The new sheriff in town … if Honda allows it?
Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG
- Sept. 26, 2007
The 2007 European Honda Civic 2.2L iCDTi Turbo Diesel was an eye opener to put it mildly. With FE that can only be bested by the likes of the now defunct Honda Insight, all the performance of a mid-sized sports sedan and interesting amenities the likes the average driver in the US has never experienced before, we have a lot to look forward too. With the standard 20% rural-suburban and 80% Interstate commute and drive across the upper Midwest, her FE capabilities proved without a doubt that the soon to arrive turbo-diesels are going to make more then just a splash on these shores. I hope others will be able to experience the enthusiasm that I currently have for this excellent European sourced compact Turbo Diesel.
The 2.2L iCDTi CI-ICE (Compression Ignited – Internal Combustion Engine or diesel for short) for the European continent was first released in February of 2004. Before that time, Isuzu was Honda’s main diesel supplier allowing decent FE and performance but nothing compared to the likes of Honda’s own in-house design. The 2.2L iCDTi’s underlying technology represents a breakthrough for the smaller diesels available today with its extremely high fuel economy capability, relatively high end performance from this small displacement Turbo Diesel and a much more livable NVH (Noise – Vibration – Harshness). Because it is a diesel, NOx and PM (Particulate matter - Soot) emissions are higher then a comparable std. gasoline engine we are all familiar with here in the states and thus in its current form, it would not be allowed on US roads without a special manufacturer permit. The US EPA certification problem is soon to be a distant memory given the discussion below and we will all have the opportunity in the not to distant future to experience and enjoy for our own these new super diesel’s that have been available in Europe the past few years.
What makes the European Honda Civic 2.2L iCDTi so special? It’s the Turbo Diesel engine of course!
2007 Honda Civic 2.2L iCDTi Price Comparison and Analysis
|Year - Make/Model||MSRP (British Pounds)||MSRP (US Dollars) |
|2007 - Honda Civic EX w/ 5-speed manual||£30.1K||$18,710 |
|2007 - Honda Civic iCDTi w/ 6-speed manual||£32.6K||* $21,030|
|2007 - Honda Civic Hybrid||£33.5K||$22,600 |
|2007 - Toyota Prius||£35.8K||$22,175|
* Estimated MSRP for a similar vehicle if sold in the US.
The above depicts the Civic iCDTi with a somewhat steep $2,320 price premium over and above the Civic EX but $1,570 less then the HCH-II. When considering the Prius as another competitor, the iCDTi has a $1,145 advantage albeit the Civic’s are still compacts vs. the Prius' mid-sized status.
2007 Honda Civic 2.2L iCDTi exterior and interior
Working end of the Honda Civic 2.2L iCDTi.---------------------------
Rear hatch with covered compartment below.
Magic Rear seats stowed in the upright position.------------------------
Drivers side Magic rear seat folded down.
2007 Honda Civic 2.2L iCDTi specifications
Honda Civic 2.2L iCDTi specifications can be viewed in the CleanMPG - New Fuel Efficient Automobile Specifications
forum at the following: 2007 Honda Civic 2.2L iCDTi
2007 Honda Civic 2.2L iCDTi performance
The Civic Turbo-Diesels 0 - 60 times of 8.5 seconds is remarkable when tied to its FE capabilities. For everyday driving, you are only a quick step into the accelerator pedal away from a higher rate accel no matter the gear for passing or merging let alone having a little fun when that activity presents itself. It is not a Ferrari but amongst the FE oriented competition we have available in the US, it would have to be described as a rocket ship when compared to the past gen Prius-I and HCH-I, current gen Prius II and HCH-II and now defunct Honda Insight.
60 - 0 panic stop distances of 130 feet is std. fare for a compact sports sedan. With the European Civic’s performance oriented tires, braking was always surefooted no matter the conditions. Shod with a more conventional LRR tire found on the US based Civic’s (not the Si) may change its dynamics a bit and even that would be fine given the std. Civic is relatively sure footed when applying the binders in an emergency situation as most who have driven or owned one already know.
