By on December 1, 2011

It’s been a few years since we last detected much of a pulse from Honda [Ed: in fact, Paul Niedermeyer declared Hyundai the "new Honda" in terms of engine technology leadership way back in 2009]. But just when we were wondering if all hope was lost, and that it might be time to pull the plug…signs of life. In Japan, for the Tokyo auto show, Honda has unveiled ambitious new powertrain plans [via Automotive News [sub]].

The highlights:

A new “Earth Dreams” family of four-cylinder engines, all with DOHC and (after just about everyone else) direct injection [Ed: another shift from Honda's 2009 position, which was that direct injection wasn't worth the investment compared to hybrids]. With the shift to DOHC, Honda seems to have accepted the conventional wisdom that using a complex valvetrain to operate four valves per cylinder with a single cam entails too many compromises. One strong possibility with DOHC: more complex and nuanced variable intake AND exhaust valve timing.

The 2.4-liter four or the next Accord will kick out 181 horsepower, while the Civic’s 1.8 will make 148 and the Fit’s 1.5, for the largest and most needed bump, 127. All more competitive, but nothing earth-shattering. And the final production numbers will likely be a little higher. It’s possible that fuel economy was a higher priority, with an increase here of at least ten percent.

A new 3.5-liter V6 remains SOHC, but gains 30 horsepower, to 310.

A 1.6-liter diesel that’s as powerful as the current 2.2, but with much better fuel economy. I wouldn’t count on this one coming to North America.

For us: four- and six-cylinder “two-mode” hybrids. “Two-mode” in this case likely refers to the engines’ employment of VTEC to switch between the Atkinson and traditional Otto cycles, not a complicated transmission like that employed by GM in its large SUVs. At least the V6 hybrid will pair with a seven-speed dual clutch automated manual. In case that isn’t enough novelty for one powertrain, in a potential all-wheel-drive variant an electric motor will shunt power to the outside wheel in turns, curbing understeer. Combining a hybrid engine that can switch between two cycles with a dual-clutch transmission and a new approach to SH-AWD? This is the sort of out-of-the-box combo we used to be able to expect from Honda, but which we haven’t seen in a while. (No, the Acura ZDX doesn’t count.)

And the transmissions for the new conventional four-cylinders? Apparently Honda has decided to triple down on CVTs, developing three of them. Given Honda’s history with new transmissions, and the history of CVTs in general, these will warrant a close watch in TrueDelta’s Car Reliability Survey. Performance-oriented engines will continue to be paired with manuals and conventional automatics.

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77 Comments on “The Engine Empire Strikes Back: Honda Battles For Engine Technology Relevance...”


  • avatar
    kvndoom

    Well, I absolutely LOVE my J35 with 6MT. If the next V6 is 30HP more, I sure hope the Accord gets LSD and some type of torque steer management. It’s bearable now, but I bet it would be a bear with that much more power.

    • 0 avatar
      Spartan

      The best management Honda can come up with for torque steer is to turn the engine longitudinally.

      • 0 avatar
        TEXN3

        Agreed, which is why I do like my 98 3.2TL.

      • 0 avatar
        stuart

        …or install a layshaft with equal-length driveshafts, as Lotus did in the M100 Elan, or Fiat did in the Ritmo and the 500 Abarth.

        The fix isn’t very complicated; I’m dismayed this isn’t more common.

        stuart

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        You can also significantly reduce transverse-engine torque steer by using hollow drive shafts. Does Honda do that?

      • 0 avatar
        stuart

        I had a FIAT 128 with unequal length drive shafts, and the long one was indeed hollow (tubular). The 128 had very little torque steer, but that was mostly because it had no torque. :-)

        If one hollow/tubular driveshaft really fixed the problem, why would any manufacturer bother with a layshaft?

        stuart

    • 0 avatar
      Spartan

      The TL has always been a great car with the exception of the 1st Gen and the current generation. When the 3rd gen debuted for the 04 MY I wanted one, and still wouldn’t mind owning one to this day.

      Side rant, but yeah, always had a soft spot for the TL. I’m a former Honda Prelude (88/91 MY) owner myself.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        I think dude meant making some RWD cars.

