We’ve got full details of the Honda City Hybrid, or more accurately its Japanese-market twin, the Honda Grace, now that the latter has gone on sale in Japan today. The handsome B-segment sedan gets the petrol-electric drivetrain from the Jazz Hybrid and promises class-leading fuel economy.
The Grace is near-identical to our 2014 Honda City, but with a few subtle differences. Outside, there’s new blue-tinged chrome trim on the grille, LED tail lights and a small bootlid spoiler. As standard, the Grace gets the Jazz Hybrid’s 15-inch steel wheels with hubcaps, while the alloy wheels that we get here are reserved for the top-spec EX – 16-inch for two-wheel drive models, 15-inch for 4WD.
The cabin receives a new instrument cluster taken from the Jazz Hybrid, with two colour displays flanking the centre speedometer. The smaller gearlever is also taken from its hatchback sibling, while the steering wheel is adjustable for reach as well as rake.
For the first time, Honda has revealed the powertrain that drives the Grace, and it’s the same Sport Hybrid i-DCD (Intelligent Dual Clutch Drive) system as on the Jazz Hybrid, with a 110 PS/134 Nm 1.5 litre i-VTEC Atkinson cycle engine, a 29.5 PS/160 Nm electric motor and a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
Fuel economy figures on Japan’s JC08 driving cycle are rated at 34.4 km per litre on two-wheel drive models and 29.4 km per litre on cars equipped with four-wheel drive. While slightly down on the Jazz Hybrid’s numbers, Honda still claims that the Grace is the most fuel-efficient hybrid sedan on sale in Japan.
Standard equipment on the DX includes Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA), keyless entry, push-button start and auto air-conditioning. Stepping up to the mid-range LX nets you twin projector LED headlights, cruise control, a built-in air purifier and heated seats, while the EX gets a safety package with an active city braking system and six airbags, as well as an eight-speaker sound system.
Prices start at 1,950,000 yen (RM56,200) for the base two-wheel drive DX model, rising up to 2,409,800 yen (RM69,700) for the top-of-the-range all-wheel drive EX. Honda expects to sell 3,000 units of the Grace a month in Japan.
In Malaysia, the Honda City Hybrid was supposed to be launched by the end of the year, but amid problems with the ECU and the dual-clutch transmission on the Sport Hybrid i-DCD system – which has been subjected to multiple recalls this year – we’re expecting its introduction to be pushed back to 2015.