Posted Jul 3rd 2010 6:39AM
Honda Malaysia Sdn Bhd demonstrated the fuel efficiency of their Honda City i-DSI last weekend, in an event they called the F.E.A.T., or the Fuel Efficiency Automobile Test. And a feat it was, because the results were very impressive indeed.
Sixteen participants took part in the challenge which required participants to only adhere to an average highway speed limit of 80km/hour while retaining other the attributes of an everyday-sedan such as having the air-conditioning switched on during the drive, and luggage and spare tyre in the cargo area.The challenge took them from Honda Malaysia Sdn. Bhd. in Petaling Jaya to Cameron Highlands situated 5440ft above sea level, and to Bukit Merah. After a night’s rest, the journey back to Honda’s headquarters resumed. Conditions were set as if it was a vacation trip with friends or family. Each Honda City had four occupants besides a car boot full of typical items like vacation luggage.
The whole route stretched more than 660km, but the aim was to complete it using less than one full tank of a Honda City’s petrol tank, which was 42 liters, or RM80.64. AAM officials were present to measure the fuel level before and after the journey.The result? The few teams got different levels of fuel consumption according to individual driving style, but all managed to complete the 660km journey using only the petrol in the fuel tank. The winning team comprising of Jimmy Ng, 27; Eric Goh, 29; Sim Chee Kun, 30 and Edwin Ng, 28 – they managed 662.5km on only 25.29 liters of petrol! That’s slightly more than half a fuel tank, or 26.2km per liter of fuel! Most of the journey to the destination involves the use of highways, but going to Cameron Highlands involves alot of uphill roads as well. They took back RM4,000 worth of prizes comprising Honda watches, RM1,000 worth of petrol vouchers, Honda Racing umbrellas and caps.Much more than just a gimmick or a publicity stunt, this is the real deal. I am impressed that Honda is confident enough with it’s i-DSI technology to attempt this challenge with real world situations where the results actually matters. No one goes around driving with the windows winded up and air conditioning off at the same time, etc as with alot of the fuel mileage challenges out there.AUTOMOBILE shapes. There are some that you might like at first sight and some you might not.
But over time some people do take to shapes they didn’t like in the beginning.
When the second generation Honda City was launched two years ago, its sloping nose and “sudden cut-off “ rear section drew mixed responses. Some loved the radical design and styling – reminiscent of a medieval knight’s helmet. But others thought that the look was a bit too radical for a family sedan. Honda Japan’s research and development team took note of the comments and came out with a face-lifted model that has more smooth flowing lines. Now, the strangest thing has happened.
Even when the original second generation City has been phased out locally, Honda Malaysia is still receiving requests from customers to buy that design. Well, sometimes you just can’t please them all. Time will ultimately tell if the masses will take to the newly facelifted version. The new Honda City with the IDSI engine variant (left) and the VTEC one.
To achieve the new look, the City has been lengthened by 80mm – 65mm at the front end and 15mm at the tail. Its nose has also been raised by 30mm to reduce the sloped look. Accompanying the new shape is a redesigned larger grille and front bumper with a housing for integrated fog lamps, bringing the City’s face in line with the up market Accord and Civic models. The rear taillight cluster has also been reworked to extend onto the boot lid area. A new rear mini spoiler completes the vehicle, giving it a sporty look.
Honda is offering customers two 1.5-litre engine options – the fuel-efficient I-DSI (intelligent dual sequential ignition) type and the powerful VTEC (variable valve timing lift electronic control) variant – for its City line-up. The I-DSI engine, with two spark plugs per cylinder, churns out a maximum power output of 65kW at 5,500rpm while the VTEC produces an output of 81kW at 5,800rpm. Although the engines were derived from the older City, Honda said that they have been improved for better performance and fuel efficiency. During our recent media test drive from Kuala Lumpur to Kuantan, we felt that the City fitted with the I-DSI engine had sufficient oomph for fast overtaking with four persons on board. The VTEC engine can produce 81kW of power. Although the engine is responsive, it still needs to be pushed to give its best performance.
As expected, all heavy-footed motoring journalists in the drive were in favour of the VTEC variant that gives faster acceleration. We were impressed by the City’s good insulation against engine, road and wind noises during our fast drive on the East Coast Expressway. As VTEC and I-DSI variants come with the same continuously variable transmission (CVT) and suspension tuning, the ride comfort was identical. The City’s suspension has been retuned to give better bump rebound control which results in better ride and handling. The steering wheel mounted manual gearshift buttons enable easy manual control of the seven-speed CVT. The interior and dashboard design remains the same with the older City but the instrument panel of the VTEC variant has electronic self-illuminating meters, making them easy to read even when under bright daylight. The new City has good handling even at high speed.
Only the I-DSI variant has the foldable “ultraseats” carried over from the older City. The backrest of the VTEC’s rear seats cannot be folded, thus limiting the storage to items that could only fit inside the boot or on the backseats. But as a consolation, the VTEC variant has a foldable rear centre armrest and two compartments under the rear seats for stashing small items away from prying eyes. The City’s safety features include anti-lock braking system with electronic brake force distribution, dual front airbags and front seat belts with pre-tensioners and load limiter.
The VTEC variant gets disc brakes on all four wheels to provide better braking as its engine is more powerful. The I-DSI uses drum brakes on the rear wheels. The I-DSI variant has on-the-road with insurance price of RM84,300, while the VTEC version costs RM5,000 more. Both variants are offered with a three-year or 100,000km warranty. Honda launched its first generation City model in 1996 after realising there was a growing demand for modern, compact, fuel efficient and affordable vehicle in Asia.
To-date, the company has sold more than 510,000 units of the City worldwide. On the local front, some 38,000 units of the City had been sold in the same period.
Honda Malaysia Sdn Bhd has updated their Honda City on the outside and inside with various enhancements. This facelift was launched earlier in Thailand and Singapore, and many have been speculating when it will arrived in Malaysia.On the exterior, the new Honda City facelift gets a new honeycomb grille, a glass antenna, side mirror turn signals, and body-coloured mud guards. On the interior, the Ultra Seats now feature a water repellent seat cover, and is now standard on both the i-DSI and VTEC versions. The Ultra Seat foldable rear seat feature was previously available on the i-DSI version only.The new Honda City facelift is available in Sparkle Grey, Bluish Silver, Alabaster Silver Metallic, Nighthawk Black Pearl and Satellite Silver Metallic and costs RM85,800 for the VTEC and RM79,800 for the fuel economy class leader i-DSI. These prices are on the road inclusive of insurance and road tax.