• Apr 21st 2011 at 1:12PM
  • 11
2012 Honda Civic Hybrid – Click above for high-res image gallery

It's not 50 miles per gallon (rest, easy Prius) but the mpg numbers for the 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid impress us nonetheless: 44/44/44. That's city/highway/combined, and it's a nice jump – especially in the city – from the 40/43/41 numbers sported by the 2011 model. The New York Auto Show this week has been full of "40 mpg" claims from many automakers, but these have mostly described just one of the three ratings categories (usually highway). To have Honda announce that you get an estimated 44 miles to the gallon no matter where you drive deserves a bit of praise.(golf clap.)

The reason for the fuel economy boost lies, in part, in the upgraded battery pack used in the Honda Integrated Motor Assist system. Instead of the nickel-metal hydride batteries used in previous Civic Hybrids, the '12 version cruises along with 20-kW worth of li-ion cells. Compared to the NiMH pack, the lithium-ion battery is 5 kW more powerful and also a bit lighter. The gas engine has also been upgraded from 1.3-liters to a 1.5-liter i-VTEC four-cylinder mill, and the full system offers 110 combined horsepower at 5,500 rpm. There are also some design tweaks on the exterior – nothing too fancy – and you can check these out in our gallery below and read all about the 44 mpg Civic after the jump.

Live photos copyright ©2011 Drew Phillips / AOL
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New 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid Receives Li-Ion Battery Technology
The most fuel-efficient sedan available in the U.S. takes style, comfort and technology to a higher level

04/20/2011 - TORRANCE, Calif.

The all-new 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid combines the sophistication of the Civic Sedan with the latest version of the Honda Integrated Motor Assist (IMA®) hybrid drivetrain.

Now with added features, new technology and the best EPA-estimated fuel economy of any sedan in the United States, the 2012 Civic Hybrid offers a higher fuel economy rating of 44/44/44 mpg1 city/highway/combined, up from 40/43/41 in the 2011 Civic Hybrid. Like other members of the Civic family, the 2012 Civic Hybrid gains new features and sleeker styling. Exclusive styling includes the front grill, headlights, taillights, wheels and side mirrors. The two available models are the Civic Hybrid with cloth seats and a Civic Hybrid with leather seating surfaces. Either version can be equipped with a navigation system.

"The Civic Hybrid provides the advantages of hybrid technology while maintaining the look and feel of a familiar sedan," said John Mendel, executive vice president of sales for American Honda Motor Co., Inc. "The car's fuel economy rating can be summed up quite easily – 44 miles per gallon says it all."

For 2012, the Honda IMA system uses lithium-ion (Li-Ion) batteries, replacing the nickel-metal hydride batteries used in the previous two generations of Civic Hybrid. The gasoline engine is the primary source of power and the electric motor, positioned in-line between the engine and transmission, provides additional power and electricity regeneration capability.

The 2012 Civic Hybrid uses a larger 1.5-liter i-VTEC 4-cylinder engine, up from 1.3 liters for improved mid-range torque, which incorporates extensive friction-reducing technologies for greater efficiency. It is connected to a lighter, larger and more powerful electric motor that provides up to 23 horsepower. Total combined horsepower for the gasoline engine and electric motor is 110 at 5500 rpm and torque is rated at 127 lb-ft. at 1000-3500 rpm.

During acceleration, the engine or the engine and electric motor together propel the vehicle. During cruising, the gasoline engine and/or the electric motor can propel the vehicle. During braking, the gasoline engine deactivates and the electric motor acts as a generator to replenish the battery pack. At a stop, the engine can shut off to save fuel and reduce emissions. The engine restarts the moment the brake pedal is released.

The battery pack, located behind the rear seatback, is used to capture and store electricity for the electric motor. The 20-kW lithium-ion battery is more powerful by 5 kW and lighter than the previous generation's battery. The IMA system's greater power and the battery's 35-percent increase in efficiency allow the Civic Hybrid to operate more frequently on the electric motor's power alone in certain low-speed cruising situations. A Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) helps maintain engine rpm for optimal efficiency while eliminating the "stepped" gear transitions associated with conventional transmissions.

Along with the rest of 2012 Civic line, the Civic Hybrid offers a new interpretation of the current Civic's "one-motion" mono-form shape. A sleekly raked windshield, wide stance and exclusive styling features give the Civic Hybrid a sophisticated, high-tech presence. In front, there is a unique hybrid grille design with blue accents, and within the sleek headlight assemblies are blue bulb covers that provide additional distinction. Special five-spoke alloy wheels, a decklid spoiler and LED brake lights further differentiate the Civic Hybrid from other Civic models.

The Civic Hybrid's interior features a fresh take on the previous-generation Civic's highly functional two-tier instrument layout. The design puts the most frequently referenced information up high and close to the driver's line of sight. The new intelligent Multi-Information Display (i-MID) is positioned in the upper tier and can present audio system information including album artwork. It can also display personal wallpaper backgrounds uploaded via the standard USB port. A unique feature of the Civic Hybrid's i-MID is a driver-feedback Eco Guide screen that monitors driving style and displays how it affects fuel efficiency. Together with the blue/green Eco Assist indicators located to the sides of the digital speedometer, the displays help drivers build awareness of and confirm fuel-efficient driving styles. The Civic Hybrid's i-MID contains an exclusive hybrid power-flow meter display in addition to the standard information screens.

