By on November 25, 2019

2019 Honda Civic Type R profile

2019 Honda Civic Type R Touring

2.0-liter turbocharged four (306 hp @ 6500 rpm, 295 lb/ft. @ 2500 rpm)

Six-speed manual transmission, front-wheel drive

22 city / 28 highway / 25 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

26.1 (observed mileage, MPG)

10.6 city / 8.3 highway / 9.6 combined (NRCan Rating, L/100km)

Base Price: $36.620 US / $43,476 CAD

As Tested: $36,620 US/ $43,476 CAD

Prices include $920 destination charge in the United States and $1786 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can’t be directly compared.

As I’ve mentioned before, reviewing cars here at TTAC is not my primary career. At best, I get a few hours a week working in my basement office to pound out prose that the Best and Brightest loves to critique. As such, I don’t always get around to writing about each car I’ve driven until several weeks (or more) later.

As the calendar pages tear away furiously toward a new year, like many I’ve taken stock of what I’ve done over the past eleven months. I’m realizing that of the cars I’ve had the pleasure of wheeling, there are only a few that I can legitimately picture myself buying. These cars are objects of desire and obsession for a gearhead like yours truly.

The 2019 Honda Civic Type R is at the top of the list, certainly. The blend of incredible performance and everyday utility make it a favorite of many reviewers. But that’s the problem – everybody’s written about it. What can this part-time auto scribe say about it that hasn’t yet been said?

2019 Honda Civic Type R front quarter

Plenty of derision has been heaped upon the styling of the Type R. Yeah, the wing is a bit garish, but it’s mounted high enough to not interfere with rear visibility. I’d be tempted to consider a delete option if it were available, but it’s not a deal breaker. One doesn’t buy a Civic Type R to blend into a crowd.

2019 Honda Civic Type R front

That is exactly why I’m puzzled by the Sonic Gray Pearl paint applied to my tester. It almost looks as if it should be a matte finish, though it’s glossy like any other typical paint. It simply looks dull. I’d love it if Honda would open up the cabinets in the paint shop a bit – Phoenix Yellow from the fabled Integra Type R would be lovely. Otherwise, it’s Championship White for my CTR.

2019 Honda Civic Type R rear

Oh, for those who really care about such things, the 2019 Civic Type R has one major change inside: it has a real volume knob for the stereo.

2019 Honda Civic Type R center stack

I’m a bit bothered by the mismatch between the front and rear seats – front seats are primarily red with touches of black trim, while the rear bench is black with red stitching and seatbelts. I know that Type Rs of yesteryear have been finished this way, but it’s jarring to my eye. It reminds me of tuner cars with mismatching seats, fitted when the cash-strapped owner could manage to afford something. I could learn to live with it, I’m sure, as the front seats are marvelous. The bolsters, while deep and firm, are set just wide enough to squeeze my ample backside in place when hucking this ultimate hot hatch into corners at inadvisable speeds. They’re no substitute for proper fixed-back racing shells, but they will suit weekend warriors at track days or autocrosses perfectly.

2019 Honda Civic Type R front seats 2019 Honda Civic Type R seat logo

Like any other Civic, of course, the rear seat is plenty comfortable for my ever-growing tweens – but just those two, as the Civic Type R has but two seatbelts and a hard plastic cupholder situated where a third butt might normally sit. It’s not often I need to haul five – and I do have a minivan for that purpose – but when we need to run my daughter’s friend to a birthday party it’d be nice to have the option to do so legally.

2019 Honda Civic Type R rear seat

Honestly, though, I’d really prefer to drive the Civic Type R solo – at least when pointed toward the more enjoyable roads in Southeastern Ohio. The lack of bolstering on the rear seat cushion would lead to a pair of kids sliding to and fro as I hustle through the twisties, with a better-than-average chance at a minced oath or three being uttered while they fight back motion sickness. This car simply sticks. At least at the speeds I subjected it to (I couldn’t manage to get to a track day during my week with the CTR), this hottest hatch just kept going with no drama.

