A couple of weeks ago the local Honda dealer contacted me asking if I wanted to take out the new 2014 Honda City for a test drive. So I picked up the car first thing on a weekend morning and used till noon for some personal errands.
Now the Honda rep informed me that the new 2014 was a radical change from the previous model but I thought it was just the usual marketing jazz. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. The 2014 model looks leaner and with each iteration it’s catching up to the design cues of its bigger siblings.
My test model had a metallic black paint job with beige interiors. In the catalog its listed as ‘
Crystal Black Pearl Golden Brown with Ivory interior’. The 16 inch alloys shod with low profile radials were stylish too.
Now as a technology geek here’s what I loved about the City; the list of options that it came with. I drove the EX Spec version which is the top of the line for the City.
The inside was a stark contrast to the highly polished black exterior and it felt bigger than it actually was thanks to the light color. One strange thing I noticed when I got into the car was the absence of buttons on the dashboard, not even for the HVAC controls. When I switched the car on I realized that all the buttons are touch sensitive and light up when the car is turned on. Otherwise its just a glossy black panel that looks very clean and smooth.
- Key-less entry and ignition. This is one of my favorite features in any car and after driving my own car for the past 6 years I’ve become used to not using the key or even taking it out of my pocket.
- 7 Inch touch screen entertainment console with audio, video and Bluetooth hands-free.
- Steering controls include; Paddle Shifters, Bluetooth hands-free, Cruise control and Radio controls.
- 12 Volts power sockets in the front and back, 2 USB ports and even an HDMI port. I’ve never seen an HDMI port in a small sedan before. I later on found out that its possible to mirror your Android or iPhone to the LCD and interact with your device from the car’s LCD screen. Its a neat feature and I wish I had an MHL adapter to try it out. Here’s a video demo of the system.
- Bright back-lit instrument panel and digital readouts for current mileage and fuel range etc.
I drove it for about 3 hours while I was doing my errands and it felt nimble and fast in the city. Most of my work that day was in the city limits and I only had to get on the express way a couple of times to go to Salmiya and back to the city. Like all VTEC engines, this too was rev happy and even though its only a 1.5 L car the high rev-ability makes it easy to push it to the limit. If you’re not careful you’ll find yourself exceeding the speed limit on highways without even knowing it.
Driver’s seat and steering is adjustable so you’ll find your desired position quickly and there’s a small armrest in the center so you can lean your elbow for long drives. Even with the front seats pushed back my wife and mom had enough legroom in the back seats and with the rear AC controls they were comfortable in the summer heat.
I didn’t have any stuff to carry around that day and most of the shopping was already done for the week but the boot is quite spacious at a class leading 538L and is deep so like the previous City it too can swallow a couple of large trunks or a whole week’s worth of home shopping.
Overall I was really impressed with the car and its amazing how many features are finding their way into smaller sedans nowadays. By the time I handed over the car at the showroom I had a smile on my face coz it was a breeze driving the City around town on a busy day.
Test Version: Honda City 2014 EX Spec. Retails at KD 4895 and comes with a Honda warranty of 3 years or 100,000 Kms.
Showroom: Al Rai Safat Alghanim Mall, Al Rai, 4th Ring Road, P O Box:6474, Zip:70458 Shuwaikh Phone: 24964000
My review of the 2013 Honda City last year. [link]