Almira: Honda City 2012 V-AT - Story Of a Gift (Miha)


Thread Starter #1
Joined
May 23, 2020
Messages
37
Likes
50
Location
Thane
A lot of us have two names, cradle name and the one that we actually use according to our moon sign, even I have two. As it turns out, I was confused too, while naming MY first car, a 2012 Honda City V-AT, hence the two names; Almira (Shehzaadi - because she is my princess) and Miha (Gift - as she is a gift for my Mom). I am a big fan of Urdu/Arabic names, very majestic words!

Dad has a Fiat Palio Stile 1.1 SLX (2009) and it was showing it's age since long, and we were afraid to take her out on long distances and anything could break down (thankfully, it never did, because we never used her frequently) and availability of spare parts is a big question mark (also expensive). Hence she was literally left to run as she is, until I decided to get her serviced once, and again she trudged along just fine for two more years.

Fiat Palio.jpg


It is Mom's 50th birthday this August, and an otherwise very conserved person, she always told me her wish to go on a long drive in a sedan, she likes them for their presence. Hence, knowingly, I was on a look-out for one, but looking at it, being able to afford a new sedan was out of question, I don't want to buy it and then keep her wrapped half the time; hence - the pre-owned market was selected. I have been a fan of automotive forums like TAI, T-Bhp since long and one such thread led me to buy a pre-owned Honda CBR250R at an absolute steal of a deal (Maybe details in a dedicated post for her).

Honda CBR250R.jpg


I calculated a budget around 4L to 4.5L that I can afford through EMIs with my teaching job, as business income was rocky and I didn't want to risk it, and then later ask Mom's help for some EMIs I may not pay, hence the budget constraints and with that, I looked at three options - Honda City, VW Vento, Hyundai Verna.

On scouting hordes of sites like OLX, Droom, CarTrade, I had almost fixated on Vento, as I am a fan-boy of German designs and their clean lines, subjective opinion, but I would always choose a VW or a Skoda over a Honda or Hyundai or the likes. Nothing makes me go weak in my knees like clean and minimalisic structures. But, going through various mixed reports of VW, of great build quality to horror ASC stories and cost of ownership, I didn't want to risk the peace of mind, and decided that I will keep the Germans to a brand new purchase, and not in the used market. Flirted with Verna for a while, but mostly read that spare parts cost are 80% of VW but the car is nowhere as reliable as a Honda; but I admit, insane features for the price.

Confused again, as I, have only ever driven a Palio, and that too just for a couple of years, hence I have no experience whatsoever of what handling dynamics, EBD, steering feedback and other technical terms would actually mean; as anything would feel like an upgrade on a poorly maintained Palio of 2009.

Honda City was my first choice when I started searching, but I absolutely hated the HU design and the knobs, but overall had a soft spot for the car (because Honda) and I especially liked the headlights, and the rear three quarters. But, I simultaneously started searching for a touchscreen HU to replace ASAP if I choose the City.

I started my search from the scratch again, and I came across some newly added Honda Citys, and particularly one stood out - it looked black in shade, but metallic purple under sunlight.

Almira 1.jpg


It was a 2012 model, V-AT and what particularly caught my attention was that the previous owner had only driven her 16xxx KMs!! I was overjoyed, but kept my senses cool as Honda cars are known for good amount of odometer readings, and this one was not! Everything flashed across, odometer tampering, accidental vehicle, because it looked so good that some of us thought that it had been repainted, and the cherry on top was that the previous owner had installed CASKA touchscreen HU, which saved me from that expense.

Almira Caska.jpg


I immediately called up the dealer, and the negotiations began, and a couple dozen calls later, I asked her to be brought to my place for a test drive, got her checked through my trusted mechanic and when given a go-ahead, I paid the token amount to book her for me, provided that I will be allowed to get her thoroughly checked through an ASC (when they re-open), in which, any suspicious thing and I would get the token money back, to which the dealer agreed easily and he even gave the location himself, which assured me a little. I also managed to procure the number of the previous owner and she confirmed that the car was just used for home to office commute, hence the low mileage. More assurance.

Almira 2.jpg


This was initially a surprise plan for Mom on the day of her birthday, but as it turned out, I had to inform her during the buying process and it turned out to be a good decision as she helped with a better source of loan, which helped in lessening the EMI load on my shoulders.

We readied the finance, and went to see her in Mumbai, had already booked an appointment with the Sewri branch of Arya Honda, and after fighting insane traffic (8th June - first day of unlock) we reached a good 1 hour late to the dealer. The car was readied, polished, and we took her to the ASC. Filled up the form for a general check-up and some 3-4 hours later, we received a thumbs-up from the SA, only issues were of that brake pads were only good for another 1000 KMs (2 mm material left) and the battery water had gone black. Minor rattling of the driver's seat was attributed to a loose nut, but apart from that, she was in perfect condition. Pulling up the service records showed that the car was only brought for regular maintenance and nothing related to bodywork.

