Last week I had contacted Alghanim Honda Kuwait to find out if I could test drive some of the 2013 models and they provided me a brand new Honda City EX to use for the whole weekend. I used it from Thursday evening to Saturday mid-day and covered approximately 200 Kilometers so this post is all about my experience over that time.
First impression: I’m familiar with the Honda City for the past 2 generations when it made its debut in the South East Asian markets and its quite popular in markets such as India. This new 2013 is quite different from the first model and has gotten quite sleeker. From the front it has a small resemblance to the Civic Type R (UK Model) and the rear has a new taillight cluster that sets it apart from the outgoing model.
I know this is a compact entry level sedan but the model I received, which is the EX spec full option model, clearly didn’t feel or look cheap. The model provided by Alghanim Honda Kuwait was a Carnellian Red Pearl and the quality of the paint and exterior finish was quite good.
Since I had the car for the whole weekend I was able to get a good feel of both the interior and exterior of the car. Honda has given a face-lift to the new City and now it has the same design cues in the grill as the rest of the vehicles in Honda’s stable, like the Accord and Odyssey. The front section has the aggressive wedge shape that we’d initially seen on the Civic Type R concept when it made its debut. I took some shots of the car from various angles and it has a pleasing look from the side profile to the rear three quarters.
The Interior too has an ‘upmarket’ feel that lacking in some of the budget sedans today. When I received the vehicle the seat and steering controls were obviously adjusted for the previous driver but it took me only a couple of minutes to adjust the seat and steering to my preferred driving position.
One of the things I like about the Civic and Accord is the driver oriented controls on the dashboard and the same design philosophy is employed in the City. All the controls on the steering and dashboard are easily accessible and takes virtually no time at all to get accustomed to the layout. The instrument console is easy to read and you’re not bombarded with too much information on the central display.
Steering and controls:
The steering wheel is not leather wrapped but covered in a rubbery material that provided adequate grip and allowed for damping of feedback from the road when driving on rough sections. The gearshift knob was covered in a similar material and it felt ok when shifting to Drive and Reverse.
The EX version that I drove featured Audio controls on the left of the steering and Cruise control buttons on the right. It was easy to use and within a short period of driving the car I didn’t have to look at the steering to know what buttons I was pushing. I was also surprised to find out that it also had paddle shifters on the steering.
The car felt nimble and light and it was easy navigating it through narrow roads in Shuwaikh area. The turning radius is around 5 Meters and was a breeze making a quick U-turn. The City has a 1.5 Liter iVTEC engine that is not shy to reach its rev limit and is responsive when you put your foot down on the throttle. The 5 speed automatic gear box has evenly spaced ratios and if driven enthusiastically you can even do 120 easily in the same pace as a larger sedan.
Engine and Transmission:
I took my family to Saravanaa Bhavan on Friday for a weekend brunch and it felt solid and confident on Road #40 towards Fahaheel. I used the cruise control to maintain my speed at 115 and the engine was ticking over at just around the 2500 RPM mark. This VTEC engine redlines somewhere around 6750 RPM so staying at 2.5K on the highway felt relaxed.
On the way back we did experience some very strong crosswinds but the car felt stable and it didn’t take much effort to maintain the car in the lane at high speeds. The City I drove rode on 185 / 55 R16 tires and they felt sure footed on tarmac.
This is one area a few friends commented on and wanted my feedback as there is a general perception that small Japanese cars would have trouble keeping passengers cool in Kuwait’s climate. We spent close to two hours for brunch and all the while the car was parked out in the open parking lot at 40+ degrees heat. On the return journey home I set the A/c to the minimum and blower on full blast. The City does not have rear A/c vents and it took about 5 minutes before my wife and kids felt comfortable in the back seat.
The rear seats have a 60/40 split configuration and also reclines to a certain extent. Leg space is more than enough if you’re less than 6 feet tall and in my family’s case they were comfortable on the long drive to Fahaheel and back. There’s a central armrest with cup holders for the rear passengers which can be stowed away if not required.
Coincidentally a family member was leaving on vacation during the weekend and so I used the City to make the airport run and transport luggage. She had a total of two large trunks and one soft duffel bag and they all fit in the rear of the car. For longer pieces of luggage you can also flip down the rear seats to increase your storage area.
1. Paddle Shift on the Steering wheel
2. FM Stereo with USB and AUX input
3 . Glove box and center console storage
4. Map lights in front for driver and passenger
Maximum power – 118 BHP @ 6600 RPM
Torque – 14.8 Kg/m @ 4800
Body: Monocoque chassis , 4 doors
Engine: 1.5 Liter
Transmission: 5 Speed AT with Manual controls option
For detailed specs you can check this [link]
I had the car for the whole weekend and covered almost 200 Kilometers and by the end of my review I had no doubt in my mind that this car should be strongly considered for a first time buyer or for someone who has a limited budget but wants a quality Japanese car.
I’d like to thank Alghanim Honda Kuwait for providing the test car and for sales inquiries you can contact them directly on the contact information provided below.
Honda Kuwait [website] You can also follow them on [Instagram] and [Twitter]
Showroom: Al Rai Safat Alghanim Mall, Al Rai, 4th Ring Road, P O Box:6474, Zip:70458 Shuwaikh Phone: 24964000