A City Dweller maestro, the Honda City Hybrid

The current generation of Honda City has been a common sight on Malaysian roads since 2014. You’d probably be able to walk around your neighborhood to find several Honda City around. So what makes the Honda City so appealing to city dwellers? Well, two things immediately pops up, one is the badge and two, the value proposition.

In our recent test unit, a City Hybrid, we’d like to highlight from exterior to everything else on this somewhat effective city dweller. Let’s start with the outside:

The familiar exterior of the Honda City still has that sporty look since this generation came out in 2014. In order to keep the car at a more attainable price, LED headlights from the high spec City have been removed, but you do get LED rears, 16” wheels with 185/55 tyres from the high-spec City with the City Hybrid.

Stepping inside the car, the first  thing you’d notice is the unique electronic gear lever that a new user would need some time to get used to it. The other item that is unique to the Honda City Hybrid is the instrument cluster that has an analogue speedometer in the center and 2 LCD screen at both sides of the cluster. The panels show the car’s information, scroll for an option, and a dual bar displaying battery charge status and power consumption.  

As one of the top model in the range, the City Hybrid has a touch-based switch to toggle climate control. However, the switches could be a little too sensitive that the dangling charging cable could accidentally activate the climate control switch.

Another plus side of the City Hybrid is the ample small storage compartments. In the cabin, you’d find plenty of use for the cup holders, eight of them in total, and the glovebox as well as armrest and center console.

The City Hybrid comes with fabric seats, which is a step down from leather seats of the top-spec City. We deemed the front seats rather supportive, while the rear seat very comfortable. For a B-segment or compact, head- and leg-room are considered favorable, however shoulder room is still limited when you want to fit three at the back. The City Hybrid has a boot space size(536 liters)  similar to the normal Honda City. This is achieved by removing the spare wheel and replace it with a hybrid battery. There’s a tyre repair kit provided, to replace the spare tyre, for emergency situations.

Honda City Hybrid: Efficient and safe

On the safety front, the Honda City Hybrid comes with the usual 6 airbags, ABS, VSA and Hill Start Assist. The additional safety equipment on the City Hybrid is the Honda G-Force Control (G-Con). The G-Con consists of a body frame that absorbs the impact during a collision. During hard braking, the Emergency stop signal will come on to warn cars behind.

Honda City Hybrid: subtle, frugal and clean  

The powertrain of the City Hybrid comes in a form of a 1.5 liter inline 4 petrol engine and an electric motor which produces a combine power of 137 bhp and 170Nm. When you’re driving the car, the transition engine and electric motor is rather seamless and smooth, compared to the previous Honda hybrid system. The biggest plus point of this powertrain combo is that the car is very frugal, in which we only managed to finish half tank of 40 liters fuel after 400+km of driving. The other advantage of the powertrain is that it has more power than the standard Honda City.

The Honda City Hybrid comes with a 7 speed Dual Clutch Transmission with an electric motor. Honda is able to compensate the weakness of the DCT by reducing the unnecessary need to engage and disengage the clutch, thus improving the DCT’s reliability.

The suspension of the City Hybrid has the same setup as the standard City, with McPherson strut upfront and torsion beam rear, but the suspension is firmer compare to the petrol City variants. Body roll are still prominent in the City Hybrid when taking the car through corners though. The electric power steering for the City Hybrid is light but feels detached from the front wheel, we felt. The steering is meant for driver to drive the car around town with ease, but be cautious when you take the car to do a spirited drive.

The City Hybrid uses a familiar braking system, but it has a free play zone on the brake pedal. When you depress the brake pedal, the electric motor provides resistance to slow down the car before the mechanical brake takes over.

 NVH level in the City Hybrid is decent thanks to a whole lot more improved insulation and such. You’ll start getting wind noise when the car is driven above the 110 km/h speed limit, but the road noise or stone chipping sound from vehicle’s underbody is heard at all times.

With a price tag of RM 92,172.00, the City Hybrid is a car for the city dweller who are looking for a very frugal car that can bring you through your day to day traffic in comfort.  But for a fun driving machine, we’d recommend to look at other options. The Honda City Hybrid comes with 5 years unlimited mileage warranty and 8 years battery warranty. Honda also throws in 6 times free labor service that is applicable within 100,000km or 5 years. You can get the car in Lunar Silver Metallic, Modern Steel Metallic and Crystal Black Pearl. By adding another RM120, you’ll be able to get yourself the opulent White Orchid Pearl color, like our test unit.

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