Almira Checkup.jpg


So, all in all, the deal was done! I got home MY first car, and the same route back, through the same traffic, was blissful, thanks to the automatic gearbox (Torque Converter, if I am not wrong) and a bone-chilling A.C. I got used to to the smooth gearshifts and the working of the auto-box pretty quick, and a fortunate pooja later, she was parked in the society premises; where-as the Palio was kept outside, which did break my heart a little - You get some, you lose some.

The deal: I paid 4.35L for a 2012 Honda City V-AT (17165 KMs at the time of purchase) with CASKA H.U and a rear camera already installed. Saved two of my primary expenses, and also, the tyres were of 2018, Yokohamas (although 175); hence for me it is a fair deal, some might say I could have gotten her for less. Maybe, but I am happy. More importantly, my Mom's happy, that's what I wanted.

Almira Deal.jpg


The sample size for review is too short; but from what I felt, I am listing the pros and cons below, although may not be very detailed, as she's only ~500 KMs old under me and also I do not have much experience apart from Palio, so maybe my comparisons would be against Palio, hence maybe unfair.

Pros (as observed):

1) Super silent engine, except the start-up sound, never could I make that the car is running, especially in P Mode.

2) The gear shifts are quite smooth, and feel linear in D mode, a little aggressive dabbing of the accelerator, and the car pulls in the same gear till a higher RPM before shifting, which I like very much. I found that the car has a creep function, and oh boy, what a relief for in traffic conditions.

3) I tried Sports mode when returning from a weekend visit to Nashik, and boy, it has become my favorite! I tend to take my foot off the gas when I change the gears through paddle shifters as my old habit. (but is it necessary?). The overtakes are breeze in S mode, and OH MY GOD the engine roars after 4K RPM and I was grinning like an idiot. The jump from 57 BHP to 114 BHP has me spell-bound! The MID showed up ECO even at speeds of 110-120 in S and in 5th gear. HAPPY!

4) The brakes too, are linear, with a good bite when pressed more than ~20%, but they are to be changed soon.

5) Minimal engine braking, not sure if this is a positive (definitely on highways as I can give gaps between the need to accelerate) but technically a con in city as I would need more use of brakes. (I love CBR's engine braking in this regard in the lower gears, minimal use of brakes within city limits)

6) A.C is a chiller, even in splintering heat, fan speed on 4 cools down the cabin in 5 minutes maximum, (Previous owner, I think has installed some 3M sunfilm as there is 3M markings on the front windshield) But all in all, cools super quick and then I am more than comfortable on fan speed 1 once the cabin is cooled, but Dad complains at the back, so its fan speed 2 to keep everyone cozy, although I then later change the direction of the vents away from me. Rear vents feel needful, but not because of weak A.C capabilities but for a better circulation.

7) The steering feels chunky to hold, and super light, and it takes two full rotations to turn the wheels to their maximum in either direction, as opposed to a single rotation in my Palio, and the turning radius is definitely shorter than the FIAT. Handling a sedan for the first time has been very smooth, and crisp steering feedback has a lot of praise for it.

8) The gear lever is also nice to the touch, and the silver button to change gear feels satisfactory. I liked the pearl piano black finish on the plastic cover denoting the P, N, R, D, S gears.

9) Center arm-rest storage big enough to accommodate my wallet, keys, a sanitizer, and a still has space to store couple similarly sized items. The arm-rest length is okay for me, I can comfortably rest my hand, but Dad complains. I am 5'10, he is 5'6.

10) Can holder behind the arm-rest,is big and wide enough to hold a large McD coke container, but as stated earlier, rent vents are a miss, as felt by Dad (He sits at the back, when all three of us travel together.)

11) Rear passenger arm-rest is comfortable and wide enough to accommodate both passengers; I don't think there will be territorial fights like in movie theaters.

12) Steering control buttons and stalks feel sturdy, good to the touch. (Do the indicators have lane switch function?) Haven't used cruise control yet, as I still don't have the owner's manual.

13) Music quality is good enough for me, when connected through Bluetooth, good overalls, haven't yet fiddled with the equalizer settings, but I am not audiophile, hence do not see it as a possible upgrade.

14) The chrome door handles are chunky, and the doors close with a soft thud. I have heard a lot of praises for VW in this regard, but please note, these are my comparisons against a 2009 Palio.

15) Have heard the ORVMs are India friendly, but haven't tried that yet, due to obvious fears; a nicety to have nonetheless.

16) The alloys look gorgeous, the only change I would like is to color them to a different shade.

17) Seats are comfortable, a gigantic leap in overall support, comfort against Palio.

