Cars/ Road-test/ Honda City e:HEV | Expensively Efficient | Road Test Report

Honda City e:HEV | Expensively Efficient | Road Test Report

The Honda City, in its hybrid avatar, claims to carry the legacy forward with a respectable ARAI claimed 26.5 km/l of fuel economy.

For

Fuel economy , Performance , Interior space

Against

Price, Boot space

Driving

Fuel economy and performance

Honda City e:HEV triumphs the case for itself in terms of fuel efficiency. We have extensively driven it in the city confines, and the Honda City e:HEV delivered a respectable fuel economy of around 20-21kmpl. Even on the highways, with my spirited driving style, City hybrid managed to pull out decent mileage figures of 23 kmpl. I reckon if driven at a leisurely pace, City e:HEV will deliver mileage close to its ARAI claimed figures.

The Honda City e:HEV mostly puts itself in the grind in pure EV mode, especially at low speeds. Moreover, the provision of regenerative braking juices up the battery. Honda has put in a well-engineered strong hybrid tech in the City e:HEV, wherein its 1.5-litre i-VTEC engine alone sends the power to wheels via a differential attached to the axle with a single high-speed gear at speeds above 85-95kmph. As mentioned, City e:HEV drives on a pure EV mode at speeds up to 40-45kmph and at speeds above that, one can notice the hybrid system working in tandem to propel the car. Everything is being showcased on the instrumental screen in which mode the City is driven. Drive enthusiastically, and the hybrid mode gets activated instantaneously to deliver maximum performance. A fact to note: We can not manually select driving mode, and the Power Control Unit activates driving mode automatically according to driving conditions and style. There are two motors, one is a generator motor, and the other is a traction motor . The generator motor is attached to the engine as well as the battery, whereas the traction motor is attached to the lithium-ion battery and sends power to the wheels. During hybrid mode driving, the generator motor also charges the lithium-ion battery.

The 1.5-litre iVTEC engine runs on an efficient Atkinson cycle that produces 98hp and 127 Nm of torque.(Click here, to know about Atkinson cycle). In contrast, the e-motors produce 109hp of power and work in tandem with the engine to deliver a combined power output of 126hp . The power delivery is smooth and linear, and I didn’t find any jerk or lag whatsoever as the shuffling of driving mode is done seamlessly.

Driving Dynamics

The weight of the City hybrid is up by around 200kgs compared with the standard City. Well, the added weight is due to the battery and other complexities of hybrid technology. However, the added weight and lower center of gravity do not comprise ride quality. The suspension soaks up potholes and speed bumps quite easily, and ride quality feels comfortable. The steering feedback was also pretty confident aspiring on tight curves and corners. However, the NVH levels are not as well insulated as I would have expected from a hybrid powertrain. I was also impressed with the mile-munching capabilities of the City hybrid. It was extremely relaxing, and I didn’t notice any fatigue whatsoever.

Honda City Hybrid gets a dedicated ‘B’ mode, also known as Braking mode, which helps achieve the desired level of regeneration. There are paddles behind the steering wheel, essentially for managing the level of regenerative braking allowing the car to decelerate. However, one can not stop entirely on the regenerative paddle controls. All-in-all, the brakes feel sure-footed. But I wish regenerative paddle braking to be a little more aggressive in level-3.



TopGear Magazine Jan 2023