2019 Honda Civic Type R interior

Three hundred and six horsepower – paired with 295 lb/ft of torque down low at 2500 rpm – made pulling away from corners a cinch. Doing something stupid, like dramatically stomping the pedal while the steering wheel is still unwinding, is rewarded with relentless pulling through the corner, rather than dramatic wheelspin thanks to the factory helical limited-slip differential. The steering is beautifully weighted, with the leather-wrapped tiller communicating exactly what the front wheels are saying.

2019 Honda Civic Type R gauges

I’d be tempted to source a new shift knob for the excellent six-speed manual – the matte-finished metal knob can get hot enough to scorch the loops and whorls from your digits.

2019 Honda Civic Type R dashboard

Beyond the lack of a fifth seatbelt, this is just a Civic with more. It’s perfectly useable in daily driving. The ride is firm, but not punishing. The exhaust note isn’t overly loud. The tire noise isn’t too bad. This is a performance car that can handle track duty and commuter duty with equal aplomb.

2019 Honda Civic Type R badge

I’ll date myself here a bit – when The Fast and the Furious film hit screens, I was enamored. I immediately subscribed to Sport Compact Car magazine and began clipping tech articles for later (when I had a car worthy of modifying in the style of the film). I kept shopping for an older Honda Civic, but even then, my choices for a clean car were getting slim. The phrase I kept seeing in advertisements was “Fully Built,” which in theory means the car was modified to the fullest extent – but in reality meant the seller wanted to turn a profit off of the parts bolted to a rusty shell of a car.

My most memorable “fully built” shopping experience led me to The Hilltop, a neighborhood that is currently in the very early stages of gentrification. A dozen years ago, however, the area was seriously rough. As was the car, a 1989 Civic Si with a coffee can for an exhaust tip and holes in the floorboard big enough for my size twelves. And yet I test drove the thing, briefly. Seems the seller had a side hustle in recreational agriculture, and the remnants permeated the entire car. I couldn’t get away fast enough, but I reflexively stopped for a Coke and a bag of Doritos shortly after leaving.

2019 Honda Civic Type R r badge

My point is that fast Civics have long been the domain of a younger generation – one that had more ambition than cash. Many of those young, cheap enthusiasts have grown up and earned to buy something new, clean, and warrantied. Had I managed to save some of my earnings over the past decade or so, this Honda Civic Type R would most certainly be on my list – because for once, this hotrod Civic is “fully built” from the factory.

2019 Honda Civic Type R rear quarter

[Images: © 2019 Chris Tonn/TTAC]

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55 Comments on “2019 Honda Civic Type R Review – Haunting My Dreams...”


  • avatar
    JimC2

    I’m just here for the comments about the conservative, understated styling.

    • 0 avatar
      Fred

      Yea the days of clean simple styling are gone.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        VW seems to be the last holdout.

        This thing is probably a riot to drive, but I would be embarrassed to be seen in it.

        • 0 avatar
          Mike-NB2

          Amen. I had been seriously looking at a Golf R and briefly thought about the Type R. But I’m in my mid-50s and might as well have spray-painted “Free Candy” on the side. Garish. The Si isn’t really that much better. I came to the conclusion that the Golf R was waaaay more car than I’d ever use so I ‘settled’ on the GTI. Then the ’19 GLI was revealed and that sealed the deal. The GLI is a real sleeper compared to the Si. I can easily fly under the radar. (Though I did learn the hard way that with winter soon to arrive in Atlantic Canada that my set of Nokian Hakkapeliittas just don’t have the same grip in turns. One Code Brown is all that I needed.)

        • 0 avatar
          nrd515

          I wouldn’t be embarrassed, but I wouldn’t want to see it parked outside work every morning. It’s pretty damn ugly.

        • 0 avatar
          probert

          VW – a snooze fest. Perhaps there’s a middle ground. But these civics are fantastic cars.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      I like this. This is exactly the car where all these edges are appropriate

  • avatar
    EX35

    Who pays $40k for a FWD econocar? Spend a little more and you can pick up one of the last manual C7s remaining.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      This, Best of all, just about any other choice is better than being stuck in the Tokyo drift fantasy of every gang banger living in inner cities around the world. I mean wtf is with that wing?

