The next-generation Honda Civic's base powerplant will be a downsized turbocharged engine as the automaker tries to boost fuel economy.
The turbo engine will help Honda Motor Co. meet stricter emissions standards and deliver fun-to-drive performance that sets the Civic apart, global r&d head Yoshiharu Yamamoto said.
"Downsized turbocharging will be the base, even for the Civic," Yamamoto said last month on the sidelines of a winter test drive event at Honda's nearby proving ground in northern Japan.
Last week, Honda announced that Yamamoto would retire in June, to be replaced by Koichi Fukuo, the company's quality czar.
A redesigned Civic may arrive as early as this year. Honda has confirmed plans to start producing the turbo engines in 2015.
The Civic is expected to get a 1.5-liter turbo four-cylinder engine as standard, along with an optional naturally aspirated powerplant.
The 1.5-liter turbo engine can deliver the power of a traditional 2.0- to 2.4-liter engine with excellent torque and better fuel efficiency, Yamamoto said. The current Civic has a naturally aspirated 1.8-liter engine.
Honda follows rivals such as Ford Motor Co. in turning to smaller turbo engines to deliver better fuel economy with the same or more power.
Honda will position the new technology as a centerpiece of a signature volume vehicle.
"In America, there aren't that many companies with turbo models," Yamamoto said. "The power is very good."
Honda is investing $340 million in its engine plant in Anna, Ohio, to build turbocharged engines by year end. Yamamoto declined to give a target volume for the turbo.
"Quite a bit will switch over to turbo, but there will still be some naturally aspirated ones remaining," he said.
A supplier source said Honda plans to make as many as 200,000 1.5-liter turbo engines a year in North America, with production starting in the fourth quarter.
Source: Automotive news