Honda Malaysia might have left the turbocharger at home for the new Honda City but they packed everything else sans the kitchen sink inside to compensate and its competitors should be sensing plenty of trouble and keep a close watch on their lanes as the City comes at them.
Slated for the fourth quarter of 2020, the carmaker gave select members of the media a closed-door preview of the flagship City RS today with its Intelligent Multi-Mode Drive (i-MMD) hybrid drivetrain from the new Jazz. To clarify, closed-door here doesn’t actually mean it was a private event but that the interior was off limits as the car’s doors were locked so we could only poke around the outside.
To recap, the City RS will helm the range here and be powered by the i-MMD drivetrain that marks the global debut of this powertrain and the new City. It functions a little differently from the usual hybrid combos as the 1.5-litre Atkinson-cycle inline-four petrol engine with its 97hp and 127Nm of torque serves as a generator for the electric motor; with the aid of an integrated electric motor that also does starter duties.
The controversial larger electric motor that motivates the car most of the time with its 108hp and 253Nm of torque; more than the Toyota Camry. Much like all electric motors, all that torque is available from zero revs.
Seeing that the electric motor does most of the driving, the i-MMD does away with a traditional gearbox. Nonetheless, as petrol engines are more efficient at higher speeds, the petrol mill here can provide direct drive to the wheels at high speed via a lock-up clutch and single-speed transmission. Please refrain from making comparisons between your City RS and the Koenigsegg Regera.
The i-MMD is only reserved for the City RS as the regular V, E and S trims will make do with a new twin-cam (DOHC) 1.5-litre naturally-aspirated petrol engine and CVT combo.
You’ll notice the e:HEV badging on the boot lid. This will be the new Honda branding for hybrid vehicle globally.
Although cabin access was off-limits, the camera behind the front windscreen was clearly visible under the afternoon sun. That means the City RS will be packing Honda Sensing active safety.
However, the full extent of the Honda Sensing package here hasn’t been clarified. Globally, the new Jazz gets the full works that comprises adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking and lane-keeping assist. The City RS might not get all of those features here.
Furthermore, it wasn’t made clear if Honda Sensing is a RS-exclusive feature such as the electronic parking brake or if at least the City V might get it as well.
Unsurprisingly, the City RS here gets rear disc brakes as it’s part of the electronic parking brake system. Non-hybrid models could very well get rear drum brakes as they’ll have a regular parking brake.
Honda Malaysia has always managed to price their core models extremely competitively in Malaysia and looking back at the amount of kit the City RS is packing, keeping it and the rest of the range priced reasonably should see it send the competition packing.