2012 Honda Civic promises to offer higher fuel economy, base model returns 39 mpg

Article by Christian Andrei, on April 24, 2011

When Honda starts selling the 2012 Civic later this month, it will have to contend with tougher competition. The Civic has been around for nine generations and has gotten quite a foothold in the compact segment. In fact, 25% of Honda customers buy a Civic. The redesigned 2012 Civic is actually the first of three core vehicles that get revamped within the next 18 months.

The two other models are the CR-V compact crossover that is set to come out in September and the reworked Accord that arrives in the summer of 2012. It’s notable that every time Honda redesigns the Civic, it gets bigger.

The current Civic is already almost as big as a 1994 Accord. Right before r&d work for the redesigned 2012 Civic was about to be approved, the worldwide economy took a dive. Honda had planned the 2012 Civic to be even bigger and to be given additional upscale features but with the crisis, Honda Motor CEO Takanobu Ito decided to make drastic changes.

Ito believed that the car they had set out to make would struggle and would not be in line with the Civic’s push for economy.

At the recent press preview, John Mendel, American Honda executive vice president, said that the 2012 Civic was “carefully packaged” according the needs of the segment. The base Civic has a fuel economy rating of 39 mpg. In comparison, the Hyundai Elantra is able to achieve 40 mpg on the highway across all trim levels.

However, some Civic models surpass this figure. Vicki Poponi, Honda assistant vice president of product planning, explains that fuel economy comprises only one aspect.

According to American Honda Motor Co.,Inc Sales EVP John Mendel, the Honda Civic is the only one of its kind to deliver a combination of smart packaging, sporty performance, fuel economy, alternative fuel and above all, long-term value. Honda is giving emphasis to improved fuel economy for the ninth-generation Civic, ranging from the hybrid sedan model to the sporty Si.

Aside from the Civic Hybrid and Civic HF, the Civic Coupe, Sedan and Natural Gas models are projected to achieve enhanced fuel economy as compared to the existing models. On the highway, the Civic Coupe and Civic Sedan achieve an EPA-estimated 39 mpg fuel economy, a 3mpg improvement as compared to the present model. The GX Natural Gas vehicle is expected to produce a 7% improvement in fuel economy as compared to the present model. The Sedan, Civic Coupe and Natural Gas models will be incorporated with Honda ECO Assist technology.

Alongside improved fuel economy, the latest Civic lineup delivers added performance as well, especially with the Honda Civic Si. The Civic Si coupe and sedan models will be powered by a larger, 2.4-liter engine and a new 6-speed manual transmission. This new engine is expected to supply 200 hp and 170 ft-lb of torque. In spite of the larger engine and a 22% increase in torque, the Civic Si aims to accomplish an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 31 mpg on the highway, a 2 mpg increase as compared to the present model.

The 2012 Civic lineup consists of a sedan and coupe together with conventional gasoline models, a new high fuel (HF) economy version, 2 "Si" sporty, performance versions, a hybrid version, plus an alternative fuel variant that uses natural gas.

Press Release

All-New 2012 Honda Civic Emphasizes Style, Fuel Economy and Performance

Featuring the widest array of engine choices available in its class, the 2012 Civic is designed to even better meet the diverse needs of the compact-vehicle buyer when it launches this spring. The entire redesigned ninth-generation Civic lineup will become more fuel efficient with two models – the all-new Civic HF and the Civic Hybrid – each delivering fuel economy estimates of more than 40 mpg on the highway.

Built on the tradition of Honda fuel efficiency, the economical Civic HF model will be the most fuel-efficient gasoline-only powered Civic in the lineup when it launches this spring. Equipped with a 1.8-liter i-VTEC engine, the Civic HF is targeted to earn EPA-estimated fuel economy1 of 41 mpg on the highway. The 2012 Civic Hybrid, which will be outfitted for the first time with a lithium-ion battery and a larger 1.5-liter i-VTEC engine, is expected to achieve an EPA-estimated city/highway combined fuel economy1 of 45 mpg, an improvement of 4 mpg compared to the current Civic Hybrid. Both the Civic HF and Civic Hybrid models will be equipped with aerodynamic components for improved efficiency and Honda ECO Assist™ technology, an innovation that can enhance efficient vehicle operation while providing feedback to promote more efficient individual driving styles.

"The Civic is the only model in the industry that can deliver on all fronts – fuel economy, sporty performance, smart packaging, alternative fuel and long-term value," said John Mendel, executive vice president of sales for American Honda Motor Co.,Inc. "For the ninth-generation Civic, we are emphasizing improved fuel economy across the board, from the hybrid sedan to the sporty Si model."

In addition to the Civic HF and Civic Hybrid models, the Civic Sedan, Civic Coupe and Civic GX Natural Gas models are also estimated to achieve improved fuel economy compared to the current models. The Civic Sedan and Civic Coupe achieve an EPA-estimated fuel economy2 of 39 mpg on the highway, an improvement of 3 mpg when compared to the current model. The Civic Natural Gas vehicle is anticipated to earn a 7 percent improvement in fuel economy compared to the current model. The Civic Sedan, Civic Coupe and Civic Natural Gas models will all be equipped with the Honda ECO Assist technology.

Along with improved fuel economy, the new Civic lineup also delivers more performance, particularly with the Civic Si. The Civic Si sedan and coupe models will be equipped with a larger, more powerful 2.4-liter engine as well as a new 6-speed manual transmission. The new engine is anticipated to deliver 200 horsepower with 170 ft-lb of torque. Even with the larger engine and a 22 percent increase in torque, Civic Si is targeted to achieve an EPA-estimated highway fuel economy1 of 31 mpg; an increase of 2 mpg when compared to the current model.

The 2012 Civic lineup includes a sedan and a coupe with conventional gasoline models, a new "HF" high fuel economy version, two sporty "Si" performance versions, along with one hybrid and a natural gas alternative-fuel variant.
Additional information on the new 2012 Civic will be announced closer to the on-sale date. For more information on the current Civic and other Honda models, please visit www.hondanews.com.

Civic HF, Sedan, Coupe and Natural Gas Specifications

  • 140 horsepower, 1.8-liter i-VTEC™ 4-cylinder engine
  • 5-speed automatic transmission
  • ECO Assist technology
  • EPA-estimated Civic HF highway fuel economy: 41 mpg
  • EPA-estimated Civic Sedan and Civic Coupe highway fuel economy: 39 mpg

Civic Hybrid Specifications

  • 110 horsepower, 1.5-liter i-VTEC™ 4-cylinder engine (combined gasoline + electric)
  • Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT)
  • Lithium-ion battery
  • ECO Assist technology
  • EPA-estimated Civic Hybrid city/highway combined fuel economy: 45 mpg

Civic Si Specifications

  • 200 horsepower and 170 lb-ft, 2.4-liter i-VTEC™ 4-cylinder engine
  • 6-speed manual transmission
  • EPA-estimated Civic Si highway fuel economy: 31 mpg

1Preliminary EPA mileage estimates determined by Honda. Final EPA mileage estimates not available at the time of printing. Use for comparison purposes only. Your actual mileage will vary depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle.

2Based on 2012 EPA mileage estimates. Use for comparison purposes only. Do not compare to models before 2008. Your actual mileage will vary depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle.

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