They couldn’t have. They definitely could not have known that the City Hybrid would turn out to be a perfectly packaged all-rounder. Honda launched this blessing in disguise somewhere in 2017, a good two years back but as time goes on, it continues to garner healthy attention.
Given the price of a tad over RM90,000, it isn’t the cheapest in its size segment but it is one of the most affordable hybrids available. In terms of space and interior comfort, it is identical to any other City. Aside from some hybrid badges and unique 16-inch rims, differentiating the Hybrid and standard is tough. That is until you drive one. My first impression of it after a 5-minute drive was to look at my colleague Nicki and ask him, “Seriously so fast ah?”.
Put aside the fuel economy and saving the planet for a bit and just enjoy how this basic Honda City hold its own against the likes of 2.0L vehicles. The i-DCD electric motor in here supplies 30PS and 160Nm by itself, bringing total output to 137PS and 170Nm. Though it must be said, the immediacy of electric power is a joy. The get-up and go nature of the City Hybrid makes it a treat to indulge in short spirited drives and exploiting traffic jam windows.
The gearbox itself works like a dream. The DCT is light on its feet and makes each gear change crisp and, unlike its CVT siblings, doesn’t drone when you rev it out. Putting the car into sport mode does not affect the gear changes in any way mind you.
If I had anything to pick on, and it is really a petty matter, is the gear stick. Not a fan of the shift pattern me personally, but that could be just down to my muscle memory with years of using a standard automatic shifter.
You lose the spare wheel because that’s where the battery goes and gain some weight but nothing to worry over. So now that you’ve spent good money on a hybrid, you want to see your ROI, don’t you? Here it comes.
We drove it around our traffic-congested roads for 3 days, covered about 150km and in that time-averaged a very wallet-friendly 4.5L/100km. For those of you who haven’t gasped, that’s a pretty low figure for our Malaysian peak hour traffic.
It’s only after returning the Honda City Hybrid I realized that while I would love a car with more steering feedback and excitement in its veins, the Hybrid was a car I enjoyed driving around. Isn’t that what a car should do? And does that means, the generalization that mainstream hybrids are dull, is no longer valid? I dare say so.