Automotive marketers sometimes have to stuff big ideas into small acronyms so the buying public can digest them. The best ones become so prominent people know the acronym without having any idea what it stands for. What automotive acronym should every enthusiast know?

Our pick? Before anyone ever uttered the words, "VTEC just kicked in yo" (or Photoshopped it across an image of a panda riding a rocking horse), Honda lovers treated the acronym like it was its own word synonymous with "awesome performance." In reality, VTEC stands for Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control, which describes a system used by Honda in its engines to adjust the timing of the camshaft and activate alternate lobes on the cam at different speeds to change the performance profile at different RPMS. This gave Honda vehicles typically fuel-sipping low RPM performance and the crazy high RPM power boost associated with VTEC kicking in.


There are other versions of the same system in many vehicles now that go by different names (VVTi, VANOS, et cetera) and even Honda has had to evolve the acronym to describe more technologies, but VTEC is the one we all remember and the most important.

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