The 2020 Honda City for the Malaysian market has just been revealed, including a new hybrid version that will be coming to India in 2021. Called i-MMD, the hybrid technology used by this version of the City has been used on the international-spec Honda CR-V Hybrid and in the new-generation Honda Jazz sold abroad.
i-MMD tech uses two electric motors and a petrol engine
It is a strong hybrid that can run on electric power alone
New City hybrid expected to launch in India in mid-2021
What is the Honda City hybrid?
Unlike the mild-hybrid tech that’s seen in Maruti Suzuki’s portfolio or even in the likes of the MG Hector and Hector Plus – where the petrol engine powers the wheels and the electric motor assists – the Honda City e:HEV is a strong hybrid, and as such, has an electric motor sending drive to the wheels while the petrol engine assists.
Like the technology that powers the Honda Jazz e:HEV for international markets, the i-MMD hybrid setup in the new City is made up of two electric motors and an internal combustion engine. A 1.5-litre, four-cylinder, naturally aspirated Atkinson Cycle petrol engine, which develops 98hp and 127Nm of torque, sits under the bonnet of the new City.
The first electric motor, which is integrated in the petrol engine, assists and acts as an integrated starter-generator (ISG), while the second electric motor sends drive to the wheels. 109hp and 253Nm of torque is developed by the second unit and sent to the front wheels via a bespoke gearbox with a single, fixed-gear ratio.
The hybrid setup is also likely to enable three drive modes – one where just the electric motors are used, one where just the internal combustion engine runs (a lock-up clutch sends power to the wheels directly), and a third which allows for a combination of both.
Thanks to this setup, the City will be frugal in urban environs – where it will just run on the electric motors, while out on the highway, the petrol engine will take over, providing much stronger performance.
Honda in Malaysia will also offer a 121hp, 1.5-litre naturally aspirated DOHC engine on the City – the same rather enjoyable unit that powers the India-spec fifth-gen Honda City.
In terms of its design, the City RS e:HEV (as it will be called there) looks a lot like the City RS that’s already on sale in some markets, but with a new e:HEV badge on the boot. Just like the standard City RS, the hybrid’s interior is expected to have an all-black theme too.
When is the Honda City hybrid coming to India?
It was way back in October 2018 that we reported Honda was working on a mass-market hybrid for India and that it would arrive by 2021. Sources now tell us that it is the Honda City hybrid that is expected to launch in India by mid-2021.
When it arrives, it’ll be somewhat unique, as there are no other strong hybrids in this price range or segment. The closest thing to the City hybrid will the Maruti Suzuki Ciaz, which comes with a 12V dual-battery mild-hybrid setup that adds a bit of boost and maximises fuel-efficiency.
However, considering the fifth-gen Honda City is already the most expensive car in the midsize sedan segment (Rs 10.90-14.65 lakh, ex-showroom Delhi), the hybrid version won’t be cheap. Expect City hybrid prices to start around Rs 15 lakh (ex-showroom).
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