Then we have the Civic iCDTi’s fuel economy. This is by far the most important performance measure as long as the standard performance parameters of braking and acceleration are adequate. In the case of the Civic iCDTi, it will easily exceed anyone’s expectations who would be in the slightest bit interested in its available FE. What this vehicle offered was not just a hit in a college ball game but a grand slam in the World Series. This vehicle was truly an amazing drive from this reviewer’s perspective. Let me add this little note from the European Civic iCDTi brochure to tell you a little about this wonderful turbo-diesel engine.
Can hate be good?
Kenichi Nagahiro - Honda Chief Engineer. The man who created the VTEC engine. The man who helped develop our Formula 1 engine. The man who hated diesels. Until, that is, he was asked “Could he ever love a diesel?” He replied, “If it is the best”.
So he set about creating something that didn’t clunk and clank, but rather fluttered and hummed. Something that was easier on the environment and a whole lot nicer to drive. Something he fell in love with.
It’s quieter and more refined than any other diesel. Not only that, but it delivers all the performance, economy and driving satisfaction that you’d expect …
2007 Honda Civic 2.2L iCDTi Ride and Handling
The Civic iCDTi’s has a locked down road feel absorbing road imperfections with the std. Honda abrupt but not harsh feeling felt in the cabin.
During hard slower speed cornering, you will be well beyond your own “I should not be pulling this tight a turn at this speed” before the Civic iCDTi actually lets loose. Like most Honda sedans, there is a lot more tenths of a G then most here would be willing to take before a skid is actually encountered. Again, not a Formula One or a Viper by any stretch but given the conservative nature of our driving styles, this thing sticks like glue.
2007 Honda Civic 2.2L iCDTi – Crash test ratings (European NCAP)
Since the iCDTi follows Honda’s safety philosophy, this vehicle was equipped with front, side and side curtain air bags as standard equipment. The base even includes VSC (Vehicle Stability Control).
Frontal impact: 64 km/h (40 mph) impact into deformable barrier.
Simulates typical offset impact into another vehicle head on.
A short note about the 2007 Honda Civic iCDTi European NCAP crash test ratings. Because the 5-door hatch is unavailable in the US today, I used the European’s somewhat more comprehensive crash test ratings to come up with an apples to apples comparison we would likely experience in the event of a real world crash at some point in the future behind the wheel of one. I also included comparisons to the std. HCH-II and Prius-II results using the same European based NCAP tests shown below.
Honda Civic Hybrid NCAP-----------------------------------------------------
Toyota Prius NCAP
All the above vehicles were equipped with front, side and side curtain airbags.
2007 Honda Civic 2.2L iCDTi Comfort and Ergonomics
The front driver’s seat is almost perfect for a 6’-1” – 220 # individual like myself. With the included Honda tilt and telescopic wheel, a manual seat height adjuster and European based headrests being up close and personal for better rear crash protection and scores, I was right at home similar to the lux oriented Accord EX-L or fully loaded MDX Touring. This is a Civic after all so hip and shoulder room were at a premium but the way these buckets felt, I could get by without much other then a complaint about lack of power, heated leather and a lumbar adjustment. Some of us do have our limits and fortunately, the Civic iCDTi can be loaded up with NAVI, Bluetooth and leather in the more upscale versions
The center armrest and drivers side door sill were dead on for height when holding the wheel with one hand from either the 7 or 5 positions. Some of us do in fact drive a longer highway commute in this manner vs. the 10 and 2 we were all taught in drivers ed.
The Fan speed even set at max does not allow a tremendous amount of flow. Placing it in recirc does add a whole lot more CFM but running recirc in the heat is the last thing I would be doing using other then if I were running A/C.
I would like to see a few improvements but as the instrumentation is staged, this is well setup for a hypermiler. Very HCH-II like given the heritage with even more controls including VSC disable located within arms reach of the driver. The iFCD does not have enough resolution to lock into what is actually being consumed at any given moment. The difference between 0, 1, 2 or 3 L/100 km is just 3 ticks from one another and while driving at 2L/100 km per the iFCD most of the time, you simply do not know what she is actually holding at any given moment. If Honda were to bring the iCDTi over in its present form, allowing the HCH-II’s 0 – 120 mpg iFCD in the upper left top tier display would be the proper way to set the iCDTi up vs. the reverse LED’s as is displayed in that location currently.
