Honda Civic Type R review


What is?

Since 2017, it’s been a truly exceptional sedan that performs at a different level than the rest of its front-wheel drive rivals. One with barely a crack in his armor. However, three years into his life, Honda has dug very, very deep and found room to improve. Crikey.

So you’re looking at the slightly updated Civic Type R (the FK8, if you’re a model code nerd). Please note that we are not calling this a “face lift”; to do so when one of the most controversial styling packages on the market hasn’t really changed would be a mistake. But geeks will notice the revised grille, which now has a 13 percent larger opening, resulting in a 10-degree drop in coolant temperature on track days.

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That’s just the tip of the iceberg of Honda’s forensic level upgrade; Behind those red-trimmed alloys are two-piece discs (instead of just one) to eliminate 15mm of brake pedal “dead travel,” which we bet no one complained about. There has been a readjustment to the way the adaptive damping behaves in a corner, for more precision. Something we never thought the FK8 Type R was missing.

And then there’s your button. The Type R has the best manual shift of the last decade, with a thick enough metal lever that controls the most beautifully crafted shift motion at all costs. Unless he’s on the Civic engineering team. “Could be better”, they thought ridiculously.

So now it has a teardrop (instead of a bullet) to grab onto, reminiscent of the speedy Hondas of yesteryear, and it’s wrapped in counterweights that improve the way it moves around the H-pattern. good boat, the Honda engineering team are the group always on board holding their instruments. Not just playing, but refining their performance as the water washes over their ankles. We salute you.

The Type R is otherwise mechanically intact: a six-speed manual and front-wheel drive only, with a 316bhp 2.0-litre turbo four launching its 1.4-tonnes to a top speed of 179mph via a 5-stroke, 8-second 0-62mph. Correct figures, those.

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There are a few more options than before though: the ‘normal’ car, shown here, is now booked by a slightly smarter Type R Sport Line (much smaller rear wing, fewer red accents, more soundproofing) and the Type considerably crazier. R Limited Edition (carries compromised Cup 2 tires and weighs 47kg less than standard via BBS forged wheels, air conditioning and stereo delete and less soundproofing). The latter cost just under £40,000 and the 20-car UK allotment sold out within an hour. Which suggests that you can never pay less than forty thousand for one when they reappear in the classified ads.

Our choice of the range.

2.0 VTEC Turbo Type R GT 5 doors

What’s the verdict?

Spectacularly good hot hatch gains an extra focus we had no idea was missing

The Civic Type R is spectacular, a very mature compact car when you use it for delicate things, but it has a really wild side when you’re in the mood.

Yes, appearances are exaggerated, but it would be a real shame if they prevent people from digging below the surface, where that is an engineer’s playground. Even more in updated form in 2020. It might be the geekiest facelift ever, but it made the hatch scene’s toughest adversary even harder to beat.

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