VTEC Engine Specifications for a 2002 Honda Civic EX

by Dan Ketchum
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The Civic is a simple, fuel-efficient compact car introduced by the Japanese Honda Motor Company in 1973. Since then, this successful model has come in hatchback, sedan and coupe models in a variety of engine configurations and trims. The company’s VTEC engine has been used in many models since its introduction, including the 2002 Honda Civic EX, which employs a SOHC (Single Over Head Cam) VTEC engine.

VTEC History

Honda’s VTEC engine technology, designed by the company in-house, began life as the New Concept Engine program in 1984 under the supervision of Ikuo Kajitani, which resulted in the first DOHC and SOHC engines. The VTEC engine made its debut in the fifth-generation of Honda Civics in 1992. VTEC variations including the DOHC and SOHC VTEC as well as the VTEC-E, 3STAGE VTEC and i-VTEC were introduced and utilized in various Civic models, including the 2002 Honda Civic EX.

Engine Basics

VTEC stands for “Variable Valve Time and Lift Electronic Engine Control.” It is a valvetrain engine system designed to optimize low and high RPM operations and improve volumetric efficiency in four-stroke internal combustion engines. The VTEC does so via directly altering the cam profile so that the optimal grind can be utilized at either high or low RPM.

2002 Civic EX

The 2002 Honda Civic is part of the Civic’s seventh generation, which lasted from 2001 to 2005. Seventh-generation Civic EX models feature SOHC VTEC engines. These VTECs are 1.7-liter 16-valve aluminum alloy in-line engines reaching 127 horsepower at 6,300 RPM. The 2002 EX’s VTEC is available with manual and automatic transmissions. The VTEC system used in the 2002 Civic EX is a simplified design, which shares a common camshaft for both intake and exhaust valves, operating only on intake valves. Because of this, it only benefits from the VTEC mechanism on the intake valves.

Fuel Economy

The 2002 Honda Civic SOCH VTEC with automatic transmission offers 30 miles per gallon (or 7.8 liters per 100 kilometer) for city driving and 38 miles per gallon (6.2 liters per 100 kilometers) on the highway. 2002 VTECs with manual transmission offer 32 miles per gallon (or 7.4 liters per 100 kilometers) for city driving and 38 miles per gallon (6.2 liters per 100 kilometers) when driving on the highway.

Strengths and Weaknesses

The 2002 Honda Civic EX’s SOHC VTEC offers good fuel economy. It is easy to maintain, requires low maintenance costs, is simply constructed and has a reputation for reliability. It features high-RPM power with little or no negative affects on low speed. Some noise and shake provided by the engine invades the cabin at high speeds and the timing belt must be replaced at recommended intervals.

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