Why It’s Called N7X and not Honda BR-V?

For a car that’s going to be launched in just 4 months in Indonesia, the N7X is quite an oddity. First, it carries the concept nomenclature, which according to Honda own history means something that is under design study, however the N7X looks production ready. Also, the name most likely a codename for something, as it breaks Honda own naming scheme in the region.

Obviously the media is pointing that this is the second generation BR-V, yet why not just call the N7X a preview for the second generation BR-V?

Well ladies and gents, because the BR-V, is a major and utter comercial failure…

Even without the SUV boom, the market in Indonesia is already into SUV. Like India, we share similar seasonal wet and dry season, and similar infrastructure shenanigans (bad roads, potholes, the many dirt path). So tall cars are always in demand, the Toyota/Daihatsu offerings always cater to these facts. The Avanza/Xenia and Rush/Terios is built to venture all types of road conditions, flood no flood.

The BR-V was Honda answer to the Toyota/Daihatsu Rush/Terios, offering superior efficiency, comfort and driveability. Yet, BR-V best selling year was when it was introduced in 2016, at 38.000+ units, and in 2019, Honda only sells 4.000+ units compared to Toyota/Daihatsu Rush/Terios combined at 80.000+ units.

So why, in a market that demands 7 seater tall SUV, that the BR-V spectacularly fails? The CR-V and HR-V fares much better, and becomes the segment leaders, trading blows with Toyota’s best effort.

Well, the BR-V simply fell victim to the rule of association, being associated with the cheaper barebone Brio.

The thing is, the Brio project put too much effort in cost saving and economy of scale, Honda forgot that the market considers car purchase as an emotional act rather than logical. First gen and “2nd gen” Brio, Mobilio, and BR-V shares the exact same dashboard, door trim, and some seats making the association that all three cars are based on the original model, the entry level family car, the Brio.

First impression matters, in marketing term, it’s what defines the expectation of the brand/product going forward. The original Brio is not a car to be based on if you want to create a good impression. The original Brio lacks everything to be called a decent car. Lack of sound proofing, lack of boot space, lack of second row seating space, you name it… How do I know this, I drive one daily.

So when people was asked about Mobilio and the BR-V, by proxy what they recall is not the individual car, but the whole family because even the exterior (hood, headlights, front doors, the A pillar, window kink) is similar. When I asked my friends about the Mobilio, the definitive answer is that they will say it’s a longer Brio. When I asked about the BR-V, the consensus will say it’s a longer taller Brio. One even commented, it’s in the name, BRio-V.

So when people looked at the BR-V, what they see is not a premium 7 seater SUV, but rather an elongated and jacked up cheap car… And they are correct. The BR-V isn’t just a colossal sales failure in Indonesia, it’s everywhere where it’s sold. The initial sellout drops like a rock in the next year.

The Brio platform is now in its second generation, which underpins the second generation Honda Amaze back in 2018. Not to be confused with the revised Honda Brio hatch that got majorly revised adding rear hatch door but still retains the old chassis code, DD1/2, while the Amaze had it’s chassis code updated to DF5/6 from DF1/2.

Launching the N7X first in the ASEAN region is a smart move, and expectedly, Honda will put premium on the car. Why, because the rule of association. With Honda putting the N7X on the market first, the subsequent cars based on the platform will now be referenced as the variant of N7X, a premium car, not a variant of a cheap entry level car.

Still though what name the N7X will carry, will it still be BR-V? And risking the tarnished image of the car’s legacy, or will it be something new but still in the xR-V family? Well what’s in a name… A lot apparently.

Still though, good job Honda, you have won your first battle with launching a new car that people talks about and look up to. Now onto the war.

N7X Concept Makes Honda Interesting Again

Honda just unveiled the N7X “concept” in Indonesia that might be a preview for second gen BR-V. The reveal was interesting is that Honda put a lot of effort to make the car looks more premium than even the HR-V. The only telltale that this is an entry/mainstream car is from the dashboard design that’s lifted directly from the Honda Amaze (Brio sedan) sold in India. Anyway, you guys can watch the video of the virtual unveiling.

N7X 3/4 front view
N7X 3/4 rear view

For a 7 seater, Honda move away, like waaaay waaaay from Honda Mobilio/BR-V kinked side windows which going to give the car a more cramped feeling interior wise but definitely a cleaner and more premium looking car externally.

