So I'm talking with my girlfriend tonight because she notices I'm getting monster MPGs this tank in my Honda Civic VX. And she asks me why they don't make these Hondas now? I couldn't give her a legitimate reason why. What would keep Honda from resurrecting these cars now? There's clearly a demand for 50 mpg cars, so these would fly off the dealer lots if they brought them or a similar car back. The styling would be new and more appealing but the technology to get 50+ mpg is already there.
So, other than the hybrids that Honda has produced, why aren't they making these cars again or something similar? Is there anyone that can give a good answer for this question? All thoughts are encouraged!! I would love to hear everyone's opinion.
First is the safety requirements. There are more requirements now than in the early '90s. While more weight saving materials are available, they will still add weight. In addition to safety equipment, there are all the little extras that have become standard through the years, that also add to the weight sum.
Then there are emissions. These regulations have also become stricter, and the VX lean burn NOx levels may exceed limits. I'm not sure if they could be reduced without lowering fuel economy, but doubt it.
On top of that is marketing to sell the car. The public has been sold on high horse power. A new VX will need to produce more power, not just because it will likely be heavier, but also to meet consumer and reviewer standards. Then only 8% of cars sold have a manual. In order to be successful, a model needs to offer an automatic of some type.
So, none now, but I think we'll see them in the future. Direct injection is still relatively new, and will improve with maturity. Auto stop systems will start showing up. Manufacturers are starting to address their models porkliness.
These cars do exist outside North America. The Mazda Demio(Mazda2) Skyactiv gets 71 and 59 mpg on Japan's test cycles. The Prius does 84 and 72. Of course it will drop on the EPA, but it will be the closest we've seen to a VX in awhile. Small diesels may also start showing up on the market also.
Fuel efficient gas engines are hampered by low octane American gas though. Japan and most of Europe regular gas is the octane of our premium. That Demio has a 14:1 compression ratio. Mazda has reduced it in the Skyactivs currently available because of the negativity associated with Premium recommendations, despite cost per mile being around the same. The public is just penny wise and pound foolish when it comes to gas prices here.
Excellent answers Jay, Troll and Fetch. I appreciate the thought and input here. It sounds like to me there are better MPG cars coming, just not in this type of engineering. I'll be able to explain a little bit better now why these cars aren't a very good option for Honda to re-introduce. Still, I love my little VX manual ... it gets great MPG and driving a stick is 95 percent the fun of owning the car!!!
When I was in high school, I owned a 1980 Honda Civic. The little bad boy got about 40 city and 52 highway. It also had a 5-speed. Ever since that car, I have always wanted another ... or at least a 5-speed manual again. Then I came across my VX and after driving her about 10 miles, I knew I had found my next car. There is something about a manual that once you've owned one, you'll always want to own one.