An improved diesel engine isn’t the sort of thing that’d normally pique or interest, but this time around it’s worth paying attention. It’s a fettled version of Honda’s 1.6-litre oil burner, and it’s good for a faintly ridiculous 76.3mpg.
Sure, we’ve seen that kind of figure claimed before, but for this particular engine, the magic number has been obtained using the new Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP). The test cycle has been “developed using actual driving data gathered from around the world,” so in other words, you might actually be able to achieve the kind of figures it offers in the real world.
For years, cars on this continent have been tested with the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC), which is so gentle you have pretty much zero chance of replicating the associated economy claims. The new version of the ‘i-DTEC’ Honda lump is one of the first to be tested by WLTP instead of NEDC.
To make the near-80mpg and 99g/km figures possible, Honda has reduced cylinder friction by using chromium-molybdebnum (don’t ask us to pronounce that) steel alloy pistons, and the cylinder bores have been treated to some “super plateau honing.”
There are new cast ribs on the engine block too, designed to improve noise, vibration and harshness through an increase in rigidity.
It’s good for 118bhp and 221b ft, making 0-62mph possible in 10.4 seconds. So it’s probably not going to set your world on fire, but if you’re after something stupidly economical, it’s going to be worth a look.
It’ll be join the range from March 2018, and be available with Honda’s new nine-speed automatic gearbox from mid-2018.