First, let me tell you about the title I have chosen.
White Lightning was a brand of white cider brewed by Scottish Courage in the UK from the early 1990s until 2009.
Honda City ivtec is similar to the description above except that it is a car and not alcohol. It was always known for its excellent power and mileage, was popular for highest level of satisfaction and has now become much more affordable. Also, the colour of my Honda City is White and I get a kick out of driving the car.
Anyways, moving on to the review.
I had bought a Hyundai Santro Xing in December 2005 and was very happy driving it. It proved to be an excellent first car. However, sometime in the 2nd half of 2010, I started feeling that I needed a bigger car as kids had grown up and needed more leg space and we needed more boot space for long trips. Also we frequently travel on highways and I felt that safety features like ABS
and Airbags would be good to have.
I was open to the idea of a bigger hatch like i20 but wife and kids were dead against a hatch. They wanted a sedan. In any case, I and my wife had a test drive of i20 (1.2 Petrol), but were not impressed. So started focussing on sedans.
A diesel car was ruled out considering that my regular running is just 300 to 350 km per month (home to office & back plus few local errands). Even with the long drives factored in, my average running is 7500 to 8000 km per year.
None in our family liked the looks of Maruti D'zire so it was not an option.
Started with a budget of approximately 7 lacs. Took test drives of several perol sedans like Maruti SX4, Hyundai Verna Transform, Chevrolet Aveo, Ford Fiesta, Fiat Linea and Tata Manza in 2nd half of 2010 / 1st half of 2011, but somehow did not like them much. Also realised that I may have to stretch my budget a bit beyond 7 lacs for a perol sedan with safety features like ABS
In the 2nd half of 2010 / 1st half of 2011, Honda City was priced too high and although we felt that it was a good car we did not consider it. I had driven my friend's 2006Honda City once but that was the older model. I had heard that ivetc is much better but never test driven it.
I was in no hurry as my Santro was giving good service and morever space was an issue only on long drives.
Then, in June 2011, I read somewhere that Honda has reduced price of City by upto 66k. This was the trigger for me to start thinking about Honda City as a possible option. I also thought of stretching my budget by a lac if I can get Honda City. I also read in newspaper that Honda has reduced the price to make way for a facelifted model somewhere around Diwali in October 2011.
We do not have a Honda dealership in my city and the nearest dealer is in Rajkot which is 120 km away. I was in touch with the Rajkot dealer from July onwards but was offered a maximum discount of 40k (including corporate discount) till October / November 2011. I happened to go to Ahmedabad for some work in early December and by chance, a Honda dealership was close by. Found some free time and visited the Honda dealership. Initially they offered 55k discount which went up to 80k and finally 1 lac after 15 minutes of negotiation. I called up the Rajkot dealer and told him that I was getting 1 lac discount and I would buy from Ahmedabad dealer. Rajkot dealer's sales executive first said it is not possible for any dealer to give 1 lac discount, they can give maximum 55k however he would talk to his senior and revert. The sales exec called back within 10 minutes and said they are also ready to give 1 lac discount provided I sealed the deal on the same day.
I was aware that it was a clearance sale. A facelifted/refreshed model was to be announced on 14th December. However, from what I had read on the net, I was confident that the facelift would be only cosmetic in nature without any change in engine or transmission. It made sense to buy a pre-facelift with the discounts being offered. So after some further negotiations with Ahmedabad and Rajkot dealers, I sealed the deal on 10th with the Rajkot dealer and asked that the car be delivered preferably on but no later than 16th.
I went to Rajkot next day for PDI and gave my clearance for proceeding with Insurance / RTO formalities. I was assured that car would be delivered on 14th early morning at my residence ater registering the car with RTO on 13th.
As promised, the car was delivered to my residence on 14th early morning by the sales executive. Delivery experience was great. The sales executive had got some flowers and a small garland for the pooja. He helped us with the pooja and took a snap which he later put in a photo frame and handed over to us.
After driving a Santro for 6 years, the first thing I felt different and better in Honda City was the smoothness and refinement of engine. Another surprise was the ease of handling. I was actually a bit apprehensive about whether I would be able to handle a bigger car but it turned out to be very easy to handle.
It is more than 2 months now since I got delivery and I am enjoying my white lightening every single day. Got the 1st free service done last month. Very good service experience at the Rajkot dealership. However, the first free service involves just general check up and washing & cleaning of the car. No oil change.
I am getting a mileage of 14-14.5 kmph in city and 18.5-19 kmph on highway with minimum use of AC as it was winter. MID is showing 17.2 kmph overall with approximately 40% city and 60% highway driving. Took care not to exceed 2500 rpm during the first 1000 km. Even now, I am not exceeding 3000 rpm as my car has just run 1600 km.
On the flip side, I found that head lights are pretty weak and do not inspire enought confidence for night driving on highways. Also, as reported by many users, ground clearance is a concern and although I am a careful driver and slow down to almost a stop before crossing speed breakers, I managed to scrap 2 big speed breakers while on a long drive in January 2012. Service interval of 3 months / 5000 km is too short and it would be a pain to go to Rajkot (which is 120 km away from my residence) every 3 months to get the car serviced. However, I have read on net that some users get their Citys serviced every 6 months or 5000 km whichever is earlier without any warranty issues.
That's it, guys. I am posting some pics of my White Lightening. Hope you like both my review and the pics.