There is a minimum and maximum speed warning at 50 and 80 kph if you so choose to enable them. When enabled, anytime time you pass under 50 or above 80 kph, a small warning appears in the iFCD location. It displays for ~ 2 seconds and disappears but that fact it displaces the iFCD for those 2 seconds is my personal gripe. Tapping the i button (information) drops out the warning immediately but if you do not need it, do not enable it!
About the i button. There are 7 functions to toggle through including the iFCD, aFCD, average speed, DTE, time the vehicle has traveled since the engine was started, seat belt minder for all passengers, and one mode turning off the small display in its entirety as shown below. My only issue with the toggle is you can not go backwards but must cycle through all 6 screens before you can get back to the one you want. For example, I am watching the iFCD and toggle to the aFCD with one push of the i button. To get back to the iFCD, I have to tap the button 7 times to bring me all the way back around to it. If only the i button toggled back and forth itself. There is also no Metric to English units switch unfortunately. There is a strange iFCD action with a dancing rise to almost max and fall while in a NICE-On at idle or between fuel cut and the injectors just coming online to keep her running (diesel’s do not have a throttle plate so fuel cut is fuel cut and can be seen on the OEM instruments). The dancing iFCD graphic during this low load/no load operation while still at speed does not make any sense?
The Start-button. I am not sure I like this Civic’s button based start just yet? To many times I reached for the key to FAS (this works) and bring her back up using the key (this does not) instead of the button when I have to use the gear reduction starter. It threw me off for a day or two but am quite positive a new Civic driver would become accustomed to it just as Prius drivers do in very short order.
Sightlines in the Civic iCDTi’s w/ the larger C-Pillar in the rear hatch area reveals a somewhat large blind spot. The looks and function are great but the large width of those pillars create a blind spot that you have to be careful with. The integrated rear spoiler adds the split view as any Prius or Insight driver has become all too familiar with. It looks great from an esthetic point of view but the function is not perfect by any stretch. Looking over the hood, the front corners disappear. Parking is not a problem given the size of the vehicle but not knowing where the actual front corners are can be a bit unnerving at first.
Shifting patterns. I was tentative while shifting the Civic iCDTi into 6th given 6th and R are next to one another following the gates. Fortunately, Mr. Bill passed on that 6th in this vehicle is probably similar to 6th in his Civic Si which turned out to be the case and R is quite a bit further over and includes a lockout vs. 6th. Once this knowledge was absorbed, I had confidence in pulling the stick back from 5th to 6th as fast as I normally shift without issue.
The iCDTi is very quiet from the outside although I only let it run for less then 2 minutes when priming the low pressure fuel pump after her first tanks fuel starve. You can easily have a conversation standing next to it while it idles in the background. Not as quiet as a gas only vehicle given you cannot hear some during idle, but quiet enough not to have to raise you voice when talking to someone standing right next to the iCDTi. From inside, the only time you hear the 2.2L is during an accel from very low RPM’s, when shutting her down for the day or after a FAS when she clatter’s for just a moment. At relatively steady state speed, you don’t hear or feel the diesel under the hood whatsoever.
2007 Honda Civic 2.2L iCDTi Instrumentation and Controls
Average Speed display.--------------------------------------------------
All passengers buckled up display.
Distance to Empty display which is always way off -----------------------------
Engine on-time display which resets after each FAS
Besides the 6 display screens shown above which are all accessed by cycling the i button on the steering wheel, all displays show Coolant temp, Tach, Exterior temp, Odometer, and the Fuel gauge. Trip A and B are also user selectable through yet another Sel/Reset button next to the i button on the wheel.
Drivers Side mirror with a unique wide-angle split view.--------------------
ICE-Start, Headlight level adjust, VSA off and gauge dimmer.
Mirror and rear defrost, A/C control, auto temp w/ recirc and outside.------
Radio controls – Great AM/FM – CD system for a base model!
Since it is the base European Civic iCDTi, it lacked CC unfortunately. The higher end models do include it as standard.
