Honda Civics will be powered by a hybrid electric powertrain in Singapore starting sometime in 2023. Will it also make an appearance in Malaysia? Sources say its debut would have been sooner if not for the ongoing global semiconductor shortages and other supply bottlenecks.
Back on our side of the causeway, the 11th-gen Civic eschewed the stalwart 1.8-litre normally aspirated i-VTEC from the older FC in favour of a uniformly turbocharged range. Singapore will be the 2nd ASEAN market to offer the Civic e:HEV. It’s just not here….yet.
The e:HEV powertrain used here is identical in concept to the ones that power the range-topping City RS and HR-V RS, using a conventional combustion engine in tandem with two electric motors. Honda dubs it Intelligent Multi-Mode Drive (i-MMD).
Honda Intelligent Multi-Mode Drive (i-MMD)
Much like a diesel-electric locomotive, the first e-motor serves as a starter generator that is mainly used to convert the mechanical power generated from the engine into electricity, which is stored in a lithium-ion battery. That stored charge is used by a second ‘traction’ motor, which is responsible for actually driving the wheels though at high-speed cruises when the engine is at its most efficient, a clutch pack can temporarily link the engine directly to the front axle for more fuel economy.
The biggest difference here between the City and HR-V’s e:HEV system is the use of a larger and more powerful 2.0-litre engine. That aforementioned traction motor is also a beefier unit, sending 184hp and 315Nm (delivered instantly, because electric motors) to the front wheels.
This will give the Civic hybrid similar performance to the 1.5-litre VTEC-Turbo engine but with significantly more torque, which would result in markedly improved acceleration and all-around responsiveness.
Upon its launch in Singapore, the hybrid Civic will be the second Honda model there to feature the i-MMD powertrain – the Jazz, which we no longer get, was the first to introduce the island-dwellers to Honda’s new hybrid tech.
Like the City and HR-V, we expect the Civic e:HEV to sit at the top of the range should it make its way into Malaysian showrooms. However, that’s far from a sure thing. Honda Malaysia might not reckon enough people would buy the hybrid Civic to make it worth their while.
This lack of volume interest is compounded by the fact that this 2.0-litre i-MMD unit might require additional investment to manufacture/assemble locally unlike the smaller 1.5-litre version they’ve been making in Pegoh, Melaka since 2020.