By on January 10, 2020


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]

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20 Comments on “Stay Wild: Refreshed 2020 Honda Civic Type R Doesn’t Spoil the Recipe...”

  • avatar

    I want to like this so badly, but my eyes actually work so I just can’t.

  • avatar

    Yep. I think even those who were completely blind would run their hands over this and decide on a hard pass. What a mess.

  • avatar

    Maybe Honda updated the wheels with ones that don’t dent with regular use.

  • avatar

    It’s better in person. I would still feel ridiculous in it, but your want will increase substantially if you sit in one (assuming you haven’t already…)

  • avatar

    “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.”

    Civic Si? Restrained styling?

    This is how crazy stuff gets normalized. Lots of that going around.

  • avatar

    It’s been mentioned before but why not a more conservative, slightly more luxurious Acura version? Surely it’s due for an update. But, I suspect like the TSX it will just stay as it is until it’s eventually just dropped.

  • avatar

    +1. I wouldn’t even call the regular Civic “restrained”. To my eyes, a VW GLI is restrained and any Civic is not.

  • avatar

    Fortunately, I’m still a bit blind from when the dealer tried to gouge my eyeballs out last year when I went to buy one. Will the ADM and “Type R Specialists” go away now that the car’s been out awhile? Thanks in advance!

    • 0 avatar

      I’m still looking at this to either buy or lease sometime soon and the 2020 changes make it easier, provided the dealers don’t go crazy like they did even a year ago.
      There are a couple of Honda dealers near me with one Type-R on the floor. One of them is still playing a lot of games. Last I checked, it was still over $43,000 with all kinds of worthless addons like nitrogen in the tires, a Weathertech mat overload, fake carbon fiber everything, and the markup. The other dealer seems to have ended playing games and is going for sticker minus the add ons. I get e-mails from them once a week asking when I’m ready to pull the trigger.
      …and then the 2020 comes out soon. I love the blue and the safety features, while I’m no fan of the radar cruise, other features are nice to have. Now I’m back in wait-and-see mode to see what crazy business happens with the 2020.
      They are ungodly fun to drive, and when you’re behind the wheel, you don’t have to look at the fake vents and honeycomb grilles. You just have an ear-to-ear grin knowing that you’re driving a beast.

      • 0 avatar

        Yeah, maybe. But Honda lost one loyal customer with their antics on this. I’ve owned three new Hondas in the past and my 2015 Accord will be the last. At this point, I wouldn’t care if they gave it to me at invoice minus the entire dealer holdback minus a $5,000 manufacturer’s rebate minus a $2,500 Honda loyalty rebate. I’m going with other manufacturers for both daily drivers and a fun car. Looking at shifting gears completely with the Charger Scat Pack Widebody but if I wanted that “magic sublime blend of man and machine rolled up into one ecstatic driving sensation” or however they describe lower HP cars which handle well, I’d be looking at the Veloster N or waiting on the new VW GTI or (fingers crossed) a performance version of the Corolla hatch.

  • avatar

    Where is the “delete the wing and 19″ wheels” version?

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Yes. They could do this and tack on 5 grand and park it at an Acura dealer and I’d gladly pay it. Add Integra badges and I’ll play stupid games with the finance guy like it is 1995.

      I wonder what it would cost to put the Si body bits on one of these. Better yet, just give me my darned Fit Si

  • avatar

    …closer than the “delete the turbo and add back a proper redline” version, unfortunately…

    Big wings actually do make a practical difference at higher speeds. Honda already tunes this one about as loose as any road car for sale from anywhere in the US. I doubt they’d feel comfortable removing the wing, without at the same time either 1)adding back much more of a tendency towards understeer, or 2)limiting top speed a lot.

  • avatar

    Upgraded in all but looks where the inoperative fanjet inlets at the front fascia extremes are now split into three volumes with fashionable decorative applique on the outer, indicative of precisely nothing but the ability to filter out larger rocks and Sem-Eye tire carcass hunks. It’s a rocket car for the fanboi masses wearing HondaGoggles with ShapeShift V3.0 technology. Everyone else merely sees a lumpen mess.

  • avatar


    I know one thing I’ve never reached in my car – Top Speed. But to beat some slow Toyotas, occasionally or otherwise, at the light, I like to have some quickness

  • avatar

    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!

  • avatar

    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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