        Honda is long overdue. IMO (no offense) the longitudinal setups in the old Legend/Vigor are cruel jokes. Honda hasn’t exactly hit any lulls but their story would have been much different had the Legend/Vigor had been RWD

      • 0 avatar
        TEXN3

        Agreed that the longitudinal setup is a cruel joke, but it does provide better balance then a transverse setup.
        I wonder if Honda was copying Audi or Cadillac when they came out with the Legend and then shortened Vigor/TL. The car was/is more of a cruiser than sport sedan like later TLs.

  • avatar
    stottpie

    got into an argument with the gf the other day:

    me: “i’d never buy an automatic honda”

    her: “but my hondas have never given me trouble, except that transmission problem i had in my [02] accord”

    me: “that’s my point, honda automatics are terrible and always break.”

    her: “but they last longer than your fords do”

    me: “which is why i want a honda without an automatic transmission.”

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    What’s so big about DOHC? Haven’t Honda been using them for a while? I believe the 2.4 in the 03 Accord was a DOHC i-VTEC. Or are they going to be making them more prevalent?

  • avatar
    jmo

    A new 3.5-liter V6 remains SOHC, but gains 30 horsepower, to 310.

    310 BHP Odyssey – that’s kinda funny.

    • 0 avatar
      Hank

      Horsepower in a vehicle hauling six people and their gear up an on-ramp on I-40 is safety equipment. You appreciate Honda’s 3.5 Odyssey in times like that.

      (just did 4,000 miles in one from the East Coast to TX and back…great vans)

  • avatar
    GS650G

    Honda transmissions seem to die behind their v6 motors frequently, just like the domestics did.

    • 0 avatar
      TEXN3

      They made one version of an automatic transaxle along side the J-series V6. This combo went into several cars, the issues have been resolved for years now. Time to move on.

      FWIW, the 4-speed automatic transmission (not a transaxle) in my V6 Acura has 138k on it. No rebuilds, smooth shifts at any RPM, and no metal found in fluids. So, you can’t use 1 transaxle as a case for all of Honda.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        I think GS650G would be more than willing to “move on” if the bleating about Citations, Taurus transmissions, would move along as well. FWIW my near 20 year old Ford transaxle is still all original…

      • 0 avatar
        TEXN3

        That is understandable, you won’t hear that coming from me. The Fords and Oldsmobiles in my family (including parents and 1 sibling) were as reliable as any Japanese vehicle we’ve had (3 Hondas, 2 Subarus)…of course that includes both a 90 Sable wagon and 07 Outback wagon blowing their headgaskets. The Subaru was under warranty.

  • avatar

    They’ve built SOHC and DOHC engines for very many decades. The current Accord (US) engine is DOHC, the Civic engine is SOHC. Generally, their higher output engines have been all DOHC.

    • 0 avatar

      Damn, has it already been many decades? The first Honda four-valve-per-cylinder engines I recall were the DOHC four in the 1986 Integra and the SOHC V6 in the 1986 Legend. I’m only aware of two other manufacturers who attempted the more complicated and more compromised but less expensive SOHC route, Chrysler with the 3.5 for the LHs and Mitsubishi. The 3.5 has been replaced by the DOHC Pentastar, so now only Honda and Mitsubishi. And down the road only Mitsubishi, or nobody at all?

      My point is that Honda seems to have reached the same conclusion as nearly everyone else: that SOHC multi-valve heads are a technological dead end.

      • 0 avatar

        I wasn’t strictly limiting myself to four-valve-per-cylinder heads, but DOHC heads in general. Honda had them in the sixties.

        I agree that with the increase in variable lift technology, SOHC is likely toast, at least until/if camshafts go away completely.

      • 0 avatar
        KitaIkki

        The 2.4L DOHC 16V L4 in Accord/TSX and Element/CR-V has been around since 2003 (Introduced with the then-new Accord)

        On the motorcycle side, Honda has had DOHC 16V L4 since the 1979 CB750. (but of course no VVT then)

        I am waiting to see if anyone attempts a dual-cam OHV for VVT. Perhaps GM will do that with their next gen small-block V8. One cam over the other, in the middle of the Vee.

