Honda Civic Type R

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  • Overview

    A grey 2023 Honda Civic Type R is angled left.

    Honda has a long history of producing high-performance cars, even competing at the highest levels of racing in Formula 1. If you are ready to experience that type of performance for yourself, then you deserve to get behind the wheel of the Honda Civic Type R. One of only three models ever to receive the legendary Type R badge, this variant of the iconic Honda Civic trades comfortable practicality for razor-sharp handling and turbocharged thrills. In fact, it has set track records at Suzuka Circuit and the famed Nürburgring, making it the fastest production front-wheel drive car in the world.

    The Civic first joined the Type R family in 1997, taking its place alongside the NSX and Integra. This early model set the stage for what would come by dropping a modified 1.6L VTEC engine into the two-door Civic Hatchback chassis. With over 100 hp per liter and a screaming redline of 8,600 RPM, this engine transformed the humble Civic into a track-ready performance car. The added power was complemented by weight reduction measures, seam welding, and Honda’s now-classic Type R red interior with Recaro bucket seats and a Momo steering wheel.

    However, the original Civic Type R was a Japanese market exclusive. It wasn’t until 2017 and the tenth-generation Civic that this high-performance variant finally made its way to America. Over the ensuing 20 years, the Civic Type R had become even faster and more powerful, now boasting a 2.0L turbocharged VTEC engine producing over 300 hp. And while the Civic Type R remained a hatchback, it was now a four-door model for greater practicality, making this a performance car that you can take from your commute to the track without ever missing a beat––you can even fit a full set of track tires and a jack in the back!

    315

    Horsepower (hp)

    310

    Torque (lb-ft)

    4-Piston

    Brakes (Brembo)

    Starting at

    $44,795 [a]

  • 2017 Civic Type R

    A black 2017 Honda Civic Type R is shown from the rear in a warehouse.

    The Civic Type R Arrives in America

    The 2017 Civic Type R marked the first model year this legendary car was available on the American market, and it did not disappoint. The tenth-generation Civic dropped the sleek styling of the previous generations in favor of a much more aggressive look that perfectly matches the performance of the new Civic Type R––especially with the large Type R exclusive spoiler mounted to the rear hatch. The Civic Type R also sports massive 20-inch wheels with wide 245/30 Z-rated summer tires designed to help the car stick to the road and smaller aerodynamic improvements like functional fender vents to prevent air pressure from accumulating in the wheel wells. In the back, a center-exit triple exhaust lets you know this is no ordinary Civic.

    The Turbocharged 2.0L VTEC Engine

    Under the hood is a powerful 2.0L turbocharged VTEC engine. With 306 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque kicking in at just 2,500 RPM, this engine transforms the car into a true powerhouse. All of this power is channeled to the front wheels via a six-speed manual transmission that offers incredibly smooth shifts and adjustable automatic rev-matching. A helical limited-slip differential and a unique front suspension geometry ensure that not a single pony is wasted and help tame the torque steer that is usually endemic in high horsepower front-wheel drive cars, making the Civic Type R a joy to drive. In fact, many reviewers compare it to cars costing twice as much or more when it comes to its incredibly precise handling.

    Other Notable Features

    However, this is no stripped-down performance monster. The Civic Type R is designed to be a car that you can live with and enjoy driving to work every morning, not just on those few days you can attack back roads. The four-door hatchback design is incredibly practical, with tons of passenger and cargo space, and the 2017 Civic Type R is filled with high-end comfort features. Special red and black sports seats with matching red seatbelts are the highlight of the interior, and you will enjoy a seven-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a 12-speaker premium sound system. Honda even made sure to include all of its Honda Sensing driver-assist features to help you stay safe when you are commuting in traffic rather than attacking twisty backroads.

  • 2021 Civic Type R

    A white 2021 Honda Civic Type R is shown driving on a cloudy day.

    A Limited Edition Ends the Generation

    The 2021 model year marked the end of the line for the tenth-generation Civic. Honda celebrated with a special Type R Limited Edition that took this already incredible car to the next level. The Limited Edition stands out for its exclusive Phoenix Yellow paint scheme, a traditional Honda color that adds an extra dash of excitement. However, it also features extensive weight reduction measures and more track-focused tuning designed to heighten the driving experience. These improvements, along with some small updates for better engine cooling introduced on all Civic Type R models for the 2020 model year, allowed the 2021 Honda Civic Type R to set a new front-wheel drive lap record at Suzuka Circuit, Honda’s test track, and location of the Japanese Grand Prix.

    A Lighter Design Offers Exceptional Performance

    Altogether, the 2021 Civic Type R Limited Edition is over 55 lbs lighter than the standard 2021 Civic Type R. The addition of BBS forged wheels saves 18 lbs over the standard cast wheels without sacrificing durability, and two-piece front brake rotors dropped another five pounds of unsprung mass. This is particularly important as unsprung mass impacts your performance, reducing acceleration and braking. The switch to Michelin Cup 2 semi-slick track tires also saved an extra four pounds while increasing mechanical grip. However, the biggest difference was the removal of 28 lbs of sound-deadening materials. While only 600 of these special cars were sold here in the United States, they are a true testament to Honda’s dedication to building high-performance vehicles.

  • 2023 Civic Type R

    A blue 2023 Honda Civic Type R is shown on a city street at night.

    Raising the Bar Even Higher

    After taking a year off, the Civic Type R returned in 2023 with an all-new design and even higher levels of performance. Now based on the eleventh-generation Civic, the latest version sports a more mature and understated appearance. However, while the wild lines of the previous model have given way to more elegant curves, the Civic Type R is still clearly a high-performance car. Wider fender flares, the center exit exhaust, and the high rear wing all remain, shouting that this car is not to be underestimated. The interior also keeps its trademark red sports seats, although the fit and finish of the other interior components have improved considerably, with a wide mesh grille for the air vents and larger screens for the infotainment display and instrument cluster.

    An Improved Engine

    The basics of the powertrain carried over from the previous generation, with a 2.0L turbocharged VTEC engine sending power to the front wheels through a six-speed manual transmission. However, several upgrades were made. The engine now delivers 315 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque, a nine hp and 15 lb-ft improvement. This was the result of a redesigned turbocharger and a more efficient active exhaust system that sounds incredible. A larger grille, radiator, and fan were also added to keep the car cool during long track sessions.

    A Variety of Performance Upgrades

    Numerous improvements were also made to the vehicle’s handling. The unique dual-axis front suspension geometry was returned, along with the variable-ratio power steering and adaptive dampers. Even wider and grippier 265/30 Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires were fitted, extending the track width by a full inch in the front and three-quarters of an inch in the rear for better stability. The car itself is a half-inch lower overall for a better center of gravity. Altogether, these performance improvements allowed the 2023 Civic Type R to set a new front-wheel drive record on the legendary Nürburgring in Germany, taking the crown as the fastest production front-wheel drive car in the world.

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