141015-5-14-37-pm.jpg

My 2002 Honda City Type-Z-photo-141015-5-23-17-pm.jpg

My 2002 Honda City Type-Z-photo-141015-5-23-47-pm.jpg

My 2002 Honda City Type-Z-photo-141015-5-23-58-pm.jpg

Three piece front bumper for easier import and assembly.

Vehicle Notes
  1. Very effective AC in the front and rear. Absolutely no effect or lag on engine.
  2. Acceleration is addictive and heart pounding. The engine revs so freely and crisp that its so hard not to do a complete drag race start at every red signal. Being responsible in this vehicle is a virtue and very rewarding. Optimal gear shifting is a boon and means you'll be cruising through the city very very comfortably indeed.
  3. The driving position is very low. The car itself is quite low slung. I haven't yet scraped or bumped the underside though. The front seats don't offer thigh support for taller people as their knees are raised up front with their feet on the floor. The faux leather seats have kept up exceedingly well even after 13 years of use!
  4. All electricals working perfectly. From the windscreen wash to the headlights, indicators, power windows and power OVRMs. Electronically controlled OVRM's are extremely accurate and a boon.
  5. Steering wheel has no cover but I don't feel the need for it.
  6. Suspension seems a little worn out. A dull THUD is heard over little potholes and dips in the road.
Wash and Underbody Mechanical Inspection

A trip to a friends garage and I had the car lifted up for underbody inspection. The inspection yielded the following results -
  1. The suspension bushes had held up but needed replacement. There seemed to be some cracks in the front rubber bushes. No immediate effect on the drive though. Should I replace it?
  2. One of the threads on the tire hubs had completely worn out and the bolt missing. A fresh stud will have to be put. INR 300 is what I was told.
  3. A rubber housing situated on the front right transmission near the tire was cracked and filled with grime and dirt. This needs to be replaced. Forgive my lack of technical nomenclature.
  4. Front coils seemed to have leaked and stained the shock-absorbers.
  5. Struts need to be changed.
  6. Apart from normal wear and tear (the car has crossed 1,00,000 kms, mind you), there are no problems with the car.
Got the car shampoo washed along with a thorough washing of the engine bay. The car really is in spic and span condition. I'm wondering whether to go for the bushes and strut replacements. The air vent direction control knob apparently will have to be checked after opening the dash. That's going to be a labor intensive job so I might think of getting it done along with the denting and painting of the front bumper. The engine oil needs to be flushed and replaced too.

Some pictures from the wash.

My 2002 Honda City Type-Z-photo-151015-4-39-59-pm.jpg

My 2002 Honda City Type-Z-photo-151015-4-40-11-pm.jpg

My 2002 Honda City Type-Z-photo-151015-4-48-10-pm.jpg

My 2002 Honda City Type-Z-photo-151015-4-49-45-pm.jpg

My 2002 Honda City Type-Z-photo-151015-5-10-28-pm.jpg

My 2002 Honda City Type-Z-photo-151015-5-10-47-pm.jpg

My 2002 Honda City Type-Z-photo-151015-5-21-53-pm.jpg

My 2002 Honda City Type-Z-photo-151015-5-25-14-pm.jpg

Some pics of my Bolero and a friend's Honda Prelude. My Bolero's thread can be found here: http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/test-d...ms-update.html (2013 Mahindra Bolero - Rumble Tumble Tank comes home! EDIT: 14,000 Kms Update)

My 2002 Honda City Type-Z-photo-091015-1-38-35-pm.jpg

My 2002 Honda City Type-Z-photo-091015-1-38-52-pm.jpg

My 2002 Honda City Type-Z-photo-141015-5-15-20-pm.jpg

Quite a powerful car. The cam profile is sort of tuned for high revs so it's quite unstable at low speeds. But when the car goes, she flies.

My 2002 Honda City Type-Z-sbck0346.jpe

Nitrous injected
Stage 3 racing clutch
Free flow exhaust
K&N air intake
High flow injectors
Carbon fibre bonnet
D2 fully adjustable racing suspension
Full aluminium high capacity radiator with samco hose pipes.

In closing, getting the Type - Z closes (or opens?) a very sought after chapter in my life. The driving experience so far has been very refined yet powerful on demand. The car is still one of the best looking cars on the road (IMO) and seems to outdo a lot of the competition in terms of performance, handling, and comfort. I'm sure there are a lot of OHC owners and fans on here so I'd be grateful for any inputs or suggestions towards the maintenance of this car for the times to come.

