HONDA CITY VTI
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.
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.
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.
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.
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