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Old 7th December 2005, 10:54   #1
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Thumbs up The VTEC strikes back!

Return of the King

Long, long time ago, in a galaxy far far away...

Back in 2000, Honda introduced the Indian car market to the concept of a VTEC engine in the form of (Old) Honda City, and jumped its way into the hearts of all car racing enthusiasts in town. The car had heavenly pickup, excellent handling and could cut corners like a ballerina. I fell in love with the car and hoped to buy one eventually when I could afford it.

Forward to 2003, Honda launched a new version of the City, with a new iDSI engine and a completely new design. The shape/styling was radical to say the least (at least for indians), and though the market was divided 50-50 over its looks, one could say the looks were more than contemporary. The interiors were on a class of their own, making its rivals look as dingy as an 800. And the space was cavernous.
However, Honda decided to water down the power output to a paltry 77 bhp. Which was a big blow to all the driving enthusiasts like me. They compensated on some part by giving it decent low-end torque and this combined with a sharp turning radius and light steering, made it very easy to drive around in the city without hassles.

Fast-forward to 2005, Honda finally decided to lend an ear to our kind and came out with the City in the New ZX avatar. And it gave back the VTEC that we had missed so sorely.


The emperors new clothes ...

The first change has been made to the rather controversial shape of the NHC. The front has been elongated by around 3 inches and risen by an inch. This gives the front a more sedan like look instead of the steeply sloping pointed bonnet. The enlarged grill has been borrowed from elder brother accord and gives a more smart and bold appearance to the car unlike its earlier timid grill.

The space liberated under the bonnet has been put to good use with a new engine cooling system. Hopefully, this should give slightly better performance.

The back has also been elongated by half an inch and lowered by the same amount. This means a slightly better rear view. However, the stylish new tail lights, borrowed from the BMW 3 series give a really trendy and cool look to the back and make the otherwise thick back appear much more slimmer.

Honda certainly seem to have roped in some fashion designers for counsel. With just a few minor changes in the apparel, they seem to have made a not so great-looking duckling look like a beautiful swan.

Overall, the City ZX looks much much more contemporary than any of its competitors and exudes a sort of youthful exuberance that attracts the young at heart.


Ten, nine, eight, seven ....

Remember to do the countdown before you floor the pedal. Cause this baby is gonna shoot off like a rocket the moment you ask for it.

The moment you start the ignition, the engine starts with a soft hum, which steadily grows to a slightly muffled roar as the revs hit the 6300 rpm limit. Not exactly the mighty roar of its ancestor, but enough to send that tingle down your spine. And before you know it, the car is already breaking the speed limit. Not that you come to notice it, cause its so smooth and stable on the inside.

The low end torque is decent (same as the iDSI version), and that makes for excellent drivability in the city, though dont expect it to leap when you tap the accelerator. You need to floor it properly to get the extra 8 valves in the VTEC flowing smoothly.

This dual mode of the engine makes for both easy driving in stop and go city traffic, and for the high-end "power on demand" when you want it (and when the road permits - )


Born to be wild ....

The earlier NHC had a trademark ultra-light steering which gave a sort of flimsy feeling to the driver by not providing enough feedback. This has been corrected in the ZX version and now the steering feels much more sporty while being smooth as silk.

While the handling at low speeds is quite stable and firm, the ride at higher speeds is seriously impressive, and not for once will you feel that the car is not in your control. And the disc brakes both at the rear and front inspire you to cut those corners much sharper and with a lot more speed than before.


A league of its own ...

The City ZX sports an entirely re-vamped suspension, and its presence is immediately felt as soon as you take it out on Indian roads.

Gone the the ultra-soft suspension which used to touch nadir as soon as you faced a reasonably sized pot-hole. This one now glides smoothly over all such potholes, giving a solid, form control at the drivers hands.

The rear-seat comfort is unmatched in its class, with loads of space & legroom even with 6 footers in the front and back.

The interiors are far far ahead of the competition, though beige interiors can be tricky to keep clean. The feeling you get is of having stepped inside a premium luxury sedan. The only thing missing is the leather on the seats, which can be had for little extra cost.

The VTEC also sports a Alpine 2-din cd + cassete player which gives as good, if not better, sound than Sony or Pioneer systems.


There are two kinds of car-owners, chico: those that pay once, and those that keep on paying ....

In terms of fuel-efficiency, the VTEC driven in normal city traffic operates only in the 8-valve mode and should be as fuel-efficient as its IDSI counterpart - around 13-14 kmpl.
However, once the top 8 valves open, they are gonna gulp down more fuel, but not enough to burst a hole through your pocket. In fact, quite far from it, it should give around 12kmpl in this mode.
Expect a mileage of 12-14 for this one, which is on par with most small cars.

