We can’t wait for the new Honda City to be officially launched in the country. The all-new model which debuted in Thailand last year featured a radical redesign both in and out. We even got to see it up close and personal at the 2019 Thailand International Motor Expo, and it looks way better in the metal. Apart from the updated styling cues, it also got a new engine – a turbocharged one at that.
Unfortunately, one of our sources told us that the more powerful turbocharged 1.0-liter three-cylinder may not be offered locally. As a result, the Philippine-spec City could be offered with a naturally aspirated 1.5-liter engine only.
But what about a City Hybrid? Yes, the 2021 City is now available with a hybrid powertrain.
Over in Malaysia, however, Honda will offer the new City with a new 1.5-liter hybrid powertrain called e:HEV. Sounds familiar? That’s because it is the same powertrain found in the all-new Jazz Hybrid. The four-cylinder gasoline engine is paired with an electric motor to produce a combined output of 109 PS and 253 Nm torque. Not the most powerful, but certainly has torque – even more than a Civic RS.
Apartnfrom the hybrid power unit, the exterior of the Malaysia-spec City looks pretty much the same as the one in Thailand. One noticeable difference are the features available. In Malaysia, the City comes with Honda LaneWatch (for top RS and V variants). This is the same camera system used to monitor for blind spots in the CR-V and Accord. Furthermore, the traditional handbrake has been replaced with an electronic parking brake.
With Honda busy previewing the City Hybrid in Malaysia, we can’t help but wonder whether this eco-friendly variant will arrive here I.t does make sense considering that Toyota Motor Philippines now has the Corolla Altis Hybrid and Corolla Cross HEV locally. Since the City is a B-segment fighter, it could undercut the two Toyota models in price as well.
The question now is whether Honda will decide to pursue hybrid models again. A few years back, the automaker was one of the first to bring in hybrid models in the country with the CR-Z. However sales of the model weren't too good, and the hybrid system was more of motor assistance. HCPI tried to offer the Legend hybrid, but at over PhP 4 million, sales wouldn't have been so high. After those models, no other hybrid has been offered by Honda.
With Toyota and other automakers now pushing for hybrids, could we see HCPI return to the hybrid game? Hopefully so. The automaker has a bunch of hybrid models available elsewhere in the world – from the Jazz to the Accord. Who knows, the 2021 City Hybrid might just be the key they need to make a significant impact in the hybrid market in the Philippines.
Would you like to see HCPI bring in hybrid models in the country, or should they stick to their current line up?