My Honda City 3rd-gen long-term ownership experience: 10 years & 1L km

The best fuel efficiency I have gotten so far is 25 km/l on the Mumbai-Pune expressway.

BHPian SILVER-ARROW recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

  • The year is 2012. Lots of action is happening across the Globe.
  • The 30th Summer Olympics are held in London.
  • "The Avengers" movie is released to become the highest-grossing movie of the year.
  • Mr Pranab Mukherjee is elected as India's 13th president.
  • The Discovery of the Higgs Boson particle is announced by scientists at CERN.
  • Nifty crashed by over 900 points when a dealer for stockbroker Emkay Global punched a wrong order.
  • Got Married to my Girlfriend. This was the most important action of 2012 as this necessitated requirement for a new car.


There was lots of action in our house regarding the finalisation of our new car. We had a 2007 model Santro Zing which was loaned to us by my cousin who had relocated to Sharjah for Job but didn't want to part ways with his first car. Whenever he used be back he used to utilise the Santro Zing for his commute. When he was away it was for us to use. It was a wonderful car to drive in city traffic and no fuss ownership. We are by no means light travellers, Santro used to barely satisfy our luggage requirements. However, a new member is part of our family now. The hunt for a bigger car started.

Cars Considered

A few primary requirements were identified below:

  • It must be at least a B-segment Sedan.
  • Must have a large Boot capacity.
  • The rear Legroom must be adequate.
  • Fun to drive as I would be behind the wheel almost 99% of the time.
  • Must be in popular demand so that there is no concern for parts availability even if we are stuck in some remote location due to mechanical issues.
  • Resale valve to be good if we think of replacing it 3-4 years down the line.

Cars which were considered were Tata Manza, Fiat Linea, Skoda Rapid, Honda City and Hyundai Verna. There was a lot of deliberation and test drives. Below is a list of comparison of the features list.

Tata Manza

  • Pros:- Spacious Interiors, Good ride quality, Efficient Diesel Engine.
  • Cons:- Lack of outright performance, sales service Hit or miss, Questions about Resale value. To add to the cons the Showroom was desolate, Sales representatives seemed list bothered to explain all the features, no follow-up once we left the showroom.

Fiat Linea

  • Pros:- Wonderful car was the pick of our choice, All around disc brakes, Turbocharged petrol was fun to drive, excellent ride comfort.
  • Cons:- Reliability was hit or miss, Concerns about after-service, Low Resale Value in the used car market.

One of our neighbours faced a gearbox issue on his 2-year-old car. That settled the matter for us. Linea was dropped from contention.

Skoda Rapid

  • Pros:- Excellent Engine and solid build, Proper Driving Dynamics.
  • Cons:- Boot space was a compromise. Unsure Aftersales service and Resale Value.

Honda City

  • Pros:- A practical car which ticked all the boxes really well. Superb 1.5L I-VTEC engine, Arrow shot design was instantly liked by all, Excellent Rear Leg room and Humongous Boot Space.
  • Cons:- Build quality was not at par with Germans. No rear Disc brakes.

Hyundai Verna

  • Pros:- 1.6 Litre Diesel and Petrol Engines were the biggest in this class, Reliability and good after-sales support.
  • Cons:- Fuel efficiency was poor, Interior plastic quality wasn't to our liking, Limited Boot space. The car didn’t seem to connect with the heart, though it was loaded with features. The design was a turnoff at least for me.

Booking and Delivery

After weighing the Pros and Cons. The car finalized was a Honda City (V) with – Manual transmission.

The complete experience from the First visit up to delivery was really smooth. The service advisor was well-informed and explained all the features in detail which helped us in narrowing down our choice of car. The test drive was done in the S variant. The Ivtec engine has low torque below 2000 RPM. But once you are past 2500rpm it just shoots ahead, the sweet sound of Ivtec kicking in is a pure symphony for petrol heads. The gear throws are small and precise, and steering isn't too light or heavy but ideal for city driving and provides enough confidence when touching triple-digit speeds on highways. It had a huge boot space, with additional space below the rear seats. Just one test drive was enough for us to seal the deal.

The total on-road price came to about 10,57,000 which included a few accessories which were thrown in instead of the monetary discount. 1.5 lacs was paid upfront while the rest of the amount was loaned from HDFC bank.

