There is a common phrase said amongst car enthusiasts’ circles, “life is too short to drive boring cars”. Of course, anyone would jump at the chance to drive a classic Alfa Romeo or BMW, but 99 percent of the time, a practical and reliable car that gets the job done is all we need.
After all, what use is a cool car if cannot carry your luggage and breaks down half the time?
This brings me to the (GM6) Honda City, albeit ubiquitous and lacking pizazz – it is quite possibly one of the best sedans to ever go on sale in Malaysia. Offering C-Segment rivalling space and practicality, robust powertrains and great refinement, the GM6 City can be had for the price of a new Perodua Bezza today. That said, is the GM6 City a no-brainer purchase, or is there a catch?
The GM6 Honda City range in Malaysia
Launched in 2014, the Honda City GM6 came in four variants (S, S+, E and V). These are mainly equipment differences, as they all shared one sole powertrain: a 120 PS / 145 Nm 1.5-litre, 4-cylinder i-VTEC engine paired with a CVT-type automatic.
The Honda City GM6 was then given a facelift in 2017, and with it refreshed looks and more equipment. This facelift exercise of the Honda City also spawned a Sport Hybrid i-DCD (GM7) variant.
With the facelift, there were again four variants, S, E, Sport Hybrid and the V, which remained in the top spot.
The Honda City Hybrid was powered by a 1.5-litre petrol engine, driving through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission with an integrated electric motor and a lithium-ion battery.
Unlike preceding models with the mild-hybrid Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) powertrain, the new City i-DCD model is a full-hybrid, so the A/C works even when the engine is off and it can do standing starts purely on electric power.
|Honda City GM6/GM7 powertrain|
i-VTEC – S,E,V variants
|120 PS, 145 Nm||CVT|
i-DCD – Sport Hybrid
|137 PS, 170 Nm
The variant to buy and current market prices
Used units of the GM6 City range between RM 50k for early 2014 and 2015 units and rise to just under RM 75k for the newer 2019 – 2020 units. Thus, choices are aplenty across a rather wide price range. The 1.5 Hybrid variant typically ranges between RM 55k and RM 65k.
Besides deciding on a suitable price range, the other major consideration is choosing between naturally aspirated or hybrid 1.5-litre powertrains. Of course, the complex hybrid componentry – notably the battery and inverter – are relatively expensive to replace, after some years, but offer superb returns in terms of fuel economy and performance for the price.
With cars such as the GM6 City, higher mileage cars need not be a deterrent factor – as parts and repairs are easily accessible. Rather pay attention to the overall quality of the paint, interior and driving feel for signs of wear, and or lack of care.
Alternatively, check out these immaculate examples on Carsome, which are offered with an extended warranty and cash discounts for a limited time only.
|Honda City GM6/GM7 basic running costs|
|Variant||City S, E, V||City Sport Hybrid|
|Road tax (RM)||90|
|Tyre size||175/65R15 / 185/55R16||185/55R16|
|Tyres/pc (RM)||145 – 250 / 170 – 280||170 – 280|
|Battery – NS40 (RM)||200 – 260|
Maintenance and common problems?
Let’s put it this way, this section is going to be very short. The GM6 City is beautifully engineered and features a proven powertrain that is about as reliable as they come.
Well-maintained vehicles, which follow the maintenance schedule to a tee are known to drive well even after 250,000 km.
Here’s a simplified table of the basic maintenance schedule of a GM6 City:
|Honda City GM6/GM7 basic maintenance costs|
|Maintenance / Interval||Items||Cost (RM)|
|Oil change / 10k km||Engine oil, filter and drain plug washer||280|
|Air filter / 20k km (NA/Hybrid)||Engine air filter||95/170|
|Cabin filter / 40k km NA, 30k km Hybrid||Dust and pollen filter||105 / 140|
|Fuel filter / 80k km NA, 120k km Hybrid||Fuel filter and retainer||365|
|Brake service / 60k km||Brake fluid||60|
|Transmission service / 40k km (CVT)||ATF oil and filter||200|
|Transmission service / 160k km (7DCT)||ATF oil and filter||100|
|Replace coolant / 200k km||Coolant||150|
|Spark plugs / 100k km (NA/Hybrid)||Replace spark plugs||365 / 450|
Service costs for the GM6 City are reasonable, the main cost differences between the naturally-aspirated and hybrid variants are the replacements of the air filter and transmission oil.
The Hybrid actually requires less maintenance and intervals are longer, but requires a more expensive air filter every 20k km.
Drivetrain and suspension components will start to signs of ageing around the 125k km mark so these are a few issues to look out for.
|Honda City GM6/GM7 common faults|
|Front lower arm||increased vibration / roadshock||750 (Ori)|
|Front absorber||sloppy handling / suspension noise||580 (Ori)|
|Rear absorber||suspension noise||480 (Ori)|
|Ignition coil||Rough idle / loss of power||200 / unit|
|Engine leaks||Engine oil sump, transmission sump, valve cover gasket||1,000|
Oil leaks on the GM6 City have been known to occur at the engine and transmission oil sumps, but these are sometimes the case of lack of maintenance or mechanic error.
That said, it is wise to get your car up on a hoist, remove the engine and transmission underbody cover (which hides these issues) and properly inspect the corresponding area.
As for the City Hybrid, batteries are offered with an 8-year warranty and cost about RM 5,500 to replace. However, all City Hybrids are barely 5 years old and still benefit from their manufacturer warranties.
Additionally, past experience with IMA models suggests that Honda hybrids are more reliable than Toyota, with fewer complaints about premature wear of the ABS pump, A/C compressor, and steering rack – all weak points of the Toyota Prius.
Years on, the GM6 City is a compelling option for a wide range of buyers – first-time car buyers, the travelling businessman and growing families alike – given its versatile range of abilities.
The GM6 City offers a venerable option to buyers who prefer a used Japanese vehicle, over a brand new Proton Saga or Perodua Bezza, for its promise of practicality, quality, performance and value retention.
As always, take your time in looking for well presented and maintained car, or leave it to the experts at Carsome, when finding your next dream car.