Now let’s discuss about the N7X heritage, the Brio… What? No Brio resemblance? Well that’s because Honda killed the Brio name from the N7X donor, which is the Honda Amaze, which technically is the second generation Honda Brio Amaze. Like my (many) rants about the Brio family, Honda blew it spectacularly with the initial launch of the platform. Everything about the Brio family screams cheap, from cheap materials, lack of sound proofing, lack of amenities, and lack of dignity in its marketing campaign.

Honda Brio Amaze is the sedan version of the Brio hatchback sold in India, Nepal, Philippines and Thailand. In India the car is relatively successful with the massive size of the Indian market and its appetite for compact sedans, however initial good sales comes to a massive dip in its third year. Compared to the competition, the Brio Amaze feels cheap and lacking in content and styling and Honda took the first generation off in just 4 years and fast track the second generation of the car, now just called Amaze. Sales picks up doubling the previous generation model best selling year since it’s launches. The Amaze addresses the Brio Amaze shortcoming especially in the styling department with proportional looks and sorted interior.

Even though the Amaze was launched two years ago, Honda never took the platform to refresh the Brio line. In fact, Honda refreshed the old platform of the original Brio and added proper hatch and call it a day. Honda also kind of refresh the Mobilio which still ride on the same platform with revised nose and added some sound proofing…. So I wonder, with Honda penchant creed to platform share everything, where does the Amaze shared its platform with… And here we are.

Honda Amaze 2019

The most obvious visual cue taken from the Amaze on the N7X is where the hood meet the front fender with the same kink line, the same straight upper body molding and the A pillar. The most striking clue that the N7X is based off the amaze is from the exact same dashboard seen in the video.

N7X interior
Honda Amaze interior

All in all, I like what Honda is doing with the next generation of the Brio family. I fear that the Mobilio is obsolete with the N7X unless Honda wanted to release a decontented version of the car. Yet this is how you hype the market, you build brand cachet first, the rest will fall in place. Honda is with new management now and all I can say, it’s in good hands.

Honda teased new model for Indonesia

Launching in Indonesia in just 2 days, Honda teased two images of a mystery car.

There are three candidate of car reveal by Honda this year, Mobilio, BR-V and ZR-V. The Mobilio is entering its 7th year of production, a long cycle for Honda standard which sticks to 5-6 year model cycle. The same goes to BR-V which is in its 6th year of production. Honda ZR-V although only mentioned in passing as Honda registers the name last year, is strongly pointed by the media that it’s going to be Honda Brio based SUV. With Kia/Hyundai, Nissan, Toyota/Daihatsu already stole the lead selling small SUV, Honda is left alone without one.

It’s hinted by a conversation with party of interest is that this is a “family car”, and with family car in Indonesia is synonymous with 7 seater, this narrows it down to Mobilio or BR-V. However there’s troubling fact that the BR-V doesn’t sell anywhere close to Mobilio, yet the BR-V family name, the CR-V and HR-V carries a familiar symbol of class.

In my previous post, I suggest Honda to kill either Mobilio or BR-V and make do with one model. The image that the BR-V is only a dressed up Mobilio is deeply ingrained, even though it’s not. Honda did extensive rework for the BR-V steering assembly, sound proofing, wider track, and larger headroom on the third row. However, the market is already accustomed to the fact that cars with a “rugged” variation is just a dress up version of the original car, made popular by Nissan Grand Livina and its X-Gear variant, and now, the best selling car in the segment, Mitsubishi Xpander and its “rugged” variant, Xpander Cross.

Honda has realized the fact and in Japan, they launched “rugged” variant of the Fit, called Fit CrosStar, which is just a Fit with different bumper and taller ground clearance. I assume Honda will not repeat the Mobilio and BR-V fiasco again and merge the car into one and probably just add a rugged version which is just a taller version of the original… Introducing 2021 Honda MOBIRIVO.

Anyway, Honda needs a strong emotion stirring product and the teaser looks like it can deliver one. With new management, I believe Honda can put up a good fight and correct past mistake. Now Honda… Give us that delicious 1.0 turbo engine will you? Toyota and Daihatsu already did.

