It is fairly guaranteed that the HRV will be getting Honda's newest version of VTEC, Earth Dreams. What remains to be seen is if we will be getting the 1.5L, the 1.8L or both. Regardless shall we look at what exactly Earth Dreams is?
Earth Dreams is the latest instalment of the venerable VTEC system that rose to popularity in the 90's because of its trick performance, now that technology has been further refined to accentuate efficiency. Honda claims Earth Dreams improves thermal efficiency and minimizes friction. Mind you Earth Dreams by itself is not simply an advancement of VTEC Technology, its the entire package.
Also baked into the Earth Dreams package are new turbo applications as well as the addition of direct injection.
Now lets focus on the two engines speculated, the 1.5 and 1.8L.
The one and a half turbo is meant to replace engines of larger capacity. The long favored 2-2.5L natural fours will be slowly phased out in favor of these new turbo 4's. In certain applications an Atkinson cycle is utilized, its unclear if an Atkinson cycle will be used in the HRV, or Honda has gone the Toyota route and designed an engine that can run both the Atkinson and Otto cycle. That would certainly explain just how VTEC has advanced. What's lovely about these new Earth Dream engines is they are expected to pack more punch in the mid range than the old 2.0s.
the one eight shares much with the 2.0L ED engine and also makes use of an Atkinson cycle like the 1.5L does. High capacity EGR on the intake and exhaust sides reduce internal friction by an undisclosed amount. Whats cool is that in certain applications Honda replaces a conventional water pump with an electric driven version which eliminates the need for a pully and takes even more friction out of the system.
Now what will be interesting to see is just how durable these engines prove to be. These modern GDI and Turbo engines while certainly efficient have shown several kinks in their armour already, albeit not from Honda, yet. GDI engines are known for their increase of carbon buildup on the valves which has plagued Hyundai's and some ECoboost engines already. As well the cam phasers and oil journals are extremely sensitive to dirty or gummy oil, once the phasers get gooked up it ruins the ability of the engine to advance and retard its timing for max efficiency/power. The last point I'm least worried about as Honda has copious experience with variable valve timing.
Quite interested to get my hands on one of these new engines, might just have to take a spin in a FIT...