Trip to Honda

I took Chai (a.k.a. my car) to Honda Cars in Libis for her 60,000-kilometer preventive maintenance. She’s not allowed on the streets today so I had to wake up at 5:30 in the morning to take her there before the 7:00 am effectivity of the number coding scheme. They estimated this work will cost me around P5,000. Ouch! Well, I’d rather have that than being stuck in middle of EDSA with mechanical problems.

I also saw the 2003 Honda City. One word to describe it: pogi. I like the styling. The front sections angle seems as if it was borrowed from a minivan. The rear looks more regal than the latest model of their Civic.

I have to say this first: finally Honda offered dual airbags as an option. I know, it should have been standard, but I’m sure we’ll get there soon. At least there’s a choice.

For legroom, the City is still cramped. No amount of interior dashboard styling can make the backseat people forget that they can’t feel their legs anymore. It’s OK if you’re a family guy and you drive your kids to school, but you should sell it the moment he enters high school, unless, of course, he’s as short as Weng weng.

For 2003, the City goes back to its 1.3-liter engine. Just right for smooth driving in the metro, but leaves much to be desired when driving in the Southern Tagalog Access Road in Batangas. It makes you wonder what happened to the 1.5-liter version.

What’s new in this year’s City is the sports mode option called CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission). It’s similar to Mitsubishi’s INVECS II system, wherein you can shift gears even if it’s an automatic transmission. What’s good is you need not hold the stick shift to change gears because the shifting control buttons are located in the steering wheel!

I was a bit surprised when I checked out how must it costs. A unit is priced at around P600,000 – a bit expensive for an economy car. The previous model debuted in 1999 with a P550,000 price tag. But if you’re to compare it with the prices of sedans these days, I’d say the City’s OK.

Normally I would recommend it because it seems a good buy. Honda has a good track record with their products, but with the new CVT system still unproven in the metro’s streets I’d recommend that buyers adapt a wait and see stance.

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