Picked up my Honda City Hybrid: Initial impressions after just 80 km

Fuel efficiency figures range from 18.5 km/l in miserable Bangalore traffic to about 23 km/l in bad Bangalore traffic.

BHPian ragwhos recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Picked up a Grey e:HEV in Bangalore and the experience has been surreal.

Driven it just about 80 km, but here are my initial impressions.

The drive is buttery smooth – and yet it is unassumingly quick!

You will not realise you’ve hit 35-40 km/h because you practically hear nothing till you hit those speeds. Also, I haven’t measured it yet, but I bet it does 40 in less than 4 seconds even with a normal pedal input (not kick down)

ADAS (both adaptive cruise control and collision warning/braking work well)

Much less intrusive than MG Astor.

I did not buy the car because of the better fuel economy, but it is brilliant.

On the dash, I have got about 18.5 km/l in miserable Bangalore traffic and about 23 km/l in bad Bangalore traffic.

About 60% of this is in Eco mode and I use the B mode and regen braking a fair bit with the toggles (I haven’t got tired of playing with it yet, and don’t think I would)

All this is based on what’s on the dash, but knock 10% off and it is still spectacular.

I see a lot of these calculations about break-even – but it is honestly a silly comparison. Having driven both the 4th and 5th Gen Petrol, this is a step up in both performances (feel) and refinement.

Plus I assume there are few like me who find ADAS useful and an important safety factor even in Indian road conditions. Collision mitigation kicked in really well when a moron scooter rider was on her phone and forgot to notice the speed breaker ahead, and panic braked about 3 meters ahead of it when she did see it.

I was anticipating it since she was on the phone but the tech definitely started braking a fraction before I did. I can imagine this would definitely save a scratch or two and hopefully a lot more when deployed widely.

It can be annoying if you are an aggressive driver who likes to follow the car ahead with less than a car length at speeds greater than 30-40 km/h. But if you are a normal driver, warnings are an occasional nudge and brakes not until they’re really needed.

For those that have driven with ABS on an icy/slippery road, it brakes a touch like that. (Or at least that’s the feel on the brake pad). I have always braked when I thought it had to.

Adaptive cruise control also works brilliantly, but it has not got a creep mode like say the XUV 700 L variants. The cruise control stops at speeds below 30kmpl but it does slow down and brake all the way down (I have not tested it to a complete stop, but I assume it would, it braked till 9kmph), and then I braked. It won’t go again because cruise control is stopped again, but I found a decently useful feature in the Outer ring road with moderate traffic.

Set speeds to 55kmph and it went up and down for about 3.5 km with no pedal input.

I am driving to Chennai this weekend, and it should come in handy there much more, and will post an update.

Why have I spoken about the performance, refinement and ADAS only? Because we know what the City is otherwise like. If it is fuel economy, Diesel’s are a lot better, and modern diesel is pretty quiet and refined. The environment argument is moot for a variety of reasons, so City Diesel is definitely what high mileage fuel economy-oriented City purchasers should get, not an EHEV. The economics simply don’t work.

But if you can afford it, and want a bit more fun and tech, this won’t disappoint you. The only average part of the car so far is clearly the infotainment system, but that’s never a reason to buy / not buy a car.

Oh and I almost forgot. Exclusivity! Hybrids are rare, people will eventually realise that this is a different Blue Honda Logo. I don’t drive a lot, but I am yet to see a single Honda EHEV in Bangalore. Again, not a reason to choose a car, but it’s definitely also a reason why the eHEV is cool.

Here’s what BHPian skarthiksr had to say on the matter:

The e-Hev manual from the Honda website quotes the following:

So, I was under the assumption that the system is not designed to detect the shape of two-wheelers, but in your case, it has done a perfect job in detecting the scooter. So, I am not sure whether it worked by chance or as intended. And, I believe that they meant two-wheelers in the context of the term “motorcycle”.

Considering that the boot capacity is a limitation of this vehicle, just curious to see whether for city rides, can we increase the boot capacity by removing the spare wheel. This would expose the battery pack (as per the image on official review page

1), so I am not sure how safe it is to do so. So, if possible, can you check how hot the battery area is at the end of your ride and update it?

And thanks for sharing your experience.

Here’s what BHPian MaheshY1 had to say on the matter:

I’m a numbers guy. If it doesn’t make sense on a spreadsheet, then it doesn’t make sense at all. I assigned a monetary value even for the design of the Beat when I was comparing it against Ritz and Figo in 2014. Ritz lost a few points in the style department.

The cost-to-breakeven calculations at least help with setting a baseline for the amount that’s definitely justified. Let’s say, the City hybrid’s fuel efficiency justifies Rs. 2.0 lakh worth of cost in fuel savings alone. Once you have the objective stuff out, from there, you can set a price for subjective things like ‘feel’, ‘refinement,’ and ADAS features. The perceived value for these things will vary from one customer to another.

So, one may find the City hybrid extreme value assuming an average of 1 crash saved per year with ADAS, then the combined costs of the following items may justify the price gap in just 2-3 years:

  • the repair costs
  • cab costs during downtime
  • Hassle of dealing with service centre
  • time value
  • NCB in insurance
  • depreciation in vehicle value

However, for someone with 10 lakh km of driving experience and only a few scratches on the resume, ADAS may have zero perceived value and is a feature Honda are upselling. Because hybrid is not available without ADAS.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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