With leading-edge looks, more power, sharper handling and a bigger dose of high-tech than ever seen in a Civic, this is more than just a redesign. it’s a reinvention. The new Civic Coupe is still less practical than the Civic Sedan, but moves solidly into expressive and aspirational territory with a big dose of style and refinement.
The Honda Civic is the cornerstone of Honda and its automotive heritage, earning recognition and acclaim as an icon in the automotive industry since its introduction in 1973. The Civic represents the first high volume production automobile that showcased Honda’s spirit of innovation to a North American audience ready for something new. Cumulatively, Civic has reached 16 million customers globally and 7 million in the United States, where it has been the best selling retail compact car for the past nine years. The Civic was the seventh best selling vehicle overall in 2004 and third best selling passenger car. If the Civic were its own individual brand, annual sales in excess of 300,000 would make it the 13th top selling brand in the United States out of more than 40 possible brands.
The 2006 Civic represents an extreme transformation of design and dynamics. Multiple powertrains for 2006 range from 197-horsepower high performance to 51 mpg gas-sipping hybrid to an all-around performer with two body styles, representing one of the most diverse vehicles in the industry. An expressive and futuristic design with exciting performance and a dedication to providing advanced safety technology set the Civic apart from the competition.
The Civic Enters a New Dimension
The 2006 Civic Coupe has been reduced 0.6 inches in overall length (174.8 inches) compared to the 2005 model, and is now 1.4 inches wider (68.9 inches). Its coupe-exclusive 104.3-inch wheelbase is 1.2 inches longer, while the front and rear overhang lengths remain unchanged. Overall height has been reduced by 1.6 inches (55.1 inches). The front track is 1.1 inches wider (59.0 inches) and the rear track is 2.1 inches wider (60.1). Like the sedan, vehicle weight has increased by approximately 5 percent on each trim level.
The Civic Coupe represents a new generation of advanced personal compact vehicle that is stylish, fun-to-drive and practical. For 2006, the Civic Coupe is more exclusive from its sedan counterpart than ever before with a shorter wheelbase and 100 percent unique sheet metal. The Civic Sedan and Civic Coupe share the same 1.8-liter engine that offers excellent power output and high fuel economy. For the first time ever, the coupe rides on a coupe-unique wheelbase (104.3 inches) compared to the sedan (106.3 inches).
The Civic Coupe follows the "Advanced Personal Compact" design theme that incorporates a sweeping roofline and ultra-fast windshield rake that highlights the vehicle’s advanced one-motion profile, low and wide stance, and superior aerodynamic performance. The sedan and coupe each have 100 percent unique sheetmetal and unique proportions such as wheelbase, height and windshield angle. Wheel openings on both minimize the gap between the tire and the body to some of the lowest levels in the industry of just 1.9 inches front and 1.7 inches rear.
The 2006 Honda Civic Coupe shares no exterior sheetmetal with the Civic Sedan, though the cars look similar from the windshield pillars forward. Up front, the sedan’s chrome grille spear is replaced by a dark metallic-finish garnish, and the headlights on the coupe are different. Also note that the Civic Sedan’s front quarter windows and folding side mirrors are replaced on the Civic Coupe with a single pane of glass and fixed mirrors. And the rear of the coupe is entirely different from the sedan.
The Civic Coupe benefits from a new generation of Honda engine technology that provides performance similar to a 2.0-liter engine and fuel economy similar to a 1.5-liter engine. The all-new 1.8-liter i-VTEC 4-cylinder engine produces 140 horsepower @ 6300 rpm and 128 lb-ft. of torque at 4300 rpm with an estimated EPA city/highway fuel economy of 30/40 miles per gallon. The new engine offers significantly improved low rpm torque and top end power. A new 5-speed automatic transmission (available) extracts this extra power to its fullest potential. Additional new Civic technology includes a drive-by-wire throttle control and a dual-stage air intake.
The Civic’s 1.8-liter i-VTEC engine minimizes pumping losses during cruising and low engine load situations, an important factor in creating more efficient engines. Pumping losses are reduced when the variable valve timing allows an intake valve to remain open for a brief time period as the piston begins its compression stroke. By keeping an intake valve open during part of the compression stroke, some of the volume of unburned air/fuel mixture in the cylinder moves back inside the intake manifold and lowers the volume being compressed, or "pumped."
During cruising or other stable, low-load driving conditions, the new engine utilizes a dedicated set of cams to close one of the intake valves and retard that valve’s timing, exerting backpressure on the air-fuel mixture. This reduces the actual intake air volume. Meanwhile, the throttle is opened wider to provide optimum control over engine output. Opening the throttle valve wider, in other words, widening the path that the air flows through - reduces pumping losses to result in a significant improvement in engine efficiency.
