Review: 2022 Honda City Hatchback 1.5 V in Malaysia – The more traditional, non-hybrid Yaris competitor

Sanjay · Nov 27, 2021 10:00 AM

Review: 2022 Honda City Hatchback 1.5 V in Malaysia – The more traditional, non-hybrid Yaris competitor 01

In the same press preview event that Honda Malaysia treated us to the Honda City Hatchback RS e:HEV (review here), we were also given a chance to sample the Honda City Hatchback 1.5 V, the top non-hybrid variant.

The model is yet to be launched, so things like prices and fuel consumption figures will have to wait until the car is launched.

How does the NA engine perform?

Review: 2022 Honda City Hatchback 1.5 V in Malaysia – The more traditional, non-hybrid Yaris competitor 02

Under the hood of the sedan, shared engine with the City Hatchback

Just like it is on the sedan, the petrol variants of the City Hatchback are powered by a regular naturally-aspirated 1.5-litre engine while the RS e:HEV gets the two-motor Intelligent Multi-Mode Drive (i-MMD) hybrid system.

Review: 2022 Honda City Hatchback 1.5 V in Malaysia – The more traditional, non-hybrid Yaris competitor 01

Words that could describe the City sedan can be similarly used for the City Hatchback 1.5 V. The naturally-aspirated mill is eager yet refined, and 121 PS with 145 Nm of torque is more than adequate for daily driving duties.

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Non-RS variants get a chrome grille, plain silver wheels, and make do without a bodykit

The four-pot provides good acceleration from a stop, and should you call upon it at higher speeds, it will step up to the duties just as well.

Also read: Has the 2021 Honda City Hatchback already won the cool factor against the Yaris

Review: 2022 Honda City Hatchback 1.5 V in Malaysia – The more traditional, non-hybrid Yaris competitor 03

However, at full pelt the CVT automatic transmission and engine will voice their displeasure through an unsavoury drone, but that’s only when you’re sustaining hard acceleration all the time.

When idling or driving gently, the powertrain combo does their thing quietly and smoothly.

Handles more playfully than the sedan

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An edge we immediately noticed the City Hatchback poses over the sedan is it's sharper handling. Its shorter rear-end lends the car a nimbler character compared to its three-box stablemate, and body roll is less tangible in the corners.

Aside from that, the City Hatchback's is about 7kg lighter than the sedan, which will be appreciated by those looking to do a spot of spirited driving in their City Hatchback.

Also read: Choices in Malaysia's car market: should you spring for a sedan or get a hatchback?

Review: 2022 Honda City Hatchback 1.5 V in Malaysia – The more traditional, non-hybrid Yaris competitor 05

That said, the petrol version of the City Hatchback feels a little different in the turns compared to the RS, and that can be chalked up to its lighter weight: it doesn’t have a rear-mounted lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery that provides the extra heft.

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As far as steering feel goes, Honda does this well, and the City Hatchback has a well-weighted steering that’s not at all dull. There’s enough feedback, and drivers always have a good idea of what the front wheels are doing.

Also read: Honda Indonesia drops its mic and VTEC with the Honda City Hatchback Racing Concept

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At least on similar, on-track conditions, there’s a palpable improvement over the Toyota Yaris. The Yaris' body roll is more pronounced, while its steering response is slower and heavier.

No ADAS, only LaneWatch

Review: 2022 Honda City Hatchback 1.5 V in Malaysia – The more traditional, non-hybrid Yaris competitor 08

LaneWatch camera

Considering that this isn’t the RS, the City Hatchback 1.5 V misses out on the Honda Sensing suite of ADAS (an RS exclusive, for now). That said, it still gets 6 airbags and Honda LaneWatch.

Also read: From foggy roads to congested cities, Honda Civic’s Sensing is one of the best

But it has got ULTRA seats!

Review: 2022 Honda City Hatchback 1.5 V in Malaysia – The more traditional, non-hybrid Yaris competitor 09

Sensing notwithstanding, one feature equalises the petrol and hybrid variants of the City Hatchback: the presence of ULTRA seats.

Review: 2022 Honda City Hatchback 1.5 V in Malaysia – The more traditional, non-hybrid Yaris competitor 10

Refresh mode allows for one or both passengers to lie across

Review: 2022 Honda City Hatchback 1.5 V in Malaysia – The more traditional, non-hybrid Yaris competitor 11

Tall Mode, to keep vertical items

These adjustable seats allow one to adjust the rear seats according to four modes: Utility, Long, Tall, and Refresh.

Review: 2022 Honda City Hatchback 1.5 V in Malaysia – The more traditional, non-hybrid Yaris competitor 12

We can't show the whole interior yet, but Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity is confirmed

At least on this aspect, the City Hatchback has a leg up over the competition.

Conclusion

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The City Hatchback 1.5 V has left a strong impression on us, offering a plenty fun drive, rich features, and the ever-endearing ULTRA seats.

What’s left to know are prices. For now, if our experience is any indication, the Yaris has got to start looking over its shoulder. Please wait for our full review once the car is launched for a more accurate assessment of the City Hatchback's characterisisti

Also read: Review: 2021 Honda City RS e:HEV – Hybrid perfomance for the common man

Sanjay

Writer

With humble beginnings collecting diecast models and spending hours virtually tuning dream cars on the computer, his love of cars has delightfully transformed into a career. Sanjay enjoys how the same passion for cars transcends boundaries and brings people together.

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