Oh boy, Honda releases its C-Segment salvo.
Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG
- April 20, 2011
2012 Honda Civic Hybrid (HCH-III) - $24,050 and well equipped to start with a 44/44/44 mpgUS city/highway/combined 08 EPA rating.
Its here and while we released the Podcast overview this morning, here are even more details relating to the all-new 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid with the very latest Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) hybrid drivetrain.
More features, technology and the best EPA-estimated fuel economy of any sedan (Prius is a hatch
) in the US, the 2012 Civic Hybrid offers an excellent fuel economy rating of 44/44/44 mpgUS city/highway/combined vs. its predecessor, the 2011 HCH-II rated at 40/43/41. The third generation HCH-II gains new styling including a new front grill, headlights, taillights, wheels and side mirrors. The two trims are the Civic Hybrid with cloth and a Civic Hybrid with leather. Either version can be equipped with a navigation system.
For 2012, the Honda IMA system uses Li-Ion batteries, replacing the NiMH batteries used in the previous two generations of the Civic Hybrid. The gasoline engine is of course the primary source of power and the electric motor is positioned in-line between the engine and transmission just like all of its predecessors.
The 2012 HCH-III uses a larger 1.5L i-VTEC 4-cylinder engine out of the Fit, up from the previous gens 1.3L for improved mid-range torque, which incorporates extensive friction-reducing technologies for even greater efficiency. It is connected to a lighter, larger and more powerful electric motor that provides up to 23 horsepower. Total combined horsepower for the gasoline engine and electric motor is 110 at 5500 rpm and torque is rated at 127 lb-ft. at 1000-3500 rpm.
Just like all HCHs before it, acceleration occurs with the engine or the engine and electric motor together. And like the HCH-II, while cruising under low torque demand, the gasoline engine and/or the electric motor can propel the vehicle exclusively. During braking, the gasoline engine deactivates and the electric motor acts as a generator to replenish the battery pack. At a stop, the engine can shut off to save fuel and reduce emissions. The engine restarts the moment the brake pedal is released.
As confirmed on the show floor, the HCH-III cannot launch from a standstill without the ICE coming online.
The battery pack is located in the same location as the previous two generations, behind the rear seatback, which does not allow rear seat fold down or pass through capability. The 20-kW Li-Ion battery is more powerful by 5 kW and lighter than the previous generation's battery. The IMA system's greater power and the battery's 35-percent increase in efficiency allow the HCH-III to operate more frequently on the electric motor's power alone during low-speed cruising if all the base conditions are met. Temps, SoC and limited use of A/C. And again just as the previous two generations other than the lean-burn capable HCH-I with a stick, a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) attempts to maintain engine rpm for optimal efficiency while eliminating the "stepped" gear transitions associated with conventional transmissions.
The HCH-III offers a different interpretation of the current Civic's "one-motion" mono-form shape. A sleekly raked windshield and wide stance give the HCH-III a high-tech presence. In front, there is a unique hybrid grille design with blue accents, and within the headlight assemblies are blue bulb covers that provide additional something or other
New five-spoke alloy wheels, a decklid spoiler and LED brake lights are still the standard features the HCH-II and III are known for. A little less aggressive than before but we will all have to wait and see how it works out at the dealership level.
The HCH-IIIs interior features a functional two-tier instrument layout. The design puts the most frequently referenced information up high and close to the driver's line of sight but in a slightly different manner than the HCH-II. The new intelligent Multi-Information Display (i-MID) is positioned in the upper tier and can present audio system information including album artwork. It can also display personal wallpaper backgrounds uploaded via the standard USB port. A unique feature of the Civic Hybrid's i-MID is a driver-feedback Eco Guide screen that monitors driving style and displays how it affects fuel efficiency. Together with the blue/green Eco Assist indicators located to the sides of the digital speedometer, the displays help drivers build awareness of and confirm fuel-efficient driving styles. The Civic Hybrid's i-MID contains an exclusive hybrid power-flow meter display in addition to the standard information screens.
The interior of the Civic Hybrid uses exclusive seat fabric and door panel inserts for a unique appearance and feel. Available leather-trimmed models include a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear shift lever. Automatic climate control is standard on the HCH-III, and the hybrid-style air conditioning compressor can continue to function on electric power when the engine is in idle-stop mode.
The HCH-III offers a range of standard and available audio and navigation technologies. A 160-watt AM/FM/CD audio system with six speakers is standard and HCH-III models equipped with the navigation system include XM Radio. The available Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System with voice recognition has a 6.5-inch touch screen within reach of both the driver and passenger. Turn-by-turn direction information appears on both the navigation screen and the i-MID, where it's convenient for the driver to see. The system features a new 16 GB flash memory database for quicker response time and has FM traffic. FM traffic is a no-fee service that shows freeway traffic information and incident data on the map display in participating metropolitan areas.
The standard Bluetooth HandsFreeLink system enables HCH-III owners to make and receive mobile phone calls using the vehicle's audio system and a compatible mobile phone. Audio streaming is also supported with compatible devices.
The HCH-III continues to use a fully independent rear suspension design. The front MacPherson strut and rear multi-link suspension is tuned for sporty driving, yet provides refined ride comfort. Ride and handling improvements are supported by a 10-percent more rigid unit-body structure resulting from enhanced structural designs and increased use of high-strength steel (55 percent compared to 50 percent on the previous model).
For safety, a wide variety of standard equipment includes Honda's exclusive Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure for enhanced frontal collision energy management and vehicle-to-vehicle crash compatibility. Standard safety equipment includes VSA that integrates with the new Motion Adaptive EPS system; dual-stage, multiple-threshold front airbags; front side airbags with occupant position detection system (OPDS); side curtain airbags; and a 4-channel anti-lock braking system (ABS) with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist.
All Civic Hybrid models are produced and assembled in the Honda Motor Co., Ltd., Suzuka, Japan manufacturing facility. The 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid is covered by a 3-year/36,000-mile new car limited warranty; a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain limited warranty, and a 5-year/unlimited-mile corrosion limited warranty.
And we are all holding our collective breathe that this new larger ICE engine version provides the same level of extremely high highway fuel economy as its predecessor all the while hoping that the 10% increase in city FE is as easy to achieve as the highway FE was? Time will tell and it maybe months before we see one in the Chicago press fleet as they are in very short supply due to the Japanese Earthquake situation.