It took us just 2 weeks from the process of booking the car to the actual delivery, these were the days when waiting periods of more than a few weeks were unheard of. The Honda sales team were outstanding in their service.

Day of Delivery


  1. Overall looks - The 3rd Generation city was the best in visual appearance of all the generations launched to date. The arrow shot design and large windows complemented the car well.
  2. Steering Feedback - The steering is well-calibrated to suit both city and highway runs.
  3. Gear Throws - Gears are perfectly tuned with short and precise throws.
  4. Suspension setup - It's on the stiffer side. At low speeds, you can feel the potholes. The highway is where the car feels more at home. The suspension setup is perfectly tuned to have a comfortable and relaxed ride.
  5. Ground clearance - This was one area which was area of concern. With just 165mm of ground clearance, the car has to be nurtured over badly designed speed breakers. You have to be really gentle on the throttle and glide the car over speed breakers to avoid bottoming out. Upsizing the tyres will marginally increase the clearance.
  6. Driver seat - Has sufficient lumbar and back support. Have never faced any back issues even after driving for 8-10 hours at a stretch.
  7. Rear seat - Comfortable Rear seat with good legroom and headroom. 3 healthy adults can be accommodated easily.
  8. Boot Space - With 506 litres of boot space it was the segment leader. Perfectly suited for travellers who travel heavily.
  9. Service experience - Good after-sales service. No concerns whatsoever
  10. Reliability - Unmatched reliability of Honda.
  11. Sheer value for money - It has every modern-day practical feature one can ask for which no other car of this size offers in this price range.


  1. Air conditioner - The AC is slightly underpowered for the size of the car. Having no rear AC vents attenuates the need for a stronger compressor.
  2. Mirrors - No auto folding ORVMS, when some other cars of the same category provided it.
  3. Tyre - Tyres came with stock Michelin X1 rubber (175x65xR15). Tyres are undersized. Upsizing to (195x60xR15) is a worthy upgrade to increase the grip levels and inspire more confidence when accelerating and braking. Providing 16" alloys would have increased the GC significantly.
  4. Build Quality - German and Czech cars had better build quality. The quality of sheet metal is inferior when compared to its german competitors. It is also prone to Rust faster in Humid conditions like Mumbai.
  5. Rear Brakes - No Rear disc brakes on any variant. Hyundai Verna had the option of disc brakes on all 4 wheels in the top variant.

Exterior Design

Honda had thrown the ball out of the park with 3rd Generation Honda in terms of Design. There is no doubt that the 3rd Generation City is more aggressive looking and came with a stance that had even the critics nod their heads in appreciation. Honda described it as a unique 'Arrow Shot Form' that gives this car a powerful imposing presence. The distinctive grille, sharp headlights, sculpted bonnet and flowing lines deliver a distinctive road presence for the City will not be mistaken for anything else in the urban jungle. It has boldness and aggression. A sharp and edgy fascia with a big slated grille and a swoopy C-pillar design completes the sporty look. The tail lights and the rear end feature a more fluid and contemporary design too It is an absolute looker from all angles. A Timeless design, it still appeals to the eyes more than a decade later.

Windows are big to make the cabin airy. The Beige interiors in the car kind of attenuates the space to make it feel bigger. (A) pillars don't hinder visibility and create blindspots on the Road.

The best angle to drool over the beauty to admire all the creases and curves.

Chrome Grill and Chrome Fog light Housing complement the Red colour nicely.

The Side Profile of the car showcases the balanced design language. Crease line running from the front headlight through the Door handles to meet the tail light. The side profile gets an all-chrome door handle with the outdoor frame fitted with aftermarket Chrome Strips and all-new wing mirrors in duotone shades with integrated turn lights on them. Panel gaps are proportionate everywhere.

Interior Design

The Interior is where Honda city stands out against its competitors. The dash is a dual-tone affair with the top half in black and the lower half in a light beige colour shade. The quality of the plastics used in the cabin is good and has lasted till now. There are a lot of storage bins and corners spread across the cabin which is very practical.

The sporty three-spoke steering is leather wrapped and mounted with audio controls along with cruise control command buttons. The centre console has brushed aluminium garnish around the centre console. There are chrome inserts on the AC control knobs and the AC vents. The cabin is very spacious and offers superb visibility from the driver’s seat. Beige Interiors have stood the test of time really well. Grab Handles are equipped with the Softclose Feature.

