REVIEW: Honda Civic e:HEV RS in Malaysia – 2.0L DI, 184 PS/315 Nm hybrid tops FE range, RM166,500 –

Hybrid vehicles have always gotten the worst of it. During the nascent period, they were generally given a wide berth by those who ate a diet of regular gasoline-powered machines, who viewed the inclusion of a battery, and the electrical accessories that went with it, with suspicion.

Now, just as the latter isn’t as big of an issue anymore, comes the derision, via the clean, all-electric crowd that everything should be spanked. After all, if it’s going to be clean and efficient, BEVs must surely be the way to go.

Well, not quite, still not quite at least anyway. There is still room for what is essentially a middle ground, tight as it may be. In less developed markets it is probably the best interim solution to provide a fuel efficient engine and reduce emissions. In the more sophisticated, the technology can serve as a good bridging measure for those who want to try electrification but are still afraid to go all the way, providing the comfort of fossil fuel, and zero-range anxiety, to fall back on.

Based on this reasoning, quite a few automakers continue this approach, including Honda, even as they gradually work their way toward going green entirely. For the Japanese automaker, the hybrid remains relevant, as evidenced by the format’s aggressive push as the top of the range in its model lineups in the region.

Locally, the city ​​sedan and hatchback paved the way for e:HEV as the automaker highlights its technology, and the latest to join the party is the hybrid version of the Civic, which made its official debut last november. We’ve seen what the speed capabilities of the Civic e:HEV are in a straight line and on the track, but what is it like to drive on the highway? List a session of driving south and back to answer that question.

Same presentation, in general.

First, a rundown of the hybrid’s specs, which is available in a single RS variant. That suffix means that the exterior styling treatment is similar to the turbocharged RSwith some tweaks to give the car its own flavor.

Not very noticeable, the differences, with the 18-inch twin-style five-spoke (or 10-spoke, dual-tone) units it uses giving the quickest means of identifying the car from the side and quarters, whereas A Unique tailpipe finisher provides the main visual cue from the rear.

Take a closer look and you’ll notice the smaller differentiating elements, which are blue accents on the Honda logos, as well as an e:HEV badging at the rear, as well as additional chrome trim, found on the front grille, inner headlamp bezel and window line. inserts

Move inside and it’s the same story, with the only difference in packaging being the inclusion of a 10.25-inch all-digital instrument display, dual-zone air conditioning, a Qi wireless charger, and a Honda smart key card—not they are found in the petrol E, V and RS versions.

The Civic e:HEV otherwise gets identical kit to the gas-powered RS, such as a black interior, rear air conditioning vents, a 9.0-inch advanced touchscreen infotainment system with wireless Apple CarPlay support, and remote vehicle start. engine. Similarly, the design of the cabin, the presentation of which is decidedly quite superior to that of the FC 10th generation.

A look at technology

The Civic e:HEV gets the most powerful version of Honda’s Intelligent Multi-Mode Driving (i-MMD) system, which combines the operation of an electric motor and a gasoline engine. The latter is a 2.0-litre naturally aspirated Atkinson cycle four-cylinder engine, which acts primarily as a generator and powers a 72-cell battery (with a capacity of 1.05 kWh) built into the Smart Power Unit ( I PU).

While it has a similar displacement to the Accord Hybrid’s unit, the engine is new and features direct injection, with settings that result in the unit having a thermal efficiency of 41%, which the company claims is one of the most high on a production vehicle. . The new DI mill offers 143 PS (141 hp) at 6000 rpm and 189 Nm of torque, marginally higher than that of the Thailand Spec Version (141 PS & 182 Nm) thanks to our best fuel quality.

An electric motor handles most of the propulsion duties, although the motor can provide direct drive, via a lockup clutch, at higher speeds for better efficiency. Delivering 184 PS (181 PS or 135 kW) and 315 Nm from 0 to 2000 rpm in output form, the electric motor sends drive to the front wheels via an electric continuously variable transmission (E-CVT).

The addition of hybrid components makes it heavier than the Turbo: at 1,445kg, the Civic e:HEV has around 100kg more ballast than the heavier petrol version, the V, which weighs 1,349kg.

