The Honda utilizes a transaxle arrangement where the transaxle and the differential are contained within the same housing. Power is transmitted from the engine to the transaxle and in turn, to the differential. The front drive axle halfshafts transfer the power from the differential to the front wheels.
The Civic without the CVCC engine, 1973-80, utilizes a standard design 4-speed, fully synchronized transaxle. The transaxle is located on the right side of the engine, along with the differential. A similar 5-speed is used on Civic and Accord CVCC models in these years. The 5-speed becomes available on all models in 1981-83.
A simple 2-speed, semi-automatic transaxle, Hondamatic, is available on models built 1973-80. As in all automatic transaxles, power is transmitted from the engine to the transaxle through a fluid coupling known as a torque converter. Forward gears are selected simply by moving the shift lever to the proper position - D1 (low speed range) or D2 (high speed range). The gears are engaged through the use of a complex clutch system in each gear range.
In 1981, the Hondamatic was replaced with a more conventional type of automatic transaxle with 3, self-shifting forward
ranges. The major difference between this transaxle and the one that preceded it is that it not only shifts by itself but determines, through hydraulic pressures, when shifts are to occur.
In 1983, this transaxle received a 4th gear ratio to improve the cruise fuel economy while maintaining performance at low speeds. This transaxle also locks up the torque converter to eliminate its slip under steady cruise conditions.