An exciting new chapter in the history of Honda diesels has begun with the arrival of the brand’s hotly anticipated 1.6-litre i-DTEC engine. This is the first engine to be launched in Europe under Honda’s flagship Earth Dreams Technology environmental programme and will offer customers an outstanding balance of high fuel economy, low emissions and exciting performance.

The new engine makes its debut in the British built Civic which will be arriving in dealerships from early next year, priced from just £19,400 and will also be making its way into the new CR-V SUV later in 2013.

  • Eagerly anticipated small diesel engine available in the Honda Civic from January 2013
  • Offering a class-leading combination of fuel economy and performance – emitting only 94 g/km of CO2 with a powerful 120PS
  • Offers an outstanding 78.5 mpg on the combined cycle
  • A ‘no compromise’ car for the corporate market
  • Developed exclusively for Europe and built in the UK
  • Prices start from just £19,400

The all-new powerplant has been developed exclusively for Europe, and tested extensively on a variety of roads across the continent. As with the Civic itself, the engine has been built at Honda’s state-of-the-art factory in Swindon.

This new engine catapults the Civic into the competitive corporate market, offering a ‘no compromise’ vehicle for the corporate customer. With a class-leading combination of fuel economy and performance, the new fuel-sipping Civic 1.6 i-DTEC keeps running costs low by emitting only 94 g/km meaning free road tax and with 78.5mpg on the combined cycle, it’s longer between fill ups. Combine this with a pokey 120 PS to maintain driver enjoyment and Honda’s acknowledged reputation for reliability, it’s a car which is expected to catch the eye of company car fleet managers and user choosers.

The 1.6 i-DTEC unit features a 6-speed manual gearbox and has an exact capacity of 1597cc and in the Civic offers a maximum power output of 120PS at 4,000rpm while maximum torque is 300Nm at 2,000rpm. The new variant will be available in three generously equipped trim levels. Prices will start at a very competitive £19,400 for the SE model, £20,595 for the ES and £23,175 for the top-of-the-range EX.

The specification for this trio of new variants will be identical to the equivalent 2.2-litre i-DTEC cars, but with the addition of new 16-inch alloy wheels. The 1.6 i-DTEC EX has also been enhanced with several desirable convenience features including front and rear parking sensors, an auto-dimming rear view mirror and DAB digital radio.

Honda’s advanced i-DTEC diesel technology has already proved its environmental credentials over a number of years. It went on sale in the UK in 2.2-litre guise in the refined Accord Saloon/Tourer in 2008 and the award-winning CR-V sports utility vehicle in 2010.

Early interest in the new 1.6 i-DTEC Civic has been very positive and it’s expected to be warmly welcomed onto fleets when the first deliveries commence in January 2013.

Update 16/11/2012:

The new 1.6-litre i-DTEC diesel engine is the first engine from Honda’s Earth Dreams Technology series to be launched in Europe. This new engine will make its introduction in the Civic at the beginning of 2013 and offers a class-leading combination of power (120 PS) and torque (300 Nm @ 2000 rpm) with CO2 emissions of just 94 g/km.

“The key focus of our Earth Dreams Technology philosophy is to balance environmental efficiency with the dynamic performance expected of a Honda,” says Suehiro Hasshi, Large Project Leader for all Civic models in Europe including the 1.6-litre i-DTEC. “It is important that our cars are fun to drive.”

“This is a new approach from the ground up,” Tetsuya Miyake, Project Leader for the 1.6-litre i-DTEC engine. “There were no benchmarks for us because those targets would have been too low. We were determined to establish a benchmark of our own that our competitors would have to follow.”

“Developing this engine has been all about smart, pure engineering,” says Suehiro Hasshi. “Our motivation has been to make many small detail improvements that, together, make a major difference. That is the challenge and the beauty of the Earth Dreams Technology philosophy.”

The new 1.6-litre i-DTEC engine has been specifically designed for the European market, to meet growing customer demand for low emission diesel engines. The new engine will be built at Honda’s European manufacturing facility in Swindon, UK.

Demonstrating the importance of this new diesel engine to Honda’s sales plans in Europe, a new purpose built diesel engine production line has been installed at Honda of the UK Manufacturing (HUM). This new line is capable of producing up to 500 diesel engines in one day. Operating on a two shift pattern this equates to 1 engine every 138 seconds. The new line will produce both the new 1.6-litre i-DTEC and the existing 2.2-litre i-DTEC engines.

The 1.6-litre i-DTEC diesel engine will also be applied to the new CR-V (also built at HUM) later in 2013, and the Earth Dreams Technology philosophy will be applied to all of Honda’s power trains in the future.

Lightest Diesel Engine in its Class
Honda’s new 1.6-litre i-DTEC is comprised of an aluminium cylinder head joined to an open deck aluminium block. It is the lightest diesel engine in its class, weighing 47kg less than Honda’s 2.2-litre i-DTEC engine.

All the individual components have been redesigned to minimise their weight and size and advanced production techniques have helped reduce weight even further.

The thickness of the cylinder walls has been reduced to 8mm, compared with 9mm for the 2.2-litre i-DTEC. This is an exceptional achievement for a diesel engine. In addition, lighter pistons and connection rods have been utilised in the 1.6-litre i-DTEC.

Reduced Mechanical Friction
The key target for Honda’s development engineers was to reduce the mechanical friction of the 1.6-litre i-DTEC engine to the level equivalent of a petrol engine. “All the rotating parts have been carefully optimised to reduce their friction,” says Tetsuya Miyake. For example, a shorter and thinner piston skirt has been used. At 1500rpm, the 1.6-litre i-DTEC has around 40 per cent less mechanical friction than the 2.2-litre i-DTEC.

“This not only reduces emissions and improves fuel efficiency; it also improves the engine’s response, both on and off the throttle, making the car more fun to drive. We have reduced the mechanical friction of the engine to the level equivalent of an existing petrol engine, which is an outstanding achievement.”

Clever Turbocharger
The 4th generation Garrett turbocharger used on the 1.6-litre i-DTEC engine features an efficient variable-nozzle design and its rotational speed is precisely controlled by the car’s electronics, minimising turbo lag and providing an optimal combination of low- to mid-range pull and high-speed performance. The turbo has a maximum boost pressure of 1.5bar.

Efficient Fuel Injection System and Air Flow
Honda’s 1.6 i-DTEC uses a Bosch solenoid injection system which is capable of operating at a high pressure of 1800bar. A high fuel pressure means that the fuel is injected at a faster rate and the finer the atomization of the fuel spray. This improves the fuel mixing with the air resulting in a cleaner and more efficient combustion helping to achieve the low emissions and fuel consumption.

Honda’s engineers have also worked to improve the volumetric efficiency of the cylinders, employing a high intake flow and a high swirl head port precisely controlling the combustion process to reduce hot spots that create unwanted emissions. The engine air flow is managed by using an EGR (Exhaust gas recirculation) system that operates at high and low pressure to reduce NOx emissions.

High Performance, Low Emissions
Max power: 120PS @ 4000rpm
Max torque: 300Nm @ 2000rpm
Fuel economy (EU combined): 78.5 mpg
CO2 emissions: 94 g/km