Published on January 27th, 2022 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Honda City RS e:HEV Test Drive Review
Does this new City RS deliver what middle class Malaysians want?
Based on looks alone, this new Honda City sedan is a head-turner. This latest City evokes a sense of style and finesse that takes the previous model’s design and dials it up several notches. In case you were wondering, there is also a hatchback version of the Honda City in showrooms.
This new City shows a new face, a sculpted athletic form which exudes a blend of sophisticated aerodynamic styling and sportiness. Some might even remark that it carries very Germanic lines.
This City’s European looking exterior design expresses a dynamic and premium feel while improving functionality. A new signature chrome front grille with LED accentuated headlamps creates an eye-catching design. From the side view, the flowing character line runs from the curved front fender to the rear combination lights which feature a slim-line shaped design LED lights.
The prominent exterior flows into the interior of the car as well. Step into the cabin and immediately you will be greeted by a spacious, innovative and functional interior. The top spec RS variant which we are driving here comes with a host of modern features seen in the Civic and Accord.
The cabin offers a quieter experience with improvements that have enhanced quietness and reduced noise, vibration and harshness (NVH). These strengthened body rigidity, efficiently placed acoustic insulation materials and utilization of a vibration-absorbing suspension for comfort add to a refined and quiet ride comfort.
This latest City continues to provide class-above comfort with its ample space and refined interior design. The interior spaciousness is enhanced with an increase shoulder room and a generous rear legroom.
There are also rear air-conditioning vents with dual power sockets, rear center armrest with cup holders as well as a center armrest storage console.
The City RS has its own body styling kit and exterior and interior appointments. These include:
- Gloss black front grille
- Gloss black wing mirrors
- Gloss black trunk spoiler
- Honeycomb lower front grille
- Aggressive Front foglight garnish
- Sporty rear bumper diffuser
- Dual tone 16” alloy wheels
- Piano Black paint trim
- Red stitching
- Leather/suede combination seats with red stitching
- Red illumination on some dashboard elements
- Redesigned centre tunnel
Notable equipment on the City RS model are the 7” semi digital instrument cluster, an Electric Parking Brake (with Brake Hold), along with Honda Sensing which comes with a full list of features that includes:
- Adaptive Cruise Control
- Collision Mitigation Braking System
- Forward Collision Warning
- Lane Keep Assist System
- Road Departure Mitigation
- Lane Departure Warning
- Auto High Beam
e:HEV Test Drive
This e:HEV powertrain in this City uses a different 1.5-litre petrol engine as part of its hybrid system. The other non-electrified City models use a direct injection 1.5-litre petrol engine.
The petrol engine in this City RS is port injected and uses the Atkinson-cycle. It also drives the wheels at higher speeds ONLY, which means this City RS runs most of the time in city traffic using an electric driven motor.
The petrol powered engine serves as an electric generator to provide battery power to allow the front wheels to be driven by an electric motor (saving fuel).
The system output for this vehicle is 108PS and 253Nm of torque and it gets a possible amazing fuel efficiency of 3.77L/100km. This means, the City RS is now more of an electrified vehicle (by the way you DO NOT need to charge the battery with a cable).
If you are a little confused, as we were in the beginning, do not worry as it is a rather unique system that will soon be used in most Honda vehicles.
The electric motor does most of the work most of the time and takes its power from an Integrated Power Unit or IPU (a battery with control unit) at the back of the car. The 1.5-litre Atkinson Cycle DOHC i-VTEC petrol engine sitting under the hood works to keep the battery charge up.
In normal operation, this engine starts-up and turns off every so often and a second motor serves as a starter, but also is spun by the petrol engine once it is running to create electricity. Therefore, the second motor is a starter-generator. The electricity generated by spinning this second motor is sent to the IPU. All this is done seamlessly and the driver just needs to accelerate, steer and brake when necessary.
e:HEV Experience On The Road
Behind the wheel, you will be a little disappointed if you decided to purchase the petrol ONLY versions of this new City as the difference in drive, features and cabin quality is a few notches up.
Well, put aside all the amazing new technology under the shiny sleek shape and just drive this car. It handles very well, almost feels like a larger car. The cabin comfort is good and features plentiful.
Power delivery from the drive system is impressive and mid-range pulling power will leave you smiling. After a week or so with this award winning City RS you will probably change your driving style to save as much fuel as possible as you can faintly hear the electric motor working for you.
Honda engineers have once again delivered class best engineering in a car that is priced for the middle class Malaysians. With this City RS, the need to look and think about buying a full electric car makes little sense, at least for the next 5 to 6 years as charging points needs to be expanded and prices of electric cars need to come down by at least 50 percent to make sense for middle class Malaysians to afford and enjoy.
Honda City e:HEV RS Specifications
Engine: Inline-4, 16-Valve, DOHC, Atkinson Cycle
Gearbox: CVT (automatic)
Max power: 98PS @ 5,600-6,400rpm (Electric – 109 @ 3,500-8,000rpm)
Max torque: 127Nm @ 4,500-5,000rpm (Electric – 253 @ 3,000rpm)
Top Speed: 177km/h
0-100 km/h: 9.9seconds