Set to headline this year’s Bangkok International Motor Show this month, Honda Automobiles Thailand has just confirmed that the all-new 2017 CR-V will finally be getting a diesel engine. The Bangkok Post reports that Honda’s compact crossover will employ a 1.6-liter i-DTEC engine producing 160 horsepower at 4,000 rpm and 350 Nm of torque at 2,000 rpm. This is the first time a diesel engine will be fitted to a Honda vehicle in the Southeast Asian region and is a significant step to actually realizing a diesel-fed CR-V in the Philippine market.
Known for their prowess in engineering some of the best small-displacement gasoline engines, Honda has been making in-roads in diesel technology as well. Beginning with the i-CTDi or Intelligent Commonrail Direct Injection engine in the early 2003, Honda has since moved to the i-DTEC naming in 2008.
The CR-V’s 1.6-liter i-DTEC engine is part of Honda’s Earth Dreams engine family. It’s an engine that first made its way in the facelifted CR-V in 2015. It’s a remarkable piece of engineering that has three main characteristics: smaller and lighter, reduced mechanical friction, and greater efficiency.
Using an aluminum block joined to an open deck aluminum block, Honda’s 1.6-liter i-DTEC engine is 47 kilograms lighter than the company’s own 2.2-liter unit. All individual components have been optimized, reducing their weight and size without compromising on reliability and durability. For example, the thickness of the cylinder wall has been reduced to 8 mm compared with 9 mm in the 2.2 i-DTEC. The 1.6-liter unit also uses lighter pistons and connecting rods as well.
Together with this optimization to reduce size and weight, Honda engineers have also reduced the mechanical friction inside the 1.6-liter i-DTEC engine. Friction reduction is important because it improves fuel efficiency, emissions, and engine response both on and off the throttle. All rotating parts have been studied carefully to reduce friction. One example is how the 1.6-liter i-DTEC engine uses a shorter and thinner piston skirt. With 40 percent less mechanical friction than the 2.2-liter i-DTEC engine at 1,500 rpm, Honda has achieved mechanical friction levels comparable to that of a typical gasoline engine.
Extracting the most efficiency out of the CR-V’s 1.6-liter i-DTEC, Honda uses a Bosch high-pressure direct injection system. It delivers fuel at 1,800 bar of pressure resulting in a finer, more even spray of fuel resulting in a cleaner, more efficient combustion. Together with this, Honda’s engineers also improved the volumetric efficiency of the cylinders. The use of an EGR or Exhaust Gas Recirculation system reduces NOx emissions as well. Finally, a clever turbocharger from Garrett makes use of a variable nozzle design. Precisely controlled by the car’s electronics, it minimizes turbo lag and ensures good mid- to high-speed performance. It provides a maximum boost pressure of 1.5 bar.
Bangkok Post also reports that the Honda CR-V will mate this 1.6-liter i-DTEC engine to a 9-speed automatic transmission. This should give the CR-V 1.6 i-DTEC a fuel efficiency rating of 18.9 km/L.
Now, here comes the interesting part.
Honda’s i-DTEC engines are supposedly rated for Euro-5 emissions standards thanks to a Diesel Particulate Filter or DPF. However with Thailand currently at Euro-4 emissions (the same as, you guessed it, the Philippines), it seems the company has found a workaround.
Honda Automobiles Thailand has yet to announce the pricing and availability of the all-new CR-V, but Bangkok Post says it should be more affordable than the Hyundai Tucson and Mazda CX-5 Skyactiv-D because of its lower emissions. The paper pegs the price below 1.5 million Thai Baht (~ P 2,155,000).
Sources: The Bangkok Post