One reason I don’t think much of the Type R Civic…

Posted on September 24th, 2007 in Handling,Honda,Opinion,Power,Turbocharging by Julian Edgar

type-r-on-dyno.jpgToday I returned Honda’s Type R Civic to the Queensland office. I am quite happy to see it go: I think the Civic Type R is a pretty weak car – something I make clear in our road test that will appear in AutoSpeed in due course.

With a 2 litre naturally aspirated engine that revs to 8000 rpm and develops 148kW, it might look the goods on paper – but the reality is very different.

To go further, I think the idea that small, naturally aspirated engines can compete with turbo cars is the stuff of fairytales.

The Peugeot 206 GTi 180  and Ford Focus ST170 were similar cars in concept to the Type R Honda – all based around the idea that naturally aspirated, high revving engines have some intrinsic advantage over their forced induction competitors. That’s a purported advantage over turbo competitors that have more peak power – and vastly more average power through the rev range.

A Rocky trip

Posted on January 13th, 2007 in Economy,Honda,Hybrid Power,Opinion by Julian Edgar

I write this after completing two 750-kilometre drives, each done in a day. The occasion was the wedding of some friends, and the location was the Rydges resort at Yeppoon, on the coast near Rockhampton in Queensland. My wife and son flew up from the Gold Coast where we live; I decided to drive.

The car was my 1-litre, three cylinder hybrid Honda Insight. But isn’t that a long drive for a little car? Perhaps – but so what? There’s plenty of cabin space (in fact, with the seat adjusted correctly, my left foot can barely reach the firewall) and I don’t have any problems with driving a low-powered car on the open road. In this era of very powerful base model Australian cars, people tend to forget that safety on the highway is much more dependent on driving skill than the acceleration available under the right foot. I didn’t have any problems overtaking a few semi-trailers or climbing hills at the speed limit – and I saw lots of very powerful cars that had near misses, simply through appalling driving.

The only changes I made to the car for the trip were to inflate the tyres to 37 psi (hot) and fill the tank with 98 octane fuel. I think as a result of one or both of these, fuel economy was even better than standard. Well, it would have been if I hadn’t run the air con for about 80 per cent of the time….

After resetting the trip computer fuel economy display at home, my first stop (the petrol station to fill the tank) showed a fuel economy of 2.2 litres/100km (most of the trip to the petrol station is downhill), followed by 2.7 litres/100km at the Gateway Bridge and 3.2 litres/100km at Gympie. Following that, I turned on the air and the road also became hillier: the consumption average then steadily rose to 3.5 litres/100km where it stayed for the rest of the trip, including the full return journey.

As I have said many times before of this car: that’s world’s best fuel economy.