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Review (2/2)

New Honda Civic: Distinctive Dynamic Design with Class Leading Interior Space

Source: Honda | Published: Tue Sep 13, 2011

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The new Civic will be offered with three engine options: 1.4 and 1.8 petrol units and a 2.2 diesel. All the engines are combined with a 6-speed manual gearbox, ECO Assist, advanced fuelling control technology and Idle Stop (start-stop). They are also equipped with Hill Start Assist. The 1.8 engine can be paired with a specially designed 5-speed automatic transmission.

The goal in the engine and transmission development was to maintain the driving experience while improving the overall efficiency of the engine resulting in lower running costs.

Improvements to Honda's 2.2-litre i-DTEC engine, coupled with a low-drag body design, mean the new 2012 Civic emits only 110 g/km* of CO2 - while producing a powerful 150 hp and 258 lb-ft (350 Nm) of torque.

This new lower CO2 figure signals a drop of 29 g/km over the outgoing model and will enable customers to benefit from free road tax for the first year (and only $30 per year from then on), as well as cheaper fuel bills. Meanwhile, company car drivers will be able to take advantage of BIK tax rates among the lowest for a small family car.

The improved engine also shows that customers do not need to sacrifice on power to achieve better economy - the 2.2 diesel delivers a 10 hp boost over the outgoing engine.

Honda's advanced i-DTEC engine received a number of enhancements in the quest for lower emissions. The oil flow through the engine has been carefully managed to reduce circulation loss, while engine materials and components have been revised to reduce friction. A five g/km reduction in CO2 was also achieved with the addition of Idle Stop (start/stop) technology.

Extensive wind tunnel testing was carried out to improve the car's aerodynamics, reduce drag and refine high speed stability, all of which contribute towards lowering emissions.

"To achieve a good CO2 figure, you need to optimize every aspect of the car," says Katsushi Watanabe, Development Leader for the engine. "Reducing the emissions was our key target and we're proud to say that we have achieved this without compromising the high performance character of the engine. We want our customers to have fun when they drive this car."

Smoother Ride

Honda engineers concentrated a huge amount of time and effort improving ride quality and handling of the Civic, and through significant changes to the suspension set-up they have enhanced both comfort and body control.

To give customers the biggest cabin and boot space in the C-sector, the Civic retains a rear torsion beam suspension system - but the latest set-up uses clever fluid-filled compliance bushes to improve overall ride performance and handling. It has also been strengthened to give better stability, particularly at high speeds.

The development team worked hard to sharpen every detail of the design, build and aerodynamics, to optimize the interior refinement in the new Civic. The engineers spent time testing the car in Europe to tune the new Civic to suit the varying road conditions. They also made good use of Honda's anechoic (echo-free) chamber in its R&D facility in Swindon to fine-tune the cabin insulation. One of the results of the work in the anechoic chamber was to modify the design and construction of the roof lining, and how it interacts with the bodywork.

The new Civic's aerodynamic efficiency also played a key role in maximizing its refinement. Several members of the development team called upon their Formula One experience to help deliver a car that combines a low coefficient of drag with excellent high-speed stability. Hours of meticulous work in the Honda wind tunnel has improved performance, reduced fuel consumption and resulted in an exceptionally quiet interior.

"We did not improve the noise and refinement of the new Civic through just one technique," commented Kazuo Sunaoshi, Development Leader - Chassis. "It was the accumulation of lots of little details. My big challenge was to match the noise and vibration levels of our European competitors. I am proud to say that we have achieved our goals."

Honda Civic (Euro-spec): Photo Gallery, Review (1/2) and Specifications

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