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 |  Nov 29 2011, 8:01 PM

i-VTEC Advanced.JPG

Much has been said about the new Honda Civic receiving a list of early updates in a bid to silence critics while restoring the car’s class-leading fuel economy. This has all but been confirmed, with the Japanese automaker revealing an entire new lineup of engines and transmissions at a press briefing held at the Twin Ring Motegi Racing Circuit on the eve of the Tokyo Motor Show.

In total, Honda unveiled five all-new engines, ranging from a new Kei car 660 cc motor, to a flagship 3.5-liter V6 powertrain. With these engines Honda has said it is committed to being both a leader in fuel economy and engine output.

Engines destined for North America include a new 1.5-liter, 1.8-liter and 2.4-liter 4-cylinder, as well as a 3.5-liter V6. Across the board, all will receive direct-injection technology. The 4-cylinder engines gain a new VTEC arrangement with an Atkinson cycle lower load cam plus extensive friction reduction technologies. The result on a car like the Civic will be a 10 percent improvement in fuel economy, plus a 5 percent increase in power over the current model. The same goes for the 2.4-liter, which one Honda representative told us the new 2012 CR-V just missed out on receiving.

As for the V6 engine, it will replace both the current 3.5-liter and 3.7-liter engines, combining the best technologies of both, including a cylinder deactivation system while gaining direct injection. Honda provided a preliminary, and conservative, estimated power output with 310-hp and 265 lb-ft of torque, with a much stronger torque band.

Of note, all of the engines included a start-stop function, although no decision has been made by Honda as to whether we’ll see this technology in North America.

Apart from the new dual-clutch 7-speed transmission (integrated into a new SH-AW, discussion of automatics at the Honda event was non-existent. Instead, Honda revealed several new CVTs (and yes, they can hear you groaning in Motegi). Of note is a new CVT designed for compact cars, as well as another for mid-size, meaning you should look for CVTs to find their way into cars like the Civic, Accord and CR-V soon. As terrible as all this may sound for Honda owners dreading the thought of a CVT, the good news is what Honda is calling “G-Design Shift”, which was created to help deliver more immediate throttle response. We did have the change to test out the new CVT in a 2.4-liter direct-injection TSX but we can’t tell you about it until the embargo lifts next week. Stay tuned.