Friday, 3 August 2007

Honda Civic Type R and Hybrid Officially in Malaysia Now!

Honda Malaysia has launched the latest 3rd generation Civic Type R and 2nd generation Civic Hybrid, both based on the current 8th generation Civic. For the local market, the Civic Type R available now is the JDM four-door FD2 sedan form, unlike the hatchback version available in Singapore which is similar to the one for the U.K. market. Incidentally, Malaysia is the only country in Asia outside of Japan which is getting this version of the Type R, officially that is. You can have it in any colour as long as it’s Championship White!

Powering the new Civic Type R is Honda Motor Co.’s famous K20A DOHC i-VTEC engine pumping out 222bhp at 8000rpm and 215Nm of torque at 6100rpm, all from a 2.0L normally aspirated petrol motor. A six-speed close ratio manual transmission - equipped with a torque-sensitive, helical limited slip differential system - mediates the transfer of power to both front wheels.

Unique power-enhancing features that differentiates the Type R from the regular K20A-powered brethren are a straightened, short, single-tract and equal length intake manifold, a large diameter drive-by-wire throttle body, narrow angle exhaust manifold collector and full-length straightened dual exhaust pipe.

To handle those extra horses and pulling power, the Type R dampers have higher damping rates (1.25 times in front, 1.6 for the rear) than the previous Integra Type R, as well as an increased valve size and load capacity. The spring rates and ground clearance over the standard Civic have also been revised while the stabiliser bars for both front and rear are thicker and of course, stiffer.

Standard alloys for the sporty Type R are 18-inch of multi spoke design, wearing with 225/40 series Bridgestone Potenza RE070 tyres. Needless to say, the braking system is also uprated with four-piston Brembo aluminium calipers grabbing 320mm ventilated discs for the front, and 282mm discs for the rear. This ensure a shorter stopping distance and improved resistance to brake fade. Looking more aggressive than the Modulo bodykit, the Type R aero kit, with a large tail spoiler in tow, rounds off the sporty external detailing.

Interiorly, you get Honda's trademark Type R dual-tone black and red trim on seats (front bucket-type) and door trim. The Civic dual-layer instrument panel has been made sportier, most obviously is the Type R face tachometer that redlines at 8400rpm plus shift lights ala Formula 1. There are also lots of aluminium bits and inserts inside: pedals, footrest, side step garnish, gear shift knob, serial number plate (located on the gear console) to make this top-of-the-line Civic exclusive to own.

The Civic Type R is priced at RM199,800 on-the-road, inclusive of road tax and insurance. At the time of writing, all 42 units of the Type-Rs allocated to Malaysia for the remaining months of 2007 have found future owners who can’t wait to collect them.

On the opposite of this 8th gen Civic spectrum, the new Civic Hybrid voices a green theme, which comes in the shade of Fluorite Silver Metallic. Honda Malaysia is hoping this will appeal to a selected niche of motorists who are environmentally conscious and as such value efficiency, fuel economy and lower CO2 emissions. Sitting under the bonnet of this Honda petrol hybrid sedan is Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) technology system, first seen in 1999 and then extended to the Civic family in 2003.

The Civic Hybrid draws its power from a 1.3L i-DSI engine equipped with 3-stage i-VTEC variable valve timing, assisted by a secondary power source in the form of a fourth generation IMA system to offer improved power output, better fuel efficiency and lower emissions. The IMA system consists of an ultra-thin DC brushless electric motor mounted between the engine and the Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) drivetrain; this provides additional torque and power by engaging during vehicle acceleration. At low speed cruising (about 40kmh), the electric motor solely powers the vehicle.

All the electric power created by the motor is stored in a compact battery box called the Intelligent Power Unit (IPU) - consisting of a rear-mounted compact nickel metal hydride battery and power control unit - which controls the flow of electricity to and from the electric motor. Recharging takes place when braking, slowing down or traveling downhill; battery life is claimed to be about five to seven years, which should be a relief to those contemplating ownership of this tech marvel of higher energy efficiency.

The Civic Hybrid is going for RM162,800 on-the-road, inclusive of road tax and insurance. Honda Malaysia is targeting an annual sales figure of 60 units each of the new Civic variants. Apparently, not every Honda dealers have the new Civic Type R on display. For example, not even Malaysia’s top Honda dealer in sales volume, Peringgit Sri Motor in Old Klang Road, Kuala Lumpur has a sample showroom unit. Hmm…strange.

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