A City that’s slicker

Honda added a boot — a large one — to the sta­ple hatch, adding ca­pac­ity to com­fort

Herald Sun - Motoring - - USED CAR -

NEW

MANY of us have down­sized to smaller cars but we haven’t nec­es­sar­ily down­sized our think­ing. Some of us still want to squeeze in a fam­ily and ac­com­mo­date the stuff that fam­i­lies want to take with them — of­ten it’s more than can rea­son­ably fit in a hatch.

Hear­ing a plain­tive call, Holden came out with the Ba­rina sedan, Toy­ota the booted Yaris, Nis­san the sim­i­lar Ti­ida. Honda’s re­sponse came in the form of the City, in ef­fect a Jazz hatch with a boot, and a sur­pris­ingly large boot at that.

The City was a close me­chan­i­cal cousin of the Jazz, shar­ing the hatch’s 1.5-litre en­gine and sus­pen­sion. Where the two dif­fered was the City‘s cav­ernous boot — larger even than a Holden Com­modore’s. Bring the 60-40 split-fold­ing rear seat into play and it was big­ger even than the Ac­cord and Ac­cord Euro.

As with the Jazz, the City seated five. Ac­cord­ing to the tape it was the same width as the Jazz but a lit­tle lower, while adding the boot made it a mas­sive 510mm longer and it rode on an ex­tended wheel­base.

There were two vari­ants at launch in 2009, the welle­quipped VTi and the VTi-L with even more gear.

Shared with the Jazz, the en­gine in both was a 1.5-litre four-cylin­der (88kW/145Nm).

Trans­mis­sion op­tions were a five-speed man­ual, or the more common five-speed auto, with miserly fuel con­sump­tion — 6.3L-6.6L/100km.

The City be­gan life with a four-star crash rat­ing from ANCAP, but it was up­graded to full marks with the re­lease of the 2011 update, which in­cluded elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol.

On the road the City was an ap­peal­ing per­former with­out be­ing ex­hil­a­rat­ing. It was quiet, the cabin was com­fort­able, it han­dled and steered well and the en­gine got the job done with­out any fuss.

It up­held Honda’s rep­u­ta­tion for qual­ity fit and fin­ish.

NOW

None of the own­ers we sur­veyed reported ma­jor prob­lems or abid­ing con­cerns with their cars. There was noth­ing that could be re­lated to build qual­ity. Even bet­ter, none reported any re­li­a­bil­ity is­sues, earn­ing the lit­tle Honda a big tick of ap­proval.

With one ex­cep­tion, City own­ers heaped praise on the fuel econ­omy of their cars — the con­sump­tion they have mea­sured lines up well with Honda’s claimed av­er­ages.

Me­chan­i­cally, the City is con­ven­tional; it’s all well proven and re­li­able.

The five-speed man­ual was not the most pop­u­lar op­tion with buy­ers and the auto is a reg­u­lar torque con­verter job. In the later se­ries, Honda in­tro­duced a con­stantly vari­able trans­mis­sion, which anec­do­tally is per­form­ing well.

With re­li­a­bil­ity a non-is­sue, it’s im­por­tant to fo­cus on con­di­tion and main­te­nance.

Check your cho­sen car’s ser­vice record for a his­tory of reg­u­lar main­te­nance at a cred­itable ser­vice agent. It’s best if ser­vic­ing was car­ried out by a dealer or an in­de­pen­dent me­chanic who has knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ence of Hon­das.

Give the body a close in­spec­tion look­ing for mis­match­ing or blotchy paint, stone chips, scratches and scrapes. In­side, look for wear and stain­ing on the seats and floor cov­er­ings.

The City was af­fected by the world­wide Takata airbag re­call. Lo­cally, Honda re­called all Ci­tys built between 2009 and 2012. There have been no re­ports of any­one in Aus­tralia be­ing in­jured by fly­ing shrap­nel as a re­sult of a faulty airbag in­fla­tor but it’s bet­ter to be safe than risk it. Check that the car you are con­sid­er­ing has been back to the dealer and had the airbag re­placed.

OWN­ERS SAY

Lyn­dal Reid My City is my sixth Honda and it is the only one I’ve been dis­ap­pointed with. It uses too much fuel with­out any com­pen­sat­ing oomph, the fuel tank is too small and I can’t read the dark red fig­ures on the odome­ter.

Ross McGa­han I had bought Fords since 1969 so buy­ing the City was a ma­jor shift for me. I am very pleased with the car. The fuel con­sump­tion is amaz­ing. It has av­er­aged 6.7L/100km mainly driv­ing around the city, and on a trip to the coun­try the con­sump­tion was 4.6L. It has a sur­pris­ing amount of boot space and, I think, more rear legroom than my 2006 Ford. The only com­plaint I have is the GPS, which is way too hard to set up.

Kim Ed­wards It has lots of space, not just the legroom, but also the boot, which is per­fect for us as we do lots of trav­el­ling. The run­ning costs are also low. We don’t re­gret buy­ing this as a fam­ily car! Joanne Scott We’ve had no prob­lems at all with our 2010 City, and it’s very eco­nom­i­cal. Bren­dan Terry We bought the City be­cause it looked nice, was eco­nom­i­cal and “dif­fer­ent”.

SMITHY SAYS

A sur­pris­ingly capacious car in a small pack­age, the City is a keeper.

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