Update as on 1st October 2015

All servicing done with all oil change and filter change. I changed the air filter myself and procured one from the local car parts market. The part is indonesian and I paid 300 INR for it. Immediate result was that it revved more freely to up to 5000 RPM or so. This was just during the energetic open road runs to hear that sweet engine sound. Apart from this, the engine oil had completely been spent and I got the whole thing flushed and re filled with Mobil 1. It cost 320 INR per litre, and 3.5 litres is what the car took in. Oil filter and fuel filter also changed. I also got the front left lower arm changed, which was worn out and was exhibiting some play when manually pushed against the bushes (a sign that it's worn out). Plus it was high time too, since the car had run over a lakh kms already.

I got the front bumper dented and painted. Looks a lot more beautiful now. Some plastic welding done to a tear in the bumper. Total cost 2100 INR. One incident however did occur while driving back home in the night. I started hearing a scraping sound on the road and got out to inspect the vehicle. To my shock, I noticed that the exhaust pipe had broken away from the catalytic converter and was dragging on the road. The end can and tip were still shiny but the middle portion of the exhaust system it seemed had completely rusted through over time with the water and moisture and given way!

My 2002 Honda City Type-Z-photo-231015-11-47-10-am.jpg

The workshop managed to source a new forged exhaust pipe with cat-con for the mid section for 4,500 INR which I thought was fantastic. The original exhaust had held on for 12 years! There was some welding done to it as is evident in the pictures above but that's ok. Not everyone replaces broken parts, but fixes them first.

The service center

Ralicarnation is located in the lane next to Bawarchi Restaurant near RTC X Roads in Hyderabad. The service and prices here are extremely good and they have good materials and equipment. I usually give all my cars here for servicing and they have always done a good job whether minor (wiper replacement, bulbs, general service, etc.) or major (complete clutch overhaul, transmission, dashboard work, denting painting). Their labor charges are very affordable and the oils and parts are always genuine. They can be reached on +91 8099244445. They service all types of cars and brands for any problems. Be sure to check them out if you are looking for genuine customer friendly automotive service in Hyderabad.

Driving Position and Ergonomics
I was eager to try the car out after everything had been serviced and cleaned inside out. Trying to get into the car can be a bit of a task as its so low slung. Every single person who has attempted to get into the drivers seat or front passenger seat has huffed and puffed or just collapsed into the seat hoping for the best result. Older folks can find ingress and egress to be a bit of a problem. When you sit in the drivers seat, the first thing you instinctively try to do is raise the steering wheel position. Once you grope around the bottom side of the steering, you realize that this car didn't come with tilt steering at all.Your feet resting on the floor will result in your knees hitting the steering wheel. The only solution to this is to slide the seat back until your knees don't touch the steering but your feet can still effectively actuate the pedals. This is a bit of a sporty driving position for sure and may not suit everyone. I on the other hand have found my perfect position and am very happy with it. But I re-iterate, getting in and out of the vehicle can be a task.

The seats themselves are of good quality and the faux leather gives the entire car a plush look and feel for sure. Rear legroom is quite satisfactory with a 5 foot 8 inch tall driver such as myself sitting in the front with comfy leg room space.

The view up front is quite unhindered and it was surprising to note that even with the slightly sporty driving position, I had full control and view of the front of the car. I could even see the front of the hood. The four spoke steering wheel (scroll up for pic) is extremely comfy to grip and steer, and I noticed that the steering became slightly heavier after the front suspension was serviced. All the controls on the dash (scroll up for pics) are easily accessible from the drivers location and the electronic OVRM controls are a real help. Make sure you have folded your other side mirror in or out as you prefer before you sit down as they are not electronically folding and you may have to do some stretching to reach it.

Engine and Gearbox
The engine comes to life with a minimal crank, something that made me smile the day I first test drove the vehicle. The flywheel is rather light, so you will take some time to master the jerkiness of the clutch at very low speeds in the first gear. The engine seems to reach its peak power band around the 4,000 RPM area and some research into the tuning of this engine and its power map confirmed that. This car really isn't tuned for the lower end! Pretty surprising for an Indian city car. I find its most comfortable cruising at around 60 kmph in 4th gear in the city.

The gears still slot quite surely even after running so much so that's pretty reassuring. The clutch doesn't shudder upon release and the car responds well to the throttle. Power on demand is the theme here and overtaking can be quite addictive by downshifting and just letting her rip. The engine does not underpower with the AC on. The revs are extremely smooth and will ensure that you have a super comfy and satisfying drive. I'm waiting to take the car on a highway drive to Chennai or Bangalore soon.

Comfort and Features

The car is loaded with nifty features as mentioned before such as electronically controlled OVRM's, rear defogger, power steering, all four power windows, remotely opened fuel lid and boot, and storage spaces. What is does not have is cup holders or bottle holders anywhere. This can be a bit of a downer and I have to place my water bottles in the footwells or the seats themselves. The front and rear seats get a nice comfy arm rest which I find greatly satisfying especially on long drives.

