Published on April 10th, 2015 | by Subhash Nair0
Honda City S+: One Part Sporty, Three Parts Practical
The Honda City has been around for months now, but the sheer number of options and trim levels make it a car worth revisiting. This particular car is the S+ variant, and it comes with some Modulo accessories that sharpen the look and functionality of the car. Let’s start with the way the package comes together aesthetically.
The exterior styling of the 4th generation City was a bit polarising when it was first revealed, but it has matured well in the months since its launch. Sure the shark-fin antenna that comes with the S+ may be a little too much for some, but it works fine with the overall look of the car.
On the whole, it’s a well-executed design that comes together to create accurate sedan proportions on a small chassis. Honda’s new flat looking signature grille creates a horizontally-lengthened look with the headlamps to give off an implication of largeness. That being said, daytime running lights and projector headlamps would have made the design look a little more up-to-date, especially when you consider the fact that some of the City’s rivals already have these as options.
With the Modulo front and rear bumpers, side skirt and spoiler, the City gives off the aura of a mid-90s Honda; aggressive, sporty, and accessible to the everyman. The 1.5 litre engine is sporty enough to deliver on what the looks promise, but only if you turn ECON mode off and shift the transmission into Sport. Otherwise, it’s happy to provide usable performance with a fuel economy rating of around 17km per litre of petrol. Speaking of the gearbox, it’s a CVT in this one, but don’t worry, Honda fit it with a torque converter and reengineered it to feel like a regular autobox. No manual shifter, but actual research showed that fewer than 10% of City owners used it at all, so it’s a very understandable omission.
The car handled very well, but more importantly, it was a breeze to drive thanks to the electric power steering and drive-by-wire throttle. It was very quiet when kept within highway speeds.
As subtly indicated by the length and height of the car, the interior is exceptionally roomy, with a surprising amount of space all around. This extends to the rear, where legroom rivals what one might find on sedans twice its price. Even with the driver seat pushed all the way back, there’s still enough room for 2 large adults to sit comfortably in the rear. The seats do fold down, though not completely flat, to extend boot space considerably. The hard plastic trunk tray that comes as an accessory felt like a nice touch, and could really protect the boot from an accidental spillage.
The Modulo package also adds really cool blue glow to the door side step and footwell. The package’s real highlight though is the touch screen navigation and media player system. This isn’t the same, highly integrated system that comes on the V spec City, but what it lacks in refinement it has in features. The in-built navigation software comes preloaded with maps of the region and owners are entitled to an update further down the line. The system even comes with Bluetooth, so making and taking phone calls is a lot safer. It can also be used for media playback if there isn’t a USB stick with music handy.
The dashboard goes for a more driver-oriented, asymmetrical design. On the S+ specification, you get a few solid plastics in place of the glossy panels found on the more expensive trim levels, but that’s fine seeing as those as dust and fingerprint magnets. There are plenty of cupholders and cubby holes throughout. As a car to take to town and back, visibility is just a little too poor. There are reverse sensors at the rear, but the front dashboard is way too high and the overhang, though short, is difficult to judge from the cabin. Considering the safety benefits and just how quiet the interior is for a car of this spec, having a larger dashboard is an acceptable trade off.
The City S+ with the Modulo kit brings the car up to spec with some of its rivals. There are a few more premium accessories available on the more expensive V model, but for RM70,221 (before GST) the S+ is one of the best deals out there. The tinted headlights and raised spoiler give it a much sportier look while the infotainment system ticks all the boxes in terms of features, so if those tickle your fancy, we’d definitely recommend considering the accessories offered by Honda. The trunk tray and organiser, door visors, illuminated side step and footwell can be added for RM1,668.50, while the rest of the Modulo package is RM3,164.80.
HONDA CITY 1.5L Specifications
Engine 4-Cylinder, 16 Valve, SOHC i-VTEC
Transmission Continuous Variable Transmission (CVT)
Max Power 120Ps @ 6600 RPM
Max Torque 145Nm @ 4600 RPM
Fuel Tank Capacity 40L