While most of you have been suffering from a five-day holiday hangover, we were sent by Honda Malaysia on a road trip across Kuantan and Terengganu to spend some time behind the wheel to understand the merits of the newly launched Jazz Hybrid and City Hybrid.
As Malaysia is the first country outside of Japan to have received the Sport Hybrid i-DCD Jazz and City, here’s 5 legitimate reasons to consider jumping on the Sport Hybrid bandwagon!
1. Suspension & Structural Upgrades
With an additional 69 kg of weight increase against the City’s petrol-powered variants contributed by the new Lithium-Ion battery, electric motor, electric air-condition compressor and electric brake servo system, it can adversely affect the handling and ride comfort. As such the diameter of rear dampers in the City Hybrid in particular had been increased to improve damping and shock absorption.
As the rear seats of the City allows for 60:40 split folding, its rear frame has also been strengthened for improved rigidity. Other areas in the City Hybrid which have also been strengthened are the A-pillars with Performance connecting rods in the rear end that’s exclusive only to i-DCD Hybrid models. As a result, spring and damping efficiency has been claimed to have improved by 12% and 24%.
2. Battery Replacement Costs & Warranty
As with all Hybrid vehicles, cost of battery replacements, if needed, can be frightening and has been a legitimate concern for those looking to jump on the bandwagon. Addressing this, both the Sport Hybrid models come with an 8-year warranty with Unlimited Warranty for the new Lithium-Ion batteries.
It replaces the previous Nickel batteries and cost only RM 5,513 to replace excluding GST and labour cost as compared to its competitor from Korea-land. These batteries are also lighter and 20% more compact compared to its Nickel predecessors with almost twice as much output.
3. Slick & Smooth Performance
Together with a high powered electric motor, producing 22kw (30hp) and 1.8 times more torque compare to the previous IMA system, the combined output is now doubled with 137 hp and 170Nm of torque – figures comparable to a 1.8-litre engine.
Combined with its Shift-by-Wire 7-speed Dual Clutch Transmission that provides seamless power delivery and quick shifts without noticeable drop in power complemented with a 12% increase in steering gear ratio not only ensures that both the Sport Hybrids maintain its energy efficiency but at the same time retains the vehicle’s nimble driving characteristic.
It’s new Electric Servo Brake system not only allows for greater battery recharge rate when braking but also ensures optimum braking performance at all times, even after prolonged use. Optimising the clutch to kick start the engine, the auto stop-start system has been refined to eliminate all vibrations usually associated with hybrid vehicles upon setting off from standstill.
4. Improved Comfort & NVH
With higher output batteries and a new fully electric driven air-condition compressor, not only is engine strain reduced, cabin temperature can also be lowered by up to 4-Celsius as opposed to the previous Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) models as it delivers the same “cooling intensity” even after the engine is cut off as the auto stop-start system is activated.
The City Hybrid’s Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH) have also been significantly improved with a new high density dashboard insulator alongside other standard insulation in various key areas of the vehicles including the doors, outer dashboard and the floor.
It is claimed that the battery is designed to last the car’s lifetime – a bold claim but seeing as Honda’s do last forever, its batteries technically shouldn’t be a cause for concern. The Sport Hybrids have also gone through 1.5 times more endurance testing than its Japanese counterparts to ensure that it excels on our unforgiving driving conditions and weather. The i-DCD transmission had also underwent 7,000 km of testing over 2 years on various Malaysian roads to adapt to our local driving conditions.
As of June 2017, over 865,000 units of the Sports Hybrid i-DCD had been sold in Japan alone with over 256,565 units of the Jazz (Fit) Hybrids sold since September 2013. You’d also be relieved to know that the battery replacement ratio is as low as 0.103%
It’s vital to note that the maintenance and service cost for the Sport Hybrid i-DCD is similar to non-hybrid cars.