After a 6-month wait, Honda Malaysia has finally revealed the price of the 2021 Honda City RS e:HEV hybrid variant. The range-topping City is priced at RM 105,950.
You read that right – prices of the top-spec Honda City have breached the RM 100k mark, almost touching the larger C-segment Honda Civic 1.8 S' price (RM 109k).
Why is the City RS so expensive? The earlier City Hybrid was much cheaper
The main reason is that City RS e:HEV’s advanced two-motor i-MMD (Intelligent Multi-Mode Drive) full-hybrid powertrain costs a lot more than the GM7-generation City Hybrid’s single-motor Sport Hybrid i-DCD (intelligent Dual-Clutch Drive).
In fact, unlike the GM7-generation City Hybrid, the new City RS e:HEV is driven by the electric motors most of the time, including from start and regular urban driving. The City RS e:HEVs' petrol engine only kicks in to recharge the batteries or at higher speeds.
Even the transmissions are vastly different. While the previous-generation model featured a seven-speed DCT automatic, the new City RS e:HEVs’ powertrain is vastly different, as it does not have a conventional gearbox per-say.
Instead, the new City RS e:HEV gets an E-CVT, but that’s just in name, as the actual transmission is far more complex than a CVT.
But that’s just powertrain
You’re only half correct, as that is just the powertrain-side of things. There's more to it.
Recall that when Honda Malaysia introduced the previous GM7-generation City Hybrid, its equipment largely mirrored the mid-spec City 1.5 E. As such, it only received two front and two side airbags, bringing the total airbag count to four. The range-topping 1.5 V variant added curtain airbags, bumping the airbag count to six.
However, with the new City RS e:HEV, Honda Malaysia has redesignated the hybrid model as the range-topping variant. It's RM 19k premium over the City 1.5 V, putting it dangerously close to the C-segment Honda Civic 1.8 S in terms of pricing.
Apart from the advanced powertrain, the RM 19k premium adds the Honda Sensing ADAS suite and Honda LaneWatch camera - two features never seen before on a non-national B-segment sedan.
It gets features like:
- Forward Collision Warning (FCW)
- Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS)
- Lane Departure Warning (LDW)
- Lane Keep Assist System (LKAS)
- Road Departure Mitigation (RDM)
- Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC)
- Auto High Beam (AHB)
The City RS e:HEV's ACC is only operable from 30 km/h, while the higher range Civic, CR-V, and Accord's ACC with LSF is able to bring the car to a complete stop. The system does not work in stop-go traffic situations. Below 30 km/h, the ACC will turn off and the driver will need to take over the driving.
RM 100k+, I can buy Honda Civic leh
Of course, we are aware that the smaller B-segment Honda City RS e:HEV is only RM 3,000 less than the C-segment Honda Civic, but the latter is rather poorly-equipped.
Barring the customary six airbags and stability control, the Civic 1.8 S lacks the Honda Sensing ADAS suite and LaneWatch camera; only the range-topping 1.5 TC-P variant offers these features.
The Civic 1.5 TC-P costs RM 25k more than the entry-level model – quite a substantial amount over the Civic 1.8 S, mind you.
Conclusion – The City RS e:HEV still makes sense for some
As pricey as it may appear, the Honda City RS e:HEV still has a lot going for it.
We reckon that the RM 106k asking price is justifiable, seeing that the City RS e:HEV offers C-segment-like comfort levels and safety features.
Granted, the Honda Civic is one segment above the City and offers a larger-but-more-simple powertrain, but for what the City offers in its RS trim, it’s hard to argue with its sophisticated i-MMD powertrain and Honda Sensing ADAS suite.
The icing on the cake is the City RS e:HEV’s 253 Nm of torque – more than the Civic 1.8 S and Civic 1.5 TC-P. How’s that for bragging rights?
As impressive as the City RS e:HEV may be, it is still a City - a smaller B-segment sedan compared to the Civic.
Opt for the Civic, you'll get a slightly bigger boot (519 litres vs 410 litres) and more shoulder room for the rear occupants. On top of that, the Civic nameplate portrays a better image than the City, at least for some buyers.