Honda is finally bringing the Civic back to India, just ahead of the launch of the Civic today, Auto Tech Review brings you an exclusive on the engineering enhancements Honda has made to the Civic's engine, suspension & structure for India. The 8th generation Honda Civic was launched in India back in 2006; however, the company discontinued its production in 2012. Honda is now slated to re-launch the 10th generation Civic in India in March 2019. The new model to be launched here in India skips a generation from what consumers have seen previously, but even over the 9th generation (which did not make it to India) model, Honda has reworked multiple aspects of the Civic. The 10th generation Honda Civic is more agile, boasts of better control and ride comfort. For India, Honda has gone a step further to tune the suspension and dimensions, suiting road conditions specific to the sub-continent, along with many other engineering updates.
PLATFORM AND SUSPENSION
For Honda, the platform on the 8th and 9th generation models was more or less the same. But this time around, a lot has changed with the 10th generation model and is new. The 8th and 9th generation models were characterised with a flat floor, which meant there was no exhaust tunnel in the rear. With the 10th generation Honda Civic, the company has lowered the floor in order to lower the centre of gravity, resulting in better driving performance. By lowering the floor the new Honda Civic features an exhaust tunnel. In conversation with Kota Ikeuchi, Chief Engineer, Department 1, Technology Development Division 1, Honda R&D Co. Ltd., we learned that the redesigned chassis and its structure have greatly contributed towards improving body rigidity and stiffness. The weight of the structure has also been reduced by 22 kgs, while body rigidity has gone up by a substantial 25 %. Improvement in structural rigidity has contributed towards enhancing the Civic’s handling and driving dynamics.
For the new Civic, Honda has reworked the suspension setup in the rear. The previous generation model of the Civic features a double wishbone setup; this new Civic gets a multi-link suspension type. Globally, the Honda Civic is available as a hatchback, coupe and sedan. In order to achieve good performance on different body types, to be driven across varying terrains like the German Autobhan or other high-speed roads, the Civic is required to showcase excellent handling and cornering performance. In order to make the car more stable, the suspension has been reworked; the desired performance was achieved through the implementation of an independent multi-link suspension.
When bringing the new Civic to India, Honda has also paid heed to issues faced by the 8th generation model customers. The Civic in India is well known to scrape its under body over speedbreakers. With the 10th generation model, Honda has positioned the suspension higher; this has been specifically done for the Indian market. The new Civic in India is 20mm higher in the front and 15mm higher in the rear, when compared to the global spec model. Ground clearance is one indicator, says Ikeuchi, but the bottoming out comes from a rebound situation after the front wheel goes over a speed bump. In order to correct this, Honda has made adjustments to the dampers. Now for India spec models, the Civic comes with a bump stop rubber within the dampers which is 15mm larger than global models. The first impact is on the bump stop rubber, which then transfers load onto the dampers. This addition has resulted in little rebound over speedbreakers and a fast recovery from the damping situation to a normal position.
RE-ENGINEERED ENGINE & POWERTRAIN
The new Honda Civic comes back to India with the previously used 1.8 litre i-VTEC engine; a unit many loved and are familiar with. But Honda hasn’t simply reintroduced the engine; there are updates which give the naturally breathing motor more bite and longer legs. The new 1.8 litre, four cylinder, SOHC, i-VTEC engine produces roughly 139 hp at 6,500 rpm and 174 Nm of torque at 4,300 rpm. The major improvement on the engine has come from enhancing the efficiency of the exhaust and intake systems. The previous motor peaked at around 6,300 rpm, going higher; the engine was not able to get enough oxygen rich air, hence the efficiency declined. But with improvements in intake and exhaust systems, the new engine is refined and better performing than the previous motor. In contrast to the previous 1.8 litre unit, it is capable of revving higher and with better efficiency. Combined with the CVT transmission over the previous AT offered on the 8th generation Civic, Honda claims to have improved refinement. Keeping in mind the driving behaviour and prices, Honda chose not to bring in its turbocharged 1.5 litre petrol engine, stating that the 1.8 litre unit is the right choice for India.
Honda also has now introduced the 1.6 litre diesel engine on the new 10th generation Civic; the same motor used on the Honda CR-V is being offered with a 9-speed automatic. However, in India the Civic diesel is being offered with a manual 1.6 litre, four cylinder, turbocharged, DOHC, i-DTEC engine mated to a 6-speed manual transmission. The new 1.6 litre diesel engine features a EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) system which is cooled. This assists in improving emission efficiency. With BS-6 around the corner, the system is set to help reach emission compliance standards as well. Further to the cooled EGR, Honda will need to work on a NOx storage and catalyser along with a DPF filter on the diesel-powered models of the Civic. The clutch system on the manual transmission has also been made smoother with special adjustments made to the spring settings. This has enabled Honda to achieve lighter control for both clutching and shifting.
The new Honda Civic has received five star ratings in the ASEAN NCAP. The structure boasts of a highly efficient load distribution with proper arrangement of steel plates. For frontal collision, offset deformable barrier is rated for 64 km/h, side collision moving deformable barrier is rated for 50 km/h and rear seat occupant protection, wherein the offset deformable barrier is rated for 64 km/h. The new Honda Civic also boasts of improved aerodynamics. The front features a lower A pillar eddy, the front bumper has a lower side-wake while the rear bumper gets a curtailed drag to the rear of the vehicle. NVH has also been improved with the application of sound-preventing, sound-insulating and control materials. The new Civic gets dashboard insulators, hood insulators, fender pads, an integrated carpet insulator and rear wheel housing insulators. Honda has also applied an engine under cover and floor under cover absorption. The Honda Civic is well known for its sporty driving performance and dynamics. Honda has also added the option of turning off VSA, which is a combination of traction control and side sweep preventing with braking control. If one wants to intentionally drift the car, this feature can be turned off for a limited period of time.