Cons (as observed):

1) Some part of sheet metal feels clumsy, easily flexes even while wiping her down, especially roof, but I was prepared for this from all the detailed forums over the internet.

2) Boot door might just be lighter even than my cat. Paperboard material, probably. Loading height is okay for me, might be a problem for other.

3) Ingress and Regress an issue for elders, I saw my grandmother struggling, although wide opening of doors help. But almost 90 degree wide opening could turn out to be one less support for elders to have, especially when getting out of the car. I'll be courteous all the times to get down first, and help elders after. (Some extra brownie points too from them)

4) Front cubby holes are a little inconveniently placed for me, might accommodate coffee cups, but that would render the storage behind them useless. I usually keep my phone there.

5) Door storage is satisfactory, probably might accommodate just 500 ml bottles. I am struggling with a location to keep my umbrellas after getting in the car during the rains, please suggest. The passenger needs to hold them upright throughout.

6) Ground Clearance, a well known negative, although 2012 update comes with 165 mm (5 mm more). Scraped just once, with three on board, no luggage. Searching for options, probably fixed on the ROGERABS, as suggested on Dr. Mudhan's brilliant thread on his Albus. For now, slow and diagonal approach is working out just fine, the followers can honk all they want, I am deaf (obviously, NOT).

7) Lots of road noise, almost comparable to Palio. What can be done? I don't want to change the tyres until they're exhausted. They're stock specifications. Can I retrofit wheel well cladding? Any other tips?

8) Mom feels the need of the slotted coin holders, we had in our Palio, I don't.

9) Speeds of 120 are smooth, but I felt more cautious than confident; might be because of dynamics and tyres, or might be my fears of something going wrong on a newly acquired responsibility.

10) A protruding hump at the front passengers under-seat which eats into the foot space, and mom finds it uncomfortable, I observed it is the same on my side, but I don't mind, because I, 90% of the time, keep my legs stretched.

Almira Nashik.jpg


On a trip to Nashik with my parents, to surprise my grandmother. (We didn't stop anywhere except this once to click a few photos and followed all rules of social distancing and hygiene)

Expenses:

As Almira was purchased during the lockdown, I am taking it slow, shortlisting only extremely necessary changes, and hence, brake pads, battery and a good quality car cover are the top three.

I have already ordered Amaron HILife Pro from batterybhai (4000/-), while I am researching more about brakes; might finalize on Brembo (red ones) if I receive a good quote, and for the car cover, I am going for Polco Tyvek (3250/-).

For keeping her clean, I already have Sonax Concentrate Gloss Shampoo, Sonax Multi-sponge, 3M Compound, Meguiar's Polish, Wavex Hybrid-X, AmazonBasics drying towels, Softspun microfibers, SOBBY Microfiber (800 GSM), Softspun applicators and ProKlear WWC windshield Wash and of course Jopasu duster. (I am planning to color her in Taffeta White after an year, the Sparkling Brown is just too much to maintain.)
Particularly impressed with Wavex Hybrid-X, and Meguiar's Polish (But it would be dedicated to the CBR). Looking at Turtle Wax next, to be specifically doing the duties on Almira.

I got her detailed from MaxShine Auto, Thane and the owner, Mangesh Kalzunkar, is the most professional person I have come across in the recent past. The job was thorough to the T, and all 5 employees working were equally committed. Paid 5000, for a service, which would be next required in 8-9 months.

Almira Maxshine 1.jpg


(Went in, looking as she did in the upper photo, and came out looking like the below. More than satisfied.)

Almira Maxshine 2.jpg


(An already very sparingly used and well maintained car came out looking like new after the detailing session)

Contacted Honda upon seeing warranty options upto 10 years, but received a quote of 16875/- for one year, and tossed it into the bin, I am fairly confident in my maintenance and Honda's reliability, so not worried in that sense. Hope I do not fall flat in my face.

All in all, she is my Shehzaadi, and it is, undoubtedly a proud feeling, and I am looking forward to munching miles royally, once it is deemed safe to do so.

Almira.jpg
 
Last edited:
Thread Starter #4
Joined
May 23, 2020
Messages
37
Likes
50
Location
Thane
Congratulations. This car is looking just like new. May you enjoy it to the fullest. Drive safely. Post more pictures of the interiors.
Thank You! Yes, a well upkeep of her, thanks to the previous owner plus the detailing session after, and she sparkled all she can.

Will post ASAP. Currently she's in a long slumber, this lockdown has us all on strings, hasn't it.

Congratulations. This car is looking just like new. May you enjoy it to the fullest. Drive safely. Post more pictures of the interiors.
Thank You! Yes, she felt as good as new thanks to the previous owner, who really kept her well.

Will post photos ASAP, she's in a long slumber as of now.
 
