Greatest Honda Engines to Turbo

Honda owners can be a weird bunch, I know, because I’ve owned several of these machines, from entry-level Civics to some of their excellent sports cars.

For a long time, purists would turn their noses up at a turbocharged Civic, claiming naturally aspirated was the way to go — because that’s what Honda intended them to be.

Luckily, things have changed in recent years, and for many Honda enthusiasts, turbocharging is now the way to go. A few years back, Honda even went down the turbo route themselves, proving the rebels right.

This has resulted in some excellent and highly capable builds, some of which have been known to annihilate proper supercars, and they cost a fraction of the money you’d spend on one of those.

Here, we’ll take a closer look at the best Honda engine to turbo, depending on budget and desired power.

Things to Consider Before Turbocharging Your Honda

Turbocharged Honda engine

There are several factors you need to take into consideration before you decide to slap a turbo on your Honda.

Arguably, the two most important things are your budget — because adding more power tends to spiral out of control — and how much power you really want or need.

You also need to think about how the car will be used. If it’s just a fun daily driver, you’re likely better off with less power and should focus on drivability. If it’s strictly for track or drag use, the world is your oyster.

Civic EG project car

It’s rarely as simple as just buying a turbo kit and installing it, in some cases that’s how it works, but you may need certain complementing modifications for it to run properly, or to avoid blowing the engine or transmission.

While some off-brand kits are excellent, others may suffer from quality issues, so you must do your research. Either way, we recommend buying from a known brand or shop.

Depending on the engine, you may need to upgrade the fuel system with bigger injectors, you’ll also need a freer-flowing exhaust system.

Getting it tuned properly is important too — which potentially means investing in a standalone engine management system.

Honda S2000 on a dyno

If your clutch and/or gearbox is worn, you’ll want to get that sorted out sooner rather than later as well.

Installing a turbo on your Honda without sorting out the fuelling and having it tuned can cause problems with airflow, boost pressure, and the engine running lean or rich which might spiral into pre-ignition and detonation.

Best Honda Engines for Boost

Now that you’re aware of the many considerations you need to make before embarking on a forced induction build, let’s check out the best Honda engine to turbo for your needs.

Starting with one of the most versatile and beloved Honda motors: the D-series.

Honda D16Z6

Honda D16Z6 turbo build

Technically, this could be about almost any D-series engine, as they’re very modular and parts can be mixed and matched, you can even install a VTEC head on a non-VTEC engine — a so-called Mini-Me swap.

The D16 is cheap and there are plenty of affordable replacement parts available, both new and used, and there’s decent aftermarket support. That means it’s not the end of the world if it does eventually blow up.

The D-series is probably the best Honda engine to build and install a turbo on if you’re on a budget.

The engine can handle a decent amount of power, but if you intend to go beyond 200-220 whp, you need to upgrade the internals.

With the internals sorted out, a D16Z6 engine will run 400+ whp all day long.

Honda B-Series

Turbocharged B18C

For a long time, the iconic Honda B-series engine was king in the Honda sphere, which translated into prices skyrocketing.

These days, the highly capable K-series rules the roost, and the B-series, while still expensive compared to the D-series, can be considered somewhat attainable — at least the “lesser” versions.

If you have an older Honda and a decent budget, a B-series is probably the best Honda engine for boost, whether it’s one of the B16s or a B18.

Thanks to VTEC, these engines produce from 150 to 200 hp in stock form, and they’ll handle around 300-350 whp on stock internals. Some claim to run 500 hp on stock internals, but we think that’s pushing your luck.

There are 1000+ hp B-series builds out there, but 500 whp on a fully-built engine is a more “sensible” number.

Honda K20

Turbocharged Honda K20

There are multiple K20 engine variations to choose from, and some are arguably better suited for turbocharging than others, in part because of lower compression.

The more powerful versions also tend to cost more, so that’s something you should take into consideration if you’re on a budget.

However, this being Honda, the K20 has plenty of tuning potential, as parts from different K-series engines can be mixed and matched to create a proper beast — there’s a reason why some enthusiasts will tell you this is the best Honda engine to turbo.

The stock internals are known to handle more than 400 hp, but at this point, we strongly recommend that you consider upgrading the transmission, as it has a nasty habit of blowing up when you reach these power figures.

If money is no object, and you’re looking for as much power as possible, a fully-built engine could produce more than 1,000 hp, but it’s kind of pointless in an FWD Civic as you’d spin the wheels for days.

Those who want a reliable car that can be used as a daily driver should aim for somewhere in the region of 400 to 600 hp.

Honda F20C

Honda F20C motor

The Honda F20C was fitted under the hood of the S2000, which is among the best Japanese street racing cars of all time.

When it first saw the light of day, the FC20’s 240 hp was more power per liter than any other naturally aspirated car.

Modern sports cars mostly rely on forced induction, and they can leave the S2000 in their dust once the boost is turned to 11.

A turbocharger is the perfect way to bring the S2000 up to speed, so to speak, and there are several Honda S2000 turbo kits to choose from.

The F20’s power is found high in the rev range, and a perfectly sized turbo will help it get to that magical VTEC range faster, and you get to enjoy more power all the way to the redline — it’s really a no-brainer.

Owners have managed to squeeze out in excess of 700 hp from off-the-shelf turbo kits, and more should be possible with additional mods.

You should note that going beyond 600 hp will require internal upgrades, and if you’re aiming for maximum drivability, 500 hp would be our limit.

Spoiled for Choice

Widebody Civic

As you can see, the best Honda engine to turbo depends on how much power you’re looking for, your budget, which car you have, and how you intend to use it.

While some of these engines can produce plenty of power in naturally aspirated form, installing a turbo tends to be cheaper when you’re looking for a lot more power. Not to mention, you get to hear that sweet turbo flutter all day.

If you own a car with any of these engines, and you have plans of turbocharging it, let us know in the comment section below.

Which one of these engines would you rather slap a turbo on? Let us know by leaving a comment below. If you enjoyed this article, share it with a friend! We appreciate your support.

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