EK3 Civic Vi Multimatic

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EK3 Honda Civic Ferio Vi Multimatic
The Honda Civic entered it's 6th generation, the "EKgeneration" from late 1995 till late 2000. Replaced by the current ES-generation from late-2000, nevertheless many fans still feels the EK-Civic to represent a peak in Honda's acheivement amongst all generations of Civics thus far. In the EK-Civic, the various variants were truly refined to the highest of standards. The SiR was given the code EK4 and carries the 3rd (and as it turned out to be also the last) incarnation of the legendary B16A. This generation also saw the introduction of a true Type-R Civic, the EK9. Best of all, for the person with family requirements, the so-called "executive" D15B engined version was one of the best overall Civic yet designed by Honda. I have always felt the EK3 Civic to be one of Honda's best overall Civic models. For its market segment and design objectives, it easily ranks alongside the excellence level of the EK4 Si/SiRs and even the EK9 Type-R. Even against the lastest ES2 Civic Ferio RS, the EK3 Civic still show-cases some unique technologies that have rather unfortunately been removed in the Civic RS. I decided to do this series on the 'Executive' EK3 Civics to show-case the unique technologies that it possesses, using two of my older articles to start it off; the one on the D15B engine and the english translation of the Honda Japan web-site's technical article on the state of the art Multimatic transmission. This is followed by TOVA reader Evan's article about his EK3 Civic VTi hatch. While many knows about Honda's Multimatic, few are fortunate to have experience of its usage so I next did a coverage on the Multimatic Driving Experience. Now in this article, I focus on what I feel to be the best overall mid-sized sedan Honda have yet made, the EK3 Civic Ferio Vi.

EK3 Honda Civic Ferio Vi - What's in a Name ?
For the EK-generation Civics, Honda used the model code EK3 to denote the 'executive' Civic versions. As I wrote in the D15B article what I call 'executive' versions are effectively '2nd from the top' Civics, in this case, just below the top B16A and B16B engined variants. Executive Civics are powered by engines with a balance of fuel economy and power and designed for practicality and comfort unlike the B16A & B16B engined Civics which focuses purely on performance to the extent of compromising rather large degrees of comfort and even practicality. "2nd from the top" Civics relies on the D15B engine in various configurations. The D15B displaces 1493c.c. and is always SOHC in design. In the EK3 series of variants, Honda equipped it with either just plain PGM-Fi which produces 105ps or the now famous 3-stage VTEC mechanism in which case it produces 130ps but with fuel consumption that can reach up to ~28km/l ! With the EK-generation, Honda also continued with the segregation of using the Civic name for the 3-door hatchbacks and Civic Ferio for the 4-door sedans. However, in addition to this Honda also used different type nomenclatures for the hatch and sedans.



Honda have been continously simplifying the engine valve covers. As explained. for the SOHC engines. the black covers were replaced by plain metal covers though still with the casted VTEC word. with the throttle body mouth facing upwards. The 3-stage VTEC D15B has other technological advances that the plain non-VTEC D15B and indeed many other Honda engines doesn't have. we now have two line-ups of the executive Civics. But since then.the 1. The photo on the right shows the two Look. solenoids. Lean-burn mode indicates the engine is running at a super lean air/fuel ratio of around 20:1 !! Normal engines http://asia. Therefore.net/article/EK3Vi/ 10/6/2006 .ignorant ones even confidently tell people that EK3s are always nonVTEC and only EK4s are 'VTEC Civics'.6l SOHC-VTEC used in Malaysian even has black crinkled valve covers with the VTEC word. 2 VTEC soleniods ! After all. It is a VTEC !! The first VTEC-D15B used on the EG-Civics has attractive black crinkled painted valve covers. So. Honda removed the VTEC word and replaced it with a single 'Honda' word. The regular D15B has a top mounted air-filter box. If I am not mistaken. This move have actually caught many people by surprise . All of them are coded E-EK3.EK3 Civic Vi Multimatic Page 2 of 7 Thus in the EK-generation. the 3-stage VTEC D15B is the only Honda engine with two VTEC solenoids. And the proof they say is because the valve cover doesn't have the VTEC word ! The cover don't say it but the engine's definitely a VTEC ! The non-VTEC D15B and the 3-stage