How Honda Civic ECO mode increases fuel economy
No, it’s not cylinder management as applied to Honda’s 3.5 Liter V6 i-VTEC engine.
We’ve experienced the resulting rather dead peddle in 2016 Honda Accord Touring when opting for ECON mode. And in our drive review of 2016 Accord Touring Coupe, largely ignored the setting in our quest for exceptional engine performance.
In the case of the Honda V6, depending on driving conditions, street surface, highway, etc., engine cylinders can be disengaged at the camshaft via a solenoid, resulting in a rather dead peddle, but greater fuel efficiency. And I should note: Under certain driving conditions, you don’t want to pull a load upgrade on ECON mode.
Looking to the low displacement 4-cylinder engine, ECON works a bit differently
Here’s how ECON saves Civic drivers a few dollars when used in conjunction with the fuel-economy optimization meter front and center on the dash.
By limiting the mid-range depression movement of the drive-by-wire throttle (you can feel it fighting you) ECON mode in Civic limits fuel delivery to the throttle body. At the same time active horsepower draining features such as the air conditioner- cycling changes.
You may note the air conditioning compressor coming on and shutting off more often than usual. In hot weather it is recommended that you don’t run continuously in ECON mode. Your cab temperature will run hotter than usual.
In CVT equipped models and older conventional automatic transmission equipped Civic, ECON mode modifies the shift pattern for fuel efficiency. You may notice this change when driving up a grade at speed. Your Civic will not downshift as readily when compared to selected normal or spot-mode for Civic if so equipped.
Hypermiling not necessary
While we you may love the challenge of wringing as many miles per gallon as possible out of a gallon of gasoline, the practice of neutral-gear-hypermiling is not required in Civic to maximize fuel efficiency. Looking to the display in front of the driver, one will find fuel efficiency guidance bars in the form of an increasing and decreasing color changing light bar.
“Eco Assist” coaching bars when kept in the green, reflect the most fuel efficient driving practice on the road to beating Civics’ segment leading EPA combined MPG rating of 33 on regular gasoline.
Need I say it? Fuel economy will vary depending on road condition, driving terrain, region, weather, the average temperature, time of day, blend of gasoline, etc... But, I’ve seen 40 + MPG while driving on the highway in low wind conditions. What’s your best Civic fuel economy to date?