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Honda is renowned for building some of the most reliable cars in the market, but it’s what lies beneath the hood of every car that keeps them ticking. There’s almost no better engine builder than Honda, especially considering the Japanese automaker has also had its hand in building F1 race cars. Honda has built many different engines over the years, but which is the best?

The F20C engine in the Honda S2000 had all the right specs

Honda S2000 F20C engine
Honda S2000 F20C engine | Getty Images

As Honda S2000 fans, we’ll admit that we might be slightly biased. But there’s no denying that the F20C engine in the 2000-03 models was an engineering marvel. The crafty engineers at Honda were able to extract 120 hp per liter out of the high-revving, naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine. To make it even better, they gave it a 9,000 rpm redline, which absolutely screams when rowing through the gears of the six-speed manual transmission.

After the 2003 model year, Honda upped the S2000’s engine to 2.2 liters. It was rated at the same power level with a little more torque (153 lb-ft vs. 162). We’re partial to this version of the engine because it has more mid-range torque, which works well for daily driving.

The 1997 Acura Integra Type R’s B18C5 engine was the king of the B-Series engines

1997 Acura Integra Type R front view
1997 Acura Integra Type R | Getty Images

We admit that Honda’s B16A engine, found in the U.S. Del Sol and 99-00 Civic Si, was also an engineering success, considering it too put out 100 hp per liter. However, we like the B18C5 engine, found in the 97-01 Acura Integra Type R, a little more. Why? Because it made 195 hp, revved to 8,000 rpm, and was arguably one of the best-sounding four-cylinder engines ever made. Also, swapping it into older and lighter Honda platforms for some serious performance is common.

The K20A engine is one of the most venerable ubiquitous Honda engines ever made

Acura RSX engine bay
Acura RSX engine bay | Getty Images

After the turn of the century, Honda started sticking K series engines into various platforms like the Accord, Element, and Acura RSX/TSX. The K series engine came in different displacement sizes and different engine codes (K20 and K24), but the one that stands out the most is the K20A from the Japanese-market FD2 Civic. Driving Line notes that this particular engine made 221 hp from its naturally aspirated, two-liter setup, which is impressive.

Which Honda engine is the best?

Although Honda has designed and built many different types of engines over the past few decades, these three stand out to us the most. If we had to pick one as the best, we would pick the S2000’s F20C engine because of its architecture and power output. It’s also the closest thing to an F1 engine, which sounds cool.


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