Honda City

Honda Malaysia Sdn Bhd finally brought us the 2009 Honda City. For those that already know pretty much everything about the car thanks to this blog’s detailed coverage in the past, let’s quickly get down to what’s important, the price!

The 2009 Honda City comes in 2 variants, the Honda City 1.5S and the Honda City 1.5E. The 1.5S is the lower end variant, priced at RM84,980 OTR with insurance while the top of the line is the Honda City 1.5E priced at RM89,980 and includes full specs such as larger wheels and paddle shifters.

The City comes with a 3 year warranty and 6 months free servicing. For the full scoop on the Honda City for the Malaysian market, continue reading this story after the jump.

Honda City

The City 1.5E and the City 1.5S are both powered by the new 1.5 litre SOHC i-VTEC engine producing 120 PS at 6,600rpm and 145Nm of torque at 4,800rpm. No manual option is available. The sole transmission is a 5-speed automatic with two overdrive ratios. Strangely, the Japanese engineers at the Honda City launch claims only one overdrive gear with no specific gear ratio data available, but a quick check from the specs in other countries shows the following gear ratios for the City: 1st – 2.995, 2nd – 1.678, 3rd – 1.066, 4th – 0.760, 5th – 0551. Perhaps they have a different definition of overdrive, or they’ve re-geared it for the Malaysian market.

Anyway, if the data I obtained is correct, the City has two overdrive ratios with an additional one designed to lower engine RPM at highway for a quieter and more economical cruise. This transmission is equipped with a paddle shift feature for the 1.5 E model which allows you to swap gears using the left side paddle for downshifts and the right side paddle for upshifts.

Honda City Specs
Click to view detailed 1.5 E versus 1.5 S specs table

Unlike the previous City which differentiated the i-DSI and VTEC models on the interior via different colours, the new City has an all-black interior across the variant range. I love black dashes, and although the plastics on the interior aren’t really soft touch as expected in a B-segment car, it has a slight rough texture to it so it doesn’t really look or feel cheap until you decide to rub around the dashboard. It’s definitely better than some of its competitors (you should know what I’m referring to) so it isn’t the worst in class.

The City 1.5 S base model’s interior lacks some nice features that the 1.5 E has, such as the compartment under the rear seats (which Honda constantly suggests you put your umbrella there), 60:40 split rear seats with a reclining feature, a rear armrest with cupholder, and it only has fixed rear headrest. Both models have water repellent seats.

Honda City

Honda City
CD player slot is hidden behind flip-down panel, aux-in and USB port is located forward of gear shifter

The audio system also only has 4 speakers compared to the 1.5 E model’s 6 speakers but both variants get the new audio system which features nearly every connectivity method you’d possibly want – CD with MP3 and WMA support, USB input with iPod control support, and an aux input. The only thing you could want is Bluetooth audio streaming.

For those who have seen the nice automatic climate control system that was shown on the European Honda City, unfortunately both variants are not available here in Malaysia. We get the three-knob control design which kind of cheapens the interior.

Honda City

The meter panel is designed with a triple-gauge design and features a multi-information display that show various “vital statistics” of the car. The two most important features would be distance to empty, which shows you how many km more you can travel on the fuel remaining in your fuel tank, and real-time fuel consumption which shows you how many km you can go per litre of fuel according to your current driving style. You can use this meter to control your driving behavior as it shows you whether your current style is fuel economical or not in real time.

Interior storage includes a glovebox, a tray for small items under the handbrake, a storage area in the center armrest with a cardholder, a pocket for small items such as maybe your Touch N Go card under the air cond vent on the driver’s side, a coin pocket below that, a cup/bottleholder and a storage area in the front door pockets, a cupholder between the two front seats, a cupholder in front of the shift lever, and cupholders in the rear armrest. The boot is best in class with 506 litres of capacity.

Honda City

The exterior between the two models can easily be differentiated by the front bumper and the alloy wheels. The 1.5 S has smaller 15 inch alloy wheels with 175/65R15 tyres while the 1.5 E has larger 16 inch alloy wheels with 185/55R16 tyres. The front bumper of the 1.5 E model has fog lamps while the 1.5 S does not. The 1.5 E also gains power retractable door mirrors (though both are electronically adjustable).

I believe that one of the City’s best advantages over its competitors is the telescopic feature of the steering wheel that is available on both the Honda City models in Malaysia. This allows the driving position to be optimum for tall people. I have always had a problem with finding a comfortable driving position in the City’s competitors. I am relatively tall but what makes it worse is that most of the height is thanks to long legs. Some B-segment sedans and even one C-segment sedan won’t even allow me to push the seat far back enough for me to reach the pedals comfortably. I had no problems in the City.

The telescopic steering allowed me to pull the steering towards me until my wrist could touch the top of the steering wheel, I was taught that if I could do this, the steering wheel was near enough to me for the best steering control. In another B-segment car, I was either stretching my arm out to the maximum to hold the steering wheel, or adjusting the backrest angle to a very straight and uncomfortable angle to get close enough to the steering wheel.

Harvinder Singh Sidhu

However note that when this blog’s regular contributor Harvinder Singh got into the car, his optimum driving position found his left knee sometimes hitting the dashboard (not sure why that part juts out unnecessarily), so be sure to check for these important details like whether you fit properly into the “cockpit” when you test drive the City. A comfortable driving position will allow you to control the car properly, and avoiding accidents is always better than relying on airbags and your seatbelt to save you when accidents happen.

Coming to the safety features point, both the models are equally equipped. Both the 1.5 E and the 1.5 S has dual SRS airbags for the front passenger and driver, ABS brakes, EBD, Brake Assist, and a driver’s window that automatically stops when something is in its path while it is winding up.

Honda City

Only five colours are available, but sadly no white or red! I asked Honda why did they omit these colours as the red seems to be the new City’s flagship colour while white seems to be quite a popular choice lately, but they said according to customer surveys and the past Honda cars sales colour mix, red wasn’t very popular so they decided to leave it out. The five colours are: Deep Lapis Blue Metallic, Crystal Black Pearl, Polished Metal Metallic, Alabaster Silver Metallic, and Bold Beige Metallic.

I’ve only covered the equipment and prices of the Malaysian Honda City in this story, but there’s just so much that has gone on under the skin of the City compared to the outgoing model. For more information please read my previous detailed technical brief of the 2009 Honda City. That’s pretty much all I can cover right now, stay tuned next year for a test drive report! ;)

Related Posts:
2009 Honda City: in-depth details and specifications (must-read!)