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New 2020 Honda Civic Si Sacrifices Fuel Efficiency for Acceleration

  • Honda’s 2020 Civic Si is sacrificing fuel economy for better acceleration. The manufacturer accomplishes this by changing the final-gear ratio of the 6-speed transmission.
  • The EPA has determined that the 2020 Civic Si will achieve 2 mpg less than previous models. In exchange, the Civic Si will be able to accelerate at a quicker rate.
  • The final-gear ratio of a vehicle is determined by the ring and pinion gears’ interaction. The harder the gears work together, the more fuel the vehicle uses.
  • Although it seems like Honda has taken a step backward in fuel economy, it’s nothing to be concerned with. The 26/36 mpg in the city and highway was already top-notch.

With the announcement and rollout of car manufacturer’s 2020 models, there has been a strong push for better fuel economy. Some would say that better fuel economy does not necessarily mean better performance, although this hinges on the definition of better performance.

As more and more automakers produce vehicles that use either less fuel or no fuel at all, customers aren’t completely sold on sacrificing features that have become synonymous with the phrase “better performance.” In fact, some manufacturers are willing to sacrifice a bit of fuel economy for other beneficial features and the Honda Motor Company’s latest 2020 Civic Si is proof.

2020 Civic Si Sacrifices Fuel for Speed

While Honda’s latest Civic Si model went through some exterior cosmetic changes, it also experienced some adjustments under the hood. In order to achieve quicker acceleration, Honda made a slight mechanical tweak by reducing the final-gear ratio by 6%.

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the newer final-gear ratio causes the Civic Si to achieve 2 mpg less in the city and along the highway. Reducing the mpg by 2 miles by adjusting a vehicle’s transmission in favor of better acceleration is nothing to scoff at. Losing 2 miles per gallon in a 15-gallon tank can equal the distance of a roundtrip commute to work.

However, compared to the 2019 model, this means the fuel economy of the 2020 model will sit at 26/36 mpg which is still quite impressive. Honda makes a safe assumption that customers will excuse the trade-off for better “pick-up-and-go.”

Final-Gear Ratios

Gear ratios are determined by the sizes of the ring and pinion gears and how they interact. For example, a ring gear may contain 55 “teeth” while the pinion gear has 12. Simply divide the number of teeth of the ring gear by the pinion gear to determine the gear-ratio. In this case, it would be 4.58 (55/12).

The higher gear-ratio (lower numerical value) will allow the vehicle to reach top speeds quicker, but will also burn more fuel. A lower gear-ratio (higher numerical value) conserves more fuel because it doesn’t require as much effort to maintain cruising speeds.

Is the 2020 Civic Si Worth the Compromise?

Although losing 2 mpg seems to be a step backward in regard to the advancement of fuel economy, it’s certainly not a red flag. Any type of adjustment made toward a vehicle’s performance is going to affect fuel usage. It’s simply part of the process.

What’s more important is that Honda maintains the quality and safety of its vehicles while developing environmentally conscious and better-performing innovations for consumers to enjoy. With a mere $700 increase from the 2019 Civic model, Honda is on the right path to continue being an influential forerunner of the modern vehicle industry.

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