Despite the added weight, the hybrid is a faster car. Performance figures include a 0-100 km/h time of 7.9 seconds and fuel consumption of 4.0 liters per 100 km, both an improvement on 8.5 seconds and 6.3 liters/100 km of the gasoline RS. Top speed is identical to that of the turbo at 200 km/h.

The virtues of “electrification”

Evidence of that off-block pace was shown in real-world conditions last year, when the car was preview in Sepang before its official release. On the track, the hybrid clearly outperformed the turbo, which isn’t exactly a lag, in the day’s two speed test exercises, which was a full throttle run from a rolling start at 60kph out of the pit lane. lane and a drag race. standing still at 100 km/h, the last one for more than a car length.

That ready-to-follow nature continued on the road, though less noticeably when viewed in isolation and even at intermediate speeds. It’s only when you put it down that the e:HEV feels a bit more immediate in its throttle response compared to the turbo, its movement up the rev range a bit snappier.

Of course, unless you’re the lead-footed type, that’s not really the point of why you’d choose a hybrid, so the real draw is how it drives overall and how fuel-efficient it is on the course. of its useful life.

For the former, the hybrid behaves no differently than the regular Civic under straight-line coasting conditions: it drives similarly to the turbo, and the presentation again sounds very continental in its description. Similarly, the occupant comfort levels – we ended up being in the car for over 18 hours during the two-day drive, and the front seats in particular were excellent.

In terms of handling, the hybrid is ahead. This was briefly suggested during the Sepang session, where it felt more tense in the corners (and at higher speeds), and was reinforced during the road ride, especially noticeable at speed on the windier back road sections, such as the which was featured during the section from Kluang to Desaru. From the drive Here, the hybrid felt better composed in the way it followed and positioned itself.

In this sense, the extra weight is imperceptible, cleverly masked by being distributed in a 50:50 ratio throughout the deck and also through revised spring and damper ratios to ensure handling aspects are preserved. and the dynamics of the Civic. The 10mm lower center of gravity probably also helps the cause.

Retaining the general character of the turbo also means that everything else comes along as well, for better or worse. While vibration and harshness levels are well moderated, (tyre/wind) noise is still an area to work on, especially evident at higher speeds.

Of course, the real meat is fuel consumption, which is why one would want a car like this in the first place. Unsurprisingly, performances are naturally better than the standalone turbocharged gasoline unit. Under the most extreme operating conditions, fuel economy can best be described as amazing.

For the trip to Johor, Honda Malaysia decided to include a fuel test challenge from the KL start point to Kluang (which ended in Melaka due to what happened next). Whip up a green challenge with the automotive press in five cars and you’ll have an idea of ​​where this is headed – think air conditioning off, windows mostly open and even side mirrors folded as well as haul trucks. for assistance, all at speeds of 80-90 km/h, and it’s a recipe for unrealistic FC numbers.

The winning car finished with a result of over 19 mph, and the other top two finishers were not far behind, all with numbers that no one should try to replicate. Our car was the only one that kept the air conditioning on (and 20 degrees C, mind you) and drove normally within the convoy speed limits.

As such, it represents the kind of figure you can possibly achieve if you’re a relatively sane eco-warrior, in this case 16.5 miles per liter. As expected, he put us last out of the five cars. Even more realistic, this dropped to 18.6 km per liter for the entire journey, which covered more than 900 km in total and contained a mix of urban and intra-urban movement, without regard to overall fuel economy.

Hybrid or not?

There’s no doubt that the Civic e:HEV is a capable car. It’s quicker off the line and underway than the turbo, it also steers and handles better at higher speeds on tighter, twistier roads despite carrying more weight. It is also more economical from a fuel consumption point of view, and you get a bit more advantages compared to the regular turbo FE.

Unfortunately, everything comes at a price, in this case to the tune of an extra RM16k compared to the petrol RS. In RM166,500 (on the highway, without insurance) the hybrid isn’t cheap, not when you can get the turbo RS for RM150,700, which is already a bit of a stretch if you look at the previous generation equivalent. However, if you have your eyes set on a Civic and can stretch it, you’d do well to look into the e:HEV, because it’s the choice of the civilian FE range here.

Tags: Honda Civic Hybrid FE

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