By Nat Shirley
Tuesday, Nov 20th, 2012 @ 10:40 am

Honda has taken the wraps off the latest addition to its efficiency-focused Earth Dreams engine lineup - a 1.6-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel that the automaker claims is optimized for both fuel efficiency and fun.

Set to debut in the European-market Civic early next year, the mill produces 118 horsepower and a healthy 221 lb-ft of torque. Helping to achieve those figures is a fourth-generation Garrett turbocharger with variable-nozzle technology that cuts down on turbo lag while also decreasing fuel consumption.

One of Honda's goals in developing the 1.6-liter mill was reducing mechanical friction to a level comparable to a gasoline motor in order to improve throttle response. At 1500rpm, the motor has around 40 per cent less friction than Honda's existing 2.2-liter diesel.

"[Decreased friction] not only reduces emissions and improves fuel efficiency; it also improves the engine's response, both on and off the throttle, making the car more fun to drive," said Tetsuya Miyake, project leader for the new motor.

Honda has yet to announce plans to bring the oil-burning mill, which was designed primarily for European consumption, to the states. However, given Mazda's decision to offer its SkyActiv diesel in the U.S., in addition to the fact that GM will launch a diesel-powered Chevrolet Cruze next year, we wouldn't rule out the 1.6-liter eventually making its way stateside.

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