Honda VTEC Engine Specs and Review

The VTEC technology has been the pride of Honda. Cars with VTEC can be quicker, more fun to drive, and more efficient if they are equipped with VTEC, as you have witnessed in the movie “Fast and Furious.” In this article, I’ll discuss Honda VTEC engine specs and reviews.

Honda cars running on VTEC technology can be more efficient throughout a wide rpm range compared with other vehicles. They are enjoyable to drive because drivers won’t notice that the system has already kicked in.

There was never a warranty claim against its VTEC technology, says Honda. They say it is due to the VTEC technology’s reliable variable/timing and solenoids. This is not to say that these engines are bulletproof. It’s just that their track record is excellent.

Read on to learn more about the VTEC engine system of Honda, its key specs, and some reviews.

Honda VTEC Engine Specs and Review

Honda VTEC Engine

VTEC Stands for Variable Valve Timing & Lift Electronic Control

Honda cars using VTEC technology are likely more efficient across a wide range of rpm than other vehicles. VTEC stands for variable valve timing & lift electronic control.

Uses Two Different Camshaft Profiles for Low and High-end Performance

It uses two different camshaft profiles for low and high-end performance. The car’s ECU is the one that selects which of the two profiles to use each time.

The VTEC technology is a good engine system. Cars with this technology will likely be more efficient and enjoyable to drive. Most drivers won’t notice that their car’s VTEC system has already kicked in.

No Warranty Claim

Honda seems to be very proud of its VTEC engines because they claim that there isn’t a warranty claim against them. They attribute this to the very reliable variable valve/timing and solenoids they use in the system.

However, that does not mean that the VTEC technology is bulletproof. It will also fail if operated under harsh conditions and given proper care. Even then, it has an excellent track record for dependability.

Can Combine High RPM Performance with Low RPM Fuel Economy

One good feature of Honda’s VTEC is that it can combine high rpm performance with low rpm fuel economy. The seamless transition enables the engine to perform smoothly throughout the whole power band.

This smooth transition is also due to the car’s electronic control unit (ECU). It controls the switching of the two cam lobes, which are an integral part of the VTEC system.

Honda Cars with VTEC

Several Honda cars have VTEC. But it seems that VTEC is better on some Honda car engines than other Honda engines. Two of the Honda engines with VTEC include K20 and K24.

These engines have proven to be the best four-cylinder engines that Honda manufactured. Both the parts of these engines are affordable. They are also very swappable with other engines, leading to their huge following and the creation of almost any vehicle you can think of.

VTEC Engine Specs

Honda used the first Honda Civic VTEC engine they developed in the Honda B16A First Generation. This technology was first installed in the engine of the Honda Integra XSi, which Honda manufactured from 1989 to 1993.

Honda also used this VTEC engine in the 1989 to 1991 Honda CRX SiR (EF8) and the 1989 to 1991 Honda Civic SiR (EF9).

Here are the specs of the first VTEC engine by Honda Motor Co:

B16A (First Generation) Honda VTEC Engine

  • Displacement – 1.6 L; 97.3 cu in (1,595 ccs)
  • Power -160 hp. (119 kW; 162 PS) at 7600 RPM & 150 Nm (111 lb. – ft.) at 7000 RPM
  • RPM VTEC engagement- 500 RPM
  • Bore x Stroke – 81 mm × 77.4 mm (3.19 in × 3.05 in)
  • Compression – 10.2:1
  • Rod/stroke ratio – 1.745
  • Redline – 8000 RPM
  • Rev Limit – 8200 RPM
  • Transmission – S1/J1/YS1 (4.4 final drive, cable clutch, optional LSD for YS1), Y1 (4.266 final drive, cable clutch, optional LSD)
  • ECU code – P-fk1 (DA6/DA8/EF8), PW0 (EF8/EF9/DA6), PR3 (EF8/EF9) OBD0

Fast forward to our day, Honda improved the VTEC. Here are the basic engine specs of the most current Honda Civic, the Honda Civic Touring.

Honda engineers have designed another efficient and powerful Honda engine four-cylinder, 1.5-liter engine, which they call EarthDreams.

2022 Honda Civic Touring

  • Vehicle Type – front-engine, front-wheel drive, 4-door sedan, five passengers
  • Engine Type – turbocharged and intercooled, DOHC, 16 valves in line-4, direct fuel injection, aluminum block, and head
  • Power – 180 hp at 6,000 rpm.
  • Torque – 177 lb.-ft at 1,700 rpm.
  • Displacement – 91 cu. in., 1498 cc.