Something rather peculiar at first was that the drivers side mirror had a split section to it as shown in the pic above. Everyone knows how NA passenger side mirrors have that “Objects are closer then they appear” warning attached and what that looks like. The European Civic’s driver’s side mirror has a std. view straight to the back and another small portion where you can see further out into the blind spot of the vehicle. An interesting addition that took a while to get used to but allowed a view to almost where your peripheral vision picks up a vehicle while staring straight ahead. We need these mirrors in the US yesterday!
About the stereo radio. The base Euro Civic does not include Bluetooth but includes what most vehicles should come with in the base stereo/radio packages. A single CD player with a host of the advanced electronics that read the station, the song and the writer/performer when that info is broadcast. Most importantly, it sounds great for a base level vehicle! The location of the song info is in an upper right display just to the right of instruments and above the radio. The Accord has a similar smaller display in the upper center but this one is larger with a lot more information. Sound quality is not quite as nice as the Alpine NAVI/Radio unit in a higher end Accord/MDX but pretty close and one you would not need to upgrade other then for more features. Again, this is the base vehicle, not the upgraded one. The Europeans have a slightly different AM tuning band and yet another band I am entirely unfamiliar with. The AM band is called MW and the other unknown band is LW IIRC? I could not tune anything in on that alternate mode/band so I am not sure what it is? Also, the AM band does not exactly correspond with ours given my std. AM station is 780 AM. The AM tuner allows 763 and 783 so whatever they have over in Europe is slightly different from what we have over here? It tuned the US stations in but the frequencies did not correspond to what we are used to here is all.
2007 Honda Civic 2.2L iCDTi Fuel Economy comparison, analysis, FCD and actual results
|Year - Make/Model||Urban (City)/Extra Urban (Highway)||Euro Combined||07 US EPA City/Highway||08 US EPA City/Highway |
|2007 - Honda Civic EX w/ 5-speed manual||29/44||37||30/38||26/34 |
|2007 - Honda Civic iCDTi w/ 6-speed manual||36/55||46||38/52*||34/48*|
|2007 - Honda Civic Hybrid||45/55||51||49/51||40/45|
|2007 - Toyota Prius||47/56||55||60/51||48/45|
* Estimated FE ratings for the Honda Civic iCDTi on the 85-07 and 08 and later US EPA test cycles.
All tank fills were topped off and topped off again for the second and third fill up. Initial odometer reading was 5,700 km.
FAS’ing in the iCDTi appears to work as expected. When speaking with a technology lead of Honeywell about the latest Euro diesel turbo’s and how the average driver treats them, he mentioned most including him and his wife just shut them down. Honeywell was not seeing warranty issues with the 7.5 million they have on the road overseas to date that I remember.
P&G’ing in this thing is a dream. She will eat anything alive other then an Insight that I have driven to date. A Prius pilot using P&G can compete but it does not stand a chance with similar quality of drivers behind the windscreen of each. Do you want to go down to 12, 20 or 25 mph with the top end at 25, 30 or 40 mph? She will give you 100 + as shown below.
EPS during a Glide. This European Civic is EPS equipped. When starting off on a down slope in N with the car booted up, (those that you can get it to roll down anyway), you will be without PS which is expected. About 10 seconds into the powerless glide, the EPS comes to life and anyone that has experienced a PS to non-PS or back transition while in a turn knows it arrives unexpectedly and is definitely unwelcome. Nothing most hypermilers have not experienced in an EPS equipped hybrid before but you do have to understand the EPS’ shortcomings while using an advanced technique is all.
Not the best pic but the (6) ECO lights in the upper right hand corner are all lit, the iFCD is holding at 2L/100 km, the radio info display, temp setting at Lo with fan one tick below maxxed and all in a hellacious downpour at 53 mph.
Acceleration and steady state cruise. If there is nobody behind; you can bring her up through 6th gear without ever having to touch the accelerator pedal with an easy release of the clutch! This thing has unbelievable pull from down low and this trick is something I would never have expected. Pretty good FE while performing this little trick as well
Remember however that 5th and 6th is where the big numbers come from on the highway.
