When the topic of Honda throttle control systems comes up, there are those who swear by aftermarket electronic throttle controllers and those who think it’s all a sham. While it all comes down to personal preference and needs, there’s no denying that a Honda electronic throttle control system can go a long way in helping your Honda feel more responsive, especially while towing. But what is a throttle controller, and how does one work? These devices can adjust the throttle response of your Honda by modifying the voltage signal going to the ECU from the accelerator pedal. This results in reduced throttle accelerator delay, which usually happens when you press the accelerator pedal and you feel a slow or poor response from the engine. This can not only be frustrating, but it can be dangerous when you’re trying to overtake a vehicle on the highway at speed.
However, a Honda electronic throttle control can also reduce the throttle response, leading to improved fuel economy, and better handling in off-road situations. Before electronic throttle controllers came about, every vehicle used mechanical cables attached to the accelerator pedal and the throttle assembly. The throttle control assembly controls the airflow that goes inside the engine through a valve or plate that opens and closes based on the pedal’s position. As you press the pedal, the cable pulls the throttle open.
Most modern vehicles feature actuator motors and electronic sensors instead of mechanical cables. The sensors tell the ECU how far the pedal is pressed, and the ECU sends a signal to the actuator to let it know that the engine needs more air. And if you know how combustion works, you know that the air to fuel ratio is one of the most important things your engine needs to get right in order to run and burn fuel optimally. That being said, electronic throttle controllers won’t increase your Honda’s horsepower, but they’ll optimise how your engine burns fuel and how it responds to the accelerator pedal.
Some of you may think: “But I’ll just press the pedal harder”, but that’s not how it works. When you press the pedal harder, your vehicle will still need time to smooth out the acceleration. This is a built-in feature in most vehicles in order to provide better fuel economy. The throttle controller turns this so-called dead zone into an action zone by opening the throttle earlier during the pedal press. This is impossible to accomplish by simply pressing the pedal harder.
The most popular Honda electronic throttle control module is the Ultimate9 EVC, previously known as iDrive. This throttle controller allows you to tune the vehicle’s throttle response for any driving style by providing new points of reference for the throttle mapping. This enables you to sharpen and dampen the throttle response. That being said, the Ultimate9 EVC comes with 4 driving modes that make sure you always get the ideal throttle response with the push of the button.
The first mode is the ultimate mode, also known as the performance model. The higher you go with this mode, the sharper the throttle response will become. This mode comes with 10 adjustability levels that adjust the sharpness of the throttle. It’s the ideal mode for towing, driving, overtaking vehicle and high-speed off-roading.
The second mode is the economy mode, which is the total opposite of the ultimate mode. The higher you go, the more your throttle response gets dampened. This mode comes with 10 adjustability levels so you can soften to the appropriate levels. This is especially important during off-road driving like river crossing and rock climbing, where you need a more controller application of power and you want to avoid jerking the throttle every time you accelerate. This mode is also great for performance vehicle is the factory settings are too aggressive in specific situations, like driving on rainy days.
The third mode is the automatic control mode, which automatically adjusts the throttle response based on your current driving behaviour. For instance, if you’re stuck in traffic and moving ever so slowly, the throttle controller might hold you in 0-1 ultimate mode, and as you start to speed up it can bump you to 2-3 ultimate mode, and if you press the pedal all of a sudden to try and overtake a vehicle, it will deliver 7-8 ultimate mode for an extra kick. This mode is especially useful on long drives and when towing on different terrain.
The last mode is the normal mode, which replicates the factory throttle and basically turns the electronic throttle controller off. This mode is ideal if other people drive your car, and if you want to place your Honda in its factory settings. You can switch between the four modes by simply pressing a button on the unit.