While the Malaysian reveal of the hybrid version of the Honda City, the e:HEV, was billed as a “world premiere”, our neighbours to the north are actually getting the car first. The petrol-electric B-segment sedan has just been launched in Thailand – alongside the City Hatchback – with mostly the same specs as what we will eventually get.
Just like in Malaysia, the e:HEV will be offered in the Land of Smiles in just a single full-spec RS variant, priced at 839,000 baht (RM113,100). That’s a significant premium over the standard petrol-powered RS, which retails at 739,000 baht (RM99,700), although the latter is with a 1.0 litre VTEC Turbo three-cylinder engine instead of the 1.5 litre naturally-aspirated four-pot we get over here.
As we’ve reported previously, the e:HEV receives the smallest version of Honda’s Intelligent Multi-Mode Drive (i-MMD) hybrid system, utilising a 108 PS/253 Nm electric motor that drives the wheels. It is juiced by a 1.5 litre Atkinson-cycle DOHC i-VTEC engine that develops 98 PS from 5,600 to 6,400 rpm and 127 Nm between 4,500 and 5,000 rpm, with an integrated electric motor acting as a generator and a starter.
There’s no traditional gearbox driving the front wheels, but the petrol mill can clutch in through a single-speed transmission to provide direct drive at higher speeds, where it is most efficient. Honda is claiming a fuel consumption figure of 27.8 km per litre on the NEDC cycle.
Befitting a range-topping model, the e:HEV gets a few additional features over the petrol RS, such as steering wheel paddles to adjust the amount of regenerative braking, a seven-inch instrument cluster display, an electronic parking brake (facilitated by the addition of rear disc brakes) and rear air-con vents (standard on all Malaysian-market models).
The e:HEV is also the only model to come with the Honda Sensing suite of active safety features, including autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane centring assist, lane keeping assist and automatic high beam. Also exclusive to the e:HEV in Thailand is the LaneWatch blind spot camera (our top petrol model, the 1.5 V, gets it too).
Beyond that, the standard equipment is as per the petrol RS. The “Road Sailing” models come with a unique look that consists of a honeycomb grille, a carbon fibre-look front bumper lip, straked fog light surrounds, a black boot lid spoiler, a rear diffuser, a gloss black grille bar and door mirrors, and 16-inch two-tone alloy wheels. Inside, you get faux leather and suede upholstery, red stitching and alloy pedals.
Standard equipment includes LED headlights, fog lights and taillights, keyless entry with remote engine start and walk-away automatic locking, push-button start, single-zone automatic climate control, an eight-inch infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay connectivity, eight speakers, a reverse camera. Safety-wise, the e:HEV comes with six airbags, ABS with EBD and brake assist and stability control.
Unique to the e:HEV in Thailand is the Obsidian Blue Pearl paint you see here, which we don’t get. The RS models also substitute our Passion Red Pearl for the less orange Ignite Red Metallic, but the Platinum White Pearl, Lunar Silver Metallic, Modern Steel Metallic and Crystal Black Pearl hues are identical to ours.
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