2012 Honda City CNG sedan launched in Thailand; Indian launch likely in the next few weeks
Honda has launched a CNG-petrol dual fuel version of the popular C-segment sedan, the City, in Thailand. This car features a CNG kit, which from the looks of it clearly looks like a retrofit option given that the conventional CNG tank encroaches on the boot space of the car. However, the 65 liter tank has been mounted securely in the boot and the design looks quite solid. Many factory build CNG cars nowadays use a toroidal CNG tank to ensure that the luggage space in not compromised. Honda though, has effected a smart move by having a embedding the CNG fuel inlet right next to the petrol fuel filler cap, thus ensuring convenience with the driver having to open a single fuel flap to fill both petrol as well as CNG.
Honda which has done the retro fitment of the CNG kit at the company level and even offers a 3 year-100,000 kilometer warranty for the Honda City CNG version in the Thai market. The car retains the petrol fuel option too and the switch between petrol and CNG fuel options is seamlessly achieved by means of a switch on the dashboard. The engine is the tried and tested 1.5 Liter, four cylinder i-VTEC unit which pumps out a peak power of 100 Bhp while peak torque measures in at 127 Nm. Since Honda has fit the CNG kit at the factory level, expect the automaker to have strengthened engine components suitably to work well with CNG fuel. Also, the power and torque figures are lesser than the petrol variant’s 118 Bhp-145 Nm figures.
Apart from the engine being modified, the Honda City CNG comes with beefed up suspension to handle the extra load on the rear suspension of the car owing to the positioning of the CNG tank in the boot of the car. The CNG version of the City is pricier than the petrol variant by about 50,000 Thai Baht, which translates to about INR 90,000. That is quite a steep price increase for the addition of a CNG kit, as locally sourced high quality CNG kits can be purchased and installed for half that cost. However, it remains to be seen how Honda will price the City CNG in the Indian car market, which is extremely price sensitive.
But then again, the local fitment of a CNG kit will not let you keep your warranty and the assurance of reliability that a factory fitted kit brings to the table and Honda could perhaps be counting on this factor for the seemingly higher pricing. Given the high petrol prices hitting sales of its City sedan in the Indian car market hard, the CNG equipped model is expected to give Honda breathing space before the diesel variant of the City arrives in the next couple of years. This, as CNG is much cheaper than petrol in India, while also being cleaner with minimal tail pipe emissions. Expect the Indian launch to happen in the upcoming festive season.