HONDA JADE RS

This one dons one of Honda ’s all-new VTEC Turbo en­gines

Car India - - CONTENTS - Story: Jim Gorde Pho­tog­ra­phy: Honda

TWENTY-SIX YEARS HAVE passed since the first Honda en­gine with Vari­able Valve Tim­ing and Elec­tronic Lift Con­trol (VTEC) made its début in the 1989 Honda In­te­gra on the DOHC B16A en­gine making 160 PS in Ja­pan. In In­dia, of course, we got VTECed when Honda launched the first City for In­dia, the third-gen model just be­fore the turn of the mil­len­nium, and that was the first we saw of the tech­nol­ogy that has grown on many an en­thu­si­ast car buyer. Known for be­ing among the most re­li­able, if not the most re­li­able in sev­eral global sur­veys, Honda’s VTEC en­gines have amassed a fan fol­low­ing like few oth­ers.

Step into the fu­ture, and, even with VTEC, Honda need to meet emis­sion re­stric­tions and de­liver more from less. So, yes, they’re here! Not one, but four VTEC Turbo en­gines in the fam­ily ( see box). Each en­gine from the new range will find its place un­der the bon­nets of ev­ery­thing from the Fit (Jazz) to the new BR-V, Civic, CR-V and Ac­cord in time. The car we had was the Jade RS — a sport wagon, no less.

The 1.5-litre it­er­a­tion of the VTEC Turbo is a four­cylin­der unit making 150 PS at 5,500 RPM and 203 Nm of peak torque be­tween 1,600 and 5,000 RPM. Valve-over­lap is man­aged us­ing dual VTC for in­take and ex­haust valve. The en­gine revs cleanly and ea­gerly and doesn’t feel con­strained by some­thing as petty as a revband. The tur­bocharger sim­ply adds to the power al­ready on tap. In fact, it’s quite sim­i­lar to what I felt in the BMW M4. There is enough power from the en­gine, but the turbo is there sim­ply to make things bet­ter; like the cherry on top of the ic­ing on the cake. It adds more depth, more feel and, need­less to say, more power, with the claimed ef­fi­ciency fig­ure be­ing 18 km/litre.

The CVT au­to­matic does make it seem more city-fo­cused but it doesn’t spoil the fun. There will be a man­ual version on of­fer, too, and not just in the Jade. The en­gine feels sprightly and I had to keep re­mind­ing my­self that this was the 150-PS version and that there is much more to come. What­ever al­ter­na­tive propul­sion Honda have planned, they could se­ri­ously do with th­ese mo­tors along­side. Good old petrol power, blown or oth­er­wise, de­serves a spot in the fu­ture if it’s go­ing to feel like this.

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