Been awhile… And another Honda car rant

Well, my last post is about 1 1/2 years ago… I’m still alive, it’s just things have been, hectic to say the least, with a global pandemic, starting a new business, and my health went haywire a bit. The thing is also, this blog is supposed to be all things 4 wheels Honda, but as of late, there’s no interesting product from Honda since 2015. The Honda E electric is, eh… The NSX got nowhere in term of excitement, and finally, the trio of entry level cars in APAC region is major snooze fest. The Brio, Mobilio, BR-V, supposed to usher in new era of Honda in APAC, one that is cater made, cars that would fulfill the demographics to the dot.

and it flops…

Honda Brio hatch and Mobilio got discontinued in India and the Brio sedan sales are minimal. Strong Mobilio sales in ASEAN region quickly diminished in the face of competition, ultimately, one that came from Mitsubishi. The first gen Honda Brio abysmal cargo is the laughing stock of the segment. The BR-V sales are lackluster, despite carrying the mantle of the successful xR-V family badge.

Honda did quickly address the Brio sedan situation in India, ushering new full model change in just 4 years. Honda addressed the Brio hatch situation with a new model that extends the cargo bay. Honda upped the content game with the Mobilio, addressing NVH. The results speaks for itself, Honda Brio sedan (now called Honda Amaze) sales picks up nicely in India, Honda Brio hatch is the best selling car in Indonesia, and Honda Mobilio, well, it still exists, selling okay-ish but never back to the top of the segment.

The thing about Honda is that they tend to think what’s best for the customer… STOP IT. The market is not logical, it never is. The market DOESN’T NEED a SENSIBLE CAR, the market WANTS a STATUS SYMBOL. I still remember the original Mobilio pitch with its round headlights and sedated fascia, that it’s a friendly car, a capable friend of the family, hoo boy. Honda Mobilio strong initial sellout was indicative of Honda reputation of being a premium brand for all its existence. Accord, Civic, CR-V, Stream, City, Jazz, are all great cars in its segment and one that earns respect from journalists, enthusiasts, and regulars. The Mobilio was launched to much fanfare that it’s the first affordable 7 seater from Honda since they discontinued the Honda Stream in the region. Then realization hits hard about the car. It’s solidly built but with accompanying strong hint of cheapness everywhere. No smart seating arrangement, with cheap materials used in the interior and the lack of sound proofing makes the Mobilio feels like a joke of a car.

Emotion drives sales Honda, make a car that stirs the emotion not the logic.

A note to Honda

Like anything in this world, nothing is perfect, so does Honda and its products. In this entry series called ‘a note to Honda’, I’m casting away my fanboyness to anything Honda for constructive critiques.

Honda never shied away from using an existing platform for a wide variety of cars, some are amazing because of it, but some has weird peculiarity because it uses the same platform.

Honda built its car using global platforms, a mainstay term today but a unique concept back in the day. There was a time one platform called Honda small global platform underlines 5 model back in early 00’s with the Fit, Fit Aria (City), Airwave, Mobilio, and Mobilio Spike.

For more than a decade, Honda never use platform sharing as aggressive as back in the early 00’s with the Fit line. Now they are back with full force with the Brio line. Spanning 4 model line, it might not be as frugal as the Fit platform sharing, but it sets out what’s good and bad about Honda. I’ve wrote about the Brio platform in the past, but more of overview of the platform. Here I will be much more critical of the platform and many about Honda in general.

So next, let’s talk about the Brio.

 

JDM Honda Fit 2013 Launched, Amazing Improvements A Plenty!

It’s very hard not to feel excited about the new third generation Fit.

Short check list for now:

  • FIT RS uses a new improved i-VTEC engine producing 132ps (for comparison, 2004 Honda Stream 7 seater wagon 1.7L engine only produce 128ps).
  • The new hybrid FIT gets 36.4 Km/L on Japanese new more demanding JC08 fuel economy test.
  • Power of the hybrid improved drastically.
  • Interior room is bigger than the second generation Fit.

Source:

http://www.honda.co.jp/Fit/

 

Upcoming 4 wheel Honda for Indonesia (some rumors)

So it’s 2013 and Honda has quite a few surprises after the launch of the CR-Z in Indonesia.