The air con is a real bone chiller and I noticed the other day after a full day of standing in the sun in the courts the entire car was like an oven, but the air con chilled pretty quick! I compare this to my 2013 Bolero ZLX, which also has frosty air con but not so effective after such battering in the sun. The air con controls have a four speed air blower and the usual direction controls.

I have replaced the headlight bulbs with white Phillips 5000K diamond vision bulbs, and multi smd white parking LED parking lights. This adds to the overall sporty look of the car and I've always preferred white to halogen yellow. The H4 bulbs cost 1200 INR for the pair. The parking lights were 150 INR for the pair and can be sourced at almost any car accessory shop.

The suspension now is smooth and takes bumps quite maturely as opposed to the pre-service time (replaced lower arms and bushes) and adds to the overall comfort for me as well as the passengers.

Fuel Efficiency
The car seems to be giving me around 11 to 12 kmpl with AC and a mix of bumper to bumper traffic and regular traffic in the city. This seems to be the general FE figures for most petrol cars these days I've noticed. The thing is, with this 1.5L honda engine with 103 PS of power and high end power band tuning, this is quite acceptable to me.


This is just the beginning of this car's ownership experience for me. I'm sure people who already appreciate/love Honda and its engineering will know the joy I feel when I drive this car. The Type -Z enthusiast club still swears by this particular model and are running them still with no end in sight. At the cost that these cars are now available in the second hand market, along with the easy and low cost maintenance and comfort and features, this is a pretty good deal for a sedan for car purchasers even today.

The car lacks safety features such as airbags and ABS, but I doubt that will deter a Honda enthusiast or a sub 2 Lakh budget car buyer.

Thanks for reading.

Last edited by ByDesign : 1st November 2015 at 22:47.
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Old 18th October 2015, 12:51   #2
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Default re: My 2002 Honda City Type-Z

Congrats on the immaculate City purchase. She looks very well maintained and just out from showroom. All credits to the previous owner.
BTW, isn't it called "Type 2" (instead of Type Z)

Last edited by Mr.Boss : 18th October 2015 at 12:55.
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Old 2nd November 2015, 10:40   #3
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Default Re: My 2002 Honda City Type-Z

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Initial Ownership Section. Thanks for sharing!

I have many fond memories of my 1st-gen Honda City Vtec. Insane engine, sharp steering & an immensely 'pure' driving experience. It was stupendously reliable and could take a lot of abuse. Still a good buy as a cheap city beater, but not for highway runs due to its poor build quality & dynamics.
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Old 2nd November 2015, 22:47   #4
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Default Re: My 2002 Honda City Type-Z

Originally Posted by GTO View Post
...but not for highway runs due to its poor build quality & dynamics.

I would be grateful if you expanded on that. I felt the build quality was pretty good (except some plastics inside) overall and it handles like a dream. The airport runs I did (the 12 km uninterrupted flyover and the subsequent Bangalore highway) with quite a bit of confidence behind the wheel. The AC was on point and the ride was quite mature and comfy. Overtaking seemed to be a breeze too!
The rumble inside the cabin from rough roads is pretty loud and can resonate sometimes. Apart from that NVH niggle, I didn't see any problems, yet.

Some photos from this week.

My 2002 Honda City Type-Z-photo-301015-11-00-16-pm-1.jpg

My 2002 Honda City Type-Z-photo-021115-2-33-19-pm.jpg

My 2002 Honda City Type-Z-photo-221015-9-15-03-am-1.jpg
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Old 29th April 2016, 14:51   #5
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Default Re: My 2002 Honda City Type-Z

This is Third Generation Honda city, It is Type Z and not 2.
Type Z is because it shared a platform. Understand this was built for South-east asian markets only.
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Old 12th June 2016, 11:21   #6
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Default Re: My 2002 Honda City Type-Z

Wow, congrats on the purchase! I've always been a big fan of the beige interiors. That exterior color is also very rare. Do you know it's official name?

I myself spent 3 months searching for my VTEC. After seeing numerous cars in various states of health I finally found mine in "like new" condition with only 27000 kms on the odo (original reading).

Are you in Hyderabad? Would love to meet up sometime
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Old 12th June 2016, 12:19   #7
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Congrats on the find! My uncle used to have the same model but in red colour. Unfortunately he sold it and opted for the new diesel city. Had some fond memories of the car. It's fun to drive on highways. Very reliable and as it was as pure as it could get to un-electronic as possible. Todays modern cars have too much of electronics in them.
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