HONDA JADE RS
This one dons one of Honda ’s all-new VTEC Turbo engines
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.