THE City is one of Honda’s most popular B-segment sedans. As of last year, the largest market for Honda City is India, accounting for over 25 per cent of global sales.
Honda Malaysia Sdn Bhd launched the Honda City here in March last year. It was so well-accepted by Malaysians that the company achieved its one-month booking target of 2,000 units just 10 days after the launch.
The company then introduced the 2017 Honda City Sport Hybrid i-DCD in July last year. Malaysia was the only country outside of Japan to have the Sport Hybrid i-DCD system.
We spent some time with the Honda City Sport Hybrid and walked away impressed.
Powering the Honda City Sport Hybrid is a 1.5-litre DOHC i-VTEC engine, hooked to a seven-speed dual clutch shift-by-wire transmission and an electric motor. It produces 135hp and 170Nm of torque, which is equivalent to a 1.8-litre engine.
The Honda City Sport Hybrid measures at 4,442mm in length, 1,694mm in width and 1,477mm in height with a wheelbase of 2,600mm. It has 40 litres of fuel tank capacity and 536 litre of boot space. With a weight 1,188kg, it is 69kg heavier than the petrol models due to the hybrid components.
Like the Honda City Grade E variant, the Sport Hybrid is fitted with 16-inch wheels, halogen headlights with daytime running lights, LED tail-lights, shark fin antenna, auto-folding side mirrors, chrome door handles, keyless entry with push start button, rear air-conditioning vents, paddle shifters, unique instrument cluster, rear armrest with cupholders, cruise control, touch panel climate control, fabric seats, 6.8-inch infotainment system and six-speaker sound system.
The City has four airbags, reverse camera, anti-lock braking system, electronic brake distribution, vehicle stability assist, hill assist system and ISOFIX child seat mounting points.
The Honda City Sport Hybrid is covered by a five-year unlimited mileage warranty with 10,000km service intervals.
There is also an additional eight-year warranty for the lithium-ion battery.
Although the Honda City Sport Hybrid looks like the petrol variant, it feels totally different behind the wheels.
The fabric seats are very comfortable and support well, even for long-distance driving. It has an instrument cluster that is futuristic and informative. It provides information such as energy flow, fuel economy, drive info and includes an ECO display.
The interior is finished with hard plastic, which is solid and of great quality. The cockpit design is also modern. For those who are used to charging their gadgets with 12-volt power sockets, the City is a car that you might want to consider. It has not only two, but three 12-volt power sockets for occupants to charge their gadgets.
The 1.5-litre DOHC i-VTEC engine and the electric motor deliver a smooth and powerful drive. Acceleration is responsive and the seven-speed dual clutch transmission shifts gears smoothly and quickly.
The shift-by-wire transmission system contributes greatly to the smoothness during gear change.
It is able to run on full electric mode below 80kph before the combustion engine kicks in. The City Sport Hybrid can travel for 2km in full electric mode with a speed of 40khp to 50kph. The transition from electric motor to combustion engine is not felt - it just shifts quietly and smoothly.
Unlike most hybrid cars, in which the air-conditioning will get a little warmer when the car is idle, this is not the case for Honda City Sport Hybrid. The air-conditioning functions like normal even when the engine is cut in traffic.
The lightly weighted steering is accurate and predictable. It provides sufficient feedback of road conditions. The firm suspension and absorber setting keeps the City Sport Hybrid in place during high-speed corners.
It also absorbs most rough road conditions effectively. Only the sharper and deeper potholes could be felt.
The brakes are firm with great initial bite. It also has the electric servo brake system that helps to recharge the battery when the brakes are engaged.
The Honda City Sport Hybrid has ample space to comfortably ferry four large-sized adults. It provides sufficient headroom, legroom and shoulder room for the occupants. It also has the largest in class 536-litre boot space.
The engine, tyre and wind noise is very well isolated from the cabin at legal speed driving. However, the tyre noise is noticeable during high-speed driving. The infotainment system is very simple and easy to operate. The six-speaker sound system plays basic tunes.
Audiophiles will need to upgrade it to get the solid bass and clear treble.
We managed to drive the City Sport Hybrid for more than 350km. On a mixture of city and highway driving, it managed to travel about 21km to 24km per litre of petrol (km/l).
The odometer showed 30 to 34 km/l while we were cruising on the highway at legal speed. After a hard acceleration driving session, it recorded 15 to 18 km/l.
There are many features we liked about the Honda City Sport Hybrid. Features like the auto-folding side mirrors that fold when the alarm is activated, the looks and design of the sedan, the quietness of the cabin and, of course, the smoothness and power of the engine. Nonetheless, it has room for improvement.
We felt that the City Sport Hybrid should be installed with LED headlamps, or even better, projector headlamps, to give a more modern look.
Lastly, it would certainly raise the bar for the B-segment sedan if the City Sport Hybrid is equipped with the Honda Sensing safety technology. It is obvious that the price will not be below RM90,000 if the technology is included.