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October 22, 2014
Thursday, August 2, 2012

New Honda City: now manufactured locally

The brand’s plant in Campana is now in charge of production

by Carlos A. Pefaur

Herald Staff

Designed and manufactured entirely in the new Honda Motor plant in Campana, Buenos Aires province, the Honda City 2012 is one of the Japanese giant’s models which has created more expectations within the domestic market.

When the first version arrived in 2009, it promptly positioned itself at top of the compact sedans segment. Today, it appears with a renovated style and the addition of standard equipment, in order to face serious rivals like the Ford Fiesta Kinetic or Chevrolet Sonic. This is a very interesting category because it combines two characteristics very much sought by users living in large cities: a limited size that allows it to move nimbly in traffic and the interior space and cargo capacity of middle-sized models, like the Honda Civic.

Differences in categories are nowadays becoming more and more subtle, and these two compact sedans we defined as direct competitors also have other peculiarities such as a very good level of quality, technology and equipment, and sometimes a higher price than a medium sedan.

For example, the fully-equipped City is more expensive than the entry Civic. And we should all know that a medium vehicle, even if it has less equipment features, is always more comfortable and more stable on the road. It is not an easy decision.

The City is available in three versions, but all are powered with the same petrol engine: a 1.5-litre SOHC i-VTEC 16-valve which delivers 120 HP with a maximum torque of 14.7 kgfm at 4,800 rpm. Transmission is manual, with short gears, or five-speed automatic with Shift Hold Control.

Starting with the LX entry version (102,000 pesos) the level of equipment in terms of comfort and security is very high. The EXL version (119,000 pesos) adds leather upholstery, a leather-lined steering wheel with audio commands, cruise control and rear parking sensors. In addition, there is an automatic version, which is the one I tested, with a 5-speed shift-paddle transmission, whose retail price is 126,500 pesos.

The City’s new style is called “Arrow Shot Form”, which — according to brand authorities — was accomplished by “designers capturing the tension and energy that is produced at the moment in which the arrow is released from the bow to give the New Honda City its new aesthetics. Thus, it conveys force through its dynamic silhouette, clean lines that do not cause abrupt breaks, and an evocative and edgy frontnose. Likewise, the rear section shows abrupt cuts with dynamic lines.”

The interior presents an attractive design including ISOFIX child rear seats, and important safety features that are not usually included in small models like this.

Regarding performance, we must highlight the engine’s efficiency and its low consumption. Anyway, and even though the cabin is sound-proofed, the engine gets too noisy under acceleration, due to the automatic transmission.

The Honda City is already being manufactured at the plant in Campana, Buenos Aires province, instead of being imported from Brazil. In just one shift, the plant delivers 60 brand new units daily. At least 60 percent of the plant’s production is exported to Brazil, where the model will no longer be manufactured.

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