These Are All the Changes to the 2020 Honda Civic Type R and Why They Matter
Honda listened, and it shows.
Last month, Honda revealed the 2020 Civic Type R and its laundry list of updates. To recap, the revised hot hatch gets upgraded suspension, brakes, engine cooling, slight bumper and aero tweaks, a new Boost Blue color, and standard Honda Sensing. The company has now revealed more details on exactly how this car has been improved in addition to several surprise announcements: an even flashier Limited Edition, a Europe-only Sport Line model, and—leaning into its reputation as a car for speed-obsessed young people—a mobile performance data-logging app.
On the performance front, the 2020 Honda Civic Type R's grille opening is now 13 percent bigger, which Honda claims it allows the engine to run 18 degrees Fahrenheit cooler on the track. This is a welcome change considering the overheating issues early cars had when taken to track days. Compensating for the decrease in downforce brought on by this new grille, the car's front splitter has also been reworked.
As an S2000-owning shifter snob, I'm particularly excited for the 2020 Type R's new suede-booted shifter and knob. Replacing the old, spherical handle, this new knob tips its polished cap to Honda gear selectors from the firm's golden era, resembling those out of the original Civic Type R, Integra Type R, certain versions of the aforementioned S2000 roadster...or the head of a wooden marionette. It's also got a 90-gram counterweight inside for better feel and accuracy.
As for suspension enhancements, the speed at which the Adaptive Damper System's software reads the road has literally increased tenfold for much quicker damper reactions. Rear lower B-arm's bushings have been stiffened while the front axle gets new, lower-friction ball joints and compliance bushings that have been updated and stiffened by 10 percent. The net result, Honda says, is better handling, better cornering, a better ride, and better steering feel through that newly Alcantara-wrapped wheel.
New two-piece front brake rotors replace the single-piece discs found on last year's model, cut 2.5 pounds of unsprung weight each, and are accompanied by pads that don't fade as fast. Honda also cut the brake pedal's dead-zone by 17 percent for more immediate-feeling stoppers.
Responding to the common criticism that the Type R's sound isn't as loud as its looks, Honda's given the car Active Sound Control which uses its speakers to "enhance engine sound," a system that certainly won't be loud enough to drown out the purist groans and eye-rolls it's sure to elicit. ASC will be active on all three drive modes (Comfort, Sport, and +R), presumably serving up louder and racier noises the closer you are to +R.
The 2020 Honda Civic Type R also comes with something called LogR, an onboard data-logging app that displays and tracks vital vehicle info like oil and water temperature. It also includes an obligatory lap timer, G-meter, and can even grade you on how smooth you're driving based on algorithms developed with help from Honda's own pro drivers. LogR can be accessed either through the car's infotainment screen or an accompanying iPhone/Android app, just in case you needed something to whip out on a first date to let them know what exactly they're signing up for right out of the gate.
Stuff like new brakes, shift knobs, and iPhone apps aren't cheap, and it looks like Honda is passing on the increased costs to the customer by giving the Civic Type R a $1,355 price hike. Yep, including destination, the 2020 Honda Civic Type R will sticker for $37,950, up from the 2019 car's $36,595 MSRP.
For those looking to pay even more cash for a CTR that's a bit more exclusive and a lot more yellow, Honda has introduced the Civic Type R Limited Edition. Only available in Phoenix Yellow, the Pikachu paint job pays homage to Type R's of old, no invasive and expensive wraps or repaints needed. Our condolences go out to HondaPro Jason, a Honda superfan and YouTuber who notably had his 2018 Type R completely disassembled and repainted this very color, black roof, and hood scoop included.
The Limited Edition also features lighter and sharper-looking BBS wheels that cut 18 pounds of total unsprung weight and has had 28 pounds of sound deadening and convenience knickknacks removed, specifically the rear wiper, tonneau cover, and rear heater ducts. It's also had its dampers "specially tuned" and gets "recalibrated steering."
The Phoenix Yellow Limited Edition Type R will hit dealerships later this year and be sold as a 2021 model year car. Official pricing has yet to be announced but the U.S. will get just 600 numbered units, as if Honda dealerships didn't already make enough coin marking up the Type R the first time around.
But wait, there's more...as long as you live in Europe! Remember that tiny-winged CTR spied back in August? Well, it's real. Coming to the European market is the 2020 Civic Type R Sport Line, a Type R with a much smaller wing, black seats, smaller 19-inch wheels, and, consequently, a comfier ride. Sort of like how the Porsche 911 GT3 Touring compliments the regular, full-winged GT3, the Type R Sport Line is designed for those who want the performance that comes with owning a Civic Type R but less of the attention.
Going unchanged for 2020 is the Honda Civic Type R's turbocharged 2.0-liter making 306 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. Not that this car necessarily needs it, but more power would have been a nice addition especially after witnessing the six-cylinder Toyota Supra get a 47-hp bump after just one year on the market. Another revision I would've liked to see? Configurable steering, throttle, and damper settings independent of drive modes. The current Comfort, Sport, and +R modes change all three of those things every time and there's no way of, say, having +R throttle mapping with Comfort damping and Sport steering. How hard could it be to throw a customizable "Individual" mode in there, Honda?
Maybe they're saving that for 2022.
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