As Honda Motor Co. seeks to again be the fuel-economy leader in the small car segment, it will start selling two versions of its best-selling Civic compact in the U.S. These are more fuel-efficient than the current models.
In a statement, Honda reveals that the 1.8-liter gasoline engine Civic HF that will go on sale in a few months returns 41 miles per gallon in highway driving. This is an improvement over the 36 mpg offered by the current gasoline-powered Civic.
Meanwhile, the 2012 Civic Hybrid, which gets a lithium-ion battery pack for the first time, should average 45 mpg in combined city and highway driving, 4 mpg more than for the current model.
The new Civics will help Honda fend off challenges from Hyundai Motor Co., which is intent on beating Honda and Toyota Motor Corp. in overall efficiency.
In late 2010, Hyundai started selling a revamped Elantra small car that averages 40 mpg on the highway, surpassing both the Civic and Toyota's Corolla.
The current Civic line includes gasoline-engine DX, LX and EX grade sedans and coupes, the Civic Hybrid and natural gas-powered GX sedans.
Honda said that the 2012 HF and Hybrid models differ in appearance from other grades due to "aerodynamic components for improved efficiency."
The I-4 1.8-liter engine that once powered the prior generation of the Civic has been refined and updated. The different changes have resulted in lowering the friction, increasing the fuel, and improving the emissions. These enhancements have given the Honda Civic Coupe, Civic HF, Civic Natural Gas, and Civic Sedan, that needed advantage. Specifically, the engine is a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder inline Single Overhead Cam unit that has a dual-stage intake manifold, i-VTEC, and 16 valves.
For the engine in the Civic Coupe, Civic HF, and Civic Sedan, the output is 140 horsepower available at 6,300 rpm, while torque is 128 lb.-ft. at 4,300 rpm. The 1.8-liter engine in the Civic Coupe and Civic Sedan is paired with the automatic transmission and delivers estimated EPA fuel economy rating of 28 mpg for city and 39 mpg highway. Meanwhile, powering the 2012 Civic Si is the 2.4-liter 4-cylinder inline engine.
This makes the Si the largest and even the most powerful Civic model to be launched in the U.S. In addition, the dual overhead cam engine utilizes an all-aluminum design. It also makes use of high-volume intake manifold that has been specially tuned, a high-performance version of the brand’s i-VTEC system, four valves for every cylinder, resulting in a total of 16 valves. The new engine in the Civic Si can deliver 201 horsepower, 4 horsepower higher compared to the previous 2.0-liter engine.
By having widespread weight control measures, implementing friction-reducing technologies, and the use of i-VTEC "intelligent" valve-control system, Civic Si is able to provide exciting acceleration in addition to lower exhaust emissions and enhanced fuel economy.
Since the engine offers larger displacement, the Civic Si can provide peak power that is available at 7,000 rpm. This is lower compared to the engine previously equipped in the Civic Si where maximum power is available at 7,800 rpm.
The increase in the displacement of the engine also has the effect of significantly raising the peak torque by 22%. Maximum torque is at 170 lb.-ft. and possible at 4,400 rpm. This is 1,700 rpm lower when compared to the prior engine where torque is at 139 lb.-ft. and available at 6,100 rpm. However, despite the increases in its displacement, horsepower, and even torque, the Civic Si has good fuel economy ratings and even lower emissions.
For the Civic Si with the new engine, it has an estimated EPA fuel economy rating at 22 mpg city, which is 1 mpg better when compared to the 2011 Civic Si. Meanwhile it also carries a 31 mpg highway rating, up by 2 mpg versus the 2011 Civic Si. In terms of emissions, the Civic Si is able to meet even the most stringent Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle emissions standards.
Equipped exclusively for the Honda Civic Si is the 6-speed manual transmission which has a short-throw shifter. This transmission has been engineered to allow precise and quick shift action in addition to being lightweight and compact. There is also a clutch whose torsion mechanism improves the refinement as it relates to the feel and engagement.