After a slow accel through the lower gears up to about 55 kph, place her into 5th, peg and attempt to hold the 6 LED throughout the rest of the accel. This allows you to hold a 2L - 3L/100 km range per the instantaneous. Once up to a steady state target speed in 6th, keep the ECO LED’s pegged and hold the 2L/100 km by DWL and DWB until a non-DWL cable climb is encountered and your minimum target speed has been breached. Once you have crested with no down slope relief, re-accelerating back up to your high end target while holding a 2 - 3L/100 km maximum appears to be the most efficient method for lower speed highway travel. Because she is a pure lean-burner, there is no NOx purge as there is in an Insight 5-speed or lean-burn capable HCH-I. What a joy it was not having to counteract a NOx purge cycle.
The Civic iCDTi appears to have 3 efficiency modes and all appear to be related to the 3 sets of ECO LED’s shown next to the Speedometer. 6-LED’s lit appears to show the iCDTi running on a single - low load – max FE - tuned swirl intake port and the highway numbers while DWL are between 1.9 and 2.9 L/100 km while cruising between 47 and 55 mph. With 4 LED’s lit during light accel’s, she will hold between 3 and 4L/100 km with an occasional peak of 5L/100 km. When you drop down to just 2 LED’s during a faster accel, 6 - 10L/100 km or more is the nasty result. After realizing the ECO lights may mean more then just a lava lamp to peg for max FE, I thought back to that intake port tricks that Honda designed into the iCDTi. When pulling out all the stops, concentrate on keeping those ECO lights pegged through long up hill’s and either going into Fuel cut on the longer downhill’s or holding just 1L/100 km while the iFCD begins its dance while on the highway while DWL. Above 55 mph is where you begin to lose the 5th and 6th LED and you pop up over 3L/100 km.
For the LS and MS P&G sections, I was using 3 ranges in traffic with beyond Prius deadly results. In an 18 – 45 kph mostly unmolested P&G and/or stop and crawls, using 2nd and 3rd appears to work extremely well. A clutch start at 18 kph and run 2nd up to 1,100 – 1,150 RPM. A very fast shift to 3rd and run that up to ~ 1,250 RPM’s at ~ 44/45 kph, then FAS. This yielded as low as 1.6L/100 km (147 mpg) but she mostly held onto 138 mpg after ~ 10 miles and even after the ¾ - 1 mile long blast to 65 mph.
For the 24 – 55 kph stop and crawls, 3rd and 4th work best. A clutch start at 24 kph and run 3rd up to ~ 1,350 RPM. A very fast shift to 4th and run that up to 1,400 RPM’s with a FAS following yielded as low as 2.0L/100 km (118 mpg) but she mostly held onto 2.1L/100 km or 112 mpg.
Below 17 kph, you are stuck with the Push button start and a quick first and maybe second if you have built enough buffer and the traffic moved a few car lengths with yet another FAS afterwards. The rate and ranges above other then the below 10 mph stop and crawls allowed outstanding FE and completely blew away my own expectations about what a modern Turbo-Diesel was actually capable of.
When pushing the Start Push button to bring her back to life, it is darn near instant. Honda in their infinite wisdom has forced the Accord into a lengthy 1 to 2 second spin-up before firing off whereas this thing is push button - spin - fire and you are on your way in less then a second. FAS’ and clutch starts are the method for some seriously high FE.
This Civic’s inability to coast downhill from a dead stop was probably due to the performance oriented tires but I wish I had more time to nail that issue down. The 55 series rubber does have a max sidewall of 51 so high pressures without the standard new member questioning “Is this tire going to explode” or “doesn’t the universe implode when you go to or above max sidewall” is not going to be a problem.
There is maybe a ½ mile of a barely discernable warm-up hit unlike most of the fuel misers we drive. This was yet another pleasant surprise. If you look at the temps encountered on the high speed run back to Detroit, this thing is a cold weather friend by comparison to what we are all used too!
Max fuel tank capacity and fuel starve. She is spec’ed for 13.2 gallons but held 13.935 from top off to fuel starve. She went 175 miles beyond the low fuel light and 185 km beyond 0 DTE per the OEM Display. There are plenty of warnings telling you to fuel up before you ever reach this point so take heed.
Low Fuel Graphic whenever you cycled through the OEM MFD-------------------------
Yet another warning (the small i) about low fuel.