VTEC D15B on the EK3s are actually very different designs. Yes. In late production EG-Civics. the VTEC solenoids are not located beside the distributor but just on top of the intake runners. The most obvious and certain ones are of course the VTEC solenoids. One is for transition from 'stage-1' (12 valve) to 'stage-2' (16 valve 'mild' cams) and the other for transition from 'stage 2' to 'stage 3' (16 valve 'wild' intake cams).vtec. the Civic Ferio Vi. For the 3-stage VTEC D15Bs on the EK3s however. this is a 3-stage VTEC VTEC solenoids very clearly. with the 's' because the 3-stage VTEC will have two of them. The ones you want are of course either the Civic VTi or if you're a more family oriented man with domestic requirements. The 1. how do one confirm that an engine is a 3-stage VTEC D15B ? Well.6l SOHC engines used on various Asian versions of the EK-Civics looks similar to the 3-stage VTEC D15B however . The 3-stage VTEC D15B has the ability to operate in lean-burn mode. there are a number of ways to confirm. Both represent probably the one of the best overall small sedans ever made. the non-VTEC D15B engine has the air-filter box very prominently on top. The D15B SOHC PGMFi (105ps) versions are now Civic Ri and Civic Ferio Mi while the D15B 3-stage VTEC (130ps) versions are Civic VTi and Civic Ferio Vi.

For the uninitiated. The 3-stage VTEC D15B redlines at a very high 7200rpm.14 km/l or more for in-town driving. Actually. http://asia. mild looking yet amazing engine. On the one hand. In 12V lean-burn mode. The beauty is that even if there is a need to overtake the car in front. even higher for long distance journeys . etc). Honda is able to run the 3-stage VTEC D15B at ~20:1 a/f ratio under ideal conditions (very light throttle. the same little engine will happily putter along at below 2000rpm for speeds up to 70-80kph and at the same time running at a hereto unheard of ~20:1 airfuel ratio ! This 3-stage VTEC D15B gives us 130ps.6l SOHC non-VTEC and VTEC engined Civics) have tachometers with red-lines at A 7200rpm red-line and ~20l/km mileage 6800rpm while the Civic VTi and Civic Ferio Vi will Impossible ? Not for Honda's 3-Stage VTEC ! have tachometers with red-lines at 7200rpm. This swirling promotes a very complete mixing of the air/fuel mixture and with other design innovations. a redline acheiveable by few engines even today. the 3-stage VTEC D15B is the only Civic engine in Honda's history so far to have this LED feature. it is a fantastic way to monitor fuel consumption.EK3 Civic Vi Multimatic Page 3 of 7 would probably have detonated itself to pieces way before getting anywhere near this ratio but the 3-stage VTEC D15B exploits the 12V mode to acheive this. Actually this is not really due to VTEC per-se but rather that VTEC enables the application of race technologies in everyday engines. For the person who values economy. race-technologies have given us a 7200rpm red-line . Then on the other hand. Driving a Multimatic Civic gives an entirely new and wonderful experience. All this in a roomy. with race-like wild cam profiles and the induction roar of a performance tuned engine. level road. Sustain this and fuel economy will approach 28km/l ! With careful and sensible driving styles. medium sized executive sedan ! Honda MULTIMATIC EK3 Civic Ferio Vi's are best appreciated with Honda's wonder Multimatic CVT transmission. it is often possible to maintain The famous "ECONO" LED Note how high's that red-line on the tacho this mode for a surprisingly large part of an ordinary journey.way above many cars with claims to being "performance" or "sporty". a power output range more commonly associated with larger engines as well as mileage of 13 . lean-burn mode can be re-entered again almost immediately after the manuveure ! VTEC engines are of course also reknown for their ability to rev to high rpms.vtec. it means lean-burn mode and the engine is running at ~20:1 a/f ratio.net/article/EK3Vi/ 10/6/2006 . only 1 intake valve opens during the intake stroke and this causes the air to swirl into the combustion chamber. And naturally-aspirated race-engines relies heavily on high revs for power.fuel consumptions more commonly associated with small engined economy cars. first impressions can be a surprise because of the MMT's ability to maintain optimum gearing at any speed. Everytime the ECONO led lights up. Lean-burn mode on the Civic VTi and Civic Ferio Vi are indicated by the lighting up of a green LED on the dashboard with the word "econo" on it. Thus the Civic Ri and Civic Ferio Mi (as well as 1. One can imagine just how much technologies have gone into this unassuming.

