As is the norm, Malaysia isn’t the first to host the launch of a new model for the region. In the case of the Honda City Hatchback, it’s Indonesia that has beaten us to it after the car was formally unveiled for the first time in Thailand back in November.
With its main function to offer a five-door alternative to the newest four-door City sedan, this body style essentially serves as a replacement for the Honda Jazz as that model - in its 4th-generation form - steps into a bigger role as the automaker’s more upmarket compact electrified hatch with global reach and production now exclusive to Japan (and China).
Though official pricing has yet to be revealed, the City Hatchback’s Indonesian debut solely in RS trim proves that the rollout to supersede the Jazz is indeed in full swing, and with only Malaysia remaining as the final major ASEAN market, we can only expect that Honda Malaysia is prepping for a local launch as well.
Where the Thai and Indonesian-spec City Hatchback primarily differ is in their powertrain where buyers in the latter country are also denied the turbocharged 1.0-litre 3-cylinder motor. Instead, all variants there will be powered by the more familiar L15B1 1.5-litre naturally aspirated i-VTEC four-cylinder, producing the same 121PS and 145Nm as found here in the City S, E, and V sedan.
In every other aspect, the Indonesian City Hatchback RS is specified identically to the model sold in Thailand with the characteristic dark accents peppered over the exterior. Its 16-inch alloys are given a gloss black finish, as are mirror caps, door handles, front grille, fog lamp element, and rear faux-diffuser.
Inside, the City Hatchback RS presents Indonesian buyers with the same red/black motif through dual-tone seats, red accents around the instrument cluster dials, and red contrast stitching along the door panel, steering wheel, and dashboard, the centrepiece of which is the 8-inch touchscreen infotainment screen.
Given the engine parity, it’s likely that the City hatch will make its Malaysian debut with the same 1.5-litre petrol motor, though mated exclusively with Honda’s CVT whereas Indonesian buyers can also choose to have a 6-speed manual gearbox. Lucky them.
That said, unless Honda Malaysia chooses to offer their impressive hybrid i-MMD e:HEV powertrain in two body styles simultaneously from launch, the Hatchback will likely not appear in local showrooms in the sportier RS trim to visually match Thai and Indonesian versions - yet.
Basically, should the City Hatchback make its way onto Malaysian shores soon, it should mirror the mechanical specifications of the Indonesian version but more closely resemble the variant breakdown and equipment levels found in Thailand (minus the RS, which might be reserved for the sedan here).
The City Hatchback RS in Indonesia is fitted with 6 airbags, Vehicle Stability Assist, rear parking sensors, Hill Start Assist, ISOFIX tether points, and seatbelt reminders for front occupants. Despite being a top-spec variant, neither Honda Sensing nor LaneWatch is available there.
The car can be had in six exterior colours: Phoenix Orange Pearl, Rallye Red, Crystal Black Pearl, Meteoroid Grey Metallic, Lunar Silver Metallic, and Platinum White Pearl. Buyers can also opt for the Modulo Accessories pack for that bodykit look.
Would you rather have the City Hatchback in Malaysia or are you already starting to miss the Jazz even before it’s gone?
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