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Video reviews2020 Honda Civic Type R Review: Styling, Interior, and Tech Updates Make This Hot Hatch Even Better
2020 Honda Civic Type R Review: Styling, Interior, and Tech Updates Make This Hot Hatch Even Better
[MUSIC PLAYING] CARLOS LAGO: We've been big fans of the Honda Civic Type R ever since it first came out. It's won comparisons. It's highly ranked in our ratings. And it's our go-to recommendation for a fast four-door at this price because it combines speed, functionality, and comfort in a way few cars can match. Now, we actually didn't think it needed much mechanical changes, but apparently, Honda disagreed because for 2020, it's been updated. And this is it. I bet you couldn't tell unless you live and breathe these things. In this video, I'm going to explain what's new, what's not, why this thing's so much fun to drive, and why we like driving it so much. The two are not necessarily the same. For the whole story, go to edmunds.com, but also like, subscribe, and leave a comment below, too. This generation of the Type R has been an aggressive-looking car. That works for some people and it doesn't work for others. I mean, it has three tailpipes, for crying out loud. And the interesting thing is it actually writes a check that the driving experience doesn't quite cash, but in a good way, if that makes sense. But we'll talk about that when we actually get to driving it. For now, let's talk about the changes going on at the front. You have these body-colored accents on the front and rear of the car. That's new. And so are these panels right here. This used to look like a honeycomb grill pattern, which was slightly dishonest because it didn't actually go anywhere or do anything. The only place it actually had an effect was on this opening here so you could hear the horn. So now it's a bit more honest, at least. A step in the right direction. Now past that, the opening here and the radiator core have been adjusted. Honda says this is now 13% larger, if you're taking measurement. We've seen reports that Honda Civic Type Rs have overheated on track. We've never experienced that in our testing, but Honda says this adjustment helps keep the engine cool, and more cool air is something we'll never complain about. The front end of the car remains otherwise largely the same, and a lot of events here up front actually remain functional, and that's what contributes to that aggressive look. I can explain that functionality and explain what those vents do with the handy pen test. What you do is you find something that looks like a vent. You stick a pen in it. If it goes all the way in, it's likely functional. We can start up here with the front. This section, obviously, feeds the radiator. But on the driver's side, there's actually a scoop that goes in and feeds the intake. On the front, lower beneath that, this feeds the inner cooler. And then this hood vent actually looks to be legit. It dumps air behind the back of the engine. The engine's transversely located, so it sits in line with the front axle. So the air gets dumped behind it. Now underneath the front splitter here, you have these vents that cool the front brakes. And then you have this channel here that routes air around the wheel liner, in between the wheel liner and the engine bay, and it exits behind the front wheels. And Honda says that still stabilizes things. Yes, this is still an aggressive-looking car, but I think this is a step in the right direction. Next, let's take a look at the wheels and tires. When you're talking about brakes and tires, you also need to talk about suspension because that all comes together to make handling. And that's an area that we've really liked about the Civic Type R. With regard to suspension, Honda's made some adjustments. The adaptive dampers respond more quickly and they've also tuned a couple settings in the suspension, like new bushings and different alignment settings, in the name of making the handling even more responsive. As far as the brakes go, that's where the other mechanical change is. The rotor diameter is the same and the front 4-piston Brembo calipers are the same, but the construction of the front rotors are different. They were formerly a one-piece rotor, and that's where you use one material to make the brake rotor. Now, they're a more expensive two-piece rotor, and you do that because using different materials allows you to make a rotor that's lighter and can ventilate and cool more properly. Honda says the change is good for five pounds total in the Civic Type R. As far as wheels and tires go, they're the same as last year. The wheels are 20 inches in diameter, 8 and 1/2 inches wide, and the tires are Continental SportContact 6, size 245/30R20. I bring that up because we have experienced premature tire wear with the Civic Type R on track, and we've seen reports of others going through the same. You should probably expect that behavior to continue if you plan on taking your Civic Type R to a track day. Before we talk about interior updates for 2020, I want to just take a moment and talk about the functionality of the interior, and that's one of the Civic Type R's best attributes, right next to how good it drives. And a lot of it has to do with how nice the standard Honda Civic is. It's one of the best in its segment with regard to interior space, and layout for storage, and whatnot. The second row is very large. Especially with these bucket seats, you