Driven: new VTEC turbo engines set for the 2017 Honda Civic

The tenth-generation Honda Civic due in 2017 will feature brand new 1.0 and 1.5-litre VTEC turbo engines and we’ve tried them

Honda has announced the all-new, tenth-generation Civic will be launched with two new direct injection VTEC turbo engines when it arrives in 2017. A 1.5-litre four-cylinder and 1.0-litre three-cylinder will both join the range and replace the current naturally aspirated 1.8-litre engine. 

The VTEC turbo engines are based on a completely new structure and will become part of Honda’s Earth Dreams Technology range, claimed to offer ‘dynamic performance, class-leading output and excellent fuel economy.’ Both engines feature variable valve motion technology to reduce friction, a piston cooling gallery and a high efficiency cooling cylinder-head to maximise fuel economy.

Honda plans all-electric sports car

The arrival of the new 1.0-litre turbo will give Honda a direct rival to Ford’s three-cylinder EcoBoost used in the Focus. Power output is rated at 127bhp and 200Nm of torque, with Honda aiming for a 20 per cent improvement in efficiency over the 1.8-litre engine – targets of upwards of 56mpg and CO2 emissions below 100g/km have been set.

Honda is also confident that despite the downsizing, the 1.0-litre engine will provide similar levels of performance as the current 1.8 while lowering running costs at the same time.

• Honda and GM partner to launch new hydrogen FCVs

Auto Express was granted access to a prototype ahead of the Tokyo Motor Show. The engine fires into life with same enthusiasm as any three-cylinder turbo, followed by the trademark thrum from under the bonnet. There’s sufficient in-gear shove and high-speed refinement is very impressive with barely a whisper raised from the engine.

In a relatively spacious family hatchback, the engine could feel a little overwhelmed once the car is fully loaded. However, the engines are still under development so there is every possibility more power could be extracted.

The 1.5-litre VTEC also showed promise, developing a more potent 201bhp and 260Nm of torque. It’s smooth, builds speed quickly and remains hushed at speed. One downside is that the engine we tested came paired with CVT automatic gearbox, which blunted performance. A six-speed manual has been promised when the engine arrives in the new Civic, however.

Five-door versions of the new Civic will be built exclusively at Honda’s facility in Swindon, where £190 million has been invested in new product technologies to prepare for the new model. 

Read our review of the new Honda NSX supercar here...


Honda Civic review
Honda Civic 1.0 - front cornering
Honda Civic

Honda Civic review

The tenth-generation Honda Civic is a great alternative choice in the hatchback class
13 Mar 2020
New 2021 Mazda MX-30: prices, specs and release date
Mazda MX-30

New 2021 Mazda MX-30: prices, specs and release date

The all-electric Mazda MX-30 will go on sale next year – with mild hybrid and range extender variants following closely behind
13 Jun 2020
Tokyo Motor Show 2019: news round-up
Tokyo motor show
Tokyo Motor Show

Tokyo Motor Show 2019: news round-up

The 2019 Tokyo Motor Show provided plenty of big reveals from Honda, Lexus, Mazda, Nissan, Toyota and more. Click here for our round-up
24 Oct 2019

Most Popular

New 2021 BMW M3 launched with huge grille and 503bhp
BMW 3 Series M3 Coupe

New 2021 BMW M3 launched with huge grille and 503bhp

The new sixth-generation BMW M3 Competition saloon gets a 503bhp straight-six engine and four-wheel-drive
22 Sep 2020
Energy firms want the right to switch off electric cars charging at home
Electric cars

Energy firms want the right to switch off electric cars charging at home

New powers being sought to allow energy providers to turn off high-drain devices to manage electricity network
18 Sep 2020
New Honda Civic Type R 2020 review
Honda Civic Type R

New Honda Civic Type R 2020 review

We find out if the revised Honda Civic Type R can stay at the top of the hot hatch class
22 Sep 2020