After years of showing limited interest in the fuel-saving technology, Honda has developed direct injection for its volume four- and six-cylinder engines for introduction in 2012. The trio of direct-injection powerplants covers everything from the compact Civic to the Ridgeline pickup truck. Honda hasn’t confirmed where the engines will appear first, but the summer 2012 timeframe corresponds with the launch of a redesigned Accord. Recently refreshed products like the Civic and CR-V will likely have to wait for mid-cycle refreshes to receive the new engines.
Honda—not so long ago considered the technology leader among automakers—has been conspicuously absent from the direct-injection discussion until now. Hyundai, Kia, Chevrolet, Mazda, and Ford have all embraced the precision fuel delivery method as instrumental to improved fuel economy. Engineers at Honda claim a five percent efficiency increase across the board along with slight power increases. Spraying fuel directly into the cylinders also cools the intake charge, allowing for a higher compression ratio that produces more power. Preliminary specs are as follows:
1.8-liter I-4, 148 hp, 133 lb-ft (up from 140 hp, 128 lb-ft)
2.4-liter I-4, 181 hp, 177 lb-ft (currently 185 hp, 163 lb-ft)
3.5L V-6, 310 hp, 265 lb-ft (up from 250 hp, 247 lb-ft)
The 2.4-liter engine also boasts Atkinson-cycle operation, a variable valve-timing trick that improves efficiency at low loads by eliminating the excess air that is typically taken in during the intake stroke. The Atkinson cycle, along with direct injection, is one of the core attributes of Mazda’s Skyactiv-G 2.0-liter four-cylinder that is used in the 2012 Mazda 3 and the 2013 Mazda CX-5.
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