2005 Honda City i-DSI 1.3
Efficient, reliable, flexible transport, ideal for a sustainable future
The front rotors were changed due to some vibration in the steering. Now everything is fine.
The window motors are slow and move at unsteady speeds, but I don't use them much so this is okay for me.
The front tires wear faster than the rears, meaning that tire rotation is necessary, as with most cars.
Everyone should have this car for fuel efficiency if nothing else. And not just for your wallet, also for the environment! Go green and buy a Honda City!
The previous owner (an engineer) did all servicing at the Honda dealership. I (also an engineer) have followed suit. The car is an economy car, which means it is slow to accelerate, has a strange aerodynamic shape and very skinny low rolling resistance tires (they all look like emergency spare tires to me). With that being said I love this car. I drive a lot (always with A/C on) and it routinely gets 15km/l or better (about 35 MPG) on average. This includes city driving and highway around 100 - 110kph (60-66mph). At 120kph (72mph), the fuel efficiency drops markedly.
The best part of this car is the interior. Loads of room and high ceiling means good driving for people of my height, 180cm (5'11"). The seat height and steering angle are adjustable. Because the fuel tank is below the passenger and driver (otherwise wasted space in my opinion - I don't know why more car makers don't put it here), there is room for the back seats to fold completely flat or for the seat bottoms to fold up - GENIUS (this depends on which model you have I am told - a very strong reason to get the upgraded model)!! This means you can fit almost anything inside and is great for in-car sleeping/camping, because two people can comfortably lay flat with feet in the boot (trunk). The front seats also recline forward to add more room. Convenient storage is everywhere with two glove compartments. Also, did I mention the boot (trunk) is HUGE!!! Way bigger than any other car of this size I have ever seen.
Seating is OK, the back being much less comfortable than the front both in terms of visibility, headroom and the shape of the seat. 4 people is about the most you want to put in the car for any drive longer than 15 minutes.
Repair costs at the dealership have not been too cheap, but can't really complain. Most are AED 400 - 1000 (US$100 - US$300). This car is relatively rare here, but parts seem not difficult to either find or import as it is essentially the same underneath as the Honda Fit/Jazz.
Personally I don't see the point in getting the VTEC version. You are talking about an economy car so it is a tiny difference (very slow vs. really slow). Might as well save your money. Also make SURE that the CVT transmission fluid was changed as per the manufacturer's interval rating (every 40,000km). If you don't get this done on time and with Honda certified CVT transmission fluid, it's going to end badly I think. I've heard stories. Otherwise the car is bulletproof.
*** June 2014 UPDATE***
I wrote this review a while back - since then I have have mostly just replaced normal stuff on the car (filters, fluids, belt, pulley, lightbulbs, tires). However I do think that the front brakes are either sized too small or are somehow insufficient for this car, which is a real shame considering that I like everything else. I didn't notice it until a friend of mine complained about the brakes being weak when he drove the car. A year and a half after replacing the front rotors and brake pads, I just yesterday had to replace the front pads again and had the rotors skimmed/polished. This wouldn't be a big deal except that I don't brake that hard and the braking performance doesn't seem to be any better after having the work done (especially noticeable with a car-full of people). Because I'm moving, I have to sell the car soon, but if I were to keep it much longer I would probably look into upgrading to newer-model Honda City rotors/calipers in front. Other than that, I still recommend this car very much.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 22nd December, 2012