      • 0 avatar
        DannyZRC

        I don’t really understand where all the negativity comes from regarding their SOHC engines.

        The new 3.5 with the 3 element vtec to allow VCM and VTEC both on the same engine is pretty neat, and they’re still doing it with belt driven camshafts, which is an indicator of low valvetrain drive losses.

        Also, Mr. Karesh, your comment that they could switch between atkinson and otto cycles is silliness. Unless they’re changing the volume of the combustion chamber, it’s not happening ;).

        KitaIkki, you should investigate “Cam in cam” technology, it was in production on the viper’s V10, and allows independent variable valve timing for intake/exhaust (only one is varied on the viper, I think it’s intake).

      • 0 avatar

        @DannyZRC

        In fact, you can use valve timing to have the same effect as a conventional Atkinson cycle, and I think this is what modern car engines do. If you google Atkinson you’ll find good explanations on the first page. The beauty of this is that you can actually use the valve timing to switch between otto and atkinson cycle, providing greater efficiency with the latter when you don’t need the power.

      • 0 avatar
        DannyZRC

        @David Holzman, the traditional atkinson engine uses an interesting crank arrangement to have asymmetric stroke lengths for longer working cycles.

        In current production “atkinson cycle” engines, the closing of the intake valve is delayed past bottom dead center by a significant amount, so while the piston is moving up the pressure in the working chamber is not rising above manifold. At the delayed closing point, the intake valve finally closes and the charge begins to compress. If you left the combustion chamber volume the same, the ratio of the volume from the point the intake valve closes to TDC would be lower, so you have to shrink the combustion chamber to get the desired compression ratio.

        With the shrunken combustion chamber, you get an appropriate optimized compression ratio and you get to enjoy the nice long working stroke of the atkinson cycle.

        You however, cannot switch between the two modes by changing the closing of the intake valve, because the combustion chamber is either sized for Otto in which case trying to reduce the intake charge would not have positive effects, or the combustion chamber is sized for atkinson cycle and trying to give it a full intake charge would lead to rapid unscheduled disassembly.

  • avatar
    greaseyknight

    Meh….yawn, totally boring compared to Mazda’s SkyActiv engines. That being said, I would lay good money on Honda motors being more reliable in the long term. Not bashing Mazda, but new technology generally has teething issues

  • avatar
    stuntmonkey

    2.4 liter = 181 horsepower,
    1.8l = 148
    1.5l = 127.

    The point about this is these numbers can be met with conventional technology today, but not with the engines as they are. These are power levels of engines with larger bore/stroke ratios, but it seems that the point Honda is trying to go with is to achieve these in a more mainstream friendly longer stroke format.

    I like DOHC too, but don’t see a pressing need for it in real-world driving… the exhaust cam control isn’t as pressing as the intake side until high rpm’s, so unless there’s a a low-RPM benefit, it’s an added piece of rotating inertial to the engine.

    I’m glad Honda held off on direct injection… under it’s current implementation in other engines, is there any guarantee that the EGR valve isn’t going to dump carbon on the intake valves? Current systems work well, but I view carbon deposits on Audi/VW etc the same way that I view repair lists for old BMW’s. Me and a buddy were running down the checklist of things to inspect before buying a used E46…. things like coil springs and shock mounts. And my thought was “Why would you ever have to replace that? You don’t worry about such things in a Japanese car.” And that’s the same way I feel about carbon deposits and intake values… until direct injection, it was off the radar in terms of things you had to think about.

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      Yes, from my limited understanding, SOHC offers slightly better low end torque than DOHC, which makes SOHC more usable for routine driving (unless you’re like me who likes to drive on the right side of the tach).

      SOHC engines are also a bit lighter than DOHC, so cars equipped with them have greater potential for being more fuel efficient and better handling. In contrast, DOHC has greater potential for more power.

      What Mazda’s SkyActiv shows us, however, is that it is possible to make a DOHC engine light, efficient, and powerful. Is that what woke up Honda to pursue “Earth Dreams?”

