► Facelifted Type R for 2020
► Model range grows by 2
► Tweaks inside and out
The Honda Civic Type R range now features three separate cars. In addition to the standard Type R, Honda now offers a stealthier Sport Line hot-hatch – but also a more aggressive, lightweight Limited Edition machine.
Available in an exclusive Sunlight Yellow colour, Honda’s Limited Edition Type R is surely a response to hyper-hatch monsters such as Renault’s Megane RS Trophy-R or Merc’s A45 S. And it’s just nabbed the front-wheel drive record around Suzuka.
The time of 2:23.993 was set by a development car as Honda puts the finishing touches to its most extreme hot-hatch to date.
‘For this model change, speed was further pursued in collaboration with Honda Racing Development (HRD) Sakura, which plays a key role in Honda’s motorsport development,’ said Hideki Kakinuma, Civic Type R project leader. ‘This partnership led to the establishment of the fastest Type R3 lap record at Suzuka Circuit, often described as “one of the greatest circuits in the world.’
What's the difference, exactly?
Power is unchanged, but weight is down 47kg compared to the normal Type R GT. Some of that weight-saving comes from new, 20-inch forged BBS wheels (pictured above) and you'll find stickier Michelin Cup 2 tyres wrapped around them, too. Honda has also modified the Type R’s dampers and steering to better exploit its increased grip, so it should be even more precise behind the wheel.
Best hot hatch
Jump into this Type R, and you’ll also find the changes continue. Interestingly, the rear seats are still here, but there's a blank space where the infotainment system used to be – that 47kg had to come from somewhere. The Limited Edition Type R cabin also includes the facelifted model's new, reshaped and reweighted gear knob.
The changes aren't that massive outside: the bonnet features a black air-inlet as opposed to a body-colour one, and the rear wing is already silly enough to be left unchanged.
Only 100 will be made, but Honda says 20 will be coming to the UK.
And in the grey corner....
Honda has also revealed a Type R Sport Line, which you can basically think of as a ‘Type R Touring’. Featuring the same powerplant as the more extreme hot hatches, the main differences between here are the grey, 19-inch alloys and a smaller, toned-down spoiler at the rear.
Honda is also keen to point out another stylistic change: the Type R Sport Line features a grey pinstripe around the car as opposed to the usual Type R red one – and the seats inside are black, too.
We don’t have prices for either yet, but this is clearly big change for the Type R model. In a context of increasingly high-performance cars, expect Honda’s CTR range to remain three cars wide. The market is growing, and a drive mode button simply won’t cut it anymore.
Everything else you need to know about the standard 2020 Type R
The most obvious change is a larger grille and thinner air-intake, which increase the area of openings in the car by 13%, while also generating 10 degrees worth of cooling. To account for the extra drag, the bottom of the splitter has been reprofiled.
Aside from that, you'll find small styling changes around the car. The fake mesh at the front of the car has gone, now replaced by black and 'styling blade.' The front fog lamps retain their place within the grille’s outline section.
Weirdly, though, the rear bumper keeps its pretend vents.
Inside you'll find a new wheel smothered in Alcantara, and cut-down gear stick – which is one of the more puzzling changes. The Type R alread had one of the best gear change feels on the market, but Honda belives a new, stubbier knob will make changes even more tactile. According to Honda bods, it's all do to with contact against the palm...
Unfortunately, the Type R hasn't escaped the synthesised engine-noise trend. The 2020 Type R pumps synthetic engine noise into the cabin, and depending on the drive mode you're in, it'll either dampen or enhance the VTEC soundtrack.
There's a new paint colour too: called ‘Boost Blue’, the bright hue will be exclusive to Type R models.
The Type R’s drivetrain remains unchanged – a 310bhp, 295lb ft turbocharged four-cylinder – for now, but Honda says the facelifted car will also get updated dampers and stiffer rear bushings, with changes to the front suspension also expected to improve steering. New two-piece brake rotors and new brake pads are also on the cards. Top speed is still close to 170mph, and it'll do the 0-62mph sprint in 5.7 seconds.