Coming sometimes this month is the long awaited Honda Freed refresh with a rear aircon unit. This one is confirmed as dealers are already accepting order for it. The next one is the Brio MPV, it will be available sometimes next year with design taking original form other than elongated Brio like the sedan version where it’s just a longer wheelbase Brio with a trunk.

… And just like that, after 2 years… I’m back 😉

Honda City History: From Time to Time

[still W.I.P, need to add pictures]

Honda City, for anybody this side of South East Asia, the City is most synonymous with Honda entry level sedan that caters to the masses. Based on the Fit/Jazz, the City is the logical step for achievers (Enneagram of Personality) as sedans are considered to be a luxury car no matter how big it is… Hey, we live in Asia. Before we plunge further, let me clarify first what is the City and the original car that bears the name.

If you go by the moniker “City”, then the car has reached its fifth generation. But, if you want to trace its true lineage in the South East Asia market, the current generation Honda City only reached its third generation, while the first two generation of Honda City is Japan exclusive.

Dawn of a new age

The first ever car that uses the City name is a spunky 1981 two door hatch. A tall roofline + a boxy design, this is certainly not Soichiro’s Civic. The car was designed with a crack team of young engineers, something that was unheard of back in the days… Seriously? The first City was a cult favorite [citation needed] as its refreshed model features Honda first ever turbo engine with high power to weight ratio. The turbo City is an iconic car with its unique shape and powerful engine, even today, the dinky car is still raced by some odd groups here and there.

The car even featured on “You Are Under Arrest” anime series with its iconic Motocompo trunk bike… Ah the Motocompo, I’ve been wanting it since I was a kid, but thinking that it was anime magic for a bike that small exists (like the cute gals with big boobs on the police force). But it’s real, the 50cc foldable scooter is an accessory to the City and its smaller sibling, the Today… Unfortunately, cute gals with big boobs on the police force still is a dream though.

The second generation Honda City, a true successor of the 1981 City was unveiled 5 years later in 1986… But smell of problem is thick in the air. Honda now had two similar cars, the Civic hatch and the City. It’s no brainer which model should be outed no? With Civic strong brand equity, the City finally got the boot. And that’s that… The City is officially dead.

There’s a reboot in automotive world?

It’s not until some odd 10 years later in 1996, Honda City came back, but had no direct connection with the original Japanese City. The City we are talking now is South East Asia Pacific only model that is based on the EF Civic platform. Rather than a hatchback like two past generations, the City is now a sedan… A no frill entry level sedan.

The first roll out model features carburetor engine which according to Honda research gave the car great (easy) maintenance… Aw come on, we are talking Asians here… Back then fuel injection was all the rage, nobody this side of rice eaters wanted a sensible car, we want status. The City first outing was not met with much success, although it features great suspension setup derived from the Civic platform (double wishbone front and back).

However, it’s not until Honda bestow the legendary D series VTEC engine into the engine bay of the refreshed City and the City Type Z (in some countries) take one up in the history of sub compact sedans. Thanks to the EF Civic platform, the City Type Z features double wishbone suspension front and back which has been rendered useless before the VTEC engine was used. With the VTEC engine, the car came to life like madness itself. The 1.5L VTEC produces 115ps and some even manage to coax 130ps with some slight modification. The car also had great power to weight ratio. With a weight hovering around 950 Kilogram, the high strung engine moves the car effortlessly. Also, Great suspension + great engine = domination… Yup… Wherever there’s a subcompact touring racing back in the late 90’s and early 2000, you will see City Type Z at the top of the chart.

It’s good, let’s make some more

The SE Asia only City (at least the refresh) was very well accepted, and Honda decided to make a second generation out of it. However, Honda remove all traces of spirited driving of the first generation SE Asia City by basing it off the just introduced Honda Fit/Jazz. Gone are the multilink suspension and the high power engine, and in are… The tall cabin, torsion beam suspension and so so engine. The car has high roof line and enormous cabin space; it feels like you’re entering a compact MPV or some sort… It’s based on the Fit/Jazz… what do you expect? The rear seat was multi configurable to accommodate tall objects or protruding objects from the trunk. The initial engine derived from the Fit/Jazz 1.5L i-DSI engine producing a measly 90ps. It got great fuel efficiency, but combined with the increased weight from the past generation City, suffice to say, the City transforms from boy racer to mommy car.

