MAS2018 “Short Review Special” Part 3: Honda (2 Cars)

On the first day, I didn’t have a chance to try out any Hondas since I was exhausted after trying the Volkswagens and Toyotas. What’s new from Honda? The Honda sensing thing which with the Active Cruise Control (ACC) which I had the chance of experiencing in the 1.5 L turbocharged Honda CR-V.

Not many companies seem to be bringing in hybrids for the time being. Honda is probably the first to introduce a CKD Hybrid car under 2.0 Litres in Malaysia. This makes the Honda City the cheapest hybrid car you can buy right now. Honda did not have any electric cars displayed and when asked, they didn’t seem to have any plans on bringing in electric car in the nearest time.

I only test drove 2 cars from Honda which are at least a little bit interesting features wise.

I started out in the CR-V but let’s talk about the City hybrid first.

1. Honda City Hybrid

OK, the city is the cheapest hybrid car you can buy right now in Malaysia. It’s both CKD and under 2.0 litres. Other hybrid options you have include the Prius and Hyundai Ioniq but they’re not locally assembled. Hence, they are more expensive.

What was it like to drive?

Weird and unfamiliar. Although my dad owns the previous generation of the City. Why? Well, it comes with this joystick type gear lever that returns to the centre every time. The position of each gear selection is also a little weird for a person who’s used to a conventional automatic shifter or a standard manual shifter like myself. Getting into ‘drive’, for example requires you to pull the lever to the right and then down. In a manual, this would put you in ‘reverse’. It takes some getting used to and the kids who will grow up and drive these types of cars would have a hard time learning how to drive a standard manual transmission.

Was it quick? Similarly to the Camry hybrid, the hybrid motor does help give a little more torque when you floor it. The interior is similar to that of a standard Honda City, which at it’s price tag, is quite ok. Didn’t get to go really fast so I’m not sure if the seals on the car are good. Why do I say this. Well, the window seals on our locally assembled Hondas don’t seem to be done so well. Usually at high speeds you can hear a whistling sound that can be very annoying for long drives.

Why would a person buy one?

This is the most affordable hybrid car if you’re into hybrids. Whether you’re buying it for fuel saving, the hybrid rebate, or if you ‘love the environment’, the City is a good entry level hybrid. It’s not as expensive as a Prius and when compared to the Hyundai Ioniq, the City looks more conventional and has the Honda reputation to back it up. It doesn’t have obvious Hybrid car looks so if you’re not pompous about driving a Hybrid car, this is a decent option.

There is one plus point for those of us who are bad or forgetful drivers. Let’s say you’ve stopped the car and engaged the handbrake, but you’ve forgot to engage the parking gear. A soon as you swing the door open, the car will shift into the parking gear for you, thus preventing possible mishaps. As Benson the sales advisor put it, cars are being made to make people lazier.

2. Honda CR-V with Honda Sensing (1.5 Turbo)

For the CR-V they wanted to show the Honda Sensing feature so I didn’t drive on the standard test drive route. This is a type of semi-autonomous driving feature from Honda. The car can follow the car in front at low speeds and maintain a safe distance that you can adjust yourself. Great for Malaysian traffic I suppose. The car will brake and accelerate accordingly. There’s also lane departure assist and more stuff that is great for tired/older drivers. The CR-V is an older man’s car so I say these features are good for a car that will cost you around RM158,000. It also looks better than the previous generation CR-V and the one before it.

What was it like to drive?

It feels quicker than the previous generation and the one before it. Probably thank to the CVT. Previous gens were still using a conventional automatic with a torque converter. How good will these CVTs last over time? We’ll have to see. The interior is standard Honda comfort. Generally better than Toyota when it comes to interior. You get digital displays in the top-tier model. You also get electronic parking brake which makes the car feel a bit more expensive (The 2007 CR-V used the foot pedal parking brake).

Why would a person buy one?

It’s a family car by today’s standards. Other options would include the C-HR (funkier), the Tucson, or even an X-Trail. I say this generation of the CR-V is quite good looking. From the rear it does show some family relationship with the Civic. It does have devil-horn like taillights which look decent at night. It’s reasonably priced for the type of family it aims to sell at.



Honda did bring the Civic Type R to the show but this is a picture from last year. There was no test drive model of the Type R, unfortunately. Personally, I think Honda is on track. They leverage on government incentives, have decent interiors, and have OK fuel economy. A weak point I see is build quality issues, like the whistling sound and intolerable rattling noise on the interior of older Hondas.


For Part 1 on Volkswagens click here.

For Part 2 on Toyotas click here.

For Part 4 on BMW click here.

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