Revised Civic family
Honda’s British-built Civic range will get a refresh this autumn, and is on show for the first time at Paris. The changes include a new 1.4-litre engine, conventional automatic transmission and subtle exterior and interior changes that will enhance the Civic’s popular styling.
Long-awaited Championship White Type R
Fans of the ‘Red H’ badge have been eagerly awaiting a white Type R since the high-revving model was launched in 2007. Now their calls have been answered with the launch of a higher specification, Championship White model, which makes its European debut at the Paris Motor Show.
New-look Civic Hybrid
Honda’s 4-door hybrid saloon has been given a facelift and is on show for the first time at Paris. Cosmetic changes, including tweaked front and rear lights, a more aggressive bumper and a new design of alloy wheel improve the overall appearance of the car.
RE-STYLED CIVIC FOR 2009
Honda’s British-built Civic range will get a subtle refresh this autumn, in direct response to customer feedback.
The Civic has been a resounding success in the UK since it was launched three years ago, proving critics wrong with a stylish design that still looks as good as it did at launch. Therefore only minor changes, such as premium plastics and new trim materials, have been required to bring the car bang up to date.
A new 1.4-litre engine has been introduced on both 5-door and Type S models providing a more affordable option for younger customers or those looking to downsize. For the first time a conventional automatic transmission is now available on the Civic 5-door model, while a revised i-SHIFT automated manual transmission is available across both body shapes.
The revised range will go on sale later this year.
1.4 - Low emission, frugal engine joins Civic line-up
The newest addition to the Civic engine line-up is Honda’s 1.4 i-VTEC petrol engine – an entry level, Euro 5 engine with improved CO2 emissions, fuel economy, torque and power – that will appeal to customers wanting the Civic’s stylish looks and practicality at a lower price point.
Compared to the previous i-DSI unit which produced 83 PS and 119Nm, power is up to 100PS at a slightly higher 6000rpm and torque is 127Nm at 4800rpm.
As well as VTEC valve-train technology, other enhancements include an improved combustion chamber shape, drive-by-wire throttle, a composite intake manifold with resonator chamber that offers good low and mid-range torque and a narrow timing chain and tensioner that reduce weight.
Friction reducing technologies include roller-tipped rocker arms, an offset crankshaft/connecting rod design, plateau honing of the cylinders for a smoother surface and a special piston surface coating which is better at oil retention and optimised piston ring tension.
Elsewhere, high-strength con-rods, forged as one unit, and then ‘cracked’ in two, create a lighter and stronger rod with perfectly fitted bearing cap that significantly reduces the weight of moving parts for increased efficiency.
CIVIC 5-DOOR FAMILY PRACTICALITY
The futuristic yet practical Civic 5-door has been a firm family favourite since its launch in 2006 and the revised model’s subtle changes will continue this success.
As well as the option of the new 1.4-litre engine, the Civic 5-door will now be available with a newly-developed, conventional automatic gearbox and a revised i-SHIFT automated manual transmission.
Uprated exterior plastics and a new rear combination light cluster have been used to make the car’s overall appearance more premium, while changes to the grille have been made to aid cooling and accommodate the new auto ’box.
Inside, a brushed metal effect trim and matt finish, as seen in the Type R, have been applied to the instrument console. Replacing the Piano Black, these are easier to clean and maintain. New seat fabrics have also been introduced.
Rear parking sensors and iPod connectivity are now offered on higher grade models as standard – the USB port allows the iPods to be operated through the main audio system and steering wheel controls, while lower grades have iPod playback capability through the auxiliary port.
For the first time on Civic, a conventional 6-speed automatic gearbox will be available. This has been developed exclusively for the 5-door 1.8-litre model to suit customer driving styles and preferences. The Civic 5-door will also retain the smooth 5-speed manual transmission available since launch.
Revised i-SHIFT (6-speed automated manual transmission)
Honda’s next-generation 6-speed i-SHIFT automated manual transmission can also be paired with the 1.4-litre and 1.8-litre petrol engines, offering reduced CO2 emissions.
Improvements from the previous i-SHIFT unit include: reduced gear change times, smoother shifts and more intelligent automatic mode shift logic.
