Honda City Hatchback Debut In Thailand, Malaysia Soon?

The hatchback Honda City finally breaks cover today with its worldwide debut in Thailand. 

After months of speculations, renders and teasers, Honda has finally officially launched a hatchback version of its City sedan. Making its worldwide debut today in Thailand, there is not an insignificant chance that this City hatchback will make its way to Malaysia sometime in the future. 

Of course, this is not the first ever City hatchback to ever see the light of day. The City, after all, started life as a subcompact JDM hatchback back in the early 80s, with the first iteration even having the option of a Motocompo folding scooter in its tiny boot. Nevertheless, for the ASEAN market at least, this new City Hatchback will be the first booted City to officially be available. 

Much like what the ASEAN Yaris is to the Vios, the City Hatchback is essentially the regular compact sedan with boot chopped off. So despite being some 200 mm shorter than the sedan, not to mention 21 mm taller, it is unsurprising then that on the styling front at least, not much is changed from the City sedan, especially on the front end aesthetics. 

Saying that, in the process of hacking the rear third quarter off, Honda has claimed that the new City hatchback is completely new from the central B-pillars onwards. A longer roof line, complete with a shark fin antenna an integrated rear spoiler at the end, supposedly is testament to this statement. New thicker and more upright C-pillars too are observed from the side profile of this hatchback. That said, the rear doors do look to be virtually identical to the ones seen on the sedan variant, coming complete with the signature kink as seen on the current City sedan. 

Nevertheless, what is indeed all new is the rear design of this Honda. Angular rear lights mimic the headlights’ aggressive design, while a chiseled rear bumper featuring vertical reflectors on either side adds to the macho look of this compact hatchback. An exposed rear diffuser too is present to add further visual flair out back.

Moving onto the inside, as is the outside, the front half especially is virtually identical to the sedan on which it is based, with the same dash layout and everything. The Japanese automaker however claims that rear legroom has increased during this hatchback conversion, despite retaining the same wheelbase dimensions. 

Speaking of the rear, as with any Honda hatchback, the Japanese automaker’s extremely versatile Ultra Seats make an appearance on the City hatchback. Being able to flip the seat bottoms up and fold the backrests flat, this is a nice practicality touch considering the inevitable smaller cargo capacity available out back. 

Four variants are currently offered in Thailand, all of which are powered by the same 1.0 turbocharged VTEC three-cylinder mill as on the Thai-market City sedans that outputs 122 PS and 173 Nm of torque. If this City Hatchback were to arrive locally however, expect the specs and engine options to be virtually identical to the current sedan variants available now. Meaning three lower end petrol-powered trim levels, topped off with an i-MMD hybrid RS variant. 

News of the introduction of this City Hatchback however does inevitably bring the fate of the Jazz in the ASEAN market into question. Seeing as there is a new Jazz that was launched internationally at the start of the year, will this new Jazz then still come to Malaysia?

2020 Honda Fit

The Honda Jazz has always been a reasonably good seller for Honda, both locally and in the surrounding ASEAN region. So why go to the trouble of creating a hatchback variant of the City when a new Jazz was already launched earlier this year in other parts of the world?

2020 Honda Fit

Honda will presumably say that the new City hatchback is tuned to specifically to ASEAN tastes. Seeing however as the City itself isn’t sold anywhere in the world too, is it perhaps that ASEAN standards are now so low that even the new Jazz is beyond us?

Joshua Chin

Automotive journalist. Professional work on and Personal writing found at Instagram: @driveeveryday

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