Honda City Hybrid Road Test Review – Always Charged

In a time when all car makers are moving towards Electric Vehicles, Honda is getting the Hybrid technology into its best selling sedan the City and that too for a good valid reason. We head to Benguluru to find out all on the Honda City e:HEV Hybrid that promises a lot but does it deliver all? Is Hybrid the answer to your range anxiety and charge anxiety with electric vehicles? We tell you all on it in our detailed road-test review right here.

Exteriors

The City Hybrid is based on the top of the line ZX trim of the car model. The City Hybrid retains the exterior styling elements of the ICE engine City with minor touches. You get the restyled striking Honda Wing design face with chrome strip and the jewel design LED head lamps with integrated DRL. The Honda Logo now comes with soft blue glow around it proclaiming its hybrid heart. The bumper too is the same with large air dam and the change here is the sporty black surrounds around the fog lamps.

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Changes on the sides are the new dual tone R16 alloy wheels that add to the appeal on this profile. Changes to the rear include an addition of the boot lid spoiler and a new rear bumper diffuser in carbon finish which looks very sporty.

 

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Due to the battery placement under the body of the car the boot capacity of the City Hybrid is now down from 503 litres to 306 litres. The stylish sedan in its hybrid form comes with a electric sun roof and shark fin antenna.

 

Interiors

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On the insides the City Hybrid retails the premium cabin styling of the ICE version. Changes here include the new 7 inch color TFT meter console that displays multi information of the working of the hybrid system in real time. You get the 8 inch touch screen AVN system with all the connectivity options on it. You still don’t get wireless mobile charger and ventilated seats on the City which we were hoping of.  The e-CVT shifter is a brand new one along with the electro mechanical hand brake and auto brake hold command button due to which loads of space gets free on the centre console.

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The Honda City has always been regarded as a car with premium cabin that’s made of good quality of materials and a very comfortable place to be in and the City Hybrid too retains the lineage with a very well appointed and plush cabin area.

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Hybrid Engine – Drive – Transmission

Powering the Honda City Hybrid is 4-cylinder 1.5L Atkinson petrol engine along with two motors which make a total of 126PS of power and 253Nm of torque. This hybrid setup is mated to an e-CVT automatic transmission with a single clutch setup that’s mounted onto the engine itself.

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In simple terms there are two motors of which one is the generator motor and other is the traction motor. The battery unit is high voltage lithium –ion unit which is self charging type.

How is the City Hybrid to drive?

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In real world conditions you don’t find out the difference sitting behind the wheels until you crank the engine using the start button after which you don’t hear the engine coming to life because it is the Pure EV mode that the car drives on under the speeds of 40kmph and that is when you save on costly fuel. The City Hybrid moves ahead is total silence driving ahead only being powered by the electric motor. You can also see the motor work and deliver the power to the wheels on the MFD screen display via the energy flow chart.

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It is real fun driving an hybrid and the City in this disguise is none less. Regarded as an excellent drivers car the City Hybrid impress us in that department. You can see the engine come to life after a certain speed and then you see on the MFD screen the energy flow is now via the engine and the motor combined which is the 2nd drive mode the Hybrid mode.

 

As the speeds build up the drive mode seamlessly shifts to the third mode which is the Engine drive mode where the car gets all its power from the engine. This is where you get all the high speed cruising power.

 

You also get paddle shifters on the City Hybrid but they wont shift the gears up and down. These paddle shifters are to shift the regeneration stage which charges the battery in return during engine braking. You can select from the 3 regeneration stages using the paddle shifters.

 

Overall the drive feel offered is excellent and power delivery is good. Honda claims a fuel efficiency of 26.5kmpl on the City Hybrid and we are sure it can be achieved if driven with a light foot. Honda is also offering a 8 year warranty on the Lithium ION Battery along with the usual 3 year unlimited KMS warranty on the car.

 

Honda Sensing

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Honda has also introduced its safety feature Honda Sensing with  the City Hybrid. Honda Sensing is their ADAS system which uses real time camera inputs of the surroundings and comes with features like Collision Mitigation Braking system which gives warning and then also applies brakes automatically if needed. Road Departure Mitigation System is warning system that gives visual alerts if you leave your lane, if still you don’t come back into the lane the system automatically steers the car back into the lane. Lane keep assist system assists the driver to keep the car in the middle of the lane and if you tend to deviate the system gives a slight torque on the steering to warn you.

 

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The last and the best system on the Honda Sensing is the Adaptive Cruise Control, while using this feature you can set a speed above 30kmph and then the car automatically senses and follows the car ahead maintaining safe distance and also slowing down or speeding up as per the car it is following or even braking on its own if the car ahead applies brakes.

Along with the Honda Sensing you also get 6 airbags, ABS with EBD, Lane watch camera, ISOFIX seat anchorage, all wheel disc brakes, multi angle camera, electro mechanical hand brake with brake hold assist, tyre pressure monitor, auto high beam etc on the safety feature list of the Honda City Hybrid.

 

Verdict

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Honda City Hybrid is a car for someone who does not want to go for an Electric Vehicle just yet due to its charge anxiety and range anxiety; it is for someone who wants to save on fuel bills as it returns with high fuel efficiency (26.5kmpl). This car comes with the best of both worlds, normal petrol engine combined with Electric battery motor drive and still retaining the classic Honda City key USP’s. Not forgetting the advanced driver aid in the form of Honda Sensing which adds to the safety aspect and aids the driver big time making this a perfect car model to go for in this transition phase from ICE to EV’s.

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