Honda introduced the new I-VTEC engines, one of which has an electric motor fused to its driveline, that will power its redesigned 2006 Civic. The company says the new 1.8 liter's improved valve timing control system provides the off-the-line acceleration of a 2.0-liter engine, while offering the fuel economy of a 1.5-liter mill. A new drive-by-wire system replaces mechanical throttle-valve control with electronics, providing smoother performance during the dip in torque brought on by the valve-timing changeover point occuring at high revs. It's like butter, as the saying goes.
The hybrid version, a Honda press release notes, achieves a 20% increase in total system output over the current system at a five-percent reduction in size. The new system, which will be introduced in the newest Civic Hybrid sometime in 2006, will increase mileage to around 45 mpg in the city and 50 on the highway.
Honda unveils new engines in runup to Civic campaign [The Japan Times]
Honda to Redesign Civic Hybrid as Better Prius Competitor; Spy Photos: 2006 Honda Civic [internal]