The pumping loss reduction yields fuel economy similar to an engine with a displacement of a 1.5-liter engine. The ability to reduce pumping losses during low engine loads allows for more aggressive tuning of the engine during high loads such as when accelerating. During high load situations, the VTEC system provides high output valve timing for maximum power. Gone is the normal valve timing, replaced by two fundamentally greater extremes. A dual-stage air intake, a lightweight powertrain and optimized gearing further add to the performance character of the vehicle.
Whereas traditional VTEC operation changes valve opening duration based on higher oil pressure during high rpm operation at one side of the valvetrain’s rocker arms, the Civic’s i-VTEC system can switch valve timing duration at low rpm and low oil pressure using two hydraulic actuators on both sides of the intake rocker arm. This engagement method is similar to that used on the Accord Hybrid and Odyssey i-VTEC systems.
This Civic’s i-VTEC valve timing reacts to driving conditions related to throttle opening, vehicle speed, engine rpm and gear selection. A sophisticated drive-by-wire throttle control, air flow meter and dual-stage air intake allow the Engine Control Unit (ECU) to create seamless transitions between the two modes of engine operation.
The Civic Coupe is available with either a 5-speed manual transmission (standard) or an electronically controlled 5-speed automatic transmission (available). The 5-speed automatic transmission - among the first in the entry level compact class - is all new for 2006 and improves on the previous 4-speed automatic design with a wider overall ratio that maximizes acceleration in gears one through four and optimizes fuel economy in its overdrive fifth gear. The computer controlled "direct control" transmission provides amazingly smooth shifts. The direct control, along with gear ratios closely matched to the output curve of the engine, help to deliver more power at just the right time to provide overall vehicle performance competitive to vehicles with 4-speed automatic transmissions, yet more horsepower.
The 5-speed manual transmission has also been redesigned into a more lightweight and compact unit that minimizes power-robbing rotating mass and adds a rotating select link for quick and direct gear changes. Additional features include a low friction design with single cone synchronizers in all gears and high capacity bearings throughout. From a performance standpoint, the new manual transmission has a higher torque capacity and a shorter, firmer and more direct shift feel.
The Civic Coupe interior, with its sporty personalized space, more closely matches its sleek exterior. As before, the Civic Coupe is classified as a subcompact car based on its EPA passenger volume.
Two-Tier Instrument Panel
Honda researchers conducted a study that tracked the eye movements of drivers and prioritized the Civic’s gauges and their placement for quick recognition time. Based on this research, a two-tier instrument panel was devised that also takes advantage of the generous dashboard space from the steeply raked windshield.
A digital speedometer, fuel gauge and engine temperature gauge are housed in the upper level to be more in-line with the drivers line-of-sight, resulting in shorter eye movements between the most commonly referenced gauges and the road. A digital readout on the speedometer was chosen to further enhance the cognition times during meter viewing. The lower level of the instrument panel houses a tachometer, odometer with trip meter and Maintenance Minder display, an outside temperature gauge (Si, Hybrid and EX exclusive) and a variety of warning indicators. On vehicles with an automatic transmission, the gear selector position is also displayed. Instrument panel illumination on all models except the Si uses a blue color scheme with white backlit buttons.
Manual Climate Control
Civic LX and above models provide air conditioning as standard equipment. The front climate controls on the Civic are mounted centrally on the instrument panel for easy accessibility and feature rotary knobs for temperature settings and fan control (7-speeds). A new feature for 2006 is the addition of push button selection for directing air through the various vents inside the vehicle, i.e. defrost, heater, split level, etc. The new controls add a touch of class and simplify mode selection. A micron air-filtration system is standard on LX and above. The high capacity condenser with integral receiver drier runs the liquid refrigerant through a sub-cooling condenser, after the main condenser. The system is efficient and lightweight compared to traditional setups.
The Civic’s new instrument system uses progressive illumination to establish a "dialog" with the driver. When the door is opened, the instrument brightness clicks on at 20 percent - a "welcome" of sorts for the driver. When the key is put in the ignition, the illumination ramps up to 100 percent in one second - warming up for the drive ahead. When the ignition is turned on, the illuminated instrument needles and annunciator lights come on, indicating all systems are go.
The Civic EX Coupe have further enhancements to interior illumination in order to provide enhanced visibility with console illumination provided at all times by an overhead ambient light that bathes the console in a subtle red glow (blue on the EX). The power window switches on the driver’s door are also internally illuminated.
Audio systems are more powerful with 350 watts and seven speakers including an 8-inch subwoofer on Civic EX Coupe models (all other audio systems are rated at 160 watts). Auxiliary audio input jacks are standard equipment on LX and above trim levels (coupe), allowing for portable music device playback through the car’s speakers. The input jack is located on the lower portion of the instrument panel’s center stack, below the 12V accessory outlet. XM(R) Satellite Radio is standard on navigation-equipped Si and EX Coupe models.
