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Honda Australia on the brink of going diesel

Fuel-sipper: The diesel-powered – and manual-only – Honda Civic hatch will be here early next year, and is expected to use less fuel than a Toyota Prius.

Frugal diesel variant set to slot into Honda Civic hatch range within months

14 Nov 2012

HONDA Australia’s first diesel car is not far from launch, as the Japanese company has recently received Australian Design Rule (ADR) approval to sell diesel variants of the British-built Civic hatch here.

In addition to becoming Australia’s first oil-burning Honda when it hits showrooms in the second quarter of 2013, the Civic hatch will the first recipient of the Japanese company’s new Earth Dreams i-DTEC turbo-diesel engine range.

Documents viewed by GoAuto reveal the diesel Civic will be available exclusively with a six-speed manual gearbox but like the auto-only, top-spec petrol VTi-L variant, comes with 17-inch alloy wheels and front fog lights.

Honda Australia public relations manager Melissa Cross confirmed the diesel Civic will come in a single manual variant positioned between the entry-level VTi-S and auto-only VTi-L flagship.

The Civic’s alloy-blocked 1.6-litre diesel powerplant produces 88kW of peak power at 4000rpm and 300Nm of torque at 2000rpm.

Combined fuel consumption is lower than the petrol-electric Toyota Prius at 3.6 litres per 100 kilometres and CO2 emissions of 94 grams per kilometre will make the Civic Honda’s lowest-emitting car in Australia – with the Insight petrol-electric hybrid pumping out 114g/km.

15 center imageFrom top: 2013 Honda Civic sedan new CR-V.

Although one of the punchiest 1.6-litre engines out there, Honda’s unit plays second fiddle to the Renault Energy dCi 130, which extracts 97kW and 320Nm from 1.6 litres, but GoAuto does not expect the French unit to be as economical when fitted to an equivalent-sized vehicle.

The new diesel engine has been well-received by overseas publications for its refinement, light weight – ADR data suggests the diesel civic is at least 79kg heavier than the manual petrol – and lack of typical diesel characteristics in terms of noise and vibration.

Ms Cross said the diesel CR-V compact SUV – sourced from the UK unlike Thai-built petrol variants – will launch in Australia after the diesel Civic.

Australian-delivered diesel CR-Vs will be powered by a revised version of Honda’s 2.2-litre turbo-diesel engine, producing 110kW and 350Nm with combined consumption of 5.8L/100km as a manual and 6.6L/100km as an automatic.

Ms Cross said the emergency facelift applied to the North American Civic sedan – and revealed this week ahead of its world debut at the Los Angeles motor show later this month – will not be seen in Australia as the Thai-built Civic sold here has unique styling.

Responding to widespread media criticism, Honda has updated the ninth-generation Civic just 18 months after its original launch and claims to have updated the safety, equipment, ride, handling and interior design in addition to the revised, Accord-inspired exterior styling.

The Australian market Civic sedan was updated in July when production switched to Thailand following emergency Japanese sourcing from February, while repairs to damage from last year’s floods were completed at the Thai plant.

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