Honda is a name reknowned for their build-quality and the reliability of their engines. There is hardly if any maintenance, and even there, the cost of spares and labour is far cheaper than its american counterparts, almost at par with koreans.

So, once you buy a Honda, you pay only once. And not every year....


Uh-oh! Houston, we have a problem ...

Hmmm, areas of improvement - nitpicking actually

- Lack of ABS and airbags even as an option. C'mon, Honda, show some concern for the safety of you Indian customers.
- No leather on the seats - spoils an otherwise perfect interior.
- High bonnet : restricts view for short drivers - seat height adjust notwithstanding
- Door handles : Grip type with some chrome on them to give that uber-cool look.
- No foldable rear-seats : 500 litres of boot space is good, but increasing it to 1000 by folding the rear seats would make it even better.

Anybody in Honda listening ...


Lord of the Mid-sizers

In the current premium mid-sizer segment, in terms of overall ride, performance, comfort, interiors, running and maintenance costs, there is no other worthy of taking on the Honda City VTEC. It is the undisputed King of its class.

And like all good things, it comes at a cost which is much higher than its counterparts - but once you buy it, you will never regret spending those extra bucks.


Its a Honda. Its a V-TEC. Dare I say more

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hello all Team-BHPians - this is my first post, so decided to come up with the review of my new car. Look forward to more interaction with all the enthusiasts here.

Ravi Malhotra from Delhi
http://goldiez-den.blogspot.com/
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Old 7th December 2005, 11:32   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goldie_malhotra
Hmmm, areas of improvement - nitpicking actually
I'd add one which I read in this months ACI.
The spare wheel is supposedly a steel one. How much would it have cost them to provide an alloy spare ?
But then again, people would argue that we are getting International standards - donut wheels and all that ..
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Old 7th December 2005, 11:58   #3
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Had a very short test drive of the Zx VTEC when my friend was booking the Idsi Vtec Gxi - this Saturday.

Let's not be biased(just Bcoz it's a new Honda)- but my first impression was that the car does not feel even as quick as the OHC 1.5.Leave apart the OHC Vtec.

There is no urgency or the fast throttle to wheel response when you floor the accelerator in the 1st or the 2nd. Maybe bcoz of the higher inertia. I also think the Rev limiter acts sooner and not till the 7k RPM of the old VTEC.(The Salesman was giving me mean looks when i tried to floor her!)

However i am not sure - i only had a short drive. I hate the attitude of the Honda salesman and since my friend had already booked the Idsi so he might have not known that we were not prospective buyers of the new VTec.

But i can tell you this- i was not mighty impressed or blown away by the car ( which happens even now when i drive the OHC 1.5..not even talking about the OHC Vtec!!)

And i seriously doubt the ACI figures of the Elantra. At 8Lakh exshowroom Delhi in the competitive C+ segmant the NHC Vtec might not cut it - atleast for me.

Last edited by imjimmy : 7th December 2005 at 12:01.
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Old 7th December 2005, 12:25   #4
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nice review, and this 'sounds' more like the City we all knew.
Cost of spares low ? Dude, Honda's *the* 5 star place in town, if there ever was one. Repairs and replacements are way too expensive.

Last edited by zenx : 7th December 2005 at 12:28.
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Old 7th December 2005, 12:52   #5
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Quote:
Had a very short test drive of the Zx VTEC when my friend was booking the Idsi Vtec Gxi - this Saturday.

Let's not be biased(just Bcoz it's a new Honda)- but my first impression was that the car does not feel even as quick as the OHC 1.5.Leave apart the OHC Vtec.

There is no urgency or the fast throttle to wheel response when you floor the accelerator in the 1st or the 2nd. Maybe bcoz of the higher inertia. I also think the Rev limiter acts sooner and not till the 7k RPM of the old VTEC.(The Salesman was giving me mean looks when i tried to floor her!)

However i am not sure - i only had a short drive. I hate the attitude of the Honda salesman and since my friend had already booked the Idsi so he might have not known that we were not prospective buyers of the new VTec.

But i can tell you this- i was not mighty impressed or blown away by the car ( which happens even now when i drive the OHC 1.5..not even talking about the OHC Vtec!!)

And i seriously doubt the ACI figures of the Elantra. At 8Lakh exshowroom Delhi in the competitive C+ segmant the NHC Vtec might not cut it - atleast for me.
I see what you mean. Honda has used a larger stroke on this car to improve driveability and achieve power, as low down as possible. What they've lost in the bargain, is the "excitement"......the revv happy nature, the old City engines were known for.