This City addresses problems with smallish cabin space of the past generation City… But Honda did went a bit overboard with its approach. The addition of VTEC engine is a welcome healing patch for the enthusiast, but the car is just not balanced enough like the old City. It’s bad for the enthusiast who the first generation SE Asia City fans have grown accustomed to, but the car is great for the average commuters and family. City’s new tall cabin and multifunction seats made the car perfect for your average families. Got a lot of shopping bags? The huge cavernous trunk was the biggest in its class. Bought that tree from the flower stall across the street? Flip the rear seat and you can fit a tree or two inside. Perfect, perfectly bland.

On a side note, Honda did bring the fourth generation City back to Japan under the name of Fit-Aria, officially bringing the car as part of Fit heritage.

The second generation SE Asia City was great technically, but a lot of people dislike how it looks. The tall looking City is not attractive, especially compared to Toyota own SE Asia subcompact sedan, Vios (Yaris sedan).Technically the City was based off the Fit/Jazz, but slightly too much. Yes, you can look some difference, but the short nose Fit/Jazz also incorporated straight into the City, making the car looking short in the front and long in the rear… A no no for a sedan. To make matter worse, the interior of the City is the same with Fit/Jazz, only with different colors… Want to read an embarrassing story? Well you would because you’re reading this… I used to drive Honda Jazz a couple years back, and my former boss who happens to drive a City asked me to park his car. I almost rear ends the car as the sensation of driving the Jazz and the City is almost the same. Same interior, same seating position… It’s creepy I tell ya.

In Indonesia, Honda City sales were better by a bit compared to the Vios. But elsewhere in SE Asia, you won’t find that many City on the road. Honda even commissions the most expensive minor model change on the City… Making the nose of the car longer, making it look like a sedan, a big fat nosed sedan.

I hear you buddy

Honda though, noted the demand of the enthusiasts and in 2008, launched the third generation Honda City. Guess what, the car was above and beyond the dinky and lanky City it replaced. The new 2009 City is handsome… Simply gorgeous… Or whatever you want to call it. It still is based on the Fit/Jazz, but this time, the car was only based upon the platform, and not structurally. Back then, the City and Fit/Jazz shares almost everything, this time, not so much. Different door design, different side crease, different interior even… Well, you almost can’t tell if the car is even related. Also, thanks to advancement in engineering, Honda introduced class breaking most powerful engine in the segment and 5 gear automatic box on the new City. The City, like the Fit/Jazz now features a 1.5L i-VTEC engine producing a phenomenal 120ps. Like any VTEC engine, the higher the RPM goes, the more enjoyment you find in this car. Still though, the new City is still no match for the third generation VTEC City, as it still retains the best power to weight ratio in the history of City… Considering that the trend cars grows bigger over the time, third generation City is a keeper (the new City weighs in at approximately 1200 Kilogram).

The new City addresses all the perceived fault of the late generation City. Balancing form and function; gaining composure and power, however the new City lost some of its practicality charm, most notable is the exclusion of the multi configurable rear seat. Now, the rear seat doesn’t folds up, just folds down allowing long object to protrude from the trunk. In the defense, Honda claims that past generation Honda City usage research reveals that folding up seat feature was the least used feature. Therefore, the foldable rear seat was omitted to make way for comfier rear support (read: thicker padding).

Honda seems to be satisfied with the City, Honda even finally debut the City as a global car, making it available in parts of Europe, Brazil, China, India and even Australia. A far far far glorious story than the Japanese exclusive beginning and SE Asia specific model midlife.

So, is the City currently in its fifth generation or third generation? It’s up to you really, according to the name, the car is in its fifth generation. But discounting the two generation Japanese only Honda City and with its reboot as the SE Asia specific model, the car only reached its third generation. I guess for name sake we can say the car is in its fifth generation.