The interior of the Civic Hybrid uses exclusive seat fabric and unique door panel covers for a distinctive appearance and feel. As with all Civics, high-quality materials are used throughout the cabin. Available leather-trimmed models include a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear shift lever. Automatic climate control is standard on the Civic Hybrid, and the hybrid-style air conditioning compressor can continue to function on electric power when the engine is in idle-stop mode.

The Civic Hybrid offers a range of standard and available audio and navigation technologies. A 160-watt AM/FM/CD audio system with six speakers is standard and Civic Hybrid models equipped with the navigation system include XM Radio. The available Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System™2 with voice recognition has a 6.5-inch touch screen within reach of both the driver and passenger. Turn-by-turn direction information appears on both the navigation screen and the i-MID, where it's convenient for the driver to see. The system features a new 16 GB flash memory database for quicker response time and has FM traffic. FM traffic is a no-fee service that shows freeway traffic information and incident data on the map display in participating metropolitan areas.

The standard Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink® system enables Civic Hybrid owners to make and receive mobile phone calls using the vehicle's audio system and a compatible mobile phone. Audio streaming is also supported with compatible devices.

The Civic Hybrid embraces Honda's tradition of making its vehicles fun to drive by continuing to use a fully independent suspension design, a premium and exceptional feature in the entry compact segment. The front MacPherson strut and rear multi-link suspension is tuned for sporty driving fun, yet provides refined ride comfort. Ride and handling improvements are supported by a 10-percent more rigid unit-body structure resulting from enhanced structural designs and increased use of high-strength steel (55 percent compared to 50 percent on the previous model).

For safety, a wide variety of standard equipment includes Honda's exclusive Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure for enhanced frontal collision energy management and vehicle-to-vehicle crash compatibility. ACE enhances frontal collision energy management through a network of load bearing structures in the front of the vehicle. Standard safety equipment includes VSA that integrates with the new Motion Adaptive EPS system; dual-stage, multiple-threshold front airbags; front side airbags with occupant position detection system (OPDS); side curtain airbags; and a 4-channel anti-lock braking system (ABS) with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist.

All Civic Hybrid models are produced and assembled in the Honda Motor Co., Ltd., Suzuka, Japan manufacturing facility. The 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid is covered by a 3-year/36,000-mile new car limited warranty, a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain limited warranty, and a 5-year/unlimited-mile corrosion limited warranty.

1 Based on 2012 EPA mileage estimates. Use for comparison purposes only. Do not compare to models before 2008. Your actual mileage will vary depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle.

2 Third-party trademarks: The Bluetooth word mark and logos are owned by the Bluetooth SIG, Inc., and any use of such marks by Honda Motor Co., Ltd., is under license.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      Why would anybody buy this over a Prius? Its not cheaper or more efficient, or bigger and it sure as hell won't win any beauty contests.
      Ford Future
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is very interesting. - Larger Gas Engine. - Larger Electric Motor, with more torque. - More capacity in the battery. All Equal better MPG! That's a Win, Win, Win. I'd like to see this in the Insight. Has anyone sat in it? The Insight's seat is too deep and does seem to cut off blood circulation. Otherwise, the Insight is a fun car to drive.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Well, this was Honda's 2nd chance since the original Civic Hybrid to design the pack into the trunk well so you can fold the rear seats down - any word on whether they did that or are the rear seats still non foldable? While on most hybrids a Lithium pack would be a looser (since NiMH can be managed so they don't need to be replaced for the life of the vehicle), with Honda, who's NiMH packs always are wearing out after 70k miles or so - its a net gain. Since that pack is going to die anyways with a Honda, may as well go with Li and get a smaller physical pack and a small boost in capacity. The looks of the new civic are okay, although I think the 06 version looked edgier...this is just a watered down version of that (although better than the 09 update), IMHO.
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 4 Years Ago
        If Honda can't engineer a NiMH pack to work correctly, i can't wait to see what they'll manage to do with lithium.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I was going to say: Well now we have Honda, Nissan, and Prius plug in all using Li batts w/o any cooling. How do they get the life?? But I guess you answered my question. They don't. I definitely would not have to be replacing a pack in a hybrid. It does seem to be an extremely rare event in the Prius hybrid though. I wonder what the warranty is. That said. I like this offering from Honda. Getting the MPG up to 44 makes it pretty acceptable. I suspect one of the reasons this car does not get 50 MPG is because of the cars higher drag
      • 4 Years Ago
      Despite early promise, Honda have really lost their way in the EV race.
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 4 Years Ago
      Keeping the old engine in the new car is a big fail. Even Hyundai's little 1.6L mill is better in every single way. Also, what's a 20 kw battery pack? what kind of measurement is that? it's not kilowatt hours. Is it amp hours?
      • 4 Years Ago
      How much KW has the motor? 20kw? How much KW has the gas engine alone?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Gray on gray on gray. Does Honda need antidepressants?
      Arun Murali
      • 4 Years Ago
      Yaay. We now have a petrol car with enough electric juice as a pure electric car. Its not only not an electric but its not a plugin hybrid or a series hybrid. Its a plain old hybrid. Just the way you like it. I really think the battery specifications is dead wrong. A 20 KWh pack should cost as much as rest of the car.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Arun Murali
        Indeed, re-read. It's a higher *power* 20 kW battery (comparable to the 21 kW of the 2010 Prius). No mention here of the *energy* capacity in kW·h. Even though it's li-on, I doubt it's more than 2 kW·h.
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