When you think about it, the Civic Type R is probably America’s current hot hatch champion. The Ford Focus RS is now dead. The Subaru WRX STI steadfastly refuses to be anything but a sedan. The Volkswagen Golf R has a replacement on the way that will probably be amazing, but it’s not here yet. (Someone in The Drive’s Slack also suggested the BMW X3 M; that person received a written warning.) Probably the closest competitor the Civic Type R has is the Hyundai Veloster N, and it’s objectively excellent—one of my favorite cars you can buy right now.
But in terms of raw power, the quality of the manual gearbox and a few tech features, Hyundai’s dark horse contender is trumped by Honda’s hottest Civic. That’s not a bad thing at all. The Civic Type R was forbidden fruit in America for so long that it deserves to be on top for a bit. At least, that’s what I thought of it the last time I drove one.
I’m about to spend a week in the updated-for-2020 Civic Type R once again. What do you want to know about it?
To recap, the current Civic Type R, like much of the Honda lineup, has traded stratospheric naturally aspirated VTEC revving for turbocharged power. That doesn’t dampen the fun, however, because this new 2.0-liter turbo four is rated at 306 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual is the only option. It also boasts a limited-slip differential, active dampers and Brembo front brake calipers all as standard equipment.
It was great to drive before, but this year, the Civic Type R gets a few interesting upgrades: new two-piece brake rotors, an Alcantara steering wheel, revised dampers, a new face, a new shifter with even shorter throws (which, given that this is a Honda, is really saying something) and some front suspension tweaks for better steering feel.
If you can live with looking like a Gundam pilot everywhere you go, it’s a great deal for its $37,095 price tag, as tested here. I’ll be in one through next week. Ask us stuff about it.