All in all, the City is a great car, a bit spotty here and there, but a great car nonetheless. For every generation there’s a fault somewhere, but Honda made it up in every successive generation. The third generation City is too small, but runs like hell. The fourth generation City is bloated but practical. The fifth generation City strikes it dead center. As the pinnacle of research and years of listening to the demand of the customer, it might just be the best Honda City to date, striking between balance, function and power.

http://www.honda.co.jp/HOT/ModelData/city/index.html

Honda City, for anybody this side of South East Asia, the City is most synonymous with Honda entry level sedan that caters to the masses. Based on the Fit/Jazz, the City is the logical step for achievers (Enneagram of Personality) as sedans are considered to be a luxury car no matter how big it is… Hey, we live in Asia. Before we plunge further, let me clarify first what is the City and the original car that bears the name.

If you go by the moniker “City”, then the car has reached its fifth generation. But, if you want to trace its true lineage in the South East Asia market, the current generation Honda City only reached its third generation, while the first two generation of Honda City is Japan exclusive.

Dawn of a new age

The first ever car that uses the City name is a spunky 1981 two door hatch. A tall roofline + a boxy design, this is certainly not Soichiro’s Civic. The car was designed with a crack team of young engineers, something that was unheard of back in the days… Seriously? The first City was a cult favorite [citation needed] as its refreshed model features Honda first ever turbo engine with high power to weight ratio. The turbo City is an iconic car with its unique shape and powerful engine, even today, the dinky car is still raced by some odd groups here and there.

The car even featured on “You Are Under Arrest” anime series with its iconic Motocompo trunk bike… Ah the Motocompo, I’ve been wanting it since I was a kid, but thinking that it was anime magic for a bike that small exists (like the cute gals with big boobs on the police force). But it’s real, the 50cc foldable scooter is an accessory to the City and its smaller sibling, the Today… Unfortunately, cute gals with big boobs on the police force still is a dream though.

The second generation Honda City, a true successor of the 1981 City was unveiled 5 years later in 1986… But smell of problem is thick in the air. Honda now had two similar cars, the Civic hatch and the City. It’s no brainer which model should be outed no? With Civic strong brand equity, the City finally got the boot. And that’s that… The City is officially dead.

There’s a reboot in automotive world?

It’s not until some odd 10 years later in 1996, Honda City came back, but had no direct connection with the original Japanese City. The City we are talking now is South East Asia Pacific only model that is based on the EF Civic platform. Rather than a hatchback like two past generations, the City is now a sedan… A no frill entry level sedan.

The first roll out model features carburetor engine which according to Honda research gave the car great (easy) maintenance… Aw come on, we are talking Asians here… Back then fuel injection was all the rage, nobody this side of rice eaters wanted a sensible car, we want status. The City first outing was not met with much success, although it features great suspension setup derived from the Civic platform (double wishbone front and back).

However, it’s not until Honda bestow the legendary D series VTEC engine into the engine bay of the refreshed City and the City Type Z (in some countries) take one up in the history of sub compact sedans. Thanks to the EF Civic platform, the City Type Z features double wishbone suspension front and back which has been rendered useless before the VTEC engine was used. With the VTEC engine, the car came to life like madness itself. The 1.5L VTEC produces 115ps and some even manage to coax 130ps with some slight modification. The car also had great power to weight ratio. With a weight hovering around 950 Kilogram, the high strung engine moves the car effortlessly. Also, Great suspension + great engine = domination… Yup… Wherever there’s a subcompact touring racing back in the late 90’s and early 2000, you will see City Type Z at the top of the chart.

It’s good, let’s make some more

The SE Asia only City (at least the refresh) was very well accepted, and Honda decided to make a second generation out of it. However, Honda remove all traces of spirited driving of the first generation SE Asia City by basing it off the just introduced Honda Fit/Jazz. Gone are the multilink suspension and the high power engine, and in are… The tall cabin, torsion beam suspension and so so engine. The car has high roof line and enormous cabin space; it feels like you’re entering a compact MPV or some sort… It’s based on the Fit/Jazz… what do you expect? The rear seat was multi configurable to accommodate tall objects or protruding objects from the trunk. The initial engine derived from the Fit/Jazz 1.5L i-DSI engine producing a measly 90ps. It got great fuel efficiency, but combined with the increased weight from the past generation City, suffice to say, the City transforms from boy racer to mommy car.

