It debuted on the new JDM Honda StepWGN only last week; now Automotive News reports that the new 1.5 litre VTEC Turbo motor could see duty in the next-gen Honda Civic as a base powerplant (Malaysian-spec current-gen facelift pictured).

“Downsized turbocharging will be the base, even for the Civic,” global R&D chief Yoshiharu Yamamoto told AN, adding that the engine will offer fun-to-drive qualities, while meeting strict emissions regulations.

“In America, there aren’t that many (direct competitors) with turbo models. The power is very good,” he said. The new engine is said to deliver the power of a conventional 2.0-2.4 litre engine, while offering better torque and fuel efficiency.

Output figures have not been officially divulged, but the words (or numbers!) on the wire are 180 PS, 260 Nm and 18 km per litre. If that’s true, that’s 25 PS and 70 Nm more than even what our current Civic’s free-breathing 2.0 litre engine makes.

According to AN, Honda is investing US$340 million in its Anna, Ohio engine plant to build turbo motors by year-end. A supplier source has told the publication that the Japanese carmaker plans to make as many as 200,000 1.5 litre turbo engines a year in the US, with production set to begin in the fourth quarter.

Malaysian-spec Honda Civic facelift 1.8S