Honda City e:HEV is the only strong hybrid sedan in its segment, and bookings for it have commenced, with launch slated for next month
Honda Cars India has finally taken the wraps off of City e:HEV. It is a hybrid version of Honda City, with a claimed 40 per cent better fuel efficiency and 74 per cent better torque output. It is based on the top-spec ‘ZX’ trim of the sedan, but with a lot of additional equipment, including some segment-first safety features.
The hybrid sedan features a few changes to the exterior design to distinguish itself from the standard version; it gets an ‘e:HEV’ badge on the tail, a mesh-type front grille, a boot-mounted spoiler (body coloured), different fog lamp garnish, a rear bumper diffuser (with carbon fibre finish), and blue Honda logo. It continues to get all-LED lighting and 16-inch machine-cut alloy wheels, and the overall exterior design doesn’t have too many changes.
The interior of Honda City e:HEV gets a dual-tone Black and Ivory colour theme, with glossy wood inserts on the dash. The instrument console now gets a “Power Flow Display”, which lets the driver know what’s going on with the hybrid powertrain. Updated Honda Connect tech (with Alexa and Google Voice assistance, along with smartwatch connectivity) is also on offer.
Now, let’s jump on to the biggest difference – the powertrain. Powering Honda City e:HEV is a 1.5-litre, naturally aspirated, inline-4 petrol engine, paired with a lithium-ion battery and two electric motors. One electric motor acts as an integrated starter generator (ISG), while the other provides propulsion to the front wheels. The combined output is rated at 126 PS of peak power and best-in-segment 253 Nm of maximum torque.
It gets three driving modes – electric-only (EV mode), hybrid, and petrol-only (Engine mode). In electric-only mode, the car can be driven on battery power alone. In hybrid mode, the petrol engine powers the ISG, which powers the propulsion motor and can also charge the Li-ion battery alongside that. In petrol-only mode, the engine bypasses the electric motors and powers the wheels directly.
The manufacturer has also improved the safety factor of the vehicle, by offering Honda Sensing suite. This includes features like a collision mitigation braking system, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, road departure mitigation, and auto high beam. Disc brakes are available on all four wheels, and an e-parking brake and lane watch camera are also offered.
Honda City e:HEV is expected to attract a lot of buyers, by the virtue of its brilliant safety and fuel economy. It will be the first strong hybrid vehicle to be manufactured in India. The Japanese carmaker has also revealed that it is aiming for a complete transition to EVs and FCVs (fuel cell vehicles) globally by 2030.