Honda City VTI-L is a compact car that is big on space and offers a hint of luxury
What is it?
The Honda City. Honda’s smallest sedan and it’s based on the Jazz hatchback.
What’s it cost?
The Honda City range kicks off with the Honda City VTI manual which is priced from $15,990 and finishes off with the City VTi-L which is has a recommended retail price of $21,590 plus on road costs.
We’re presuming the “L” in VTi-L stands for “Luxury,” as the costliest version of the City is offers a generous amount of standard equipment. There’s a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and flappy paddles on the steering wheel, leather trim, satellite navigation, a reversing camera, push button start and 16inch alloy wheels. Oh and it has a decent centre console, which is sounds like a dreary feature to mention, but it’s an almost unheard of feature in this segment. Parking sensors are nowhere to be seen.
What’s it go like?
All Honda City models are powered by a 1.5 litre four-cylinder engine that develops 88kW @ 6600rpm and 145Nm @ 4600rpm. The engine itself is eager enough, but it can be a little coarse and noisy in its delivery. The Achilles heel of the drivetrain though, is that CVT. It just feels like it prevents the engine from reaching its full potential and we’d prefer a conventional automatic.
Performance is adequate, and the City is even half decent on the open road. Honda claims an official combined fuel consumption figure of 5.9 litres per 100 kilometres. We averaged around 7 litres across a mixture of highway and city driving.
The steering wheel is light, ideal for navigating car parks and tight city streets. There is a little body roll through corners though and we felt the ride was too firm and lacked composure, and jolts generated from road imperfections easily filter through to the cabin.
Strangely for a car that’s designed to conquer the concrete jungle, Honda has omitted parking sensors from the standard equipment list, and this is ironic, considering city driving can often require drivers to manoeuvre into tight spaces.
What’s it like inside?
Surprisingly spacious. There’s actually ample room for passengers in the front and back, the rear legroom is particularly impressive especially for a car of this size. The dashboard is logically laid out and features a simple and elegant design. And that centre console – yes, I know I keep harping on about it – is a decent and useful size too.
The seats are firm but comfortable and are supportive enough for most.
The infotainment system is easy to use, but the satellite navigation software is cheap and at times had difficulty calculating routes.
Build quality is fine, but some of the plastics are cheap and harsh to the touch, and there seems to be a noticeable difference in quality between Honda’s Thai and Japanese built models. For example, there’s a noticeable difference in materials used in the Honda Odyssey which is made in Japan compared to the Civic and City that hail from Thailand.
What we like:
- Interior space
- Equipment levels
- Overall feeling of solidity
What we don’t:
- Ride can be choppy and lacks composition at times
- Crappy sat nav
- No parking sensors
- Annoying CVT
Sale or no sale?
If you’re looking for a car for around town that offers ample space, solid built quality and a touch luxury and you’re willing to ignore a few foibles, the Honda City VTi-L could be for you.