When media and consumer advocates panned the redesigned 2012 Honda Civic, it didn’t take long for the automaker to correct many of its mistakes in the overhauled 2013 edition. Honda’s small sedan once again became one of the class leaders, seemingly without much effort on the automaker’s part. After all, the 2013 Honda Civic was intended to be the 2014 or 2015 model, rushed out to beat back the constant criticism.
But where many automakers had since gone to using turbochargers, advanced direct fuel injection, and six-speed or continuously variable transmissions, Honda stuck by its stalwart old tech. That is, until now.
The automaker has just said that it plans to trickle its Earth Dreams drivetrain technology down into the Honda Civic. North American executive vice president Tetsuo Iwamura said the technology was being developed for our continent, complementing the Accord that’s already gotten the technology.
“Gasoline prices are stabilizing in the mid-$3-a-gallon range, and Detroit is selling quite a few pickups,” Iwamura said in an interview with Automotive News. “Yet while the average person sees those numbers, their income hasn’t risen that much. It’s wrong to say Americans don’t care about fuel economy. They care.”
Earth Dreams has thus far spawned a continuously variable automatic transmission and direct fuel injection for the 2013 Honda Accord, netting it a fuel economy rating of 27 mpg city/36 mpg highway/30 combined. The previous Accord achieved 23 mpg city/34 mpg highway/27 mpg combined.
If the same sort of magic can be achieved with the Honda Civic, the car should be able to go from its current 28 mpg city/39 mpg highway/32 mpg combined to numbers that were par for hybrids just a few years ago.
The only question remaining is when Earth Dreams will reach the Civic.
“We’ll be doing it for the Civic. The Civic has to evolve,” Iwamura said. “But we have to consider what timing works best.”
Our guess: Even though the refresh of the 2014 or 2015 Civic isn’t coming because we already got the improved interior and exterior design, expect to see the drivetrain technology continue as scheduled.