This City addresses problems with smallish cabin space of the past generation City… But Honda did went a bit overboard with its approach. The addition of VTEC engine is a welcome healing patch for the enthusiast, but the car is just not balanced enough like the old City. It’s bad for the enthusiast who the first generation SE Asia City fans have grown accustomed to, but the car is great for the average commuters and family. City’s new tall cabin and multifunction seats made the car perfect for your average families. Got a lot of shopping bags? The huge cavernous trunk was the biggest in its class. Bought that tree from the flower stall across the street? Flip the rear seat and you can fit a tree or two inside. Perfect, perfectly bland.

The second generation SE Asia City was great technically, but a lot of people dislike how it looks. The tall looking City is not attractive, especially compared to Toyota own SE Asia subcompact sedan, Vios (Yaris sedan).Technically the City was based off the Fit/Jazz, but slightly too much. Yes, you can look some difference, but the short nose Fit/Jazz also incorporated straight into the City, making the car looking short in the front and long in the rear… A no no for a sedan. To make matter worse, the interior of the City is the same with Fit/Jazz, only with different colors… Want to read an embarrassing story? Well you would because you’re reading this… I used to drive Honda Jazz a couple years back, and my former boss who happens to drive a City asked me to park his car. I almost rear ends the car as the sensation of driving the Jazz and the City is almost the same. Same interior, same seating position… It’s creepy I tell ya.

In Indonesia, Honda City sales were better by a bit compared to the Vios. But elsewhere in SE Asia, you won’t find that many City on the road. Honda even commissions the most expensive minor model change on the City… Making the nose of the car longer, making it look like a sedan, a big fat nosed sedan.

I hear you buddy

Honda though, noted the demand of the enthusiasts and in 2008, launched the third generation Honda City. Guess what, the car was above and beyond the dinky and lanky City it replaced. The new 2009 City is handsome… Simply gorgeous… Or whatever you want to call it. It still is based on the Fit/Jazz, but this time, the car was only based upon the platform, and not structurally. Back then, the City and Fit/Jazz shares almost everything, this time, not so much. Different door design, different side crease, different interior even… Well, you almost can’t tell if the car is even related. Also, thanks to advancement in engineering, Honda introduced class breaking most powerful engine in the segment and 5 gear automatic box on the new City. The City, like the Fit/Jazz now features a 1.5L i-VTEC engine producing a phenomenal 120ps. Like any VTEC engine, the higher the RPM goes, the more enjoyment you find in this car. Still though, the new City is still no match for the third generation VTEC City, as it still retains the best power to weight ratio in the history of City… Considering that the trend cars grows bigger over the time, third generation City is a keeper (the new City weighs in at approximately 1200 Kilogram).

The new City addresses all the perceived fault of the late generation City. Balancing form and function; gaining composure and power, however the new City lost some of its practicality charm, most notable is the exclusion of the multi configurable rear seat. Now, the rear seat doesn’t folds up, just folds down allowing long object to protrude from the trunk. In the defense, Honda claims that past generation Honda City usage research reveals that folding up seat feature was the least used feature. Therefore, the foldable rear seat was omitted to make way for comfier rear support (read: thicker padding).

Honda seems to be satisfied with the City, Honda even finally debut the City as a global car, making it available in parts of Europe, Brazil, China, India and even Australia. A far far far glorious story than the Japanese exclusive beginning and SE Asia specific model midlife.

So, is the City currently in its fifth generation or third generation? It’s up to you really, according to the name, the car is in its fifth generation. But discounting the two generation Japanese only Honda City and with its reboot as the SE Asia specific model, the car only reached its third generation. I guess for name sake we can say the car is in its fifth generation.

All in all, the City is a great car, a bit spotty here and there, but a great car nonetheless. For every generation there’s a fault somewhere, but Honda made it up in every successive generation. The third generation City is too small, but runs like hell. The fourth generation City is bloated but practical. The fifth generation City strikes it dead center. As the pinnacle of research and years of listening to the demand of the customer, it might just be the best Honda City to date, striking between balance, function and power.

http://www.honda.co.jp/HOT/ModelData/city/index.html

Merry Christmas!

Merry Belated Christmas!!!! For He has come and live amongst us, and parted again for us. For the celebration of Christmas may just be for a day, the joy of Christmas is anytime.

Didn’t know it’s past Christmas really… For I didn’t get any holiday, so it’s work as usual…. Cheers people, I hope the joy of Christmas be with you all the time, not just for one day okay.