Short note about running a diesel to fuel starve. You may want to have a crescent wrench to pull the fuel coupling into the common rail. Once you have a solid stream, connect her back up and she will light off like nothing happened.
Competition and Marathon levels of P&G yielded the following result:
138.3 mpg after 23 miles from the training center to the Interstate with ~ 1.5 miles of 65 mph limited Interstate mixed in.
Drive home with a decent tailwind yielded the following:
I have not achieved anything even close to 112.0 mpg for the drive home since the Insight left my hands and that was no easy task either!
Final Short tank while filled w/ B20.
Who would not be satisfied with 90 + mpg per the FCD nowadays?
And the rather surprising result from a quick drive (well quick for me anyway
) across IL., IN. and most of MI. on I-94 in 36 - 45 degree F temps throughout the middle of the night w/ no wind.
This was achieved with an average speed of 97 kph. She was sitting at 3.5L/100 Km and 101 kph before I hit the suburbs of Detroit if that gives you an idea as to the power and fuel efficiency of this diesel motor at speeds and in temps that would kill an Insight’s chances for the same.
Yet another reason to consider the soon to arrive Turbo Diesels. B20 is available in many locations around the Chicago area and the FE while consuming it appears not to have been affected given the CleanMPG observed. I was quite proud of the fact I could fill up with a high percentage bio fuel that does reduce CO2 emissions as well as reduces our dependence on foreign oil suppliers
2007 Honda Civic 2.2L iCDTi Future Emissions – capable of meeting the US’ Tier II/Bin 5 emissions requirements
In September of last year, Honda announced that it had developed a next generation diesel with a 50-state compliant emissions system built around the current 2.2L iCDTi. The revolutionary catalyst system reduces exhaust emissions to a level required by both CARB (LEV-2) and the EPA’s Tier II/Bin5.
Honda’s upcoming iDTEC (next generation iCDTi) is not only reported to be more powerful and fuel efficient but will incorporate this new Honda designed CAT using the reductive reaction of ammonia generated within the CAT to reduce oxides of NOx to a level unheard of from a CI-ICE.
This yet to be seen catalyst system is described as utilizing a two-layer structure: The bottom layer adsorbs NOx from the exhaust stream and converts a portion of it to NH3 (ammonia), while the upper layer adsorbs the ammonia and uses it later in a reaction that converts the remaining NOx back to harmless N2. Ammonia is a highly effective reagent for reducing NOx to N2 in an O2 rich, lean-burn exhaust stream. The ability to generate and then store the manufactured ammonia back on the upper adsorbant layer within a compact, lightweight NOx reduction CAT for the next generation iDTEC diesel is the key to Honda’s claim of 50-state compliance.
Reaction mechanism of Honda’s upcoming diesel centric NOx CAT system
- During lean burn operation, the NOx adsorbant layer adsorbs NOx from the exhaust stream.
- As needed, the engine management system adjusts the engine fuel-air ratio to rich burn, wherein the NOx in the NOx adsorption layer reacts with hydrogen (H2) obtained from the exhaust gas to produce ammonia (NH3). The adsorbant material in the upper layer temporarily adsorbs the NH3.
- When the engine returns to lean-burn operation, NH3 adsorbed in the upper layer reacts with NOx in the exhaust stream and reduces it to harmless N2.
Besides the new catalyst system, other enhancements we will see from the upcoming iDTEC motor are just as interesting. By further advancing the combustion control of the Euro Civic’s 2.2L iCDTi, Honda has achieved an even cleaner exhaust stream by optimizing the combustion chamber configuration, reducing fuel injection time with a 2,000 Bar (vs. the iCDTi’s current 1,600 Bar) common rail injection system and boosting the efficiency of the exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system. With these improvements, we can expect the upcoming Honda diesel to provide an even cleaner exhaust stream before reaching the new NOx reduction CAT all the while decreasing fuel consumption and increasing power output!
Meeting the new Tier II/Bin5 base emissions specs for a light duty diesel engine equipped vehicle is no easy feat. To date, only MB - Blutec system consisting of a Urea injection solution (Ad-Blue), urea storage tank and pump, SCR based CAT and DPF has been described as being 50-state compliant from a mass-produced automobile. VW has their own 50-state compliant system waiting in the wings for a early to mid 2008 release although the details of their system are sketchy as of this write-up.
