2016 Honda Civic Sedan

The 2016 Honda Civic has officially debuted for the North American market, bringing with it a new set of powertrain options. At the unveiling, details on the engines and the accompanying transmissions were lightly touched on but now, Honda US has divulged quite a lot more information about the powertrain combinations offered for the new C-segment sedan, accompanying its detailing of the safety systems and accessory options for it.

Two in-line four-cylinder engines with dual overhead cams (DOHC) and VTC (Variable Valve Timing Control) are available: a base 2.0 litre naturally-aspirated motor and a 1.5 litre turbocharged unit. The former displaces the previous SOHC 1.8 litre engine and has relations to the 2.4 litre unit found in the US-market Accord, as well as the European Civic Type-R’s turbocharged 2.0 litre mill.

2016 Honda Civic Sedan

2016 Honda Civic Sedan

Common features shared by both engines include the usage of aluminium in the construction of the die-cast block and DOHC cylinder head. With exhaust-port passages cast directly into the cylinder head, the need for a traditional separate exhaust manifold is eliminated, resulting in a more compact unit. A timing chain drives the DOHC along with its four valves per cylinder – making it maintenance free, like the 1.8 litre SOHC preceding it – and a drive-by-wire system handles throttle input.

Both engines also adopt pistons with a “cavity-shaped” and optimised skirt design to minimise vibration and increase operating efficiency. Lightweight steel connecting rods are heat-forged in one piece for higher strength as well. A new grinding process known as plateau honing further lowers the friction level between the pistons and cylinders, along with the use of low viscosity 0W-20 oil. Additionally, regular (US-grade) unleaded 87 octane petrol can be used on both engines.

However, the 2.0 litre engine differs from the turbocharged unit as it comes with Honda’s patented i-VTEC (intelligent Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control) to aid the VTC. The engine also features port injection with a Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI) system to handle fuel delivery. Compression ratio for the engine is also bumped up to 10.8:1 compared to the 1.8 litre unit’s 10.6:1.

The more powerful 1.5 litre turbocharged engine gets its fair degree of separation from the base engine, with the obvious being the inclusion of a turbocharger – in this case, a Mono scroll turbo system with an electric wastegate and intercooler. This allows for turbo boost to be built up with relatively small throttle openings and low rpm. Direct injection is also part of the turbo unit’s specifications, featuring a computer-controlled system with multi-hold fuel injectors, which allow for a compression ratio of 10.6:1. Smaller M12 spark plugs are installed instead of the common M14 ones as well.

Power output for the 2.0 litre naturally-aspirated engine is rated at 158 hp at 6,500 rpm and 187 Nm of torque at 4,200 rpm. The 1.5 litre turbocharged unit, meanwhile, puts out 174 hp at 5,500 rpm and 220 Nm of torque from 1,800 to 5,000 rpm.

As for the transmission options, the 2.0 litre and 1.5 litre turbo engines can be paired with an updated CVT automatic in the US-market Accord. Honda says it now features a new-generation G-Design shift logic that offers a better driving feel, reducing the “rubber-band” feel of other CVT transmissions. For the 1.5 litre turbo unit, the CVT is tweaked to include a turbine twin-damper design to help reduce turbocharger lag as the vehicle accelerates.

Honda says when abrupt acceleration is applied, the CVT sends power to drive the wheels while simultaneously adjusting the gear ratio smoothly to bring the engine to its horsepower peak in a linear fashion. There’s also a ‘Sport’ mode if the driver chooses to delay upshifting if needed.

A six-speed manual transmission is available as well, but only for Civics fitted with the 2.0 litre engine. The gearbox replaces the five-speed manual fitted on the Civic’s predecessor, and promises a smoother shifting experience for the driver.

On the topic of efficiency, every 2016 Honda Civic comes equipped with an ECON button that alters the car’s characteristics like climate control fan speed and throttle response eagerness.

Economy-wise, there is a disparity depending on the powertrain combination chosen. The 2.0 litre engine-six-speed manual combination will obtain an estimated city/highway combined EPA fuel economy rating of 13 km per litre, whereas the CVT-fitted 2.0 litre and 1.5 litre turbo engines will obtain an estimated 15 km per litre following the same cycle. Both engines also meet the EPA LEV3-ULEV125/LEV3-SULEV30 emissions standards.

Other minor details include a Maintenance Minder system that continuously monitors the vehicle’s operating condition and if needed, alerts the driver via a message displayed on the car’s multi-info display screen.