But things are different with the EK3 Ferio Vi. Now the stakes are so much more higher.at ~7000rpm . ironically performance is often most crucial in the family sedan ! The current state of motoring has progressed to the stage that the typical 1. I did have the air-cond off however. his kids. On the road and against the competition. high power of the 3-stage VTEC D15B and the superb flexibility of the Multimatic gearbox which allows the EK3 to take care of itself ably.including those with quite a bit larger engines. Well. I'd say a video is going to say even more ! Click on the picture of the Multimatic selector knob on the left to download a video of a WOT run on an EK3 Civic Ferio Vi Multimatic. Once the car starts accelerating.On The Road In a strange ironic way. Performance on the road is a given and indeed what is at stake in most situations is probably only the driver's ego. Once I have negotiated the tight right hander. This was the first generation of Camry that was sold here in Malaysia using the 2. 140kph comes up on the speedometer before I have to brake for the ending tight left-hander. That article. Falter in any situation requiring sufficient power to get out of trouble and what is at stake is not only the driver's ego but the safety of the whole family ! Yes.EK3 Civic Vi Multimatic Page 4 of 7 In the previous article of this series. his wife. it can be quite fast indeed ! 3-Stage VTEC with Multimatic .5l car when used with an autobox is now comparatively sluggish on the roads. the performance requirements of a family sedan can often be more critical than even that of a sports-car. Note how engine revs climbs right up to ~7000rpm but speed changes only slightly.the max-power point of the 3-stage VTEC D15B. already runs a 200ps B18CR and often seats only the driver or at most an extra passenger. A DC2 Integra Type-R for e.2 GX when I first got my EK3. But a family sedan on the other hand is often fully packed with the family.2l engine which delivers 130+ps. the large 2200cc displacement endowing the car with very good midrange. Unfortunately the run could not be made in completely ideal conditions : the car has an almost full tank of petrol (gas) and there were three adults in the car including myself. But the saying goes that a 'picture paints a thousand words'. even in tight situations or with arrogant drivers . I went WOT.vtec. I did a write-up on the Multimatic. the Multimatic Driving Experience explains the operating principle as well as the flexibility of the Multimatic gearbox. the induction roar screaming in full glory and generating all of 130ps. Nevertheless it was possible to demonstrate the unique ability of Multimatic at WOT. Observe both the tacho and the speedo meters. The engine goes straight into 'VTEC mode'. He was stuck http://asia. it is a combination of the high-revving. The stretch of isolated straight road I did the WOT run on has tight right-angle bends both before and after it so it wasn't the ideal stretch to show-off the full advantage of the Multimatic. The driver. I still vividly remember a rather scary encounter against a Toyota Camry 2. Notice that the car only really starts accelerating after engine revs reaches and stays .g. There I have used a rather large number of words to attempt to explain the unique strengths of a Multimatic gearbox.net/article/EK3Vi/ 10/6/2006 . and probably the parents as well will be comfortably seated inside the car (and thus the requirement for a roomy and comfortable interior).