Thread Starter #8
Joined
May 23, 2020
Messages
37
Likes
50
Location
Thane
Hi,
Congratulations on your purchase. It's indeed is a good deal.

Please share more interior photos too
Thank You Sir, yes the photos are on their way.

Congrats on the car. The deep black shade with just a hint of purple sure is mesmerizing.
Yes, dual shades according to the time of the day. It's really tough to maintain, although the products are helping me out.

You got a well maintained car. Congratulations[cheers]
Thank You Sir :)
 
Thread Starter #9
Joined
May 23, 2020
Messages
37
Likes
50
Location
Thane
So, some interior photos, first I'm greeted with a very wide opening door, and dual tone beige interiors help in making me feel welcomed. The seats are well cushioned, and finding a good position isn't that tough, takes 2 minutes for a first timer. The steering is at it's highest position, didn't feel the need for adjustable reach.
Almira Drivers Door.jpg


The cockpit view, the A pillar and the roof mounted IRVM do make me crunch a little bit while taking tight turns, becoming a habit.
Cockpit View.jpg


A good place to be in, I like being in the front seat. Although, mom, who is my c-driver, complains about the hump underneath the passenger seat and finds it uncomfortable after a while. Is this the issue with all of you?

Passenger Hump.jpg


The door ajar notification doesn't mention which door is open, on returning from Nashik, we opened and closed all the doors again only to realize that the trunk is open. :P (Also the trunk lever gets stuck in the drivers seat belt a lot of times, which is inconvenient at times.)

Door Ajar notification.jpg

Both the door open in a wide - almost at a 90 degree angle, helps in some, doesn't for some.
Both Door Openings.jpg

Rear bench is spacious, although I only had two passengers, and not a fourth and fifth to judge on the 5 passenger carrying capability of the Honda.
Rear Bench.jpg

Rear cup holders, I think the stitch isn't properly done, might need to get that done when I take her for a service.
Rear Cup Holders.jpg

Boot space, oodles of it, I had a fairly large boot in Palio too, but this is humongous. Would be very helpful in my business needs. Right now, only carries my detailing products, tools, and hazard triangle.
Boot Space.jpg

The steering is nice to hold, but I need to remove the steering cover the previous owner had installed, it fouls with the outermost controls. Haven't used Cruise Control yet, didn't receive the manual. Can somebody help? V-AT model.
If there is already a stock leather cover, I'd remove the cover first thing.
Steering Controls.jpg


That's all for now, as I said, I only use her now if all three of us need to go out somewhere, hope this all dies down soon. She's still due for a brake pad change, a couple of squeaking sounds from here and there, and a nice cover. Lots of mice around, looking for effective options. AutoGuard, the first one in mind.

Changed the battery today, to Amaron Hi Life Flo (June/2020), so that is sorted. I am sure we're all feeling suffocated having such nice automobiles around but no roads to drive on; but safety first, please take care, all of you.

- Manas.
 
Joined
May 28, 2013
Messages
34
Likes
16
Location
Thiruvananthapuram
To keep rats away, I am keeping Tobacco leaves & naphthalene balls inside the bonnet when parked. I think, it's working

Cruise control is such an awesome thing to use. If you get a chance to drive in an open road, you will learn how to use it without any guidance. I learnt it that way.
 
Joined
Jan 4, 2018
Messages
227
Likes
160
Location
Chennai
Congrats Bro... This has been one of my best dream cars that too an AT..

I have two questions...
Are you sure your 3rd gen H.City 2012 has a torque converter transmission AT or a CVT ? Please check and advise.

Next, if torque convertor AT, pls let me know how much it delivers in Mumbai city traffic? 7+ ?
 
Thread Starter #13
Joined
May 23, 2020
Messages
37
Likes
50
Location
Thane
Congrats Bro... This has been one of my best dream cars that too an AT..

I have two questions...
Are you sure your 3rd gen H.City 2012 has a torque converter transmission AT or a CVT ? Please check and advise.

Next, if torque convertor AT, pls let me know how much it delivers in Mumbai city traffic? 7+ ?
Thank You so much! Yes, it has been a blissful two months of ownership so far.

Yes, I have confirmed, it's a Torque Converter gearbox, 100%

Also, currently I'm getting ~10 KMPL in 85% City, AC ON all the time I'm in the car. Torque Converters are known to guzzle fuel, but I'm keep patience, I haven't even touched the car yet, I'm yet to service her top to bottom, try out a few additives and cleaners, and then check the mileage, so fingers crossed.
 
Thread Starter #15
Joined
May 23, 2020
Messages
37
Likes
50
Location
Thane
It’s a torque converter

Mine is V AT. It delivers 12kmpl (City + highway)
That's better a figure. Let's see how she reacts after a full fledged service and some experiments later.

Probably will try some LiquiMoly products, I can't stay too long away from Germans
 
Top Bottom