The Honda City sedan was not a car I instantly liked but, after living with it for a few days, it started to win me over.
I am not sure why I had the initial negative response because there is nothing particularly wrong with the small sedan. In fact, when you look at it closely it has many redeeming features.
Despite being classified as a light passenger car it has a bigger boot than a Holden Commodore and the passenger compartment will carry four adults comfortably - five if needed.
With regard to features, the City stacks up against its competitors quite well, with things like cruise control, an audio system that is iPod compatible and Bluetooth phone streaming all part of the standard fare. And safety is a strong point, with a five-star crash rating and all the technology required to gain the maximu.
On the road this small Honda is quite a good-looking car, while on the inside it is reasonably well laid out.
However, a conservative theme, with its black upholstery and silver highlights, hardly makes it exciting and the centre stack looks a little dated. Then again, it is not offensive and it is practical.
Numerous cup-holders, storage trays and pockets hold anything you might want to take along and for the driver there is a neat array of clear, large and obvious switches and instruments.
The 1.5-litre engine, matched to the five-speed automatic transmission, gives good throttle response and seems quite smooth when driving sedately around the suburbs - and that is where it is going to spend most of its time.
When more performance is called for, the engine becomes a little noisier and harsher than you might expect.
At least the City's small petrol engine doesn't mind revving and by doing so you can extract reasonable performance out of it.
Honda has added more sound- deadening material to the 2012 model, which has helped reduce cabin noise.
During the test period I used 8.0L/100km, which doesn't make it one of the most economical vehicles in its class but it is still not bad for a car capable of carrying five people and a heap of gear in the boot.
Model Honda City VTi sedan
Engine 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol
Transmission Five-speed auto
Safety Five stars