New Civic Hybrid Introduces IMA Technology to Honda Favourite AutoWeb News

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HONDA Insight 1.3 IMA HE CVT Continuosuly Variable

New Civic Hybrid Introduces IMA Technology to Honda Favourite

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The 2004 Honda Civic Hybrid represents a new alternative of highly efficient motoring and introduces the second generation of Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist technology to the evergreen Civic sedan.


Originally debuting with the Honda Insight in 2001, Integrated Motor Assist — or IMA — combines a petrol engine with an electric motor to create a hybrid system that boosts performance, fuel economy and reduces emissions.

With seating for five, the Civic Hybrid retains the safety, practicality and roominess of a conventional Civic Sedan. The Hybrid’s compact battery pack is mounted to the rear seat bulkhead with minimal intrusion into the boot. In fact, the Civic Hybrid still has 286 litres of boot space.

The Civic uses a revised IMA system, which scooped two categories in the 2003 International Engine of the Year awards.

A 1.3-litre 4-cylinder i-DSI VTEC ULEV (Ultra Low Emission Vehicle) engine and an ultra-thin electric motor located between the engine and transmission power the Civic Hybrid.

The petrol engine produces 63 kW @ 5700 rpm and 119 Nm of torque @ 3300 rpm and — with its low fuel consumption and high torque at low and medium speed ranges — is ideal for an IMA application. Combine it achieves 69 kW @ 5700 rpm and 146 Nm @ 2000 rpm.

Its compact dimensions allow the electric motor/generator to be positioned between the engine and transmission. From front to the back of engine bay, the Civic IMA powertrain measures 575 mm, slightly narrower than a conventional Civic.

The system works by capturing energy during braking or deceleration, and storing it in the battery for later use. The electric motor also assists the engine during acceleration — as the Civic Hybrid accelerates, the stored energy is directed to the high-torque electric motor to supplement the engine’s performance. All of this takes place automatically without additional input from the driver.

The ultra-thin DC brushless motor delivers the world’s highest output density for an electric motor, achieving 30 per cent more torque than the Insight — without any increase in size. This peaks at 1000 rpm. To maximise the powertrain’s efficiency, the Civic Hybrid has a Continuously Variable automatic transmission (CVT) that closely matches engine performance.

The shiftless system is smoother than conventional automatics with less torque loss, allowing the driver to make the most of the engine’s characteristics.

The resulting fuel economy is 5.2 litres per 100kms combined.

Honda has added aerodynamic aids to achieve a drag co-efficient of 0.28. The Hybrid’s front bumper, engine undercover, rear floor side under covers and rear spoiler are shaped to improve airflow over the car. Front fog lights are standard.

As with the Civic range, approximately 50 per cent of the Hybrid’s Smart-Linked body structure is made of lightweight, high tensile steel — notably the mid-floor cross members and floor gussets — for excellent impact protection and body rigidity.

HONDA Insight 1.3 IMA HE CVT Continuosuly Variable

Dual-stage front SRS airbags, side SRS airbags with occupant sensors, three-point seatbelts in all seating positions and front seatbelt pretensioners complete the comprehensive safety package.

It also features Electric Power Steering (EPS), ABS brakes with Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD), stiffer springs and increased damper rates compared to the Civic GLi.

Honda has adopted a combination of high-tech, luxurious and modern themes for the interior styling. The cabin’s two-tone colour scheme — black and ivory — with premium seat fabric and chrome finishes. The dash has a high-tech electronic display with futuristic blue illumination and digital odometer, dual trip meters and fuel economy estimator.

There is also a display to indicate the amount of battery remaining, outside temperature and charge/assist operation.

It also has a digital instantaneous fuel economy meter in the centre of the display which shows an estimate of real time fuel economy. An auto stop light indicates when the idle stop function is operating.

Automatic climate control air conditioning, variable intermittent wipers, power windows, mirrors and remote central locking are some of the Civic Hybrid’s standard features. Audio comes from a single-stack CD tuner with four speakers.

Honda Director Lindsay Smalley said the Civic Hybrid has all of the comforts of a compact, well-equipped 4-door sedan.

We believe by launching the Civic Hybrid, we are bringing tomorrow’s technology into the market today, allowing every family the chance to experience the future direction of automotive technology at the affordable price of $29,990, he said.

Honda’s new generation IMA system is part of Honda’s ongoing commitment to offer customers environmentally sustainable alternatives — without compromises.

The $29,990 Civic Hybrid goes on sale around Australia on Friday February 27.

HONDA Insight 1.3 IMA HE CVT Continuosuly Variable
HONDA Insight 1.3 IMA HE CVT Continuosuly Variable
HONDA Insight 1.3 IMA HE CVT Continuosuly Variable
HONDA Insight 1.3 IMA HE CVT Continuosuly Variable
HONDA Insight 1.3 IMA HE CVT Continuosuly Variable
HONDA Insight 1.3 IMA HE CVT Continuosuly Variable

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