So we got a 2009 Honda City
I wasn’t planning to ask for the 2009 Honda City, but when Honda ME called me up and suddenly offered it to me this weekend, I agreed as usual. The previous Honda City was a cartoon-mobile that was embarrassing to be seen in, but this new one looked interesting from the day that spy shots started appearing last year, enough for me to dedicate posts to it.
As usual, Honda’s local outfit is offering modifications for GCC-spec models. This time, our City EX tester got a special grille that is likely available as an extra-cost option. The rest of the car looks standard, but it is a good-looking design for a subcompact.
Stylistic touches on the EX include a possibly-optional rear lip spoiler, chrome exhaust tip, chrome door handles, chrome trim on the rear, and very unique 16-inch alloy wheels. Beeping rear sensors were on our car too, though not really needed.
Space inside is surprisingly good for a sub-compact. Even if front knee-room is barely enough with the driver’s seat raised high, it is still decent.
The real story is in the back seat. We believe the City has more legroom in the rear than cars one class higher, like the Ford Focus or the Peugeot 308. It might even rival the Civic. Maybe it even beats the Infiniti FX50, of all things. And see how the rear doors open almost 90 degrees.
The cabin is simple but still attractive with its metal-look trim, two-tone dashboard and a steering wheel lifted straight out of the Civic. The only disappointment would be that almost every conceivable surface is hard plastic. Of course, almost every other car in the sub-compact category is the same, so one can’t complain.
The gauges look very upscale, and it is good to see that Honda is finally adding a trip computer on all their models, even if only optional. The last top-spec Accord V6 we tested did not have one.
The shifter is simple, but the paddle-shifters stuck behind the steering wheel were actually fun to use. The tiny paddles turn with the wheel, and are not fixed on the steering column. Notice the USB cable for an iPod or whatever, stowable in its own little compartment behind the cupholders, alongside an AUX port.
Out back, the cargo room is again surprisingly large and deep, with split-folding rear seats too. It might rival some larger cars here too.
No doubt, the City is as practical as a compact car while masquerading as a smaller sub-compact. The thing is, it is also priced almost as high as a compact, even in basic trim. The City is built in Thailand, but quality is comparable to the Japanese. It does not handle like a sports car, but it can be fun in its own way. However, you’ll have to wait for the full review to find out its handling characteristics, well-above-average acceleration numbers and amazing fuel economy figures.
For general specs and pricing info for the GCC, visit the Honda City buyer guide.