Hybrid Honda City e:HEV unveiled for India
The Honda City has been the benchmark of the C-Sedan segment since it first came to India. Ever since then, it has only made its grip on the market stronger. The fifth-generation City, launched in 2020, was notably missing a turbo-petrol engine that most other sedans in the segment have. Honda has responded not with a turbo, but a brand new hybrid system that increases the power figures as well as the fuel efficiency by a lot. The new powertrain is only available on the top-level ZX model variant. Let’s take a look at what has changed.
2022 Honda City e:HEV exterior
The fifth-gen Honda City is one of the best lookers in its segment, benefitting immensely from Honda’s new simplified design language. The special additions on the hybrid e:HEV City are a blue Honda badge that denotes its hybrid power, a rear diffuser and rear spoiler. On the top ZX variant that receives the hybrid powertrain, the City gets 16-inch diamond cut alloy wheels (which we still feel is a size too small), a chrome bar on top of the grille and the rear, as well as chrome door handles. So much for the subtlety. It also gets full LED DRL headlamps and LED fog lamps with a new shroud design.
2022 Honda City e:HEV interior
The interiors of past generations of the City used to be driver focused, but as we found out in our review, the current one’s infotainment system seems to be slightly geared towards the passenger. That 8-inch touchscreen is allied to a 7-inch driver instrument cluster that alternates between the tachometer, trip-metre and a G-force metre. It has leather upholstery and glossy wood panelling on the inside, with chrome accents on the door levers and AC vents, all very luxurious stuff. The interior comes in a new dual-tone black and white colour scheme. The City still has one of the more spacious cabins in its class, catering to owners who like to be driven around. Thankfully, Honda has not fully forgotten the driver, as we’ll soon see.
2022 Honda City e:HEV engine and performance
The 1.5-litre naturally aspirated petrol unit in the original car, itself derived from the fourth-generation, has a pleasing 7000rpm redline and likes to be revved. This engine now has the added benefits of a hybrid system, which adds more torque and none of the pitfalls of a turbocharged unit, except the extra weight for the batteries, which are placed between the rear wheels.
The big talking point and the only major change to the new model is the addition of that hybrid element to the engine. The new hybrid system is a two-motor unit that has one only to provide traction to the wheels, and the other primarily working as the generator for the battery, generating electrical power from the engine. The number that matters most: the City e:HEV now gives out a fuel economy figure of 26.5kmpl, rising by 8kmpl over the standard petrol powertrain! The combined power output is now 126bhp and 253Nm, a jump of 5bhp and a mammoth 108Nm that should ensure very quick acceleration, as well as low-end grunt, something which was missing from the City earlier. The engine also gets three drive modes, wherein the car can be either fully electric or engine driven, or work together in the hybrid mode. All three can produce maximum fuel efficiency in a given situation. The hybrid is self-recharging, so that means it doesn’t require any external charging from a power outlet.
2022 Honda City e:HEV safety features
The City Hybrid comes with a proprietary safety suite that Honda calls its Honda Sensing safety system. Additionally, the system also includes an auto brake hold, lane keep assist, hill start assist, vehicle stability assist, handling assist, a TPS monitoring system and 6 airbags.It now also comes with disc brakes on all four wheels and an electronic parking brake.
2022 Honda City e:HEV pricing and rivals
The Honda City e:HEV rivals the Skoda Slavia, Hyundai Verna and the upcoming Volkswagen Virtus, but none of them have the trump card of a hybrid system. It will be interesting to see how other manufacturers respond to this strong statement of intent that Honda is making, since we can’t forget the meteoric rise of EVs that is currently taking place in India. The Honda City Hybrid will be available for booking from April 14 2022, and the official launch and pricing will be revealed early next month. It is estimated to be priced at around ₹6 lakh more than the regular 1.5-litre petrol engined Honda City ZX.