Still I was driving with two adults in the car while the guy was alone. I floored it again. quickly came charging up to my tail. Curiosity quickly got the better of me so as we exited the loop and got onto the main highway. I finally slowed down to turn into a parking lot as I had reached my destination. I even had time to brake early to enter a tunnel. Indeed if the side of the road had not been lined with ARMCO barriers.0l V6 engine and is considered by many as a very powerful car . on one occasion I found I was able to keep ahead of a screaming EG9 on the highway (which I am guessing is an auto). A traffic light came up next and it was green and by coincidence. the guy's 25ps advantage was of no avail to him because try as he might. It was past midnight on an inner city highway and traffic was very sparse so there was plenty of space to run. Coincidentally he took the same exit so I went WOT again as we exited the highway.vtec. larger engined and manual cars under ideal conditions can outrun the Multimatic EK3.and often driven in such fashion. In the rear-view mirror.EK3 Civic Vi Multimatic Page 5 of 7 behind me on a single-lane entry loop into a highway. I am certain he would have driven onto the grass just to get ahead. swerving left and right trying to squeeze through. Consequently at very low speeds like just after moving off from a standstill and in gentle cruising mode. In the end. he just couldn't overtake me. Engine rpms immediately shot up to 7000rpm and to my surprise and delight. Against a fellow Honda. This time he couldn't even catch up. Again all he could do was to keep up with me. the EK3 shot forward leaving the Camry cold in its track. Being ahead. again both of us took the tight left hander. To my surprise. Getting It Right At Last The EK generation is the last generation to retain full multi-link suspension front and back and consequently has great handling and ride. I could see the guy weaving in and out very fast. It was only after I had slowed down and taking my exit that he finally managed to catch up. for the engine to rev up to max power point. unable to close the gap I had pulled ! Eventually we encountered traffic and both of us decided that safety prevails over fun and eased off. so as I WOT I also switched off the air-conditioning to get the maximum possible performance. 2. both he & I decided to have a go again. It still takes a finite amount of time. headlights flashing wildly because I was apparently blocking his road !! Another interesting episode I had was against a Proton Perdana V6. Again he catches up and out of spite. It was only upon approaching 170kph that the EG9 overtook me and pulled ahead (the EK3 Vi's stock ECU has a built-in ~180kph speed limiter). I got on WOT earlier than him and was able to quickly pull a small gap and that gap was maintained right up to some rather irresponsible speeds. As both of us exited the tunnel and re-joins the highway. I changed to 'S' mode and once we were on the main highway. Both our car's bodyweight are similar but the EG9 will have a 25ps advantage (auto B16As generate 155ps) so it was again a rather nice surprise.net/article/EK3Vi/ 10/6/2006 .0l V6 155ps means it has a 25ps as well as 500cc in displacement advantage over me but my advantage lies in the fact that the Perdana V6 comes only in auto and it's a very heavy car so I would have both MMT's superior flexibility and hopefully a competitive power-toweight ratio. Of course no engine-gearbox can be perfect. Again he couldn't catch up. no matter how short. I remember laughing aloud as the Camry came charging past. Out of a mixture of fear and spite. EK3s are equipped with Honda http://asia. I decided it would be fun to 'test' against this much bally-hooed higher powered car as long as I constantly reminded myself to retain some common sense. Such experiences can be annoying of course but in the end a family sedan is not meant to be a drag machine so they have to be accepted as part and parcel of everyday driving. This uses a 155ps 2. I have been out-dragged by a Perdana V6 and a manual Proton Satria (coincidentally both with very loud aftermarket exhausts) when both of them wanted to illegaly cut into my lane from a stop junction and a traffic light respectively (their lane was for turning only but they were both using it to jump queue). went WOT.