      • 0 avatar

        The point I didn’t make clearly enough is that with the Honda engines the single cam operates four valves per cylinder, so low rpm power should be similar to a DOHC four-valve engine. The SOHC design does permit more compact, lighter heads, though, and also saves the cost of a cam, which is somewhat offset by additional rocker arms, followers, etc. (compared to a DOHC engine where the cams directly operate the valves).

      • 0 avatar
        TEXN3

        The C-series has a very flat torque curve, I guess due to being 4 valves and SOHC.

    • 0 avatar
      KitaIkki

      Conservative Toyota is smart to use both direct and port injection in their D4-S engines. Port injection is there to clean the deposits on the back of the intake valves.

  • avatar
    Dan

    Honda’s VCM implementation on the J V6 is an either/or that replaces variable valve lift. Which makes the Accord, Odyssey, Pilot, Crosstour, etc. far and away weakest in class.

    If they’re claiming 30 more horses for 310 then the baseline is the 280 horse motor in the TL – which doesn’t have VCM and is already about as much as a FWD platform can handle.

  • avatar
    Litt

    Honda did make a DOHC 3.7 V6 the J37 for the MDX and my TL. IT is also make out of a silicone aluminum alloy so it is stronger and lighter than the 3.5 V6.

    My DOHC 3.7 v6 makes 305 HP. I hope they can now bump things up to 330 HP for the next generation of the TL.

  • avatar

    For some perspective, my 1994 Acura Integra GS-R had a 1.8 liter DOHC 4 that made 170 HP and averaged around 30 MPG mixed.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Based on outdated SAE and US MPG standards. The formulas for both changed in the 2000′s and many Japanese engines in particular were down rated on HP and torque with the change is SAE calculations and the new EPA MPG formula implemented in the 2008 model year (I think the SAE change came in 2004 or 2005…could be wrong).

      • 0 avatar
        CompWizrd

        assuming this works, http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/Find.do?action=sbs&id=10677&id=10676&id=10678 says 21/29 or 22/29 or 22/28 depending on the transmission.. so definitely below modern fuel efficiency by the EPA numbers, but the “real world” numbers there support a 30 mixed.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      It also weighed about 2700lbs… a weight I don’t doubt the next Fit will reach in its next iteration

  • avatar
    nikita

    The Fit was designed around and extremely compact SOHC engine. I just dont see how a DOHC head is going to “fit” in the available space in a Fit. I suspect the 1.5 will get DI and keep the single cam. the current engine already has above 10:1 compression on 87AKI gas. How high could it go with DI, 12:1?

  • avatar
    carguy949

    The 2.4 puts out 181 hp? Is that a misprint? The current one in the EX puts out 190. So all this new technology results in a drop in power? I realize fuel economy is the priority, but a drop in power is a big disappointment. Also, the 148 from the 1.8 only matches an Elantra which does not have DI. This doesn’t sound like the path to relevance.

    • 0 avatar

      Well, the current base engine peaks at 177, so 181 would be four more. And they did say these figures are preliminary and that the production figures will likely be higher. But as noted in the review the Fit appears to benefit most.

  • avatar
    stuntmonkey

    I think they mean that the next 2.4 will be 181 bhp in base trim. The current EX-L is 190, so 181 for starter would be an improvement. If they get to 195-200 bhp on 87 octane for the next gen EX-L, that would be a reasonable achievement, but not a means to an end, since the shape of the torque curve matters more than peak numbers for this type of engine.

  • avatar
    MrGreenMan

    Is there any rumor of any of these going into the CR-Z to give it that extra push to match the exterior styling aggressiveness they showcased with the Mugen add-ons, or will the FR-S/BRZ twins alone show us how to do cheap Japanese fun?

  • avatar
    volvo_nut

    VTEC just kicked in, yo.