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      Been there done that.

      People used to make fun of the “boy racer” WRX STI, however the Civic is now the clear owner of that title. Its almost like Honda is making fun of themselves by styling the Civic R to look like an old riced out Civics. Life imitating art? UGH. My wife once owned a ’93 Civic EX – this car seems to come from a different planet. It just SO ugly with fake vents and that R button, its hard to take Honda seriously with this kind of nonsense.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Anyone who thinks this particular model is a FWD econocar isn’t paying attention.

    • 0 avatar
      darex

      Audi buyers

    • 0 avatar
      Superdessucke

      Who pays $40,000? No one, for this! It’ll cost you a lot more than that. Based on my experience, you’re looking at at least 50 large, or more depending on region.

      Personally, I would buy a new Charger Scat Pack and seed a nice mutual fund with the savings. Or maybe even get close to a leftover ’19 Hellcat with rebates.

      And if you don’t want an American V8, there are tons of better choices than this for the same money, including the Audi RS3. Or the much cheaper in real life Golf R.

      If that changes when they start making more Type R’s in ’20 great. But for now it’s kind of a rip-off Imo

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        You can buy these new from a number of dealers on cars.com for $34K and change. The initial demand has been sated. That’s what happens with mass produced enthusiasts cars. Why should this one be different?

        • 0 avatar
          Superdessucke

          They’re not mass produced. Honda is keeping supply low to keep dealer demand high. If you’re right great! But I had a very different experience trying to buy one a year ago. 50k would have been a low end steal. Maybe that’s changed.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            There are 374 in dealer inventories. Several of them are available within 200 miles of me, priced from $34,600 to $37,400. The only place where there are no reasonably priced options is Hawaii, where negotiations might open ten grand higher.

    • 0 avatar
      Lynchenstein

      Plus, with the center-mounted exhaust, where would you dangle the Truck Nutz?

    • 0 avatar
      probert

      ick

  • avatar
    jack4x

    My mom taught me if I don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.

    ……….

  • avatar
    MrIcky

    The appeal of this car seems to fall harder than most within an age bracket. This is the kind of car that people who are 25-35 and forced to drive a kid friendly CUV or too poor now, will be buying at auction for stupid prices in 2 or 3 decades. Those of us who are a little older just won’t get it. Ya big generalization, but you know, it is what it is.

    Just the same way that I never got my Dad’s affection for the ’57 Chevy. It was always meh to me.

  • avatar
    R Henry

    Like a Corvette, I could easily see myself loving the drive….but my very Lutheran, un-flashy self could simply not abide the bling-iness of it all….. I could be drawn to base model Mustang GT, because “Da Engine!!!”…. but with a fairly garden-variety wrapper

  • avatar
    EX35

    Putting aside the ridiculousness of spending $40k on an econocar, wouldn’t it make a ton more sense to get an actual proper race hatch like the Focus RS or GTI R, both of which have a proper drivetrain?

  • avatar
    IBx1

    Tuner seats are mismatched front to rear because name one car that has individual buckets for the back.

    • 0 avatar
      Urlik

      VW CC, Porsche Panamera, Chevy Volt, and many more than I won’t bother taking the time to list.

      • 0 avatar
        IBx1

        Those are benches with two seatbelts.

        • 0 avatar
          Urlik

          Nope, they are buckets. They even have modest side bolsters on both sides of each individual seat. But if you want to be super picky, Mini Countryman then.

          • 0 avatar
            IBx1

            When I say bucket seats, I don’t mean benches with little pads built in, I mean individual, rails-bolted-to-the-floor seats like you’d get in the front seats. Nobody builds rear seats like that except for captain’s chairs in vans, and those are vans rather than cars. This is why tuners don’t put bucket seats in the back.

          • 0 avatar
            Urlik

            Mini Countryman fits that description. Equus might too. Then we can get into the big money luxury cars with separate seats that recline, go back and forth, etc but I don’t think those super high dollar luxury sedans should be in play.

