HONDA CITY VTI

Herald Sun - Motoring - - HEAD TO HEAD -

VALUE

It’s $1000 more ex­pen­sive but com­pen­sates with a large sev­eninch cen­tral screen that dis­plays phone, au­dio and trip in­for­ma­tion, as well as a re­vers­ing cam­era. Ser­vic­ing in­ter­vals are six months/ 10,000km and the cost over three years is roughly dou­ble that for the Mazda. Cruise con­trol is stan­dard and the driver can ac­ti­vate Siri voice com­mands via the steer­ing wheel con­trols. Matches the Mazda’s power win­dows.

DE­SIGN-TECH

Not as pretty as the Mazda but the slightly gawky ex­te­rior looks pro­vide a spa­cious in­te­rior. Rear legroom is as gen­er­ous as some mid-sized sedans, while rear head­room is also good and the rear bench is wider. Matches the Mazda’s 60-40 split rear seats but has a sig­nif­i­cantly big­ger boot at 536L. Has bet­ter con­nec­tiv­ity op­tions, with two USB ports, an HDMI port and three

12-volt power sock­ets. Handy re­mote boot re­lease.

EN­GINE

The Honda is slightly heav­ier than the Mazda but com­pen­sates with a more pow­er­ful en­gine (88kW/145Nm). The en­gine can be a bit rau­cous at times but the pay-off for that is bet­ter per­for­mance. The man­ual is only a fivespeed but works well. It is slightly thirstier than the Mazda, us­ing 5.8L/100km.

SAFETY

Six airbags and a five-star crash rat­ing but the Honda scored a lower 35.62 out of a pos­si­ble 37 points. Matches Mazda’s five seat belt re­minders and emer­gency haz­ard light ac­ti­va­tion. Re­vers­ing cam­era a bonus.

DRIV­ING

Com­fort­able but not as en­joy­able to drive as the Mazda, the City is not as well tied down through the bends and not as ea­ger to change di­rec­tion. Sus­pen­sion tends to wal­low over big­ger bumps, while steer­ing lacks feel and feed­back. As with the Mazda, the Honda makes some road and tyre noise on coarse sur­faces.

In the small sedan seg­ment, thrift counts for more than styling. Richard Black­burn checks a perky pair

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