  • avatar
    FromaBuick6

    Oh boy, CVTs. Watch them cut the manual from from the Accord altogether while they’re at it. As it stands, you can only get a five speed stick on cheapo Civics and Accords with plastic hubcaps, cheap upholstery and non-variable wipers, or on the prohibitively expensive Civic Si and Accord EX-V6

    Honda keeps finding new ways disappoint their long-suffering fans.

    • 0 avatar
      kvndoom

      If that happens, then my first Honda will be my last. That 6-speed in my car is the best shifter I’ve ever had the pleasure of rowing. I love the car, but I am loyal to no brand.

  • avatar
    Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

    I wonder how/where the timelines of the end of Soichiro Honda’s life and the start of Honda’s mediocrity intersect.. Cuz they were getting mediocre at 100+ Yen to the dollar..

    Or was it the $$$ poured into the HondaJet and FCX Clarity?

    This’ll make an interesting book..

  • avatar
    CompWizrd

    I’m not really sure the Fit needs any more power.. I’ve been happy with mine, the only time it hurts is getting on the freeway.. once you’re on the freeway it’s got enough power.

    Would like to see it lose a couple hundred lbs though.

    Oh, and my previous car was a 4th gen Trans Am, so there’s a comparision point for you.. As they say, “rather drive a slow car fast than a fast car slow” and the Fit handles better and accelerates just fine for city traffic.

    I wouldn’t mind even more fuel economy though, I’m doing about 30 city and 35-40 highway in mine.

  • avatar
    don1967

    The 2.4-liter four or the next Accord will kick out 181 horsepower, while the Civic’s 1.8 will make 148 and the Fit’s 1.5, for the largest and most needed bump, 127.

    What an age we live in. They say that before our great-grandchildren are born, Honda will have invented the 2011 Hyundai.

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    Can anyone remember the good old times when a Honda S2000′s 2.0 screamed out 240 hp, and the Integra’s 1.8 made 190 hp?
    Well, back then Hyundai was making 2.7 liter v6 engines with 170 hp…

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      Nowadays, you can obtain 240hp more frugally than by spinning a tiny engine at 9000rpm; and efficiency measured in terms of power / mpg is now more important than measured in terms of power / volume.

      The fascination with specific output, is in and of itself an artificial holdover from racing rules. For a street car, worrying about it doesn’t really make much sense.

      In cars with a proper manual tranny; low torque, high revving engines are nice, in that you can have a light clutch (since it doesn’t have to deal with much torque), and the cars are easy to drive smoothly at low revs, since there’s not enough of neither torque nor engine braking at low revs to make smoothness difficult. Then, when power is needed, you simply drop a few cogs and off you go.

      With variable valve timing and lift, you can get good fuel economy as well, as long as you stay in low revs. Many Hondas demonstrate this, although in the S2000, things were taken so far in order to maximize power, than efficiency even at lower revs was somewhat compromised. NA Valvetronic engines from BMW also have good specific output, along with great fuel economy.

      • 0 avatar
        duffman13

        Speaking as an owner of an RSX-S, I’m a bit biased, but whatever. The right side of the tach is more fun anyway, and I always found that the dual nature of Honda’s performance-oriented VTEC motors (dead as of the 2.4L Civic Si) to be rather refreshing. The thing I like the most is that the dual nature keeps me out of trouble for the most part unless I decide I really want to wind the thing out.

        My RSX-S has more than enough power to zip around town but becomes a completely different animal once you cross that 5000rpm mark, and stays in crazy mode all the way up to 8600 (mine’s chipped, don’t remember what the stock VTEC window was). The i-VTEC motor actually varies the cam angle too, as well as cam changeover, and if I don’t beat on it I average in the high 20s city and around 32-34 on road trips.

        I don’t know why they killed that motor, having a sad.

    • 0 avatar
      don1967

      The right side of the tach is more fun anyway

      Compared to the left side of a Honda tach, anything is fun.

