Honda Cars India has confirmed that the City hybrid will arrive in India in the mid-2022 timeframe. Earlier this year, the model was put on sale in overseas markets, including Malaysia. Honda has confirmed its plans to launch the City hybrid here in India, as we reported back in August 2020. In an interview, Rajesh Goel, senior vice president and director of sales and marketing, Honda Cars India, said, “We will be launching the (City) hybrid in the next financial year.”
Honda was initially planning to introduce the City hybrid this year. COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdowns, however, played spoilsport. In spite of this, Honda asserts that it remains committed to bringing a mainstream hybrid to India with City. According to Goel, the company now plans to launch the hybrid vehicle in India in the coming financial year, which means the City hybrid won’t be available until after March 2022.
Honda’s City has been the brand’s most iconic model in India for decades. A few months ago, Honda began selling the LHD version of the City in Mexico and Turkey.
Honda City hybrids feature the hybrid system i-MMD, which is also used in the hybrid version of the Honda CR-V and the European Honda Jazz. It has two electric motors and an internal combustion engine, just like the Honda Jazz e: HEV for overseas markets. The new City is powered by a 1.5-litre, four-cylinder, naturally aspirated, Atkinson Cycle engine with 98hp and 127Nm.
The first electric motor inside the petrol engine provides assistance and serves as an integrated starter-generator (ISG), while the second motor provides drive to the wheels. The second engine develops 109 horsepower and 253 Nm of torque, which is sent to the front wheels via a gearbox with a single, fixed-gear ratio. In addition to an electric motor, a hybrid setup may also include a combustion engine (a lock-up clutch takes power directly to the wheels), as well as a third mode allowing a combination of the two.
Due to this setup, the City will be more frugal in urban environments, since it will run on electric motors, while on the highways, it will run on petrol motors, providing a much stronger performance.
According to Honda, its City hybrid will sell around 250-300 units each month, or about 10 percent of the average of its monthly sales for regular model vehicles. The hybrid sedan is expected to command a premium of Rs 2 to 2.5 lakh over the petrol model as the automaker has set a conservative target and is not counting on large volumes. As a result, the top-end version of the City hybrid is expected to retail for around Rs 20 lakh on-road.
In the near future, Honda will launch a mainstream hybrid car to meet the 2022 CAFE 2 (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards, which will tighten the average limit on the amount of carbon dioxide that each company’s fleet can emit. The Japanese automaker is also following the hybrid path to meet stricter regulations, unlike some players on the Indian market who are continuing to use diesel.