The driver can choose between either Auto Mode for a more relaxed driving style, or Manual Mode for a sportier driving experience, using the sequential gearshift or steering wheel mounted paddles – the left paddle controlling down-shifts and the right paddle for up-shifts.
Automatic Mode is selected by moving the gearshift to the left of the gate, while sequential changes in Manual Mode are made by moving the lever either forwards (up changes) or backwards (down changes) in the main gate or by using the paddles.
The shift lever requires only a short movement to select the next gear for easy and comfortable use and reverse gear is in the conventional manual position for familiarity when driving.
The conventional clutch pedal is replaced by a Transmission Central Unit that controls the clutch via an actuator with hydraulic power generated by a DC motor, meaning gear changes are quick and smooth.
Intelligent Automatic Mode
Drivers can override Automatic Mode momentarily by switching to paddle operation *– to change down a couple of gears for added acceleration, for example – after which, the system will automatically return to Automatic Mode.
The selected gear in both automatic and manual shift modes is shown in a display located within the fuel gauge dial, with the letter ‘A’ next to the gear number when Automatic Mode is selected.
The i-SHIFT gearbox is designed to adapt to different driving conditions by using a series of shift maps. For example, when driving downhill, the system will shift down to provide engine braking. On the latest system a yaw rate sensor detects cornering and holds the present gear, rather than shifting to avoid upsetting the car’s balance or causing hesitation, allowing the Civic to accelerate smoothly out of the corner. In addition, after starting the engine with the lever in neutral, the system defaults to Automatic Mode or when the car stops in fourth gear, the intelligent system will automatically shift back to first in both modes.
The intelligent system also safeguards the engine. For instance, at low rpm the system will not shift up, even if instructed to do so, to prevent malfunction and engine knocking, and it will automatically shift up just before the red line in order to avoid damaging the engine by over-revving.
Hill Start Assist
All i-SHIFT Civic models are now equipped with Hill Start Assist, which when pulling away from standstill on an incline, continues to apply the brakes for a moment as the driver moves their foot from the brake pedal to the accelerator, preventing the car from rolling back.
Shift Indicator Light (SIL)
All manual transmission Civics now feature a SIL (Shift Indicator Light) within the centre of the rev counter (as found on the latest Accord) that detects whether there is surplus, or a shortage of torque and provides the driver with a visual prompt of the best point to change gear and maximise economy.
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CIVIC TYPE S
Revisions to the latest Civic Type S have been modelled on its sporty Type R counterpart to offer younger customers a ‘baby brother’ to the Type R at a more affordable price.
Changes include body coloured bumpers and skirts derived from the Type R, a mesh grille and clear rear combination lamp that distinguish it from the 5-door version. Uprated interior plastics with brushed and matt finish for the centre console have also been carried over from the Type R and the sporty Alcantara seats have been retained.
Like the 5-door, higher grade Type S models are now fitted with iPod connectivity and rear parking sensors.
Type S transmissions
The revised i-SHIFT automated manual transmission will also be available on Type S petrol models and benefits from quicker, smoother gear changes and improved shift logic. However, for more enthusiastic drivers, the 1.8-litre engine Type S models will have an additional ‘Sports’ button allowing longer revving before shifting up to the next gear. The i-SHIFT will also be equipped with Hill Start Assist.
The 5-speed manual transmission remains on all petrol and diesel models as standard and features a SIL (Shift Indicator Light).
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CHAMPIONSHIP WHITE CIVIC TYPE R
The crowning glory in the Civic range is a long-awaited, higher specification Type R GT in Championship White.
Fans of the ‘Red H’ have been eager to get a Civic Type R in white since the latest body shape was introduced in 2007 and now their calls have been answered. This car will be available to order from the end of the year with all models built at Honda’s manufacturing plant in Swindon.
As well as the distinctive Championship White paint finish that evokes memories of Honda’s first F1 car in 1963, this Type R gets 18” white alloy wheels, a contrasting smoke chrome finish on the badges, door handles, fuel lid and front grille and exclusive Type R plaque.
And there’s more. The powerful 2.0 litre i-VTEC engine, which produces 200PS at a spine tingling 8000rpm is now mated with a Limited Slip Differential that sharpens the car’s handling and driving dynamics even further. Around our test track in Tsukaba, Japan, the ‘white hot’ Type R shaves 1.44 seconds off the standard car’s time.
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