The 2016 Honda Civic Turbo Almost Didn't Happen

Mark Stevenson
by Mark Stevenson

While Honda has traditionally been a company of engineers pushing the boundaries of their know how, the 1.5-liter turbocharged engine in the 10th generation Civic almost didn’t happen for 2016 due to some reluctance within the company, reported Automotive News on Sunday.

The new mill was initially slated to be offered as part of a mid-cycle refresh in 2017 or 2018 (possibly for the 2018 or 2019 model years), but with the Civic getting such a thorough overhaul, key people involved in the Civic project made a case for the turbo engine to be offered earlier.

“The thinking was that the new Civic needs this engine to go where we want it to go, to make this model such a leapfrog event, such a strong competitor, not just in North America but around the world,” Gary Evert, the Civic’s chief engineer and North American development leader, told AN.

Such a powerful engine in the Civic wasn’t seen favorably by many within the company. However, Mitsuru Kariya, global development leader for the Civic, was able to make a case for the engine based on the success of turbocharged mills in Europe.

“It was a very efficient engine but people weren’t evaluating it highly,” Yuji Matsumochi, chief powertrain engineer on the 2016 Civic, told the trade publication. “I heard several times, ‘Hey, where’s the Honda-like characteristics? Where’s the Honda DNA?'”

Horsepower figures for the new engine have not yet been published. The same engine will be used for other models within Hondas lineup, though for what models and when is unclear at this time.

The 2016 Honda Civic, which will go on sale in November, is the first generation to get turbocharging in North America. It will be launched as a sedan but will be offered later as a coupe and hatchback with no less than four different engines.

Mark Stevenson
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  • VoGo VoGo on Oct 12, 2015

    Reading through these rants really does make me despair about the quality of red state education. Maybe TTAC should make reading comprehension a prerequisite for the ability to post comments. Those who actually read the article would come to understand that it is about Honda's decision to accelerate introduction of a more powerful engine. But somehow, a few of the "B&B" took this as an excuse to attack the U.S. president, take issue with the EPA, and bemoan Honda's reduced commitment to performance and label Americans soft and delicate. Just bizarre.

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    • Sgeffe Sgeffe on Oct 12, 2015

      @VoGo Did Ford have to do the same thing with the EcoBoost in the Fusion, for instance? The last-generation V6 was reasonably competent. Now we have the new one (since 2013 anyway) with engines running all-out all the time to do the same amount of work, and yet can only meet these standards on a standard test; to make the car pass that test, everything else, from "real-world" fuel-mileage to drivetrain longevity, is a potential compromise. (As much as I like to hate on VW, this may be what they were trying to avoid at least to an extent, and got caught with their hands in the cookie jar.) As to responses up this thread on German turbos, they make have superior performance to the flat sixes, but I sure wouldn't want to trust that reliability outside a warranty, unless I had a second mortgage or offshore fund to dip into for repairs!

  • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Oct 12, 2015

    Honda should really stop using this photo. The car is clearly not actually there. And the bright blue light and varied colors on the building are both distracting and clash with the color of the car. That bright bug zapper light which would be washing over the entire rear half of the car isn't there - but is replaced by a white light source on the driver's side (obviously fake as well). But mostly my eyes go to the bug zapper.

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    • RideHeight RideHeight on Oct 13, 2015

      I love that picture! It looks like the Civic is self-assembled from grey goo. So maybe I could flash the nanites to reassemble into something taller? Gives me hope.

  • Daniel J Until we get a significant charging infrastructure and change times get under 10 minutes, yes
  • Mike I own 2 gm 6.2 vehicles. They are great. I do buy alot of gas. However, I would not want the same vehicles if they were v6's. Jusy my opinion. I believe that manufacturers need to offer engine options for the customer. The market will speak on what the consumer wants.For example, I dont see the issue with offering a silverado with 4cyl , 6 cyl, 5.3 v8, 6.2 v8, diesel options. The manufacturer will charge accordingly.
  • Mike What percentage of people who buy plug in hybrids stop charging them daily after a few months? Also, what portion of the phev sales are due to the fact that the incentives made them a cheaper lease than the gas only model? (Im thinking of the wrangler 4xe). I wish there was a way to dig into the numbers deeper.
  • CEastwood If it wasn't for the senior property tax freeze in NJ I might complain about this raising my property taxes since most of that tax goes to the schools . I'm not totally against EVs , but since I don't drive huge miles and like to maintain my own vehicles they are not practical especially since I keep a new vehicle long term and nobody has of yet run into the cost of replacing the battery on an EV .
  • Aquaticko Problem with PHEV is that, like EVs, they still require a behavioral change over ICE/HEV cars to be worth their expense and abate emissions (whichever is your goal). Studies in the past have shown that a lot of PHEV drivers don't regularly plug-in, meaning they're just less-efficient HEVs.I'm left to wonder how big a battery a regular HEV could have without needing to be a PHEV.