Honda City 1.5L Grade E

The gloom around the world seems to have set-in and this one appears to be of the long haul type that will affect anyone and everyone. In this climate, companies are forced to re-look at the car benefits of the employees with the view of managing costs. Therefore, whether it is by design or just timing, this new 3rd generation City was launched. The 2nd generation City had its share of fans and critics so, the arrival of this City was very much on the cards for quite some time. As an entry level model for Honda plus also some of the other Japanese marques and the cost conscious market place, this segment is increasing proving to be the bread and butter of these companies. Meaning, its importance and the survival of the marques in this segment could mean surviving the ‘storm’ or doom for them.

The main influence for this new design was apparently quite by chance as during the design period, the Chief Engineer, Honda R&D Co. Ltd happened to take a break to go out for a movie in which he was captivated by the archer and the bow/arrow action. This led to the core design concept of the exterior being termed ‘Arrowshot Form’. The side view of the roof line rising towards the lid of the trunk is symbolic of the pent-up energy when the arrow is about to be released. With more than 1 million Citys’ on the road around the world in 39 countries since 1996, this new City is expected to achieve even greater success in the years to come.

As cost is the utmost concern of everyone, the platform used is mostly of the Jazz but not the parts. The overall appearance actually ups the ante for all 1.5-litre models to be more refreshing and stylish. In any ways, the offerings in this City are almost in the class of a mid range sedan. This model will perfectly fit the current need of all fleet customers who are actively looking for options without sacrificing too much for their employees. This model will be aptly fit the bill for entry to mid level executives, the SME industry or just as the second run-around car.   

Honda Malaysia Sdn Bhd performed well in 2008 despite it being a challenging year. On going efforts to upgrade the dealership network has resulted in the current 50 3S centres in around the country and 3 Sales dealers.

With a dominant ‘V’ shape front end shaped like wedge and bearing some resemblances to the Accord, an immediate impact will be made at first look especially with the matt finish grille. Instead of a long rear deck, a short rear deck was selected to offer a dynamic and solid stance. All these elements have been thoughtfully infused to give an impression of the pent-up energy within just prior to the arrow about to be launched. The rear combination lamps are again influenced by the arrow and this time, its feathers appear aerodynamic. With the cut-off-line between the combination lamps and the trunk lid not utilising the traditional Y-shape, the rear stance is a clear trapezoidal form.

Once the door is opened, the single colour stands out to create a cool spacious ambience. The dash and the door panels are in black plastic while the fabric seats are in purple-black colour with water repellent feature. The steering column has the tilt and telescopic feature which can be adjustable up to 40mm in each direction. A vehicle information display is also included to display instant fuel consumption, average fuel consumption and remaining driving range.  For the driver’s seat, there is a height adjuster and can be adjustable within a 50mm range. An armrest is available for the rear seats which are 60/40 adjustable and reclined. A useful footrest is also in place to make long distance driving more comfortable. The centre console spots the stylish digital media audio system with a LCD display. This system supports MP3 and iPod with the USB and AUX jacks located at the bottom of the centre console. One element that is missing is Bluetooth which will most likely be added in the next facelift exercise. For convenience, there list a whole list of items but the underseat tray located below the rear seats deserves special mention as it will be very useful to store an umbrella or a pair of shoes. The cargo bay is also sizeable with the capacity of 506-litre.

The new developed powertrain is the 1.5-litre 4-cylinder 16 valve SOHC i-VTEC engine which is rated to produce 120PS of power at 6600rpm and torque of 145Nm at 4800 rpm. Our test included the formal drive through the highway and federal roads plus run a around in our city over a weekend. The speed and rpm recorded were 110km/h at 2100rpm, 120 km/h at 2400rpm, 130 km/h at 2700rpm and 160 km/h at 3500rpm. These numbers will go a long way to describe the fugal nature of this engine and for 1-litre we managed to clock about 16 km.  The transmission is the 5-speed auto with Shift Hold Control and to add more fun during the driving, paddle shift is available on the steering wheel. It can be operated by using the right paddle for shifting up and left paddle for shifting down while in the D or S hand shift mode. The S mode allows the driver to enjoy the drive like a manual transmission car.  The ride/comfort provided is addressed by the MacPherson strut front suspension and H-shaped torsion beam rear suspension both tuned to achieve better stability and handling.

The light weight body is designed to be strong with a variety of enhancements without relying on additional members. As it is a Honda, G-CON is in place including ACE or Advanced Compatibility Engineering. With ABS, EBD and Brake Assist system coupled with good use of sound absorbing material, the drive quite yet assuring. There are 2 frontal SRS airbags with 3-point ERL front seatbelts plus load-limiting pretensioners. All the features expected in car in this segment are available with some features found only in the higher class. The front brakes are ventilated disc while the rear is solid disc.

The standard warranty offered is 100,000km or 3 years whichever comes first and 2 year warranty for the battery or 40,000 km whichever comes first. The estimated maintenance cost is RM144.05 at 5,000 km, RM215.35 at 10,000 km, RM360.30 at 20,000km, RM829.50 at 40,000km, RM544.50 at 60,000km, RM829.50 at 80,000km and RM1235.40 at 100,000km.

The Honda Insurance Package panel of insurance companies is Tokio Marine, Mitsui Sumitomo and Uni Asia). The package offers free towing & roadside repair services, car rental assistance, arrangement for hotel accommodation, emergency message transmission; speedy approval process for repairs under RM10,000, medical referral and arrangement of medical appointments, dispatch of medication not available locally; medical evacuation/repatriation, medically supervised repatriation, visa/passport and inoculation requirements, arrangement of flights, return of children traveling with the member, location of lost items, legal referral, referral to interpreter/translator, service centre referral – 24hrs call centre with full auto assist program – 1 800 18 1177 or 03 7660 2215.

For colours, the choice is Deep Lapis Blue Metallic, Crystal Black Pearl, Polished Metal Metallic, Bold Beige Metallic and Alabaster Silver Metallic. The price on-the-road with insurance for company registration is RM90,870.

For all enquiries call toll free 1 800 88 2020
All prices valid are as per 24 February 2009.

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