HONDA has introduced a significant mid-life update to its internationally acclaimed, multi-award-winning FK8 Civic Type R, with the new model bringing a raft of changes and improvements, including upgrades to ride and handling.
Braking performance and engine cooling have also been improved, and freshened exterior and interior design elements added. Plus the first performance data-logging application in a Honda vehicle, can now be found exclusively on the Civic Type R.
Since its introduction in 2017, the Civic Type R has garnered near universal acclaim for its combination of potent dynamic performance and everyday civility, continuing the heritage of Honda’s high performance hatchback bloodline.
It combines expertly tuned front-wheel drive chassis dynamics with aggressive design and extensive aerodynamic detailing. A lightweight, highly rigid bodyshell complements the low centre of gravity and sophisticated suspension system.
This ensures the Civic Type R still delivers the most rewarding driving experience in the hot hatch segment. The suspension of the new Civic Type R has been upgraded for more responsive and sharper handling.
The control software for the adaptive damper system (ADS) now evaluates road conditions ten times faster (2Hz to 20Hz), resulting in improved damper reactions for better handling response and ride quality.
The rear bushings for the lower B-arm have been stiffened for an eight per cent improvement in lateral loads, resulting in better toe-in characteristics when cornering.
At the front, updated compliance bushings (10 per cent stiffer longitudinally) and new lower-friction ball joints result in sharper steering feel for better control.
For improved brake performance, the 2020 Civic Type R features an upgraded braking system, with new two-piece floating front brake discs and new brake pads with a more fade-resistant pad material.
These enhancements improve thermal efficiency, increasing braking capabilities during high intensity driving. Under heavy loads, the brake stroke has been reduced by up to 15mm, which results in the brake pedal delivering a more immediate feel.
In addition, the new front brake system reduces total unsprung weight by around 2.3kg to aid both ride and handling characteristics. Engine cooling performance has been improved by a new larger grille and thinner grille beam, a 13 per cent larger air intake opening.
Combined with an updated radiator core, this decreases coolant temperature by up to 10 degrees (under Honda internal testing) in high-demand situations, such as during track driving.
Testament to the attention to detail of Honda’s engineers, a small reduction in front downforce resulting from the new larger grille opening was countered by a redesigned front under-bumper air dam.
This has been made slightly deeper and modified to include new ribbed sections on each end to create negative pressure on the front tyres. For the new model year, the Civic Type R receives a number of styling and design enhancements to both exterior and interior.
The lower fog light surrounds feature a new symmetrical design, incorporating smooth surfaces and sleek styling blades, while a revised profile front grille benefits engine cooling performance.
The body-coloured blades are also a feature of the refreshed rear bumper design, bringing the Type R in line with the rest of the Civic hatch range, which was updated at the beginning of 2020.
A bold new paint colour helps mark the introduction of the updated Civic Type R. Called Racing Blue, the new pearlescent paint finish joins Rally Red, Crystal Black and the iconic Championship White, which have all been carried over from the existing colour range.
Inside, the Civic Type R gains a new Alcantara wrapped steering wheel for improved grip, a new shift lever with restyled knob and the same Alcantara finish for the shift boot.
The new teardrop-style gear knob is reminiscent of those found on earlier Type R models and includes a 90g internal counterweight to help improve shift feel and accuracy.
A revised 7.0-inch advanced display audio touchscreen with integrated ventilation system controls has been added, with hard key for the most commonly used functions, along with a dedicated volume control knob.
Also new for the updated Civic Type R is the addition of active sound control (ASC), which works to enhance the engine sound during aggressive driving in Sport and +R modes, while refining it further in Comfort mode.
Under the bonnet, the Civic Type R retains the powerful 2.0-litre VTEC turbo engine, producing 228kW of power and 400Nm peak torque. It’s matched to a close-ratio 6-speed manual transmission with rev-matching function.
The Type R has been tuned to deliver flexible and exhilarating performance, with the engine specifically engineered for direct injection and turbocharging, sporting an ultra-lightweight forged steel crankshaft and forged steel connecting rods.
A helical limited-slip front differential helps the Civic Type R transfer its power to the ground. As before, the driver can choose between three driving modes, Comfort, Sport and +R, that vary damping force, steering assist and throttle mapping.
The Type R’s selectable drive modes and sophisticated design make it both a thrilling companion on a winding mountain road and a remarkably civilised daily driver with a high degree of flexibility.
The updated Honda Civic Type R is available now and is priced at $54,990 (plus on-roads). For further information, please contact your local Honda dealer.