the 3-stage VTEC D15B will run in 12V lean-burn mode with air-fuel ratios of ~20:1. both of us entered a wide corner at 140kph and surprisingly the EK3 kept up with the BMW with very little drama. there is quite pronounced body-roll during hard cornering. under ideal conditions. Not initially expecting anything other than sheer asthetic improvement. Actually some tyre noise is a given with almost all cars nowadays . As is constantly hyped. I have followed many cars in tight corners and especially in those with rapidly reducing radius. only to have to back-off because it had to brake due to over-committing to the corner. When taking very tight corners at the limit. with several short periods of WOT fun.vtec. With 185/65/14 HR tyres but completely stock suspension. On long journeys outstation (out of town) on free flowing expressways with relatively easy traffic and sustained speeds of up to 120-140kph. Volvos. I think the limiting factor nowadays is the rather aggressive tyre designs we have gotten to prefer that compromises noise for performance. In terms of wind noise. Actually. especially the apparent cornering stability (due to the lesser body roll) but ride comfort did degrade to some extent.net/article/EK3Vi/ 10/6/2006 . It's a compromise that has to be accepted for the high degree of ride comfort of course. even Mercedes I've driven or sat in surprised me by suffering from this to some extent too. This is where the EK3 VTi/Vi has been tested to deliver an unheard of mileage of 28km/l ! But of course in practise it's impossible to be driving at a constant 60kph in everyday journeys.. Fuel Consumption I wish to conclude this article by touching a little on the much vaunted fuel economy of the 3-stage VTEC D15B.. the EK3's cornering limit is really very high. I was surprised to find the handling of the car to be quite improved. does it make sense to want an 'exciting' handling with a lot of drama for the sake of 'driving excitement' ? Me. the EK3 is very stable at high speeds. Eventually I had a copy of the EK9 Civic Type-R upper strut bar installed on my EK3. This is with 2 adults in the car too. thank you. In terms of quietness too. the EK Civic have approached equivalent continental car levels. my family's usually in the car and I would much rather have it safe and boring.indeed even the many BMWs. With stock suspension and stock 175/75/13 tyres. a consumption of between 12-13km/l can be easily acheived. As with the engine/gearbox package. However the Ferio Vi is still comparatively a light-weight so passing or being passed by large lorries (trucks) and buses will still cause it to rock very slightly. the EK3 will feel very stable and secure even when the tyres have started to screech from understeer. again with regular WOT runs for overtaking slow moving large vehicles. In a family sedan. speeds which we rightfully shouldn't be maintaining for long periods of time for the sake of safety. the fuel economy that can be acheived with the 3-stage VTEC D15B is dependent on the weight of the right foot and http://asia. Nevertheless. Once when tailing a BMW on the expressway. there are some intrusion at high speeds. there are still some shortcomings. The standard fuel economy test conducted in Japan comprises running the car under ideal conditions at a steady 60kph. the ride quality of the EK3 often took unsuspecting passengers by surprise. However. In the end more than with any other engine. In one case my friend Mike from Singapore was impressed enough to spontaneously exclaim to his wife "this is a comfortable car eh ?". Again there's very little drama to the extent that detractors have labelled the EK3's handling as 'boring'. But let's be sensible. This is no mean acheivement since the comfortable superb ride quality is a hallmark of continental cars. this would be over critical here because we are talking about speed of 140-160kph. My experience with my EK3 is that in a mixture of congested town driving and reasonably free-flowing inner city highway driving (at a ratio of maybe 60 : 40). a consumption of up to 16km/l or higher can be acheived. I have easily closed up to the car in front.EK3 Civic Vi Multimatic Page 6 of 7 Progressive Valve shocks so their ride comfort can even be compared to the excellent rides of continental cars.

I am starting a special reader's opinion & feedback feature via our popular vtec. To sustain lean-burn mode for long periods of time best results are acheived in cool weather conditions driving in free-flowing traffic. That wonderful green "econo" LED can also be a rather good teacher on economical driving style.net/article/EK3Vi/ 10/6/2006 . even managing to eclipse the current Civic RS in some ways. please visit the special thread for this at our TOVA Forums. It is a relatively fast yet economical family car with a degree of comfort approaching equivalent continental models in the same class yet with a high degree of performance. Surprisingly this is not as difficult to maintain as might be suspected because with the EK3 Ferio Vi. From a standstill at the traffic lights or toll-gate. Wong KN March 2003 © Temple of VTEC Asia http://asia. Even if the overtaking is done with WOT. lean-burn mode can be restored again very easily after that. keeping the ECONO LED on as much as possuble.net Forums. For TOVA readers who wishes to give your opinions and feedback on this article.it's even possible to overtake while in lean-burn mode as long as the extra throttle is applied very gently. Conclusion The EK3 Civic/Civic Ferio VTi/Vi remains one of Honda's best overall Civic to this day. overtaking slower vehicles can be accomplished with relative ease .EK3 Civic Vi Multimatic Page 7 of 7 the driving 'exuberence' of the driver. the key is to maintain a constant speed using very light throttle. NEW ! Reader's Opinions For selected articles. a relatively simple feat with the Multimatic. Once up to cruising speed. the key is to get up to cruising speed as fast as possible. we can cruise at as high as 120kph (80mph) under this condition ! And with Multimatic.vtec.