• Donut Media Explains VTEC: Video

Is it some magical performance elf? Nay, ’tis SCIENCE!

Matching gas-gulping speed-making with frugal efficiency isn’t an easy thing to do. Some folks slap a turbo on it and call it a day, while others add some extra batteries and an electric motor and call it a hybrid. But what if you didn’t need either of those things to have your cake and eat it too? Well, turns out Honda has been doing exactly that since the ‘80s, and it’s called VTEC.

The acronym stands for Variable valve Timing and lift Electronic Control, and basically, the system works to modify the exhaust and intake valve timing in the head to better extract more efficiency from the engine. While older engine design used a single cam profile to time the valves, VTEC actually manages to change the cam profile for increased power when you want it and decent fuel mileage when you don’t.

The first example came out in 1989 with the JDM Acura Integra, eventually hitting the States a few years later with the high-tech Acura NSX. Ever since then, H-badge fanboys have never been the same.

There’s obviously a lot more to it than we’ve explained thus far, so hit play for all the details.


2001 Acura Integra Exterior
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acura integra

Read our full review on the 2001 Acura Integra.

1991 - 2005 Acura NSX
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Honda NSX

Read our full review on the 1991 Acura NSX.

Jonathan Lopez
Jonathan Lopez
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