Malaysia’s 2020 automotive landscape will be defined by two new models; the Honda City and Proton X50, that on paper should end up in a photo-finish based on pricing and segment. Honda Malaysia has one-upped the dogfight by launching the all-new City first with more equipment but less on price.
The new City range will be spearheaded by a hybrid in the form of the City RS; a first for the range as well as a global debut for the City RS as well. This will position the City RS as the flagship trim with all the bells and whistles to distinguish it from the rest of the variants. Completing the line-up will be the usual V, E and S trims.
Honda’s compact models have always stood out for their intelligent interior packaging that combines a ridiculously spacious cabin with practical seating configurations to cater for both occupants and cargo. This new City’s predecessor boasted more rear legroom than a Toyota Camry of the time.
Little wonder it was the best-selling model for Honda Malaysia and was leading the B-segment for five consecutive years with over 209,000 units sold.
The new fifth-generation City has grown in all dimensions. It’s now longer by 111mm, wider by 54mm and lower by 10mm over its predecessor. Helping the City RS stand out from the garden-variety trims will be a gloss black front grill, faux carbon front lip, rear bumper with diffuser, trunk spoiler and gloss black side-view mirrors.
LED headlights, LED DRLs as well as LED foglights are reserved for the RS and V trims with regular halogen lighting for the E and S. However, the LED taillights are standard across the range. Helping us to tell the four trims apart will be a unique wheel design for each variant.
Complementing the all-new City is an all-new powertrain for the RS trim. Dubbed the intelligent Multi-Mode Drive (i-MMD) powertrain, you’ll remember it as the notorious hybrid combo that took a swipe at the current Toyota Camry’s puny torque output in commercials teasing the City’s arrival.
The hybrid powertrain isn’t all talk and no torque though, it delivers a best-in-class output of 253Nm with 107hp. Setting it apart from the previous simple hybrid setup of the City Hybrid, the i-MMD powertrain and Intelligent Power Unit (IPU) system can seamlessly regulate between the three driving modes of EV Drive, Hybrid Drive and Engine Drive in the most efficient way to match your driving style.
It’s linked to the front wheels via an e-CVT and comes with a Deceleration Selector Paddles that replace the traditional paddle shifters of a geared transmission and functions for power regeneration as well as slowing down the vehicle without stepping on the brake pedal. Simply put, the paddles allow control of the hybrid combo’s regenerative braking to simulate engine braking.
Bucking the trend of small displacement turbocharged motors as the flagship engine, Honda Malaysia has gone with a new 1.5-litre DOHC i-VTEC inline-four engine for the V, E and S trims. Mated to a CVT as well, the V, E and S trims will make 119hp and 145Nm of torque.
With the increase in length comes an increase in rear legroom as well. However, this seems to have been at the expense of some rear headroom as you’ll notice in the pictures. Rear air-conditioning vents are standard across the range.
Setting itself apart from the rest, the RS gets a 7.0-inch TFT instrument cluster to reflect the advanced tech under the hood. The cabin gets Ultrasuede seats and red stitching at interior areas. Meanwhile the V variant is trimmed with leather seats but ivory highlights at the inner areas. It’ll be fabric upholstery for the lower two trims.
Entertainment is courtesy of an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment unit with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and Bluetooth connectivity. This is exclusive to the RS, V and E. The S gets a regular head unit.
As it should be, it’s the extensive safety suite that catapults the RS lightyears ahead of the competition. The Honda Sensing suite of active safety here comprises:
- Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC)
- Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS)
- Forward Collision Warning (FCW)
- Lane Keep Assist System (LKAS)
- Road Departure Mitigation (RDM)
- Lane Departure Warning (LDW)
- Auto High Beam (AHB)
While Sensing and Auto Brake Hold is exclusive to the RS, the V joins it in packing six airbags and Honda LaneWatch with the rest making do with four. Standard safety kit includes stability control, EBD, BA, ABS, hill-start assist and rear Isofix anchorage points. A reverse camera and remote-start is available on all trims except for the entry-level S.
Further justifying its position as the flagship trim, the RS will also get an electronic parking brake and has been fitted with additional sound-proofing material at certain keypoints on the chassis to reduce noise intrusion in the cabin.
Lastly, the V, E and S trims have 519-litres of boot space but the RS has a smaller capacity at just 419-litres as the battery pack under the boot floor eats into the space.
Even with all the new kit and improvements, Honda Malaysia has actually managed to reduce the pricing for the all-new City over its predecessor.
Without Sales Tax Exemption:
City V - RM89,800.00
City E - RM84,800.00
City S- RM76,800.00
With With Sales Tax Exemption:
City V - RM86,561.45
City E - RM81,664.82
City S - RM74,191.27
No, we didn’t miss out the price of the City RS. Unfortunately, it’ll only be available from January 2021 and therefore its pricing will follow suit then as well.
The City comes with five attractive colours which are Passion Red Pearl, Crystal Black Pearl, Modern Steel Metallic, Lunar Silver Metallic and a brand-new colour, Platinum White Pearl.