On December 10, 1997, Toyota unveiled the first ever car - Prius - powered by a hybrid engine. It was nothing less than a revolutionary shift that changed the car industry forever.
Today, almost every large automaker is offering cars with hybrid powertrain. While most brands have failed to come close to Toyota in terms of technology and reliability, some managed to surpass the Japanese automaker.
This week, Team Wheels brings to you the 2015 Honda Grace, widely known as Honda City across the world - a hybrid car that is quite popular in the current car market. We will talk about its pros and cons and share our opinion.
Honda began manufacturing Grace in 2014 and halted production in 2019 leaving us with seven generations of this sedan.
Grace models that were launched within 2014 – 2017 almost carry the same features with a few minor alterations depending on the variants offered; DX, LX, and EX with DX being the lowest grade and EX being the highest.
Although Honda's main focus was to make it an economy car, the automaker also emphasised on Grace's aesthetics. Honda's designing team has been doing an amazing job with all modern cars in its line-up and they made no compromises in the case of Grace as well.
For its class, the Grace looks beautiful from every angle, especially compared to other cars in its category. In contrast to its previous versions, the seventh generation (2014-2019) Grace's roof was lowered down to reduce the centre of gravity. It also gave the car a much sportier look.
The Grace is currently offered in petrol, diesel, turbo, and hybrid variants. However, most variants brought in by the grey market, if not all including the one, we are featuring, are the hybrid units.
Under its hood, the hybrid Graces hold an Atkinson Cycle DOHC i-VTEC 1.5L inline-four engine from the L-series engines by Honda called the LEB and it is paired to a seven-speed dual clutch transmission (DCT) system. This produces about 108 horsepower and 99lb-ft of torque and is undoubtedly adequate for commuting in a country like Bangladesh.
As you step inside this sedan, you will be surprised to see the features Grace provides for the price! The almost driver-focused dash is fitted with a 5-inch LCD display panel with navigation, reverse camera, and Bluetooth audio. But it comes with neither Android Auto or Apple Carplay and it is nothing uncommon for Japanese cars.
There is plenty of legroom in the front and rear. Despite the lowered roof, there is plenty of headroom and any average sized person can easily fit in and enjoy a comfortable ride.
Getting inside the grace, one can definitely say that the interior is sporty as well. Lower positioned seats which are also semi bucket, almost a driver focused dash, a red push start button, and obviously V-TEC!
The Grace also comes with a touch panel auto climate control, four power outlets, and rear AC vents which will come as a surprise as no other car manufacturer is able to offer this on a sedan at such a price point!
Despite being an amazing car, the Grace has its cons as well.
Firstly, unlike a Toyota hybrid battery pack that allows to replace individual battery units, the battery that powers a hybrid Grace needs to be replaced entirely and it is significantly more costly compared to a Toyota.
A replacement battery pack will cost about Tk275,000 however, one would have to replace the battery pack once in a decade only as Honda provides an official guarantee of a minimum of 8 years or 200,00KM for the battery pack found in Grace.
Other cons include slightly more expensive parts compared to Toyota and lower resale value in the long run because of the Grace being a Honda.
Looking past these very few minor cons, the Grace is definitely an amazing value for money sedan for all the features it comes with.
Having a hybrid powertrain, the Grace can easily provide gas mileage of over 10KMPL in the city and above 20KMPL on the highway. Hence, such industry leading fuel economy should be more than enough to make up for the added minor costs in the long run.
The Grace starts at around Tk18 lakh and can go all the way up to Tk26 lakh depending on model year, auction grade, trim level, and colour.