Honda has revealed a Hybrid version of the popular City sedan for Japan christened the Honda Grace with several changes to better suit Japanese tastes. The Honda City Hybrid, Grace will be launched in Honda’s home country on December 1 this year.
The biggest difference between the Petrol City and the Grace, apart form the name of course, is the power-train which is a hybrid unit. Although it hasn’t been confirmed yet but the Honda Grace will most probably be using the 1.5 litre hybrid engine borrowed from the Vezel compact SUV which produces 130.14 bhp. What is confirmed though is that the hybrid motor will be coupled to a i-DCD or Intelligent Dual Clutch Drive automatic transmission with an option of either a front wheel drive or 4 wheel drive setup.
The exteriors of the Honda Grace largely remain unchanged apart from new LED headlamps and tail lamps along with a different alloy wheel design. Keeping in mind Japanese preferences the interiors are all black but remain generally unchanged as well. The gear lever for the automatic is different and there is a larger touch screen infotainment system available along with other minor detailing changes and a read out in the instrument cluster for the hybrid drive train. The Honda Grace will be sold in 3 variants – DX, LX and EX each with a varying equipment level. For instance, the LED headlamps are only available on the LX and EX version while the base DX variant misses out on that feature. The car also gets premium features such as heated seats, paddle shifters, 16 inch aluminium alloys, etc. All variants get the automatic dual clutch i-DCD transmission and the option of choosing between front wheel drive and 4 wheel drive.
Although a hybrid version would be a nice addition to the City line-up it is unlikely the car will be brought to India. Even the increased mileage won’t be able to justify the premium the car would command over the standard model to the mileage crazed Indian customers. Plus, Honda’s previous attempt at selling a hybrid in the form of the Civic Hybrid was a total disaster. For now the sale of the Honda Grace will be confined to Japan and India will continue with the standard Honda City which was recently dethroned as the segment leader by the newly launched Maruti Ciaz.