Home / Social media / Cars / Ever wondered why Honda's K20 engine gets so much love?


There isn’t a Honda fanboi in the world who won’t shout out “Honda has never had a VTEC system fail in any car, ever”. While these over-engineered Japanese powerplants are praised for their reliability, that’s not quite the case. What it does tell you is that most Honda guys are fanatical about the brand and that Japanese performance engines are reliable. This means that the Honda K20 engine (along with it’s bigger brother, the K24) is a sought-after setup for engine swaps no matter if its into a Honda body or not. Over and above the reliability that the engines offer, another reason that builders and tuners want them is that they produce really good power for a normally aspirated setup and they’ve also been in the market for so long that they’re on of the few engines that can be taken to ridiculous power with off the shelf parts - if you have enough cash in your credit card account, you can spend less than an hour online and order every single part needed to created a powerful, high-revving normally aspirated powerplant, or a turbocharged beast for those that thrive on boost.

Luckily the Honda K20 engine is found in a few models in varying trim levels and was at first only available in the true JDM models in Japan only as the K20A. As expected though, the higher spec examples are the most sought-after, but when budgets are tight, there’s nothing wrong with getting hold of a lower specced K20 and to slowly upgrade it as funds allow. There’s no less than thirteen K20 configurations available, which we reckon means it will be the engine of choice for quite a few years to come before they’re in short supply. Obviously with so many different configurations of the Honda K20 powerplant available, it can be a scary thought of parting with hard earned money for one and choosing the wrong one. Luckily there’s more than enough Honda fans out there who have not only done the R&D to see which ones work the best for specific applications and they’re happy to share their info and experiences.

Honda’s K-Series engine was released in 2001, and the fact that it’s now 21 years old and is still very sought after just shows the level of engineering it has. From a beefy bottom end through to a cylinder head that’s widely regarded as being one the best designs of its kind, and considering the cylinder head is one of the places you fiddle with to make power on a car, these engines are as near to the perfect setup as a dead dinosaur-consuming piece of machinery can be. Normally aspirated Honda engines have always been good though, there’s countless cars out there with Frankenstein conversions where the old school B16 1600cc or B18 1800cc engines are fitted with the cylinder head from a B20 2000cc engine, and with these engines becoming harder to source, the newer generation has moved on to now choose the K20 to do the same job of going fast. Over and above the improved specs and power in the K20, a lot of it was down to availability.

While you’d need a few hours to be able to learn all about the different K20 engine configurations, this video covers a bunch of the reasons the engine is so good, and it highlights the changes between the K20 and the older generation B16 and B20 setups, and also some of the differences between the different K20A, K20B, K20C and the K24 lumps among others. You’ll learn why they like to rev high, why they can handle boost and what parts you should get for the build.   

Take a look at the YouTube video about the much-loved Honda K20 powerplant below: Why People Love Honda's K20 So Much? | VisioRacer

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