could still fit people back there comfortably. And the storage solutions for the front are very clever. The center console right here is configurable. It has compartments that you can slide around to secure stuff. And it's deep, too so there's a ton of storage available. This two-level split tray here means you have a larger section at the bottom for bulkier items, and then you have a top little shelf here for like your phone, and then ahead of that, there's a little hole you can run cables through when you wanted to plug into in the car and use Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. Really nice, thoughtful stuff. Now, Civic Type R, specifically for 2020, the steering wheel is now wrapped in alcantara. That's a microfiber suede-like material that feels good. The shifter's also been gussied up, and there's a new knob that's heavier. Why would you do that? Well, it just feels nicer to shift. That lever feels really good. The other addition for the Civic Type R is Honda Sensing, and that's the name that Honda gives its suite of adaptive safety features, like forward collision mitigation, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control. That's standard on the Civic Type R. Civic Type R only comes in one trim level, so this is what you get. I'll comment, too, that adaptive cruise control is really nice with this because when you use it in conjunction with automatic rev matching, on the freeway or in stop-and-go, the computer largely takes care of the gas pedal for you. You basically just clutch and shift. It's nice. It makes driving a manual in rush hour more tolerable. I will say, as someone who drove an Integra GSR in rush hour to college every day, I was fine doing that. But this makes it a little bit nicer. You kids don't know how good you have it. I'll save my "in my day" spiel for another time. Let's get back to the car. I like the plaque behind the shifter that says the serial number of the Civic Type R on it. That's really nice. And to the right of that, you have your drive mode selector. That's the same as last year. But what's new this year is active sound enhancement. The Civic Type R is now pumping in a little bit of engine noise through the stereo to make the engine sound a bit more obvious. You can adjust it with here, but we'll talk about that when when we get to driving. Now we get to my favorite part, which is actually driving the Type R, and cars in general. You may cringe when you hear active sound enhancement, and I get that philosophically, a lot of people have an issue with fake exhaust noise or fake intake noise being pumped into the cabin. Well, the news is all engines lie. All exhausts lie. They're all tuned and artificial to some degree. And drawing a line between where you accept it or not is just arbitrary, so my philosophy is if it sounds good and you don't notice it, hey, who cares? The Civic Type R is a case where I think it's beneficial. One of my complaints with the last year's Civic Type R, with 2017 to last year, was that the 2-liter turbo 4-cylinder was powerful. It packed a solid punch. But it was fairly quiet at high RPMs, relative to the noise of the rest of the car, because you get a fair amount of interior noise and tire noise when you're pushing the car hard on a racetrack. That led to situations where, when you're wearing a helmet, you couldn't actually hear the engine speed. And so you have to be watching the tach very closely to make sure you weren't buzzing red line. That was not a very fun part about driving the Civic Type R fast. But also, that same quietness made driving around town-- especially when you're going quick-- better, because you could do it stealthily. I think the active sound enhancement is a good solution here because when you are really on the gas pedal, especially in the Plus R drive mode, you get more sound. I'm not going to say it's a beautiful sound, because let's face it, turbo-charged inline 4-cylinders just are never going to sound beautiful, but you're going to hear it. And that's what's important to driving fast. And the fact that you can hear it inside, that you have additional indication of when you're getting close to red line, but nobody around you outside can really hear it-- that's a good thing, because I'm all about stealth speed. Of course, they'll see it, because it's still a Civic Type R and it looks the way it does. But hey, small steps. Small steps. Now, when it comes to actual power delivery, the Civic Type R is great because when you get on the gas, its turbocharged engine-- you should typically expect a little bit of delay, depending on the gear that you're in and how much you're asking of the engine. But power seems to really come in strong at about 2,500 RPM to about 6,500 RPM, and that's a really meaty power band for a turbo 4-cylinder. And once you're moving and in gear, this car feels really strong and really punchy. Off the line, it doesn't feel so much that way because you've got to engage the clutch, and you're working with an engine that's off boost. So most of the time when you're driving on city streets at stoplights, lead-footed EV drivers and modestly powerful SUVs are going to dust you off the line. But when you're at speed, that's then the Civic Type R is going to come into its own. Because the engine and transmission are largely the same, they're just going to behave the same way as you would expect, and that's mostly good. You still have rev matching. I used it right there. When you're