Visibility is Outstanding from both the Driver seat and Passenger Seat. The seats are comfortable, the driver seat comes with Height, Recline and Reach adjustment while the passenger seat has just a reach and Recline.

All three Pedals are well placed with sufficient space for Dead Pedal to rest your left foot on highway runs when cruise control is activated.

The rear seats offer good comfort and are included with foldable armrests and headrests. You also get roof lights for the front and the rear cabin. Notice the Centre console. No AC vents for Rear passengers, you feel their need in the hot summer. It isn't a deal breaker though.

Driver side door comes equipped with a windows lock button & ORVM adjustment toggle. Only the driver-side window has a one-touch mechanism as standard for other windows you have to keep the noob pressed till the windows are closed or open.

Rear Door doesn't have must storage space. Only a few coins and small items can be placed in the space provided behind the window operation switch.


Under the sloping bonnet is the renowned i-Vtec 1.5-litre 4cylinder Petrol engine. This 1497cc 16valve engine makes 118PS of power @ 6600rpm and has 146Nm of torque @ 4800 RPM under its belt. The engine is mated to a 5-speed Manual transmission.

The i-Vtec motor is a gem and super silent at idle. Have been fooled many times to crank the engine even when it’s running due to its high refinement and low audible levels. It's super refined below 2500 rpm, but once your floor the pedal beyond 2500 rpm it just begs to be redlined. The nostalgia of the sweet tune of i-Vtec kicking in is a pure symphony to the ears.

Get the Engine oil changed as per the service manual it will outlast the owner. Have been using full synthetic mineral oil for the last 3 years once the 7-year warranty was over. The refinement level is astounding. Low-end and high-end torque is impressive but mid-range is a bit dull.

Driving Dynamics

Light-weight steering and an easy-to-operate clutch make this vehicle a great choice for those who have high everyday running. The visibility from the driver's seat is great and driving this car in traffic or in narrow roads is not a major challenge. The car feels planted even at 120 km/h. Cruise control is a boon while on long highway trips. The steering though well-tuned lacks confidence during spirited driving, especially during steep turns. Body roll is the bare minimum but shock absorbers are a bit hard so on rugged roads, you will feel the bumps. On a highway, the drive is very smooth and comfortable.


The car came with 175x65xR15 Michelin rubber. Comfort is exceptional and road noise filtering inside the cabin is minimum. Tyres have been changed once at 41000 km and again at 78000 km.

Wheel alignment, balancing, and tyre rotation are being done at the local tyre shop every 5K km.

Safety Features

Pros - V model comes with ABS, BA (Brake-Assist), Dual SR Airbags, G-CON, and Anti-theft Engine immobilizer.

Cons - No Rear Disc brakes. The braking is just adequate and not perfect. Doesn't come with Isofix mounts for the car seat, No three-point seat belt for the middle passenger. The seat Belt is used for baby car seats.

Fuel Efficiency

The 1.5-litre i-VTEC engine is mad fun while being decently fuel efficient at the same time. Had been getting between 14.5 to 15 km/l in city/highway on stock 175x65xR15 Michelin X1 tyres. Currently getting about 13.1 km/l after upgrading to 195x60xR15 size Michelin X2 in December 2020.

Yes, you read it right. Fuel Efficiency of 25 km/l. This was on the Mumbai-Pune expressway With the speedometer never going above 80 km/h.

Service History

To date, all the servicing has been done at HONDA ASS. However, the service interval has changed. During the warranty period, the interval was 3 months or 5K Kms whichever is earlier. After 7th year the service interval maintained is 6 months or 10k km.

During ten years of ownership. The total cost of servicing has come to roundabout 14-15K every year (Serviced only as required per owner manual requirements, no fancy add-ons entertained).

Detailing and care

It has been a ritual to get the car detailed every year to spruce it up and extend the ownership experience. 3M was the preferred detailing shop till about 2018. Now the services used are of Maxshine and they have been doing a phenomenal job.

Thanks to the dusty weather and open parking car need washing every alternate day. If the car is outstation we prefer to just wipe off the dust with a Jopasu duster.

Car attending a detailing session at Maxshine.

Few Memories from past Decades of Ownership

Ownership experience:

  • The car has worked like charm in all these years of ownership.
  • It has been a worthy companion for all our trips and has never let us down. It brings a big smile to your face every time you floor the Pedal.

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