This is my buying experience 3 month old City along with the likes and dislikes. The search for a car started many months back when I decided to own a car of my own. I was not in a hurry and was just browsing to understand.
I had very little knowledge of cars until then and with a mass market in mind, I was thinking about to get a Dzire then. Primary reason being I have travelled (not driven) extensively in a 2008 Swift and liked it very much, and the main drawback I saw was the limited bootspace. Swift with an extra boot was my primary choice. So when I was browsing for more details, I learnt that the build quality has degraded over the years even though Maruti has kept its pole position and hence started my search for a better car.
I did not have any segment in my mind, and noted down my primary requirements. They were
1) A good rear seat comfort during long travel
2) A bigger boot
I did not list other requirements like a good reliability, better mileage, safety, hassle free ownership experience etc as that is a given. No one would want to buy a vehicle which is not reliable. I looked at many cars and more were dropped out just because of the rear seat comfort. During my research I found how manufacturers are coming up with the SUV shaped cars yet the price is not justified at all. Even though ground clearance is good, I felt it compromised the comfort as body roll was very evident in most of the cars. Sonet, Venue fell into this category. Brezza was good, but since there was facelift in the works, I wanted to wait for that. I liked i20 in every aspect except for the boot space.
For a short time, had decided on Amaze as I have heard much about the iVtec engine and its reliability (Me and my wife somehow felt Jazz was tight for 3 people in the rear, but Amaze was better). Was looking for only an automatic and when I was looking for the variants, facelift had already come up and so only S and VX had CVT with them. After looking into the specs, I once again extended my requirement list with adding below
3) Cruise Control
4) Reverse parking camera
These were added because my driving experience is less and so these features would help. Cruise control was mainly because I had no experience driving on a long trip and I definitely felt taking a foot out from the accelerator will reduce fatigue at least a bit. So with the above requirements, VX was the variant to go for, which came around 11 Lakhs on road. Only then we saw 4th Gen City was also in production and that come less than 12 Lakhs on road, which was a killer.
My wife had always liked City for long, but that never came in our discussion to own one as we thought it was over our budget, more so like my wish for a Mini Cooper (which still is way out of our budget and of course not a practical family car for Indian roads). Coming back to Amaze, we felt an extra lakh for City was worth, even though it was a manual version. I decided to check out the current production version from showrooms in Chennai. When I enquired almost all came back saying no stock even for display. One fine day when I was crossing a Honda Showroom near my house, I noticed a 4th Gen City in the showroom. So that weekend took my wife and kid so have a look. When I sat inside, I was a bit disappointed to see too much of hard plastics being used in the interiors. I was also aware of the touch screen AC controls and its draw back by then. Me and my wife had same thoughts and without exchanging a word, both decided to check out the 5th Gen standing next to it.
Love at First Sight!!
Damn right it was. The steering buttons, AC knobs, legroom, visibility and most important of all the seats, we immediately decided this is the one we had to buy. The rear seat comfort is best in City and don’t think any other can come closer to it. Since it was already over our estimated budget, we decided to stick to V variant with CVT, which had more than my requirements. We had a few months with us to proceed for booking as I was shifting my company and was waiting to see if company lease policy would work me. In that meantime, started to understand more about City and cars in general. Team Bhp site had given much more insights on ownership than any others, as many other sources talk only about a review in general. That is when I wanted to be part of this elite community. I see few cars on the roads with the team bhp sticker on and makes me smile. This is the time I thank Admin for approving my login request
The few months of wait also meant the price increased twice, but I was OK with it. All this time, the 4th Gen City price was never raised (just to keep it inside the 10 Lakhs ex-showroom). That way I consoled myself that with the price increase in 5th Gen, there won’t be a compromise in quality. That was the time I also decided to upgrade to VX mainly for a bigger size wheel, which would partially increase ground clearance (around 3-4 mm if I am correct), two extra airbags and the very colourful instrument cluster. All others including sunroof were cherry on the top. And hence we locked up VX. Before I finalized I wanted to check out a VX variant as it is. All showrooms had V and ZX only in display. Finally after a few days managed to take a look of a VX vehicle and was convinced. My wife was a bit disappointed with the fabric as they didn’t give the same feel as the leather ones in ZX, which we checked out earlier. But can’t have it all, still we did get so much from the stage when the search for a car started. So no regrets. Coming to the colours, I honestly felt all colours from Honda is boring and I didn’t have any specific colour in mind, but went with White as wife wanted it. We took a test drive (twice from different showrooms) and booked in first week of Sep and vehicle was ready by end of Sep. We took delivery on 5th Oct on account of Vijayadashami.
We had put in OEM car seat covers too, which at least tries to give a look of the leather seats.
Have driven about 1300 kms in just short of 3 months and below are my likes
- • Great ride comfort. People sitting in rear seat keep telling me how good it is. (Mission accomplished)
- • Easy to manoeuvre in City. Yes it is. Never felt I am driving a vehicle as big as 4.5 meters. Only when I parking, I get how long is the vehicle
- • Good Speakers. Haven’t used much, but the quality will satisfy most of the people
- • Auto dimming IRVM. When I decided on VX variant, I did see this , but never gave much thought. Only when driving I saw how good is it. It must be given as a standard even for smaller cars for the comfort it gives.
- • Instrument cluster. Very colourful and its so pleasing to see it when driving in the night. The graphics of door open and other warning symbols reminds that you are inside a premium car
- • CVT is smooth. Recently I travelled in a Diesel AMT, which bothered me the whole trip with the gear shifts. It was like broadcasting to everyone that I am shifting gears now. Comparing to that, CVT is pure bliss.
- • Tilt and Telescopic steering. Many SUV shaped cars don’t give this (both) adjustment. It definitely gives a good driving position. I wonder how difficult would it have been for me if this feature is missing.
- • Front defogger. This is very useful during rains. Just a few seconds to clear the windshield, even though the sound is too much.
- • Paddle Shifters. Upshifting gives nothing to feel, but downshifting makes you smile from ear to ear.
- • Looks. I know this is subjective. Even my wife likes the 4th Gen more than this, but this 5th gen design has started to grow on me.
- • Infotainment system – It is dated with nothing exciting. Its like using a decade old smart phone
- • Reverse camera. Many have already highlighted, but it gets the job done.
- • Suspension is too soft for my liking. I can’t feel the road and at higher speeds, not many would like this.
- • Rear AC vents. Blowers could have been a bit more powerful at the back. Front passenger often gets a request to increase cooling.
- • Sheet metal quality. A month back I had unknowingly scratched the left rear door in my parking pillar. I was travelling very slowly at 2 kmph to park when this happened. When I came out, was surprised to a dent. The front fenders are very light. Can go in just with less pressure.
- • Honda as a company in India. This worries me. Engines are Honda’s USP and sadly that is the only one for now.
o Designing – they must take a leaf out of Kia on how they design cars. Looks are the primary ones which brings people inside showroom.
o Recently launched WR-V in Indonesia is touted to be introduced in India next. If that is the design they have planned, I am sorry for Honda.
o Cant understand their marketing strategy and how are they positioning their vehicles. With jazz, wr-v and 4th Gen city phasing out, they have only one SUV coming out in 2023 I believe. This is an unbelievable portfolio even for survival, forget the profit zone.
o Dealership experience. It was average at the best. Maruti had a lot of young people and they wanted to please once entered the showroom.