Honda Jazz Hybrid And City Hybrid – Here’s What You Need To Know

Jack/Aug 28, 2019 05:39 PM

Introduced 2 years ago, the Honda City Hybrid and Jazz Hybrid are Honda Malaysia’s answer to affordable, mass market hybrid models.

Malaysia is the only country in the world to locally-assemble and sell the Honda Jazz Hybrid and City Hybrid.

Specifications for Honda City Hybrid

  • Engine: 1.5-litre, naturally-aspirated, port injection, i-VTEC
  • Power: 138 PS (combined system output)
  • Torque: 170 Nm (combined system output)
  • Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch automatic, front-wheel drive
  • Safety: 4 airbags, ABS with EBD, VSA, ISOFIX
  • Price: RM 92,172
  • Origin: Locally-assembled in Pegoh, Melaka

Specifications for Honda Jazz Hybrid

  • Engine: 1.5-litre, naturally-aspirated, port injection, i-VTEC
  • Power: 138 PS (combined system output)
  • Torque: 170 Nm (combined system output)
  • Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch automatic, front-wheel drive
  • Safety: 4 airbags, ABS with EBD, VSA, ISOFIX
  • Price: RM 87,707
  • Origin: Locally-assembled in Pegoh, Melaka

Which model to buy?

Considering that Honda Malaysia offers the Jazz Hybrid and City Hybrid in one variant, the decision boils down to whether you want a sedan or a hatchback.

However, in terms of equipment count, the City Hybrid gets marginally more equipment than the Jazz Hybrid, as the City Hybrid gets 16-inch alloy wheels, side mirrors with integrated turn signals, paddle shifters, and power-folding side mirrors.

The City Hybrid is also a better option if long-distance travelling is a priority, as the City Hybrid gets rear air-conditioning vents, while the Jazz Hybrid doesn’t.

Is the powertrain reliable?

When the Jazz Hybrid (sold as the Fit Hybrid there) was first launched in Japan, that model suffered from issues stemming from the dual-clutch transmissions (DCT).

Owners in Japan complained about transmission juddering, and that caused Honda to suspend production of DCT-equipped models, including the HR-V Hybrid.

Because of that, the Malaysian debut of the Jazz Hybrid and City Hybrid was delayed. In the interim, a small team of Honda engineers came to Malaysia to test out their proposed solution, testing in tough urban Malaysian traffic.

This small team of engineers’ solution for the DCT worked, proving that the updated DCT can withstand our harsh Malaysian conditions. The solution was then applied to models sold in Japan as well.

Although only time will tell if Honda’s DCTs will withstand the test of time, it is reassuring to see Honda standing behind its DCTs.

Is it expensive to maintain a hybrid?

Contrary to popular belief, the new generation of hybrid models from Honda do not require any special service.

As such, over a period of 5 years or 100,000 km, the hybrid models are actually cheaper to maintain than their petrol equivalent.

In addition to the cheaper maintenance cost, both the Jazz Hybrid and City Hybrid consume less fuel than the regular City and Jazz, thus saving even more money for owners.

However, both the City Hybrid and Jazz Hybrid are not equipped with spare wheels, as their hybrid battery packs are located in the spare wheel well. Honda provides a tyre repair kit for emergency purposes.

The biggest question, apart from maintenance cost, is the cost to replace the hybrid battery.

According to Honda Malaysia, the replacement hybrid battery costs RM 5,513 to replace, considerably cheaper compared to the Hyundai Ioniq's RM 9,800 hybrid battery replacement cost. 

As for the 12V starter battery, Honda Malaysia has stated that the City Hybrid and Jazz Hybrid do not require any special battery, so owners are free to replace it with any compatible batteries. Hyundai Sime-Darby Motors has clarified that the starter battery in the Ioniq costs only RM 436 to replace. 

How well do they drive?

Starting with the City Hybrid, we enjoyed how the little B-segment sedan behaved on our roads.

Compared to the petrol-powered City, the City Hybrid gets retuned suspension and revised steering gear ratio.

Turn-in is quicker, while the rear end of the City Hybrid responds with more urgency than its petrol-powered sibling, resulting in a more exciting driving experience.

Thanks to its petrol-electric powertrain and 7-speed dual-clutch automatic, power delivery is strong and linear. Gear shifts are more enjoyable than the CVT-type automatic found in the regular City.

Unlike regular cars fitted with DCTs, the electric motor aids the City Hybrid when starting from a dead stop, reducing the DCT’s jerky from start behavior.

As for the Jazz Hybrid, despite lugging a battery pack in the rear, drove surprisingly well.

This is largely due to the performance rod fitted in the rear torsion beam suspension, retuned dampers and revised steering gear ratio, allowing the little, unassuming Jazz Hybrid to boast driving dynamics that could rival the Mazda 2.

Power delivery is identical to the City Hybrid, though we wished that the Jazz Hybrid was fitted with paddle shifters, like the City Hybrid.

Conclusion

Unlike the HR-V Hybrid, both the City Hybrid and Jazz Hybrid models are fitted with 4 airbags, while range-topping variants get 6. Buyers of City Hybrid also lose out on LED headlights, LED front fog lights, leather upholstery, leather-wrapped steering wheel, soft touch dashboard, and 8-speaker audio set-up.

It is largely the same issue for buyers of the Jazz Hybrid, except that the range-topping Jazz does not get LED headlights, LED front fog lights, or even the 8-speaker audio set-up.

Regardless of whether you pick the City Hybrid or Jazz Hybrid, both models feature a high-tech powertrain engineered into Honda’s excellent package, combining class-leading practicality, excellent driving dynamics, and at the same time, returning superior fuel economy.

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