The long-awaited launch of the City Hatchback has finally taken place, but we bet a lot of you out there are wondering how it differentiates from its sedan sibling apart from the apparent lack of a boot?
Well, the City Hatchback has been created to provide more of a sporty drive, and Honda has spared no effort in ensuring that it has its own identity from a driving dynamics point of view - making it one of the liveliest hatchbacks to debut in recent times.
Through a virtual video conference with Rei Sakamoto, the Fifth Generation Honda City Project Leader, we found out that the Honda City Hatchback is not just a fifth-generation City Sedan with a rear makeover, but instead it was designed to provide a more exhilarating drive, thanks to some clever tweaking and rearrangements.
According to Sakamoto, the City Hatchback was conceptualised simultaneously as the sedan. This gave the team responsible for building the 5th gen Honda City twin a clear outline of how to make the cars different - with one focusing primarily on comfort and the other with a sharper drive.
As with any car that wants better driving dynamics, weight has to be reduced, and rigidity has to be increased. According to Honda, the City Hatchback is 7.3 kilograms lighter than the sedan and has an increased maximum rigidity of 6% compared to the agile and outgoing Honda Jazz.
They then went to town on the suspension and engine mounts, tweaking the suspension rates to provide better driving dynamics and at the same time giving the Honda City Hatchback "High-Performance Resin Mounts". According to Honda, the front suspension struts also come with reduced friction in each sliding area, which is 50% less than a lot of "current" cars on the market.
Now that the car is tighter and more rigid, Honda also wanted to better the Hatchback's weight distribution, emphasising a heavier load at the front. Compared to the sedan's rear fuel tank placement, they moved the Hatchback's fuel tank to the centre of the car. Not only has this move given the Hatchback a more sporty feel, but it has also opened up more rear legroom compared to its sibling.
All of this tweaking paired together with the small yet torquey hybrid engine should give the Hatchback a sporty yet fuel-efficient drive. Setting different levels of regenerative braking should further help on long highway drives, (depending on how brave you are) as you won't have to use the brakes as the regenerative braking will slow the car down according to your desired levels.
Just like the City RS e:HEV Sedan, the Honda City RS e:HEV Hatchback comes with Honda's cutting-edge Intelligent Multi-Mode Drive (i-MMD) powertrain, which combines an internal combustion engine (ICE) with two electric motors and a high-power lithium-ion battery pack.
Honda says the powerplant, which has an output of 109PS and a best-in-class peak torque of 253Nm, is equivalent to a 2.5 -litre N/A engine. But, of course, what is different is its fuel consumption, as it returns a lowly 3.6l/100km.
Performance-oriented, fuel-efficient, practical and full of safety equipment, doesn't it just seem like the Honda City Hatchback RS e:HEV is probably one of the smartest buys of a hybrid in 2022?
Even if you don't plan on getting the hybrid, the regular petrol variants also come with this tweaked driving dynamics and practicality, making it one of the best-packaged hatchbacks on sale today.
The S, E and V Variants are powered by a 1.5-litre i-VTEC DOHC engine with 121PS at 6,600rpm and 145Nm of torque at 4,300rpm. The power is channelled to the wheels via a CVT gearbox which also helps the car reach a healthy fuel consumption figure of 5.6 l/100km.
Hot hatch or not, with bookings of 2,000 units already for the 2022 Honda City Hatchback coupled with Honda's aim of selling 1,000 units monthly, now would be a good time perhaps to make your own booking too!