Hatchbacks are much more popular than sedans in Indonesia due to the unique taxation system that favours the two-box design. With just two hatchback models (Jazz and Civic), PT Honda Prospect Motor Indonesia managed to dominate the hatchback segment for the entire 2020, reaching a share as high as 48%.

The arrival of the new Honda City Hatchback also means the end of life for the market-leading Honda Jazz. For the Indonesian market, the new Honda City Hatchback will be offered in just the RS variant.

The sporty RS or “Road Sailing” variant is incredibly important to the model and company, as the RS variant represented over 90% of the total Honda Jazz sales last year. The company also said sales of the larger Civic Hatchback is only offered in the RS variant was well received by consumers.

As such, at launch, only the Honda City Hatchback RS variant is available.

PT Honda Prospect Motor Indonesia says the City Hatchback RS has been planned as a sporty model from the very beginning. The RS variant includes LED headlamps, DRLs, front foglamp and LED tail light bars.

Gloss black is applied to the upper grille, side mirror covers, shark fin antenna and 16-inch rims. The exclusive RS aerokit consists of the rear bumper with diffuser, front foglamp covers and the hexagonal mesh pattern in both the upper and lower grilles.

In terms of dimensions, the Honda City Hatchback measures 212 mm shorter than the sedan at 4,349 mm long, while its height increased by 21 mm to 1,488 mm. Wheelbase and width are unchanged.

However, it is quite sizeable compared to the outgoing Honda Jazz GK5. It is wider by 54 mm with a 36 mm lower roofline. The wheelbase is over two inches longer at 2,589 mm.

What about comparing the City Hatchback to the similar sedan-based Toyota Yaris? The Toyota Yaris is similarly as narrow as the Vios sedan at 1,700 mm, a shorter wheelbase (-39 mm) and a lower overall height of 1,475 mm. In summary, its much more spacious than the Toyota Yaris.

Under the bonnet lies the latest DOHC i-VTEC 1.5-litre engine from Honda. The outputs are similar to the Malaysian Honda City121 hp and 145 Nm of torque. Owners in Indonesia however have access to a slick-shifting six-speed manual transmission or the CVT-type automatic with shift paddles.

Inside, the interior mirrors the RS variant found in Thailand with subtle red accents using red stitching on a black base. The meter dials illuminate with red rings too.

Example of a 2020 Honda City manual transmission shift lever from Honda India

The RS-exclusive front seats are covered with suede-fabric-leather combination with red accents, matching very well with the dashboard and steering wheel. The black-only rear seats meanwhile have the ULTRA seat mechanism, which allows three configurations for taking along tall or long objects, as well as a Refresh mode that folds the front seats completely flat to allow two occupants to lie down like on a sofa.

The keyfob also comes with the Remote Engine Start feature, great to turn the air conditioning on to cool down the cabin while parked during the lunch-hour sunlight.

Safety features end at the usual six airbags and electronic stability program. Advanced Driving Assists Systems (ADAS) under the Sensing banner is not available to the Indonesian market yet. The eight-inch touchscreen infotainment only displays visuals from the multi-angle reverse camera; Honda LaneWatch is not available, similar to the variant available in Thailand.

Pricing for the new Honda City Hatchback in Indonesia is kept secret until deliveries begin next month.

For reference, the range-topping Honda Jazz RS CVT was priced at 298.5 million Rupiah (just under RM85,000), with the 5-speed manual priced at 10.5 million Rupiah cheaper.