S2000 Versus Honda K20-Powered Toyota MR2 Spyder
Both the MR2 and S2000 came to market in 1999, but their performance was far from equal. Now add Honda’s K20 to the MR2 and let them battle, who will win?
The Toyota MR2 Spyder was the third generation of the MR2 platform. It was a complete departure from the two previous generations, being a convertible only. The factory 1ZZ 1.8 liter, inline-four cylinder engine offering only 138 horsepower versus the S2000s 240 horsepower. Although the Toyota is down on power, it does have the advantage of being lighter weight, at 2195 lbs vs 2813 lbs. The MR2 is seen as a competitor to the chipper Mazda Miata, both in price and power. In 1999, the Toyota MR2 MSRP was $23,558 where as the Honda S2000 MSRP was $30,000. So, it is easy to see why the buyer of the S2000 may not have cross-shopped for a MR2 Spyder. So, how would you make the little MR2 more competitive with the S2000?
Adding a Honda K20 engine to the MR2 is an easy solution. The K20 is the motor from a variety of front-wheel drive Hondas, including the 2001-2006 Civic Type R. In this video, YouTube channel DannyDC2 shows us a heavily modified MR2 with a Civic Type R K20 swap. The engine offers 215 horsepower, which is a big improvement over the stock 1ZZ Toyota motor. The lower weight of the MR2 means that the performance gap between the two cars is very close now.
This comparison is a case of buying a more expensive faster car, versus buying a cheaper car then adding performance. The value of the two cars is about the same on the used market, but they are two completely different machines. Check out the video of these to Japanese sports cars driven back to back. Let us know in the comments which you would prefer to own and drive.