Why Is The Honda VTEC Engine So Popular?

Honda made improvements to its vehicles, and Honda’s VTEC engine is proof of that. The purpose is to make the car faster, more efficient on challenging roads, and more comfortable to drive.

But there are many regular turbo engines out there that can lead to enjoyable rides – so, what exactly makes VTEC technology so special? Well, it mainly depends on your road needs: some are more likely to notice it than others.

What Does VTEC Stand For?

In Honda cars, VTEC stands for Variable Valve Timing & Lift Electronic Control, and it is an essential part of engine control. The purpose of the engine is to increase efficiency while saving power when you are going at a higher speed.

Honda VTEC technology makes use of special exhaust valves and matching air-fuel intakes in order to reach the perfect engine speed. It allows Honda vehicles to be easily used in challenging conditions, without worrying that the engine may give out.

There are different types of VTEC engines out there, and if you want to upgrade your engine, you will have to know what each of them stands for. Let’s take a short look at them:


At low speed, this type of VTEC uses a regular cam profile in order to maintain proper fuel economy, a smooth idle, and decent low-end power delivery. These systems will kick in at around 5,500 RPM so that they can increase power delivery.


Standing for Variable Timing Control, this mechanism is added to the end of camshaft intake. It will automatically adjust overlaps between exhaust and intake cams, allowing valve overlap in higher RPM ranges.


Short for Intelligent Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control, the i-VTEC is a mix between VTEC and VTC. Right now, only the DOHC K-series uses this type of technology.

Selling Points of Honda VTEC System

The VTEC series from Honda enjoys various selling points, which bring more and more vehicle enthusiasts into the Honda shops. These are:


VTEC, VTC, and i-VTEC engines from Honda feature a process referred to as VVT, short for Variable Valve Timing.

This will alter the time when an intake valve opens. Once the gas pedal is stepped on, the timing belt will trigger the camshaft and increase your REV range.

Increased Horsepower

Perhaps one of the greatest selling points of the Honda VTEC system is the fact that it is one of the strongest engines in its class.

Reaching 160 kW @ 7,500 EPM, the VTEC engine uses air circulation technology to increase the airflow through the cam, easily changing it to a lower angle.

Second Power Curve

A conventional engine will begin to lose power when it reaches the top of its RPM range, which can cut its strength and prevent it from reaching an even higher RPM range. This was a common dissatisfaction for vehicle owners throughout time.

However, Honda’s VTEC technology was given a 2nd power curve. This allows the engine to release more power as it is going for higher RPMs.

Different-Sized Lobes

Unlike traditional engines, VTEC Honda engines have different camshaft systems. With a traditional engine, the camshaft has various lobes of the same size. However, things are slightly different with a Honda engine, as there are two smaller outer lobes and a bigger center lobe.

When running at a low RPM, the outer lobes will be the ones keeping the valves open. However, once the engine starts spinning faster, the center lobe will be the one keeping the valves open (or closing them with the rocker arms).

This action will often result in better performance as well as a speed burst, which is referred to as “VTEC kicking in.”

Benefits of VTEC Engine

Through its features, The VTEC, i-VTEC, and VTC enjoy various benefits, such as:

Low Fuel Consumption

Due to the VTEC technology, as the power is passing through the intake valve and through the exhaust valve, less fuel is burned in order to give your car a power push through normal driving. This can lead to much lower fuel consumption.

Rapid High Speeds

Whether VTEC or i-VTEC engines are installed, the technology also allows you to switch from low speed to high speed at a much faster rate.

You get different degrees of control over the intake stroke as more air passes through the camshafts. This improves your vehicle’s efficiency no matter if you are going for low or high speed.

It is amazing that Honda has included the VTEC engine in their family-focused cars like the Honda Vezel and Honda Shuttle.

Reduced CO2 Emissions

Honda set a policy to reduce CO2 emissions by 20% by the time 2020 turned a corner. It managed to do exactly that with the VTEC systems. By using automatic valve timing, fuel consumption is reduced when the intake stroke is shifted into a higher gear.

High Durability

To this point, Honda vehicles barely have any competitors when it comes to reliability and performance. When VTEC technology was employed, their performance became top of the line.

On average, a VTEC will last between 200k and 300K miles, which is more compared to the average turbo engine. Evidently, for the engine to work flawlessly up until this point, it requires proper and regular maintenance.

Performing Under Difficult Conditions

Depending on the quality of the road, lower speeds may be necessary in order to prevent further damage to your car. VTEC allows your car to control the intake stroke from high to low.

This reduces fuel consumption and increases the performance of the vehicle even during difficult conditions. It will also allow you to reach higher speeds when you would not be able to do so under normal circumstances.

The Bottom Line

VTEC engines give you more freedom over your driving, especially if you are a fan of twisty roads and tough conditions. It offers you an extra burst of power, increasing your consumption without actually sacrificing your fuel power.

While it may not seem to make that much of a difference in normal driving conditions, it makes a great difference if you are going for high ranges – which is why it’s so popular among drivers.