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Order books open for facelifted Honda Civic Type R

Leow Ju-Len
02/06/2020

The 2020 Civic Type R is here, so hot hatch fans, rejoice! It’s sharper and nicer inside, and Honda’s fixed the one thing we didn’t like about it before…


SINGAPORE — It’s wild, it’s one of our favourite drivers’ cars, and it’s back with a facelift. All hail the new Honda Civic Type R, which gets more than the usual raft of mid-life updates.

Official Honda importer Kah Motor is pricing the new Type R at S$154,999 without Certificate Of Entitlement.

The company says the car’s “arrival date is unavailable at the moment”, but it’s likely at least one unit is in town for the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to have looked at. It’s an LTA no-no to communicate pricing without approval.


See what else made our list of the Best Drivers’ Cars here under S$200k


Whether the LTA knew what it was looking at is anyone’s guess, but here are six ways Honda’s improved the Civic Type R:

Smoother styling
As per the usual facelift practice, there are new bumpers front and back, with redesigned LED headlights. Honda says its designers worked to give the Civic Type R a “smoother” look, but it’s obviously still a flamboyant car.

There’s a new colour for the 2020 model: Racing Blue Pearl, which is what you’re looking at here.

Better engine cooling
The car’s wings and scoops are just as functional as before and either aid cooling or aero performance.

Here’s an example: There’s a bigger air intake on the bonnet and a thinner beam across the front grille. Together they create a 13 percent larger opening for cooling air. Combine that with a new radiator core and the result is a drop of 10 degrees Celsius for the coolant temp in demanding conditions, like hot laps at the track. 

Improved aerodynamics
The bigger grille opening actually caused a small drop in downforce (the negative pressure that pushes a car onto a road for better traction and stability).

So Honda offset that by redesigning the front under-bumper air dam. It’s now deeper and has new ribbed sections on either end, to divert air back onto the spoiler.

How’s that for attention to detail?

Lighter, more fade-resistant brakes
The Type R’s brakes weren’t exactly a weakness, but Honda has seen fit to upgrade the stoppers anyway. Engineers tweaked the hydraulics to make the pedal action more immediate. The brake pedal’s action is now 15mm shorter.

Honda says it’s improved the brake cooling so the car can withstand heavy braking on the track much longer. As for the anchors themselves, up front there’s a new two-piece floating disc setup with new brake pads. The whole lot cuts unsprung weight by 2.5kg.


We got up to some scary speeds in a Civic Type R in Germany. Here’s what happened


Unsprung mass refers to the bits of a car whose weight isn’t carried by the springs. When you reduce it, the components tend to move more readily, relative to the rest of the car — that shows up as a calmer ride over bumps and finer control of the wheel’s movements over bad surfaces.

At the back, stiffer bushings for the lower suspension arms improve the rear wheels’ toe-in movements during cornering.

It sounds better (inside)
Welcome, Active Sound Control. In the Sport and +R and driving modes, the Type R now uses the sound system to pump in “enhanced” engine noises under acceleration. In the Comfort setting it apparently plays “refined” sounds. No shame in that. BMW does the same thing.

A nicer interior
The first thing you’ll note when you climb aboard is the new steering wheel, now wrapped in genuine Alcantara, a lightweight artificial suede material. True to form, Honda says it’s to make the steering wheel easier to grip.

Moving away from current trends, Honda has actually added physical buttons and dials to the infotainment and climate control systems. The goal was to make them more straightforward to operate. Much better, if you ask us, and let’s hope more brands follow suit.

More feels when you change gears
The one thing we didn’t like about the 2017 Type R? The gearshift action. Honda’s put a new teardrop-style shift knob in the new car (returning to the shape used in Type R cars of old), and it has a 90g counterweight inside that apparently improves shift feel and accuracy. Can’t wait to try.


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