2022 Honda Civic Sport Touring Hatchback

  • Vehicle Type – front-engine, front-wheel drive, 4-door sedan, five passengers
  • Engine Type – turbocharged, DOHC, 16 valves in line-4, direct fuel injection, aluminum block, and head
  • Power – 180 hp. at 6,000 rpm.
  • Torque – 177 lb.-ft. at 1,700 rpm.
  • Displacement – 91 cu. in., 1498 cc.

In the 2022 Honda Civic Touring, the DOHC (Double Overhead Cam) has a Variable Timing Control on both the intake and the exhaust camshafts. This works in conjunction with the i-VTEC system of the engine.

The level of variability of this engine is excellent, allowing the system to simulate the low-load operation of the Atkinson cycle valve timing for excellent fuel efficiency.

If you need huge power when accelerating and going uphill, the engine’s high compression can respond with its 158-peak horsepower.

What’s the Difference Between a VTEC Engine and a Regular Engine?

honda vtec engine specs
2022 Honda Civic Touring

Different from the Usual Method That Internal Combustion Engines Operate

The VTEC engine departs from the usual method that internal combustion engines operate. A long camshaft rod is usually above the engine’s cylinder and pistons in a standard ICE.

A Camshaft Is Responsible for Opening and Closing the Engine Valves

This camshaft is responsible for opening and closing the engine valves, which plug up or block and open both the intake and exhaust channels. One camshaft rotation opens the intake channel, allowing the air and fuel mixture inside the cylinders.

A Spark Plug Ignites the Air/Fuel Mixture

The spark plug will then discharge a spark that causes the air/fuel mixture to ignite. Another rotation will open the exhaust channel to let out the unburned air/fuel mixture while the intake channel shuts close.

An Engine Has One or Two Camshafts

While this process continues, the pistons keep moving up and down the cylinders. An engine can either use one or two camshafts. These camshafts are usually driven by either a timing belt or a timing chain.

Only a few variables control how standard engines deliver the power required to move a vehicle. Too many variables may not be a good thing for ICEs. The process of opening and closing the valves works at low RPMs.

But as the engine gains speed, the valves’ opening and closing also increase. So, eventually, this process affects its efficient operation.

This is why Honda engineers strived very hard to improve the system. This led them to the development of VTEC technology for Honda cars.

Honda’s VTEC Technology Has Two Different Sizes of Lobes

In Honda’s VTEC technology, the camshaft has two different sizes of lobes – a larger center hole lobe and two regular-sized outer lobes. Only the outer lobes control the valves during low RPMs.

Faster Acceleration and Improved Engine Performance

But once the engine picks up speed, the central lobe opens and closes the valves. The valves will open sooner and closer later. This will result in faster acceleration and improved engine performance.

The sudden change will also cause the engine’s sound to change its pitch. This is the sound of the VTEC system as it kicks in.

More Efficient Throughout a Wide Rpm Range

Honda cars with VTEC technology are more likely to be more efficient throughout a wide rpm range compared to other vehicles not equipped with the system.

If you have a Honda VTEC, you will know it is “on” when your engine runs relatively high in the rpm range. You will rarely get to that point if you are driving in normal conditions.

Switches Between Fuel-saving Mode to Performance Mode

VTEC is the system that switches between fuel-saving mode to performance mode. Changing to a smaller lobe profile can achieve cleaner fuel burning and better fuel efficiency.

When your car needs improved performance, it will switch to the larger lobe profile. This will allow the valve to open up bigger and longer so you can produce your desired power.

Switching between the low and higher profile cams is possible through a locking pin connecting the two separate cam lobes at given engine speeds.

Again, what is the Honda VTEC engine? Honda created the Variable Valve Timing & Lift Electronic Control (VTEC) to improve the engine’s performance at high RPM and lower fuel consumption at low RPM. Honda achieved this by enhancing the four-stroke internal combustion engine’s volumetric efficiency.

What Hondas Have a VTEC Engine?

As long as electric cars are not mass-marketed, we can still enjoy the benefits that Honda’s VTEC engines can give. Several Honda cars have VTEC engines. Some of them are still running our roads today.

What are the most popular Honda cars with VTEC technology? Let’s discuss those that were popular from 1989 to 2001:

1. Honda Integra 1989

The first Honda car with the VTEC system was the Honda Integra 1989. It has a B16A Honda engine with 1.6 liters, four cylinders DOHC VTEC that made 162PS at 7,500 rpm and 150 nm at 7,000 rpm.