It's a quick car but, given a chance, i'd still plonk myself into a old City 1.5/Vtec.

Need to get myself a test drive asap.

Shan2nu
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Old 7th December 2005, 12:53   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imjimmy
Let's not be biased(just Bcoz it's a new Honda)- but my first impression was that the car does not feel even as quick as the OHC 1.5.Leave apart the OHC Vtec.
You're right, mate - the new VTEC does not feel as quick as the OHC VTEC. And the comparison stops there itself.

The feel is due to the reduced noice levels in the cabin and better suspension. You dont get the mighty roar of the high-revving engine or the shove in the back. It's still there, but delivered more smoothly now.

However, for the true figures, just see the speedo zoom as you floor the pedal - you will be surprised at the reading you see
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Old 7th December 2005, 12:59   #7
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Forget the 0-100, what i'm interested in is the 0-150 and 0-170 kmph acceleration figs of the new and old Vtec. It might be down on power but, once you're in and around 160kmph, aerodynamics play a major role and the lesser drag coefficient of the new Vtec should see it play catchup.

I wouldn't be surprised if the new Vtec turned out to be quicker than the old one, beyond 150kmph.

Overdrive, are you listning!!! A 0-170kmph comparison test please.

Shan2nu
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Old 7th December 2005, 13:00   #8
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I really wouldn't care if elantra is C+ or D class car, if I am getting it at lesser price than NHC/ZX VTec. Alongwith size, I get tons of equipment like ABS/airbags/TCS et.al.

Coming back to performance, I wonder what is weight of Elantra. It is equally important as power of the engine. If 127BHP car is pulling 1350+kg of weight, it sure can be slower than 100bhp car pulling < 1000kg of weight.
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Old 7th December 2005, 14:45   #9
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Want to ask u guys: Skoda VRS Vs NHC V-Tech
BHP?
Is v-tech as fast as VRS?
Thats it, it would be kind if anyone can answer this
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Old 7th December 2005, 14:46   #10
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Default Hi there...

A warm welcome to another Vtec devotee - goldie_malhotra. That was a nice piece of intro write-up about your new vtec. Would be great with some pictures of your car.

BTW - I enjoy my vtec at its peak; but never crossed 150 marks. Though within the city limits I don't get a opportunity to push my car beyond 80/90; I've really enjoyed the experience of high rev's in my OHC vtec. It's a music to my ears - Can you hear it in yours...wow its too good.
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Old 7th December 2005, 16:45   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IndianDawg
Want to ask u guys: Skoda VRS Vs NHC V-Tech
BHP?
Is v-tech as fast as VRS?
Thats it, it would be kind if anyone can answer this



In stock form NO way but a modded vtech will take on a stock rs,provided someone puts in the time and effort to mod the vtech( its not as easy to mod as the 1.5.....havent heard about the idsi though).Hope that answers your question..

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Old 8th December 2005, 00:56   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goldie_malhotra
In terms of fuel-efficiency, the VTEC driven in normal city traffic operates only in the 8-valve mode and should be as fuel-efficient as its IDSI counterpart - around 13-14 kmpl.
However, once the top 8 valves open, they are gonna gulp down more fuel, but not enough to burst a hole through your pocket.
Where did you get this information? To my knowledge, only the hybrid Civic has this feature.
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Old 8th December 2005, 09:57   #13
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Great write up Goldie
Autocar reports that the new city does not cross the 7000rpm as the old car did The looks of the car is much more pleasing specially the addition of boot lid tail lights but i still love the old vtec city The looks and class that it had was awosome
Still confused why did honda phased it out!!!
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Old 8th December 2005, 10:17   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mpower
Where did you get this information? To my knowledge, only the hybrid Civic has this feature.
I got the info regarding VTEC engine operation from the below link. Its an interesting article, with a lot of technical details.
http://www.hotrod.com/techarticles/e...113_0307_vtec/

Also, the site asia.vtec.net has more details on these type of engines.

The hybrid civic uses an electric motor in conjuction with the VEC engine. This motor is used to store up the latent energy & deliver it when required. For details, you can look at
http://www.canadiandriver.com/articles/jk/020828.htm
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Old 8th December 2005, 10:36   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mpower
Where did you get this information? To my knowledge, only the hybrid Civic has this feature.
This months Overdrive report on the ZX VTec also mentions this technology.

@goldie - did you get a chance to check out the spare wheel ? alloy or steel ?
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