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Honda debuts 2015 Step WGN with VTEC Turbo power. Could it preview the new Civic’s engine?

Honda’s Step WGN is a five-door minivan designed for the Japanese market. Wait, don’t hit that back button yet! We actually have some exciting news.

First, look at the thing. We know that minivans aren’t ‘cool’ in the traditional sense, but leave it to Honda’s quirky design team to make the concept appealing. The Step WGN is sharply styled, can hold eight passengers (compared to seven in the Odyssey), and features a seating layout called ‘food mode.’ Who doesn’t like food mode? But that’s not really why we’re here.

The 2015 model just dropped in Japan, and Honda has fitted it with a 1.5-liter VTEC Turbo four-cylinder.

You might remember that earlier this year, we reported that the tenth-generation Civic would feature an engine with the very same designation. The news was confirmed by Honda at the 2015 New York Auto Show, when the brand unveiled the striking Civic Concept.

Is the raging four-banger under the hood of the Step WGN the same block we’ll see in the new Civic?

It produces 147 horsepower and 149 pound-feet of torque here, so power output is consistent with the 143 hp and 129 lb-ft you get with the current car’s 1.8-liter. Better yet, Honda seems to be embracing its sporty side lately (see: Civic Type R), so it could easily make more than that under the next Civic’s hood. It also returns about 40 mpg with a CVT, by the way.

There’s good news for you tuners, too, as it’s much easier to coax extra juice from a turbocharged mill than a naturally-aspirated one, especially when your engine displacement is rivaled by soft drink containers.

If you love high-revving N/A power, that’s ok too. Honda’s R&D chief Yoshiharu Yamamoto recently said that while Honda is embracing the potential of forced induction, it won’t affect the entire lineup.

“Downsized turbocharging will be the base, even for the Civic,” he said. “Quite a bit will switch over to turbo, but there will still be some naturally aspirated ones remaining.”

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