Ok let’s start with the obvious. On paper, I’m probably not the demographic you think of when you see the Honda Type R hot hatch. (Or so I gather from all the looks I got this week.) But the Type R really doesn’t care about what a “target demo” market looks like. From its aggressively-styled looks to its as-promised performance, the Type R is about emotion. Unearthing the driver-centric being that lives within us all as we search to escape from the mundane. And I don’t care who you are - as long as you can drive a manual, this racing-inspired hot hatch is going to take you places you didn’t know you wanted to go, but are sure glad you did.
The Type R slots above the Civic Si I test drove at the beginning of the year. I really enjoyed the Si and at the time, called it my favorite Honda vehicle to date. Well, that honor now goes to the Type R.
The Type R’s looks certainly get your attention - and by looks, I mean its massive rear spoiler wing. But the Type R’s aggressive - and admittedly polarizing - styling is about more than design. It’s about aerodynamic function - as many of the Type R’s exterior features can also attest to. Take the new 2020 grille design that features a 13-percent-larger opening. It, along with an updated radiator core, delivers improved engine cooling in situations when you need it like on the track.
Both bumpers receive body-colored trim for 2020. An underbody spoiler kit looks sharp with red striping and there are also body colored roof-mounted vortex generators.
The Type R is decked out in LED lights - from the headlights and foglights to the rear tail lights. It rides on 20-inch alloy red accented wheels and high performance summer tires, with red Brembo front brake calipers.
It sports a center-mounted triple outlet sport exhaust in the back. The Type R’s turbo 4-cylinder engine isn’t going to give you a V8 growl, but new-for-2020 Active Sound Control enhances engine sound. Essentially it’s fake engine noise piped in through the audio system designed to grow in intensity as you move up through the drive modes.
Underneath the aluminum hood, the Type R is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder good for a great-feeling 306-horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. of torque. It sends power to the front wheels via a limited slip differential and a 6-speed manual. Fuel economy is 25 combined and premium fuel is recommended.
Ride and Drive
The front-wheel drive Type R is immensely fun to drive with sharp handling, and quick off-the-line acceleration.
You can really feel the difference in the three drive modes that vary the suspension firmness, steering and throttle response. +R mode is my favorite. Braking feels confident and superb. The 2020 model sports new two-piece rotors gripped by brake pads with a new more fade-resistant pad material.
It’s also a great daily driver with an updated suspension that feels great. Honda says it made the ride more comfortable by updating dampers, adding stiffer rear bushings for better grip, and revising the front suspension and steering for even better steering feel.
The Type R Touring’s driver-centric interior matches this hot hatch’s personality perfectly. The high-bolstered sport seats are supportive and comfy, and look great in bright red and black suede-effect fabric with nice double red stitching. I didn’t even mind that you adjust them manually. The door panels are a mix of soft touch and plastic materials.
An Alcantra-wrapped sport steering wheel is new for 2020 along with a restyled gear shifter and aluminum shift knob. A Type R Serial Number Plate adorns the center console, as does automatic brake hold and an electric parking brake.
A 7-inch multimedia touchscreen is responsive but on the reflective side and houses a multi-view camera. You can also customize the screen’s color. The infotainment system supports Apple carplay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, Sirius XM Radio subscriptions and you get HD radio. A premium 12-speaker audio system with a subwoofer sounds great.
A digital driver display is home to a G Force meter and lap timer and other performance-oriented gauges you access through steering-wheel mounted controls. The 2020 Type R also debuts the Honda LogR performance data logging app, exclusive to Type R, for both Apple iPhone and Android Auto Users. Connectivity-wise, there are two USB ports available in the front.
It’s roomy in the Civic Type R with plenty of leg and head room in both rows. I like the center console bin’s unique layout. You push the top cup holders back to reveal another cupholder deep below along with a USB.
The Civic seats four and in back two cup holders and a small tray are built into the rear seat bench, which folds down in a 60/40 split. The Type R Touring features floor mats and ample cargo space, along with cargo area cover.
Standard features include push-button start, sport pedals, cruise control, dual zone climate, heated power door mirrors and a remote trunk release.
Standard Honda Sensing includes Adaptive Cruise Control, Collision Mitigation Braking, Lane Keeping Assist system and Road Departure Mitigation.
The Honda Type R is as fun to drive as it looks and a hot hatch to love at nearly $38,000.
2020 Honda Civic Type R Touring
- What I liked most: Sporty handling, 6-speed, drive and ride. Type R sport seats.
- What I would change: Like with the SI, I’d update and simplify the infotainment system controls. Digital climate would be nice, too.
- MSRP: Base $36,995 base; as equipped $37,950.
- Official color: Championship White.
- Fuel economy: 22 city/ 28 highway/ 25 combined.
- Odometer reading when tested: 2,978.
- Spare tire: Tire Repair Kit.
- Weight: 3,121 lbs.
- Length-width-height: 179.4” long/ 73.9” wide/56.5” tall.
- Fuel-tank capacity: 12.39 gallons. Capless fuel filler on the driver’s side. Premium fuel recommended.
- Towing capacity: N/A.
- 2020 Honda Civic Type R Touring in a few words: A hot hatch that’s an absolute blast to drive.
- Warranty: 3-yr, 36,000 Mile Warranty.
- Final assembly location: Swindon, Wiltshire, England
- Manufacturer’s website: Honda