driving below race pace, like most of us do, the rev matching's fine. When you really start trying to go fast and try and start to do really quick gear changes, that's when you notice that it isn't as fast as it could be or it should be. Some other automakers have faster rev-matching systems, but that's OK. Now, ride and handling is what the Civic Type R does best. It balances both of those attributes admiringly well for a hot hatch or a sports sedan. I'll use two interchangeably when I'm discussing the Civic Type R because who cares, right? If you do, leave a comment. Get it out of your system. You want a car like this because it's a four-door to be family friendly so you can sell it to the spouse, right? But you also still want it to be fun. So you're always going to be straddling that line between ride comfort and driving fun, because responsive, tightly-controlled chassis can make ride quality worse. And I'll say, of course, this is firmer when it comes to ride than your standard Honda Civic, but it's not that bad at all. In fact, I could totally drive this through LA's worst roads every day and be fine. But what's really nice about the ride is it doesn't really sacrifice anything for suspension control, and steering feel, and all that. This is still a nice, great-handling car. And it's so satisfying because you can maintain a lot of speed through corners. You can get up-to-speed quickly, and the tire, and the grip, and the steering all work together to inspire you to enter corners faster, and faster, and faster, and you can maintain that speed all the way through the corner. And that's really exciting. Steering feel is enjoyable. It may seem a little heavy at first, but when you get used to it, you realize the effort is tightly tuned to the available grip and balance of the car, and that makes for a situation when you go into corners, you don't need to put a lot of effort into the wheel. But it gives you just enough feedback and there's just enough effort to balance your input against what you want the car to do and keep it on your path. The adaptive dampers get credit for the ride comfort and the handling comfort. I'm leaving the car in its key up Sports setting. You can back it down one notch to Comfort, if you want. You can increase that to Plus R, if you want. When you do that, the drive modes are going to adjust the throttle sensitivity-- how responsive that gas pedal is. They're going to also adjust just a couple other things, too. But the gist is you use Plus R when you're driving it on the race. You use Comfort if you want a little bit softer of a suspension. It also damps the gas pedal responsiveness, too, to a degree I'm not too much of a fan of. But most people should just leave it in Sport. Now, the brake system has been upgraded. We talked about how Honda did new brake rotors. They also did new pads, and part of that was an explanation that they wanted to reduce the stroke of the brake pedal and make the pedal feel more responsive. Braking performance is something that we've never really had a problem with the Civic Type R. But hey, we'll take an improvement. And I'll say that you probably have to drive this and the last year's Civic Type R back to back in order to appreciate the differences. I'll say from what I'm feeling right now, the brake pedal doesn't need to move a lot. It's more of a pressure actuation, rather than a lever, and I like that in this kind of car when I'm driving fast because you can instinctively get the amount of brake force that you want out of the pedal. It's really easy to intuit it from the feedback through the pedal. All nice stuff. Do the changes that Honda made for 2020 transform the car? No, they just make it a nicer value than it already was. I don't particularly expect the performance figures to change. The last time we tested this, we get 0 to 60 I think in the mid to low 5-second range and the quarter mile in the high to 13-second range. That's probably going to be where it's at. I'd be surprised if you saw dramatic improvements if you were really into hot lapping, but it's possible. In summary, the Civic Type R packs a lot of highly desirable features, and as it should, because the price has creeped up to about $38,000. With it, you get a really nice car to drive, 306 horsepower, really engaging steering and handling, something that feels really fun. But it's also compliant enough and functional enough for the whole family, thanks to a comfortable ride, a functional interior, a large interior, realistic trunk space, rear seats that fold down, and good visibility. There's a lot to like here, and that's great because there isn't much left in the segment that does the same. Your other options are either all-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive two-door coupes, so this is a pretty unique offering, and that's always what made the Civic Type R so special. Yeehaw.
Read the full review <a href="https://edmu.in/2Tlg1De" target="_blank">here</a>. Carlos Lago drives and reviews the new 2020 Honda Civic Type R. In this video, we'll explore what's new with the 2020 Type R interior, exterior, suspension and brakes. We'll also discuss what's not new, like the 306-horsepower turbo 2.0-liter engine, transmission, wheels and tires. For 2020, the Type R also comes with new tech, including adaptive cruise control and active sound enhancement that boosts the engine sound. How does it all work? Watch to find out!
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