THE City is Honda’s latest gift to urban dwellers.
It is a roomy, highly-economical and thoroughly pleasant light sedan that is all most people need to get around.
The City is based on Honda’s little Jazz hatchback, but has been stretched into a sedan.
There are surprises galore. It has more front seat headroom than a Commodore (and only a tad less in the back), sufficient space for five adults, and a boot that would put many larger cars to shame.
With a flat floor, easy access and 60-40 fold rear seats there is plenty of flexibility to carry sporting equipment, such as surfboards, or other bulky items.
Honda recently introduced City to Australia, offering high levels of styling, performance, driving dynamics and ride quality combined with outstanding functionality and versatility.
The City has been a sales success for Honda with over one million units sold in 39 countries since its debut in 1996.
Two models are offered: the VTi and the VTi-L, as tested. Prices start at $20,490 and rise to $25,290 for the top-of-the-range model.
The VTi is well equipped with power windows and mirrors, central locking and an iPod ready single in-dash CD stereo with MP3 compatibility. It has an array of standard safety equipment, such as ABS brakes with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist, dual front, side and curtain airbags and front seatbelt pre-tensioners.
Both models are powered by a 1.5-litre SOHC i-VTEC engine that has an output of 88kW and 145Nm (identical to the Jazz VTi and VTi-S).
Both variants are available with either a 5-speed manual or Honda’s new 5-speed automatic transmission.
The City’s acceleration never threatens to push you back into your seat, but performance is sound.
In saying that, the little Honda is fun to drive and the manual was our pick.
Fuel economy is first-class, with the manual sipping 6.3 litres of unleaded for every 100km covered, and the automatic slightly more at around 6.6 litres.
The City is a great commuter, equally at home zipping around town or sitting comfortably on the highway speed limit.
It is not the quietest customer and some road noise finds its way into the cabin.
The higher specification VTi-L is even better equipped than the VTi, gaining tilt and telescopic steering, 16 inch alloy wheels, chrome door handles, fog lights, premium grade trim and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
Like the Jazz, the City has employed the same suspension layout, (MacPherson strut front and torsion beam rear) for maximum packaging efficiency, providing high overall ride quality, sure-footed handling, agility and ultimately an enjoyable driving experience.
Parking is a breeze thanks to a brilliant turning radius (5 metres at wheel centre) and Electric Power Steering (EPS) is standard across the range.
Backed by its size, economy and equipment, the new Honda City is sure to find plenty of fans in Australia.
Recommended Retail Pricing:
CITY VTI MANUAL $20,490
CITY VTI AUTO $22,790
CITY VTI-L MANUAL $22,990
CITY VTI-L AUTO $25,290