These numbers are still impressive, given that it is only a naturally aspirated engine.

PS stands for PferdStarke, which is the metric measurement of the horsepower of an automotive engine. Its equivalent is about 98.6% of one hp. However, it is seldom used today since it is almost equal to the value of one hp.

This engine earned the distinction of being the first mainstream engine to attain the 100 PS per liter mark, although the Ferrari 250 GTO reached that distance as far as mainstream cars are concerned.

The B16A VTEC engine underwent many improvements and iterations through the years though the basic design remained the same. Honda continued producing this engine until early 2000, when they replaced it with the K-series engine.

2. Honda NSX

This engine is Honda’s first try at manufacturing a supercar. The car company fitted it to the Honda NSX. Some may suggest that this car is a sports car if its performance is considered.

During its first production year, the engine can deliver 274 PS at 7,300 rpm with its 3.0-liter DOHC V6 engine that was naturally aspirated. It can also produce a torque of 284 nm at 6,500 rpm. This engine was the second in Honda’s engine lineup operating under its VTEC system.

3. Honda S2000

In 1999, Honda launched the Honda S2000, a vehicle that became the world’s all-time favorite roadster. The car is a rear-wheel, front-engine sports car having an open top. It was powered by a 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder F20C Honda engine.

This engine was the highest specific output at 125 PS delivered by a naturally aspirated engine from a production car. After ten years, Ferrari’s record was broken with its 458 models and only by 1PS per liter.

This engine also collected numerous awards consecutively from 2000 to 2003.

4. Honda Civic Type R (FK8), Honda FD2 Civic Type R, and the Honda DC5 Integra Type R

The K20A engine propelled many Honda vehicles from the early 2000s to mid-2010. They include the Honda Civic Type R (FK8), the Honda FD2 Civic Type R, and the Honda DC5 Integra Type R.

This engine delivers 225 PS at 8,000 rpm and a maximum torque of 215 nm at 6,100 rpm. Many describe the performance of this engine as refreshing, energetic, and fierce.

Is Honda VTEC Reliable?

honda vtec engines list

Honda VTECs are dependable machines. They are engines that run more efficiently on fuel and performance. They are better compared to engines that do not use variable timing. With a VTEC engine, you can derive two personalities from your car.

Honda VTEC is a very reliable technology with power that other naturally aspirated engines can’t match. These engines were the first engines that tried and succeeded in integrating variable valve timing and other innovations that we only take for granted these days.

There’ll be no question about Honda VTEC engine reliability if you base it on the company’s statement that there has been no warranty claim against it. Its valve/timing and solenoids are reliable, mainly if provided with the proper care and maintenance.

Frequently Asked Questions

We now find answers to the most frequently asked question about Honda’s VTEC system. If you still have unanswered questions in your mind about this topic, perhaps you will get your answers from the ones listed below:

Is VTEC an Exclusive Design of Honda?

The meaning of VTEC is Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control. It was the brainchild of Honda engineers, and this technology is exclusively used in many Honda engines and vehicles.

Is VTEC a Reliable System?

Honda says its VTEC system is very reliable. They claim there was not a single warranty claim against this technology in all the years they were manufacturing these engines.

But this does not mean that this engine is bulletproof. If you want it to stay dependable, you should still provide it with the proper care and maintenance.

Is a Honda VTEC Engine a Good Engine?

Honda VTEC Engine is a good engine system. Cars with VTEC engines perform better in fuel efficiency and power delivery than other vehicles with no such technology. Honda cars with VTEC are also more fun to drive.

You wouldn’t even know that the VTEC of your engine has already kicked in. That’s how smoothly it operates.

Does a VTEC Engine Consume More Fuel?

The Double Overhead Cam (DOHC) VTEC is designed to improve the volumetric efficiency of a four-stroke ICE. This results in lower fuel consumption and higher performance at high RPMs.

The VTEC engine will always be fuel efficient under any condition, on the open highway, or in congested traffic with frequent stops in between.

In Closing: Specs and Review of Honda VTEC Engine Specs and Review

Honda vehicles that operate on the VTEC system are more efficient in running across a broad rpm range compared to other vehicles. VTEC cars are also fun to drive since you won’t notice the VTEC system kicking in as you go along.

This VTEC technology has never received a warranty claim, Honda says proudly, mainly because of its use of very reliable valves/timings and solenoids. It is not bulletproof, but its track record speaks for itself.

Read next:

Honda D16Y8 Engine Specs and Review

Honda D16Z6 Engine Specs and Review