Honda VTEC Turbo four-cylinder engine confirmed for the U.S.

Amid a flurry of announcements at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show, Honda gave enthusiasts a bit of good news.

The Japanese carmaker said it will offer a new VTEC Turbo four-cylinder engine in the U.S., confirming previous reports and creating interesting possibilities for the future of Honda performance here.

The VTEC Turbo is part of Honda’s Earth Dreams line of efficient powertrains, but there should be plenty of go-fast potential as well.

Honda declined to discuss specs, but the company’s new Civic Type-R also uses a turbocharged four-cylinder, producing around 280 horsepower.

Like every other Civic Type-R, this one won’t be sold in the U.S. But it doesn’t take much imagination to picture a version of the VTEC Turbo engine powering another hot Civic in the States.

Honda may need such a model to stay competitive in the hot hatchback (and coupe, and sedan) segment.

The current Civic Si seems trapped in the early 2000s. Its 2.4-liter four-banger produces a respectable 205 hp, but it’s outgunned by the 252-hp Ford Focus ST and 268-hp Subaru WRX, while the Volkswagen Golf GTI beats it in refinement.

Alternatively, the turbo-four could be used to boost fuel efficiency in Honda’s mainstream models by taking the place of naturally-aspirated V6s. That strategy has worked pretty well for carmakers like Ford and Hyundai.

It’s also possible that Honda’s upscale Acura brand will make use of the new engine. ILX Type-R, anyone?

Multiple variations of the design are possible, but whether it’s one engine or many, VTEC Turbo assembly will take place at Honda’s plant in Anna, Ohio.

We’ll find out Honda’s plans later this year, when the first VTEC Turbo-powered models go into production.

Emerging Tech

Yamaha’s new app lets you tune your motorcycle with a smartphone

It used to be that if you wanted to tune your motorcycle’s engine and tweak its performance, you needed specialized tools and even more specialized knowledge. Yamaha’s new Power Tuner app changes that.

Big tech, bigger grille: BMW updates its 7 Series flagship for 2020

The BMW 7 Series will enter the 2020 model year with a host of updates inside, outside, and under the sheet metal. The new-look nose with a jumbo grille hides updated engines, while passengers benefit from smart tech features.

The 2020 Lexus RC F goes on a diet to run faster and hit harder

The Lexus RC F has been one of the heavier cars in its competitive set since its introduction. The Japanese firm's engineers set out to shed weight as they gave the model a mid-cycle update.

Hyundai’s Veloster N hot hatchback will prove its mettle on the track

The Hyundai Veloster N will go racing to prove the credibility of Hyundai's new N performance division. Unveiled at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the Veloster N race car will compete in a class with other small cars.

With 341 horsepower, the WRX STI S209 is the most powerful Subaru ever

The Subaru WRX STI S209 is the latest in a series of special editions that have never been sold in the United States before. The 341-horsepower pocket rocket debuts at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show.

China’s GAC Motor cruises into Detroit with all-electric Entranze concept

Chinese automaker GAC Motor brought its all-electric Entranze concept to the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. This is the third straight year that GAC has appeared in Detroit, and the company has established a design center in California.

2020 Ford Explorer branches out with sporty ST, efficiency-focused hybrid models

The 2020 Ford Explorer gets two variants never before seen on Ford's stalwart family hauler. The ST focuses on performance, while the hybrid aims for decent gas mileage. Both models will debut at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show.

Some of Volkswagen’s electric models will wear a ‘Made in the USA’ label

Confirming earlier rumors, Volkswagen has announced it will build electric cars in its Chattanooga, Tennessee, factory. The facility currently produces the Passat and the Atlas. Production will start in 2023, Digital Trends can reveal.

Infiniti previews its leap into one of the hottest industry segments

Infiniti will unveil the QX Inspiration concept at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The design study is an electric crossover shaped by Infiniti's newest design language that may point to a future production model.

Nissan IMs concept teases a future long-range, autonomous electric car

Debuting at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the Nissan IMs is an electric car with a 380-mile range, autonomous-driving capability, and a backseat designed for being chauffeured. Too bad it's just a concept car.

Lexus LC convertible concept teases a new open-air flagship

Debuting at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the Lexus LC convertible concept adds open-air motoring to the sleek LC's resume. But Lexus won't commit to a production version of the car just yet.

Fast and Furious fans get revved up: Toyota’s Supra sports car is back

The 2020 Toyota Supra made its long-awaited debut at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The resurrected sports car, famous for a role in The Fast and the Furious, goes on sale in the U.S. this summer.

Muscle cars, trucks, and EVs roared into the subdued 2019 Detroit Auto Show

The 2019 Detroit Auto Show was the quietest edition of the event in recent memory, but that doesn't mean nothing significant happened inside the Cobo Center. Here are the new cars and concepts we saw at the show.
Emerging Tech

Ford’s sweaty robot bottom can simulate 10 years of seat use in mere days

Ford has developed 'Robutt,' a sweaty robot bottom that's designed to simulate the effects of having a pair of human buttocks sitting on its car seats for thousands of hours. Check it out.