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The Honda K20 engine is actually more like a family of engines that was first introduced in 2001. This engine series, the K-series, replaced the B-series of engines that had previously been used in these applications for 12 years.
The K20 engine series has a number of variants, typically after the K20A they start getting numbered and count up, although some other names do exist.
This engine series is found in a number of Honda models, including the Honda Civic, Integra, Accord, and CRV, as well as in the Acura CSX and RSX. This engine carried over a lot of the content from other previous Honda engines, including the VTEC technology, Honda’s version of variable timing.
Although this engine also added functionality to this feature to further control the intake camshaft phasing, and the result of this was called i-VTEC, with the i standing for “intelligent.” Other advantages included improved airflow due to an increase in valve diameter as well as optimized intake and exhaust ports.
|Honda K-Series Engine Specs||K20A||K20A2|
|Displacement (cu in / cc):||121.9 / 1998||121.9 / 1998|
|Horsepower:||221 hp @ 8000 RPM||200 hp @ 7400 RPM|
|Torque:||159 lb-ft @ 6100 RPM||142 lb-ft @ 6000 RPM|
|Bore and Stroke (in / mm):||3.386 x 3.386 / 86 x 86||3.386 x 3.386 / 86 x 86|
|Block Material:||Aluminum with Cast Iron Cylinder Sleeves||Aluminum with Cast Iron Cylinder Sleeves|
|Cylinder Head Material:||Aluminum||Aluminum|
|Ignition System:||Coil-on-Plug, Distributorless Ignition System||Coil-on-Plug, Distributorless Ignition System|
|Valvetrain:||i-VTEC, DOHC, 4 Valves per Cylinder||i-VTEC, DOHC, 4 Valves per Cylinder|
The Rebirth of the K20 Engine
As mentioned, the Honda K20 was first produced in 2001. The original K20 engine family lasted until 2011 and was out of production for some time. That changed in 2015 when the K20C1 was rolled out.
This engine, only available in the European market in the Honda Civic, added a turbocharger and as a result was able to produce a much more powerful engine.
Although this engine was significantly more powerful than the original K20 engines that were produced between 2001 and 2011, those engines also packed quite a bit of power given that they only displaced 2.0 liters. This performance to go along with the reliability and competitive fuel consumption from these smaller engines was major contributors to the popularity.
Honda K20 Performance Specs
Of the original K20 engines produced starting in 2001, there were a large variety of horsepower ratings depending on the application.
The highest horsepower rating in 2001 was 215 hp at 8000 RPM, with a peak torque of 149 lb-ft at 7000 RPM.
The 2001 to 2011 engines generally did not exceed these ratings significantly, with about 10 additional horsepower being achieved in the 2007-2008 timeframe.
That changed in 2015 when the turbocharged K20C1 engine was introduced. This engine is able to reach 306 horsepower at 6500 RPM with an impressive 295 lb-ft of torque at 2500 RPM, all from a 1.998 liter, or 121.9 cubic inch engine. This is a so-called “square engine” as the bore and stroke are identical, with both measuring 86 mm, or just under 3.4 inches.
Head and Block Construction
The K20 is essentially an aluminum engine. The block is aluminum, with steel cylinder sleeves; the cylinder head is also made from aluminum.
The crankshafts are similar across the family as well, using forged steel. Another advantage of this engine can be found in the valvetrain, as roller rocker arms are used that reduce valvetrain friction.
The valvetrain for this 4 cylinder engine is dual overhead cam, with 2 intake and 2 exhaust valves per cylinder. This gives a total of 16 valves on this engine family.
The K20 engine series proved to be a big step up in Honda’s continuous improvement of their engine lines. Although replacing the much loved B-series was not popular at first with those that came to love that engine, the K-series proved to be the right step.
The improved i-VTEC technology is just one of the benefits that made this engine a needed upgrade for these applications. This engine also significantly improved airflow, which improves all sorts of specifications, and added coil on plug technology.
The K20 series engine was a strong engine for its size, as this engine used latest and greatest technology along with sound engineering design to create an engine that could perform competitively for a long time.