  • avatar
    thejohnnycanuck

    Someone needs to cover those faux vents in the back with fake pubic hair, extend the middle exhaust tip about 10 inches and then drive around with the windows down and 70’s porn film music blasting from the stereo.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Would rather have a Si on some sticky tires. It’s still got the two key ingredients (the stick and the limited-slip diff), it’s a whole lot less conspicuous, and I can wind it out without committing felonies.

    Edit: Moderation? I didn’t cuss.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    I thought, they promised Type-R base – delete wing, delete 19″ wheels, etc…???

  • avatar
    slavuta

    “The phrase I kept seeing in advertisements was “Fully Built,” which in theory means the car was modified to the fullest extent – but in reality meant the seller wanted to turn a profit off of the parts bolted to a rusty shell of a car.”

    I am periodically checking local Mustang listings. There are many for sale with bunch of customizations. But I want to see the stock one. Don’t you think, these custom things hurt possibility of sale?

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    The euphemism about a “side hustle in recreational agriculture” made me laugh a bit.

    I must have passed right over the stage in life where I was supposed to be interested in something like this. I’ve seen all the F&F movies and acknowledge that they’re nothing but dumb fun; even when they were still vaguely relevant, I couldn’t get excited about the cars themselves.

    Now Gran Torino…

    EDIT: I did have a Focus ST for awhile before realizing that its potential was wasted on me.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    I guess this is a young person’s car.
    For that much dough I want some tire shredding oversteer.

  • avatar
    4drSedan

    See the below TTAC question submission…that was me!

    https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2016/01/ask-editor-front-wheel-drive-honda-saccorde-canadian-weather/

    Before I moved back to the lower 48, I took Mark Stevenson’s advice and bought a Canadian Spec 2019 Civic Sport Touring hatch (6 Speed Manual) in this exact color. The ’98 Accord sa’accorded itself very nicely in Canada and I still drive it daily. The Sport Touring wasn’t available with the manual in the US (it is now). Favo(u)rable exchange rates and a tax advantage due to my residency status made this a unique opportunity that I couldn’t pass on. I ALMOST bought the exact car in the picture. It would have been 10K more than the one I bought. I am kicking myself a little though all-in-all I saved nearly 5K vs. buying one in the US.

    As an aside, I think the Type R is beautiful to those who know what it is (including me). To all others it is dreadful.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Well…it looks better than cybertruck.

  • avatar

    Local dealer has one, $5k market adjustment on top of overpriced mats and paint sealers. Oh, and you can’t sit in it, like it was a McLaren, or some such…

    What happened to Honda ? The 2.0 Accord with eight speed is all that is left, unless you think CVT belong outside snow machines.

  • avatar
    vanpressburg

    I test drive 2019 BMW 330xi – no steering feedback and long wheelbase.
    Then I drove Type R- amazing steering, great feedback -much better car.

  • avatar
    Boxerman

    On monday last week went looking at these as a 3 day a a week car and ocasional DE trackmeister.
    The Honda dealer told me “how rare they are” and they were over sticker, if he had said I’ll do a deal today at list and been remotely amenable he might have had a sale there and then. Frankly any dealer who asks over sticker I think is a doofus with low regard for their customer.

    At ford there are now 4k off deals on Gt350s and near 10k off on Bullit stangs. Which tells me they’re on their way to 10K off a Gt350. Thats was another over sticker hype car.

    Back to Honda, yes you can probably get them for sticker. But then I looked at some forums, particularily track forums. Pretty much one and all who drove these cars hard on track in any temp above 60 found that within 3 laps the car went into overheat limp mode. So its not really trackable car.

    Seems like the veloster N is the choice.

    Maybe this car is supposed to be Honda’s comeback to driving relevancy. But it cant track without overheating and the dealers are a major turn off.
    Shouldnt be surprised though. Got my daughter an HRV, it doesent get good gas mileage and the CVT truly really totaly sucks and its even worse than that. To drive its soul sucking, whereas a Kia soul is actualy fun. WTF honda.

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