In 2019 Honda Europe announced that production at the Honda of the United Kingdom manufacturing site in Swindon, where the Civic Type R is built, would end in July 2021 when the plant closes. This meant only a finite number of the mid-life updated examples of the Honda Civic Type R were to be made available to Australia and these were quickly snapped up.
So, we have reached the end of model lifecycle for the award-winning fifth-generation Civic Type R and fans will now have to wait for the newly revealed next generation of the Civic to go on sale in Q4 of this year. The next-generation Type R will follow in due course, with Japan listing it for a global introduction in 2022.
This milestone has coincided with the launch of Honda Australia’s new business model, which came into effect on 1 July 2021. The model comprises of a revamped network comprising 90 Honda Centres across consolidated larger geographic areas, centralised marketing and stock management, and a ‘one price promise’ that delivers certainty of price and added value for customers.
With 30 Honda Centres across metropolitan areas and 60 Honda Centres covering provincial and rural areas, the revamped network is the right size to support a sustainable business for Honda Australia, based on the planned volume of around 20,000 vehicles annually. Management of the new network has been consolidated to 47 owners, which promotes both operational and cost efficiencies, as well as easier integration and strategic alignment.
An online vehicle configurator is one of the major changes to Honda’s website, which will offer customers a simple and engaging way to view vehicle information and pricing, as well as ‘build’ the vehicle they are interested in purchasing. The configurator will feature all Models, Grades and Variants available in the Honda vehicle line-up, along with features, offers, options and accessories, all with transparent pricing. Customers can build their vehicle online at home or in person at a Honda Centre, save their configuration for later, as well as book a test drive.
I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to drive the updated Type R and at its heart remains the same 2-litre, turbocharged in line 4-cylinder petrol engine that produces 228kW @ 6,500 rpm and 400Nm between 2,500-4,500 rpm. The official combined fuel consumption is 8.8L/100km and for my week with the Type R I used 10.8L/100km.
The engine is paired only with a 6-speed manual transmission and the gear shift knob has a revised smaller design that is still a joy to touch. To assist with the timing of your gear selection you can opt to display shift lights on the driver’s dash. These light up as you approach the 7,000rpm hard red line cut out. There is also the option to turn on and off the rev-matching feature that is designed to smooth your downshifts.
The driver can choose between three driving modes – Comfort, Sport and +R – that vary damping force, steering assist and throttle mapping. The elegant-looking triple exhaust now has Active Sound Control to enhance engine acoustics, but I think the exhaust note is on the quiet side for a hot hatch.
The helical limited-slip front differential helps the Civic Type R transfer its power to the ground, but even this cannot overcome the amount of power being transferred via the front tyres. As such there is still a loss of traction from the front tyres under hard acceleration, but there is no torque steer present that I could feel.
Only subtle exterior styling changes have been undertaken, so the same extreme Type R elements are still present. The styling goes against my natural preference for smooth elegant lines, but somehow all the angles, vents and wings just seem to work on the Type R and I love them. The Racing Blue pearlescent paint of my Type R is new for the mid-life update.
Under the Civic Type R the suspension of the new has been upgraded with the control software for the Adaptive Damper System now evaluating road conditions ten times faster (2Hz to 20Hz), resulting in improved damper reactions for better handling response and ride quality.
For improved brake performance, the 2020 Civic Type R features an upgraded braking system, with new two-piece floating front brake discs and new brake pads with a more fade-resistant pad material on the Brembo 4-Piston Aluminium front brakes with 350mm ventilated discs. These enhancements improve thermal efficiency, increasing braking capabilities during high intensity driving. The red brakes are framed nicely by the easy to clean 20” black alloy wheels.
On the inside, the Civic Type R gains a new black and red Alcantara wrapped steering wheel for improved grip, but after almost 7,000kms on the odometer on the car I drove the Alcantara was starting to look a bit tired.
The Type R sports bucket seats hug your waist nicely and the red suede style fabric grips you into place. Both front seats only have manual adjustment for recline and forward/back, with the driver getting additional manual height adjustment. The rest of the interior follows a similar race-inspired look with black suede style door trim with red stitching and a carbon fibre look across the dash. To demonstrate the special nature of the Type R you get a serial number plate near the gear shift lever.
The infotainment screen is small at just 7-inches and the technology underpinning it feels dated. There is no sat nav, but you do get wired Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and other media sources include AM/FM radio, DAB+ and Bluetooth. In order to use the voice recognition capabilities voice tags need to assigned and the Type R has a masculine silhouette on the voice control button on the steering wheel like many other car companies.
Under the front of the centre console there is a ledge and here there is one 12V outlet, one HDMI port and one USB port. You can feed the cord connecting your device to these ports up into the cubby area where you can store your phone. In addition, there is another USB port under the arm rest, where you will also find a removable cup holder that would fit a coffee cup. The second cup holder in the centre console is suited to large drink bottles, which is good because they would not fit in the door cubby.
Debuting for the first time in any Honda is a new vehicle performance datalogger, exclusive to Civic Type R. Known as Honda LogR, the new system combines the Type R’s onboard computer and sensors with a smartphone app to help drivers monitor and record a variety of performance parameters. With access to the onboard computer, Honda LogR can seamlessly deliver more detail than some third-party performance data logging applications, including brake pressure, steering angle and pedal position data. As I did not spend any time on the track in the Type R, I did not use the LogR system during the review.
The rear seats are covered with black fabric with red stitching and there are only two of them, which isn’t a big deal in my opinion as the width of the Type R would mean that three people would not fit across the back seat anyway. There is enough head and leg room for two adults to sit in the rear seats and for children there are two ISOFIX/three rear tether child seat restraint points.
There is no central fold down arm rest, no central rear air vents and no USB ports and the drink bottle storage cubby in the rear doors is only suitable for small bottles. On the plus side though there is a mat over the transmission tunnel protecting the carpet from the wear caused by children climbing over it constantly.
The boot is opened manually, is a good size for a hot hatch and would fit a stroller and the weekly shop. For added room the rear seats have a 60:40 split folding mechanism and you get a tyre repair system rather than a spare tyre.
The Type R features the Honda Sensing suite of driver-assist technologies including Adaptive Cruise Control, Collision Mitigation Braking System, Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keep Assist System and a Road Departure Mitigation System. In place of blind spot monitoring there is a camera view in the driver’s dash of the left-hand side of the vehicle when you indicate on that side only. Dual frontal, side chest and side head-protecting airbags (curtains) are standard and the Type R has a standard rear view camera with front and rear sensors. Although the Honda Civic sedan and hatch has a 5-star ANCAP (2017) safety rating, this does not apply to the Type R.
The Honda Civic Type R comes with a 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty. The service interval for the Type R is every 12 months or 10,000km whichever occurs first and the cost for the first five basic services (excluding Adaptive Items) according Tailored Service Price Guide on the Honda Australia website is $1,615.
The new Honda Civic Type R has a Manufacturer’s List Price of $54,990 excluding Dealer Delivery and statutory charges with Pearlescent/Premium paint additional cost of $685. If you are lucky there may be a few examples of this legend still available, so contact you nearest Honda Centre for more information. If not, stay tuned for the next generation of the Honda Civic Type R.
|The styling matches the Type R’s personality||Very limited availability|
|The feel of the gear shift knob||Dated infotainment system|
|Now comes with Honda LogR||The Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel|
Photographs by Driven Women Magazine