Stay Wild: Refreshed 2020 Honda Civic Type R Doesn't Spoil the Recipe

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

While the braintrust here at TTAC tend to gravitate towards the Honda Civic’s mid-range Si model and its happy-medium combo of performance and restrained styling, some folks want it all. And nothing represents front-wheel drive excess quite like the Civic Type R.

For 2020, the wildest member of the Civic clan undergoes a makeover, staying true to itself while improving the package in a manner that won’t anger any diehards. Honda didn’t go near that wing.

Externally, the incoming refresh reads from a script written by other 2020 Civics. The grille grows slightly in size — a move supposedly aimed at better cooling — while the side vents brighten up the Type R’s face with the addition of a new strip of body-color plastic. Not a lot to see here.

Elsewhere, the changes are more significant. Power remains the same 306 horsepower and 295 lb-ft as before, but drivers will be able to put it to use in a more refined manner. Shift throws are now shorter (a six-speed manual remains the only available tranny), steering feel is supposedly upgraded through front suspension friction reduction measures, and the front brakes should be less prone to fade. For 2020, Honda opted for two-piece brake rotors and a new set of pads.

The Type R’s legs also went to the gym. Perhaps aware that many find the Type R to be a little stiff, the automaker updated the front dampers for improved ride comfort. Not everyone spends all day at the track. Actually, almost no one does. Out back, rear suspension bushings gain stiffness to keep the Type R’s butt planted to the pavement.

While drive modes remain the same for 2020, Active Sound Control will now tailor the drivetrain’s in-cabin symphony to those particular modes. Like the rest of the Civic stable, Honda Sensing safety features come as standard kit, adding things like forward collision warning, collision mitigating braking, lane holding, adaptive cruise, and road departure mitigation.

Updated pricing won’t come along until closer to the 2020 Type R’s late-winter on-sale date.

[Images: Honda]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Nedmundo Nedmundo on Jan 10, 2020

    As for a more conservative version, Honda has stated it would expand the Type R range to include one that emphasizes the "GT aspect," which seems like a great idea to me. Unfortunately it hasn't materialized. Nor has an Acura ILX on the 10th gen Civic platform, which conceivably could have included a version along these lines. I think there's room for something like an "Si-R" (a designation they've used in the past) with the Accord's 2.0T and a mellower version of the CTR's suspension with 18" wheels. Price it around $31k. Done!

  • IBx1 IBx1 on Jan 12, 2020

    Such a shame that those giant gaping "holes" in both bumpers are just blocked-off black plastic; painting an unnecessary strip inside it just highlights this fraudulent design.

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