Despite the rollercoaster ride that has been 2020, Honda Malaysia kept itself mighty busy, with plenty of launches taking place across the year. These include the tenth-generation Accord, the fifth-gen City, as well as facelifts for the Civic, BR-V and CR-V. Even the HR-V got a slight update, with a dark brown leather option being offered as an alternative to the conventional black.

With all these introductions, 2021 might be a slower year for the big H, although it should reap the benefits of having a completely revamped range through the year, sales-wise. Even so, there are a few models that we are anticipating and hoping for, so let’s talk about them.

Honda City Hatchback

First making its global debut in Thailand back in November, the City Hatchback is the shortened sibling of the City sedan, adopting a similar set of features and some new ones that even the sedan doesn’t get.

There have been plenty of rumours that the global, fourth-gen Jazz won’t make its way to certain ASEAN countries, as it is deemed as too “radical,” with the City Hatchback set to take its place instead. If that is indeed the case, we’ll bid farewell to the Jazz nameplate, which is currently in its third generation here in Malaysia.

A supposed introduction of the City Hatchback in our part of the world follows the same trend set by UMW Toyota Motor (UMWT), where the Yaris is essentially the hatchback version of the Vios, and that has worked out quite well for the big T brand. Like the fifth-gen City we have now, local assembly (CKD) is necessary with the City Hatchback.

As of now, the latest Jazz (or Fit as it is known in Japan) has yet to make an appearance in Thailand, although the third-gen model is still listed for sale. In due time, the older Jazz might be dropped from the Thai line-up completely, with the City Hatchback replacing it. Meanwhile, in Australia, the Jazz is being discontinued altogether, with the City Hatchback reportedly set to be introduced in its place.

There are some plus points for the City Hatchback, as unlike the sedan, it comes with Ultra Seats, making it more versatile when it comes to loading cargo, while sporting nearly identical specifications. Honda Malaysia has remained silent on the matter, but if it goes ahead with what has been discussed, it’ll be a very significant launch for the company. Agree with this direction?

What about other models? What can we expect?

The Civic Type R and Odyssey facelifts could be some of the models in the pipeline, although we’re purely speculating at this point. Both fully-imported (CBU) models aren’t exactly volume sellers, more so with Honda’s MPV, which was refreshed in Japan not too long ago.

The first facelift for the fifth-gen Odyssey was launched here back in 2018, gaining the Honda Sensing suite of systems and some styling changes. The latest facelift further revises the MPV’s design, with a new exterior and interior, while adding on gesture control for the powered sliding doors.

As for Honda’s venerable hot hatch, it got its facelift back in January, with improvements to its cooling system, chassis and brakes, along with a tweaked exterior. Continuing to offer the Civic Type R as a “dream model” would help bolster the brand’s image, and would be a good counter to the GR Yaris for “halo JDM stakes.”

As for the rest of the range, the HR-V is getting a bit long in the tooth now, and we should expect another update in 2021 while the next-generation model is being prepared, although it might take a while to get here. Honda Malaysia has periodically updated the HR-V over the years, so this trend should continue.