Honda debuted the fifth-generation City in India in 2020, and Honda India is going to unveil the City E: HEV, a hybrid version of the same. It is the Japanese automaker’s third hybrid vehicle for the Indian market, after the Civic Hybrid and the Accord Hybrid.
For the longest time, the City has maintained its commanding position in the luxury sedan class in India. Prior to the debut of the Amaze, it drove sales for the brand in India on its own. Taking a page from the City’s book, this sedan is one of the finest equipped in its class, with several segment-first features and ADAS technology. We’ve now driven it and put it through our extensive testing to see how it works in real life.
The Honda City e: HEV does not seem to be a very unique vehicle. Honda has made several modest tweaks to the vehicle to separate it from the ordinary petrol and diesel variants. The City e: HEV receives blue accents on the Honda badges, a new fog lamp garnish, a boot lip spoiler, and a rear diffuser, but that’s all there is to the exterior.
The new City e: HEV interior is identical to the petrol and diesel counterparts, with the exception of a dual-tone ivory and black motif that gives it a sporty appearance. New buttons have been added to engage additional functions such as the E-brake and Honda Sensing safety measures.
The Honda City Hybrid is based on the top-tier ZX edition of the fifth-generation City, thus it comes with all the bells and whistles. It has an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, although the usability may be improved.
The vehicle also receives a new set of cameras and an upgraded 7-inch digital instrument cluster, which shows an instructive energy flow pattern that informs you where the power is coming from and how it is being distributed to the front wheels, among other things.
It also has digital automated temperature control, a sunroof, two USB slots, a 12 V charging outlet, rear AC vents, wheel mounted controls, and many more amenities.
Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, Wireless charging, Type-C USB ports, and, most crucially, ventilated seats are not available on the Honda City e: HEV.
The City Hybrid, like the conventional City petrol, has a 1.5 L DOHC, four-cylinder petrol engine, although it produces less power and torque (98 bhp and 127 Nm vs. 121 bhp and 145 Nm in the regular City) due to the Atkinson cycle. As a result, a small number of components have been changed to increase efficiency. There are two AC Synchronous electric motors that operate in unison with the engine. The electric motors generate 108 horsepower and 253 Nm of torque. The total output of the electric motor and engine is 126 horsepower.
There are three driving modes, and you cannot change them manually; instead, the vehicle does it automatically depending on the driver’s inputs. The vehicle begins in Pure EV mode, with full quiet, much like an EV. When you raise the speed, it enters hybrid drive mode. The 1.5 L engine starts and serves as a generator, sending power to the motors but not the wheels. The electric motors are the ones that keep the wheels turning. When the speed is between 80 and 120 kmph, the engine takes over and begins driving the wheels. It’s worth noting how seamless the shift from electric to engine is. When the engine starts, you can tell, but not to the point where it interrupts the refinement levels within the interior.
When it comes to the gearbox system, one fascinating truth is that there is none at all. It does not utilise planetary gears or a CVT; instead, it employs a single gear with a set ratio that is optimised for optimal efficiency. Now, let’s speak about the economy. Honda boasts that the City Hybrid gets 26.5 kilometres per litre, and our real-world fuel efficiency was more than 22 kilometres per litre, which is 35-40 percent more than the ordinary petrol City.
The Honda City has always been a vehicle with excellent ride quality, and the e: HEV is no exception. The steering sensation and handling are extremely close to those seen in ICE vehicles. With the extra weight of the electric motors and batteries, the suspension has been modified to deal with it without losing comfort at low and highway speeds.
In terms of handling, it’s still a vehicle that goes everywhere you aim it. As long as you drive the City e:HEV responsibly, it’s a fantastic automobile. It also has all-wheel disc brakes, giving you the confidence to drive the vehicle a little harder.
Let’s move on to the next important addition to the City, Honda Sensing technology. This is the collection of active safety elements that contribute to the overall safety of the vehicle.
The first one is a collision mitigation system with automated emergency braking. If there is an impending accident, it will first offer you a visual and auditory warning to urge the driver to react. If the driver continues to fail to pay attention, the system will apply heavy brakes and attempt to come to a full stop. The vehicle is outfitted with a road departure mitigation system that will assist you in staying on the road and gently returning the vehicle to it. Then there’s Lane departure assist, which assists you in staying in your lane while driving. The vehicle also has Auto high-beam assist, which lowers the high beam when it detects oncoming traffic. The last Honda Sensing feature is adaptive cruise control, which assists on extended highway drives by automatically lowering and raising speed to a predetermined limit.
As previously said, the City hybrid is built on the top-tier ZX trim, which means it comes standard with 6-airbags, ABS with EBD, Traction control, TPMS, Hill-start assist, and ISOFIX anchors.
Honda only offers the City e: HEV in one trim level, the top-spec ZX. It costs between 19 and 20 lakh rupees (ex-showroom). The Honda City Hybrid has no direct competitors. However, it will fight in the mid-size sedan sector with the Skoda Slavia, Hyundai Verna, and the future Volkswagen Virtus.
If you’re searching for a luxury sedan that’s smart, powerful, economical, safe, and packed with amenities, the Honda City Hybrid (e:HEV) is the vehicle for you. It’s a comfortable vehicle with a stylish exterior and a slew of segment-first features. However, with Sensing technology, it is safer not just for you and your family, but also for others around you. Now that we know everything, the only remaining piece of the jigsaw is the price, which has yet to be published. If Honda can price this at Rs 19 lakh (ex-showroom), it would be a fantastic move. Most individuals still do not find EVs adequate for their needs, but they want to have an EV experience. As long as Honda does not overprice itself, the Honda City e:HEV may be the ideal bridge in the current market condition for such purchasers.