Civic LX Coupe models feature a 6-speaker (4-speakers in the LX Sedan) 160-watt audio unit. The 6-speaker locations - two tweeter locations on the dashboard, two 6.7-inch round locations in the front doors, and two 6.7-inch round locations in the rear deck. DX models are pre-wired for an audio system and have four speakers pre-installed (two 6.7-inch round locations in the front doors, and two 6.7-inch round locations in the rear deck). All audio systems feature a single CD player with MP3/WMA playback. The MP3/WMA CD playback feature is standard on all audio systems.
Advanced Dual-Stage, Dual-Threshold Front Driver’s and Front Passenger’s Airbags
The Civic is equipped with dual-stage, dual-threshold supplemental restraint system (SRS) airbags for the driver and front passenger. These airbags are designed to minimize the potential for airbag injury while providing head and chest protection for the occupants in the event of a frontal collision. This front airbag system features front passenger seat weight sensors and a driver seat position sensor designed to further enhance occupant protection.
The Civic’s front airbags can deploy at one of two rates. Deployment of the driver’s front airbag takes into account the severity of the crash, whether or not the driver’s seat belt is fastened and the position of the driver’s seat. During a lower speed collision, the airbag inflators are triggered in sequence, resulting in overall airbag deployment with less initial force. The same sequence is also utilized regardless of collision speed if the driver’s seat is close to the full forward position. During a higher speed collision, if the driver’s seat is far from the full frontal position, both inflators operate simultaneously for full, immediate inflation.
Airbag deployment on the front passenger’s airbag is regulated by crash severity, seatbelt usage as well as the weight of the occupant. Sensors under the seat gauge occupant weight and if the total weight on the passenger seat is less than the NHTSA-specified MVSS specifications, the airbag system will not deploy, minimizing the potential for injury to children. Similar to what is available on the driver’s side, the airbags are deployed at the speed appropriate to the speed and severity of the collision - slower for lower speed collisions, more quickly for higher speeds.
The driver’s airbag is located in the steering wheel hub and the passenger’s airbag is located on top of the dash. As in all Honda vehicles, the front passenger’s airbag is designed to deploy upward toward the windshield and then back toward the occupant. This provides a large cushion to help protect the front passenger while reducing the likelihood of injury resulting from airbag deployment.
For 2006 Honda Civic Coupe is offered in three trim levels. DX ($14,560) is the base model, LX ($16,510) is the popular mid-grade version, and EX ($18,460) is the fully equipped high-end model.
Standard equipment on the DX includes seat-mounted side-impact airbags, front and rear side-curtain airbags, and antilock brakes. A tilt and telescopic steering column, power windows, a driver’s seat height adjuster, and a rear window defroster with a timer are also a part of the entry-level price. The 2006 Honda Civic DX Coupe rides on 15-inch steel wheels with wheelcovers, has a small lip spoiler on the decklid, and features black door handles and black manually adjustable side mirrors. The rear seat folds down to expand cargo capacity, but is not split.
The 2006 Honda Civic LX comes with floor mats, 16-inch wheels wearing wider and lower profile tires, body-colored exterior trim, and a huge center console storage bin with a sliding armrest. The Civic LX also gets upgraded interior décor; map lights; a power driver’s window with one-touch up and down functions; and a 160-watt audio system with CD player, speed-sensitive volume control, tweeters, and an auxiliary input jack for your iPod.
The EX is the nominal top of the line. Added to the no-extra-charge features on the LX are power moonroof; variable windshield wipers; a second 12-volt power outlet; a 60/40 split folding rear seatback; a seven-speaker, 350-watt, XM-ready, premium stereo with auxiliary input jack and steering wheel-mounted controls; and outside temperature indicator. There are few options available and Honda positions its options packages and automatic transmissions as separate models, so for example, there is the Civic coupe EX with Navigation and automatic transmission ($21,010) and the similarly equipped sedan version ($20,760).
The 2006 Honda Civic Coupe’s added refinement is noticeable, both in terms of cabin comfort and engineering. Quiet and responsive, the silky powertrain provides good punch off the line, managed by a fluid gearbox and a light clutch. The steering is linear and quick, and the brake pedal feels great underfoot. However, mid-range passing power is only adequate, and the engine seems to make more noise than speed under hard acceleration - but that’s been a common trait of Honda four-cylinder motors for a long time. Tighter suspension tuning quells the sedan’s tendency toward body roll in corners and body bob on the highway, giving the 2006 Civic Coupe a more controlled, if slightly less cushy, ride quality.