Cars

Published on April 3rd, 2018 | by Subhash Nair

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Why Buy a City Hybrid? We Can Think of 4 Good Reasons

It may be difficult to understand the appeal of the Honda City Hybrid. The standard car, with its petrol engine and CVT transmission, is a fine B-segment sedan. It offers everything Malaysians need in a great package and ticks all the boxes. Fuel economy was never an issue for the standard car. Plus, resale value was always a strong pull factor. So, what incentive does a typical buyer get out of a Hybrid version of the same car?

First, some context. The current lineup puts the City Hybrid as the second most expensive variant.

City S spec (RM75,930)

City E spec (RM82,030)

City Hybrid (RM89,200)

City V spec (RM89,240)

Basically, you have the City S to bring in a reasonable base price, the City E to give a decent amount of equipment, then the consumer has to decide whether the additional RM7,000 goes towards the full kit (LED headlights, 2 more airbags, front foglamps, better audio, and a multi-angle reverse camera) in the V spec OR an eco-friendly hybrid powertrain.

1. Those who want to pollute less

We think giving the consumer the choice adds a dimension here that you don’t see in the B-segment. Many Malaysians, both young and old, are becoming environmentally-conscious and want to lead a more eco-friendly lifestyle. By giving us the City Hybrid at a reasonable price, Honda Malaysia is giving Malaysians a chance at attainable green living.

Hybrids generally consume a lot less petrol. Energy is recovered from the engine and brakes to be used later. The electrically-driven air-cond compressor doesn’t sap away energy from the engine directly. Crawling in heavy traffic and parking lots, you can get around for a while with the engine completely off.

But on top of all that, the magnets used in the electric motor are rare-earth-free. This was a Honda and Daido Steel collaboration, and for a long time, they were the only car manufacturer with this tech. Others have caught up but Honda already has it for sale on this affordable hybrid.

So, if you’re looking to be a more eco-friendly citizen, the City Hybrid is how you can play your part without breaking the bank.

2. Those who want more for less

For RM7,000 the City V gives you quite a lot of goodies. But the City Hybrid gives you lithium batteries, the i-DCD system and the Earth Dreams 1.5-litre engine, an electric air-cond compressor, and MORE.

If you take away the taxes and duties and just look at what it costs to produce these 4 variants, you’ll find that the City Hybrid actually costs Honda more to produce. Without those incentives, this variant would have been more than RM100,000. So, for RM89,200 this (and the Jazz Hybrid) is actually the most value-for-money buy in Malaysia. That’s certainly one way of looking at it.

3. Those looking cut down on petrol use

Most buyers in this segment are sensitive to fluctuating fuel prices. Plus, resale value on cars used for Grab are already abysmal from the hundreds of thousands of kilometres the vehicles put on in such a short span. We can imagine there are Grab drivers who are conscious of resale value being less a problem on ANY full-time Grab car.

So the City Hybrid MAY recoup the fuel cost at least. The battery is guaranteed for 8 years and replacement prices on some of the parts are kept constant by Honda Malaysia.

4. It’s actually sportier

There’s a reason the City Hybrid’s real full name has Sport Hybrid in it. It’s one of the very few Japanese cars with a dual-clutch transmission. In sports mode or when the paddle shifters are used correctly, you can extract quite a lot of power from the engine+electric motor combo.

What’s more, the car has been given some retuned suspension, reinforced pillars, increased rigidity and a significantly sharpened steering. It may be a bit heavier, but this version of the City handles a lot better than the petrol version.


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