  • avatar
    jaje

    Honda has for so long lets its core products (engines) lag behind most of the competition who upgraded to DI, forced induction and other creative means to make their engines more frugal, powerful and clean. Honda instead focused heavily on fuel cells (Honda sells what 10 total a year under a pure marketing lease experiment), IMA hybrid system (very poor sales), CNG (not sure if they ever sold any retail units), VLJ, garden equipment and motorcycles. No longer do Honda cars have the passion or soul they used to have – the unmeasurable quality for the vehicle to feel like the extension of the driver forgiving things like higher road noise or peaky power of the engines. Ironically Honda has applied the “driving appliance” approach to their lineup while Toyota will bring over the FT 86 which was not designed by suits or marketers who’ll say anything to sell it.

    • 0 avatar
      nikita

      CNG cars were and are sold retail. We have had two of them.

      Motorcycles were the core business long before automobiles. If you kill that off in order to focus on cars only you really would kill the “soul” of the company. BMW is still making bikes and aircraft engines.

      You forgot outboard motors, some of which just use converted auto engines as the powerhead. I agree that IMA has turned out to be an inferior hybrid system to the competition and fuel cells are probably a dead end.

  • avatar
    wmba

    Michael,

    Subaru’s 2.5 l engines have been SOHC 4 valve engines since 1998. The turbos got a dohc. Now the new FB engine is dohc. Sohc 4 valves end up with too wide an included valve angle for really good combustion chamber design, unless heroic measures are taken, and that’s self-defeating. Might as well go dohc.

    Since the Accord engine (CRV and TSX) is already dohc, can’t see what the hoopla is about there. The Civic going to dohc and a whopping 8hp gain might be news (yawn). The Fit will now scream at even higher revs.

    There’s three kinds of DI, and VDubs are the most ancient and prolific sludge producing with the worst intake valve coking. Toyota has the most modern and mixes it with port injection for overall best results. As stated above, PCV valve design and PCV itself seems to have turned out to be critical in reducing intake valve deposits. That includes those big air galleries between cylinders just above the crank. BMW N20 engine is similar.

    Finally, direct fuel injectors of the very latest type have reverted to solenoid types as per BMW N20 engine.

    The GKN torque vectoring differential as per BMW X5 is a more advanced SH-AWD, working on both acceleration and deceleration. Honda’s only works under power, so perhaps they’re ditching gears for an electric motor. What drives this necessarily powerful motor? A special battery pack? Not enough details to understand the implementation.

    So far, I’m not knocked out with Honda’s new stuff. I agree with another poster – Mazda Skyactiv seems genuinely new.

    • 0 avatar

      I thought I might have forgotten one–the Subaru. But as you note, they’ve also gone DOHC with the new four.

      Interesting on the three sorts of DI.

      My guess based on just the AN article (there might be more detail elsewhere) is that the new AWD system will be like that in the Highlander Hybrid, with the rear wheels entirely powered by an electric motor, no longitudinal driveshaft.

      In my experience SH-AWD has the most dramatic impact, perhaps because it not only shunts torque to the outside wheel but also spins it faster. But, while the results can be fun, the Audi and BMW are likely better in terms of improving the performance of the car.

  • avatar
    handplane

    Not a lot of wrap on that alternator pulley.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Yeah but it looks like it’s got a one-way clutch or over-running decoupler style pulley so they can get away with lower wrap and tension for less frictional loss.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        The over-running pulley is starting to become more common. All in the interest of eeking out a bit more economy. I guess in the future when you buy a reman there will be one more thing to worry about.

  • avatar
    stuki

    Man, I misinterpreted the headline as meaning Honda showed off something ground breaking…..

    This is so far behind the heat tolerant twin turbo, direct injected, valvetronic high revver BMW stuffs into the M5 as to be almost laughable from a “techy” engine perspective.

    I realize Honda’s priorities are very different than BMWs (as in; being minimally reliable; and fixable for less than the cost of a new Honda), but late 80s Honda F1 level engine tech supremacy, this sure is not.

    • 0 avatar

      “Battles for relevance” led to such high expectations?

      I’ll grant that it’s a sign of how far behind Honda has fallen that simply catching up to everyone else warrants this attention.

      • 0 avatar
        orick

        it’s the ‘empire strikes back’ part that throw people off. Honda hasn’t been an engine empire for a while and this is not a strike back. This just barely playing catch up.