2007 Honda Civic 2.2L iCDTi Conclusion
From its introduction, the Honda Civic 2.2L iCDTi turbo diesel changed the way many outside of Europe thought about owning or driving a turbo diesel. Our turn is fortunately coming. Here is a compact vehicle with fuel economy capabilities unrivaled by anything other then a Honda Insight or an ill-performing small European micro or sub-compact automobile. The now legendary Civic iCDTi Turbo Diesel offers performance and handling a demanding driver can live with and most here would be ecstatic to own. With its compliant ride and tight handling, great ergonomics and ability to achieve outrageous FE, this is the vehicle I am positive most will be pleased to call their own. The Turbo Diesel’s future in the US will signal a start for an entirely new generation of drivers who will never have to deal with driving a sub 30 mpg automobile. What in the world was the US thinking throughout most of the last century and beginning of this one?
Whether the US Honda Civic w/ a 2.2L iDTEC will be sold as reviewed or only placed in a larger, higher end vehicle with far less fuel efficiency expectations remains to be seen. Because of the iCDTi’s high torque output at low RPM’s, a standard compact based automatic transmission cannot be used therefore forcing Honda to consider the 6-speed manual as all European Civic iCDTi’s come equipped. Because of American’s apparent inability to drive a stick, this places Honda in a bit of a bind with regards to making the 2.2L iDTEC w/ a 6-speed manual transmission available to us. If not the manual, placing an overlay large automatic transmission in the Civic (if it is even possible?) would hamper the FE capability by a rather large degree. I do not believe a Civic with an Automatic transmission capable of the iDTEC’s output is in Honda’s plans.
Honda is rumored to be readying a larger 3.0L iDTEC w/ an automatic for the Accord and Acura lineups but that would probably not be a model most here would be interested in given the much lower FE under all conditions vs. a 2.2 in a much smaller and lighter weight Civic.
About Turbo-diesels vs. gas hybrids. The American press loves to write how hybrids are best utilized in smaller vehicles and diesels should only be placed in the larger ones. Well low and behold; a turbo-diesel is still upwards of 20 – 30% more thermodynamically efficient then a gasoline engine no matter the size. The next time you read a similar statement, consider the source. What would be great is a Honda iDTEC w/ a serial or parallel PHEV option sometime down the road. You have the extremely powerful and fuel efficient range extender in the iDTEC for your long distance trips and the PHEV for your daily commuting needs with its much lower emissions and not being tied to fossil fuel depending on how your local electric power production is sourced. Since that vehicle will not be available for some time to come, the current turbo-diesel equipped Civic iCDTi or next gen iDTEC would be a relatively inexpensive great choice for any of us looking for much higher fuel efficiency while gaining performance by comparison to what most here currently drive.
Honda has a new 200,000 vehicle capacity plant being constructed in Greensburg, IN. specifically designed for producing Civic’s for the 2009 model year. With that plant, let us hope Honda places the next generation 2.2L iDTEC with its accompanying 50-state compliant CAT in at least a few thousand Civic LX/EX/EX-L’s w/ the 6-speed manual and see how they sell? With gasoline and diesel prices what they are today, a vehicle with a 50 + mpg highway rating and far higher then that in the real world given what was achieved in this week long review would be a welcome addition vs. anything other then a PHEV or PHEV conversion we have available to us today.
With the above, if this vehicle fits your wants, needs and/or commute or not, I hope this review helped answer the question, “How good are the compact European Turbo Diesels”? This one in particular is spectacular in no uncertain terms.
A huge thank you to Ryan Eichler of Weber-Shandwick who not only provided me with the keys to the Honda Civic iCDTi in Detroit on a late Friday afternoon but took possession of the iCDTi at 05:30 AM on a Sunday morning and drove me back to the train station without a complaint. He was dedicated to making sure I received all the support needed during my week with the Honda Civic iCDTi. I would also like to thank Dianne Roffelsen of Honeywell who is in charge of the many Honeywell European Turbo-diesels currently circulating around the country for providing CleanMPG with the opportunity to drive this excellent Turbo Diesel equipped automobile.