The CAR Top 10: best Honda Type R cars

Published: 19 January 2018 Updated: 19 January 2018

► CAR’s top 10 Type Rs
► Everything from EP3…
► …to NSX and BTCC cars

Honda‘s Type R brand has become shorthand for fast, front-drive hot hatch fun – we pick out its biggest icons.

1. 1998 Integra Type R DC2

Integra Type R

The first Type R in the UK; Japan got it three years earlier, with different lights. Its 1.8-litre VTEC engine found 30bhp on top of the donor Civic VTi’s 167. It used all Honda’s weight-skimming tricks, but gained huge brakes, extra bracing, a limited-slip diff, red seats and a titanium gearlever. Just great.

2. 2001 Civic Type R EP3

Civic Type R EP3

A huge hit at the time, and still a joy to drive today, the EP3 took the three-door version of the van-styled Swindon-built Civic and gave it the full Type R treatment. A 2.0-litre VTEC engine that revved to 8000rpm, with the variable valve timing sending it bananas north of 6000rpm.

3. 2017 Civic Type R FK8

Developed at the same time as the non-R, the current Civic Type R is immensely civilised (for a hot hatch) and thrillingly hot (for a small family car). The engine and gearbox are basically the same as the FK2’s, but everything else is new: three dynamic modes, adaptive suspension, roomy interior and challenging styling. And three tailpipes.

4. 2015 Civic Type R FK2

Civic Type R FK2

It took forever to arrive – four years after the ninth-generation civilian Civic – but it was a peach. Visually a bit of a mess but lord was it quick. It was the most aerodynamic to date, and the first turbocharged Civic Type R. It had double the torque of the previous generation. DOUBLE!

5. 2007 Civic Type R FN2

Civic Type R FN2

The FN2 Civic was striking rather than beautiful. And the Type R tweaks emphasised its muscularity at the expense of any lingering elegance: lowered suspension, open-mouthed bodykit, blindspot-creating rear wing. But mechanically this was the most refined Civic Type R to date.

Old vs new: FN2 Civic Type R vs FK8 Civic Type R

6. 1992 NSX-R


Started the R bloodline, but wasn’t actually called a Type R, and wasn’t sold outside Japan. Based on the 1990 NSX, it wasn’t radically different: red H on the nose, firmer suspension, higher revving 3.0 V6 engine, shorter gear ratios – and everything that could be lightened was lightened.

7. 2002 NSX-R

NSX-R 2002

Unlike the first NSX-R, the R version of the gen-two car was an official UK car, albeit hard to find and hard to afford. Where the Mk1 had only a minimal power increase, this had no power increase at all – but it lost 145kg for a total of 1270kg. The 3.2 V6 got a lighter flywheel and shorter throttle action.

8. 1998 Accord Type R

Accord Type R

Based on the British-built sixth-gen Accord saloon, this was the car that showed Honda had grasped that the essence of Type R was taking an ordinary car and making it extraordinary, without sacrificing much of the everyday practicality. The 2.2-litre four revved to 8000rpm, made 209bhp and had a limited-slip diff. It drove like a big hot hatch and had the option of a daft spoiler.

9. 2001 Integra Type R DC5

Integra Type R BTCC

Half of 2001’s double whammy. But unlike the previous generation, when the first Integra Type R completely outshone the first Civic Type R, this time around the EP3 made the DC5 seem a little ordinary. Not an official UK import, although it did form the basis of a successful BTCC race car.

10. 1997 Civic Type R EK9

Civic Type R EX9

Not a UK model, and with hindsight oddly half-hearted. In Russell Bulgin’s 1998 twin-test with the DC2 Type R, he likened the Integra to the Sierra RS Cosworth – pretty much the highest praise he could offer – while the Civic felt like driving the Integra Type R in mittens and orthopaedic shoes.

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By Colin Overland

CAR's managing editor: wordsmith, critic, purveyor of fine captions