        On saying that, Honda engine reliability is still way ahead of the pack IMHO. Maybe their priority has just shifted from technologically advancement to reliability and fuel effiency. We just need to shift our perception.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        Like orick states, it was the “strikes back” part, mixed with memories of the NSX era’s Honda.

        To be honest, I don’t much mind Hondas engines, as I’d personally rather have long term, hard use reliability than whatever additional 5-10% fuel economy and low end torque all the DI’ed turbos offer. And Honda engines still remain smooth and thrash free at the somewhat higher revs where they produce their power.

        But that priority depends crucially on my preference for the kind of slick shifting manuals Honda has traditionally offered. When coupled with a sluggish slushbox, the barely-updated-from-the-90s Vtech engines, just don’t shine the way newer designs do.

      • 0 avatar
        mcarr

        This is not “catching up to everyone else”. It’s basically just enough to keep from falling of the engineering radar. I understand how this is news, but it’s just another symptom of Honda’s continuing mediocrity. News that Honda is going to start making refrigerators would be more groundbreaking than this.

        If Honda was trying, I honestly think we could see something like a 1.8L 180 hp engine with excellent low end torque and 40 mpg on the highway that would go 300,000 miles reliably. Traveling back to the 90′s, would that have seemed so far fetched to expect now?

      • 0 avatar
        stuntmonkey

        >If Honda was trying, I honestly think we could see something like a 1.8L 180 hp engine with excellent low end torque and 40 mpg on the highway that would go 300,000 miles reliably. Traveling back to the 90′s, would that have seemed so far fetched to expect now?

        Yes. Even if you could achieve that, not all of us want to use premium for our everyday commuters. Short stroke/high bhp screamer or long stroke-torquable driver, take your pick, but you must choose one before all of the other engine parameters are set.

      • 0 avatar
        Zykotec

        ‘Yes. Even if you could achieve that, not all of us want to use premium for our everyday commuters. Short stroke/high bhp screamer or long stroke-torquable driver, take your pick, but you must choose one before all of the other engine parameters are set.’

        Honestly, a combination of late 1980′s Saab turbo tech, 1990′s Honda Vtec’s in a reasonably lightweight aerodynamic chassis should easily do 40mpg with as LITTLE as 180 hp from a 1.8…

      • 0 avatar
        WheelMcCoy

        >>>
        If Honda was trying, I honestly think we could see something like a 1.8L 180 hp engine with excellent low end torque and 40 mpg on the highway that would go 300,000 miles reliably. Traveling back to the 90′s, would that have seemed so far fetched to expect now?
        <<<

        The little known 1997 Honda Civic HX had SOHC VTEC-E (economy) engine. Sort of the reverse of customary VTEC, VTEC-E deactivated one intake valve for better fuel economy. That car got 37 city / 44 highway!

        But it didn't really sell. Specs weren't that bad for 1997, were they?

        1.6L engine
        0-60: 9.3 secs
        Peak bHP: 115 @ 6300 rpm
        Peak Torgue: 104 @ 5400 rpm.
        Curb weight: 2324 pounds

    • 0 avatar
      DannyZRC

      All that stuff you mentioned as high tech is stuff that will be gone again in 5-10 years.

      Turbocharging just isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and all of these avant-garde gizmos that are in fashion right now are expensive and inelegant, they are hardly the stuff long term progress is made of.

      Honda, on the other hand, continues to make excellent engines using real honest engineering, with durable and elegant solutions using refinement and patient, high quality iterative development.

      And : Valvetronic, revvy? hah!

  • avatar
    quiksilver180

    Now all they need to do is improve their designs…

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    It’s about time. You know when Hyundai introduces SIDI 200 HP 2.4 liter engines capable of 35 highway in there mid size cars and 1.6 engines in there Accents with the same injection that offers 40 highway something is wrong at Honda. Even worse is the fact that Chevy has been using SIDI on there 2.4 for several years now along with there 3.6. There 6 speed automatics seem more advanced than the 5 speeds Honda has used for like forever now too. Now Honda just has to work on there designs which in the case of the newest Civic have taken a giant step backwards.


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