DRIV­ING

Herald Sun - Motoring - - First Drive -

SMALL sedans usu­ally ap­peal only to old peo­ple, but the City might just con­nect with youngsters.

It isn’t a per­for­mance car and the sus­pen­sion is cer­tainly set up with com­fort rather than agility in mind, but the City looks cool, es­pe­cially from the front with that bold grille and slit head­lights.

You could just imag­ine it be­ing pimped — with big wheels, a body kit and a huge muf­fler al­most scrap­ing on the ground.

They wouldn’t have to change the sound sys­tem though, this one is as good as you will find in some pre­mium cars cost­ing twice the price and has im­pres­sive bass.

You may not think this is im­por­tant, but just ask any­one younger than 30 if the qual­ity of the sound sys­tem mat­ters.

The big­gest thing the City has go­ing for it is the amount of in­te­rior space.

At least two tall blokes will be more than happy in the back of this car.

The legroom is re­mark­able and there is plenty of head­room, the seats are comfortable and the cav­ernous boot has a wide open­ing to al­low for bulky items.

Given this has a 60/40 split­fold rear seat, it’s able to carry surf­boards or a large moun­tain bike.

Honda in­te­ri­ors are usu­ally good and the City is no dif­fer­ent.

The plas­tic sur­faces are hard rather than soft, but it all looks nice.

Some in­te­rior as­pects look fa­mil­iar to Jazz driv­ers, such as the in­stru­ment clus­ter and the steer­ing wheel, but the cen­tre con­sole is dif­fer­ent.

Though the Jazz has gone for a fu­tur­is­tic look with dif­fer­ent-sized di­als and a non-con­ven­tional style, the City has a sim­pler and eas­ierto-use sound sys­tem and heater con­trols that look a lit­tle plain.

The City was driven at a race­track near Pat­taya in Thai­land be­cause Honda was wor­ried it might hit or be hit by the hordes of scooter rid­ers who risk their lives ev­ery day on the streets.

This made it a bit harder to get an ac­cu­rate pic­ture of the City, but it was clear this car has a dif­fer­ent at­ti­tude to its Jazz sib­ling. First, it feels a lot softer. The sus­pen­sion has more give and there seems to be more body roll.

Un­less you fid­dle with all of this, the City is never go­ing to be a sporty drive, but that was never its role.

It was de­signed for af­ford­able, prac­ti­cal trans­port.

The steer­ing is light and though there isn’t much feel it is ex­cel­lent in tight spa­ces, just like the Jazz.

The au­to­matic ver­sion was driven in Thai­land and it is best de­scribed as ad­e­quate rather than lively.

It may feel a bit quicker on a nor­mal road rather than a track, but it cer­tainly wasn’t go­ing any­where in a hurry dur­ing the test drive.

The like­li­hood that the City will use less fuel than the Jazz, which is al­ready a miser, should be a big draw­card and could en­cour­age some peo­ple out of com­pact crossovers and mid-sized sedans.

It cer­tainly isn’t sporty, but the City should be cheap to run, has heaps of space in­side and looks pretty good, too.

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