Dubbed the Honda City Sport Hybrid i-DCD (Intelligent Dual-Clutch Drive), it features a 1.5-litre DOHC i-VTEC engine mated to a seven speed automatic dual clutch transmission with an integrated electric motor, a lithium ion battery, an electro servo brake system for energy regeneration and an electric driven compressor.
The combined output delivers 137PS and 170Nm torque, equal to what a 1.8 litre combustion engine produces. While the regular City has 120PS and 145Nm of torque.
The City hybrid is thus more powerful and sits in the mid variant range in terms of features and is priced at RM89,200 without insurance.
The regular City is offered in three variants: S, E and V.
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There are no exterior design changes to distinguish the hybrid and the petrol version except the blue hybrid badge.
The interior though is quite distinct where the dashboard is concerned.
It has an eye-catching instrument panel featuring an advanced 3D Meter Design (Multi-Information Display) to provide a variety of information such as Energy Flow, Sport Meter, Fuel Economy, Drive Info, Customisation and ECO Display at a glance.
Also the space-age design of the gear-shift lever in the centre console is another give-away when you are in the hybrid car.
And it is not stingy with accessories either as it comes with LED taillights, smart entry and push start button, shark fin antenna, chrome door handles, auto folding wing mirrors, rear air conditioning vents, paddle shifters and eight cupholders.
There are plenty of safety features too like four airbags, anti-lock braking system (ABS), vehicle stability assist (VSA), hill start assist (HSA), ISOFIX child seat points, reverse camera and emergency stop signal (ESS).
The all important boot space of 536 litres remains as well as the 60:40 folding rear seats for even more luggage space.
As the lithium-ion battery is placed underneath the boot, the compromise here is that you don’t get a spare tyre but a temporary repair kit which is not a deal breaker by any means.
I came away impressed with the City hybrid because of the way it drives.
The car feels heavier and that may be due to the powertrain and battery but it’s no slouch and more importantly, this car handles better in turns and corners.
When we were driving through the B-roads, I was constantly amazed at how precise it took the turns and bends.
The car really came alive in these road conditions and the ability to shift gears with the paddle shifters was satisfying. Not to mention how smooth the power delivery is.
That is not to say driving on highways was a completely boring experience although long distance drives do tend to get boring anyway.
What it does offer though, is a quiet and comfortable ride with very minimal noise, vibration and harshness (NVH). And this applies whether you are behind the wheel or as a passenger.
The only thing that may surprise some people, especially those who have driven a dual-clutch transmission before, is that this dual-clutch does not change gears as fast.
We were informed that this set-up was done to promote fuel efficiency.
Nevertheless, I much prefer the mild roar of the exhaust note to the drone of the CVT (continuously variable transmission) with the non-hybrid Honda.
In all, if you’re looking for a more powerful City with all the creature comforts and better consumption (3.9 litres per 100km), then this may be the car for you.