The Honda Civic Type R is a driving enthusiast darling because it’s fast and a lot of fun to drive. This generation of the car’s getting its first real revisions for the 2020 model year, so let’s break down what’s been announced and parse what’s important.
Honda trotted out the car’s brand new colour, Boost Blue, for the 2020 CTR on the floor of the Chicago Auto Show today. You might have caught this at the Tokyo Auto Salon a few weeks ago, but I didn’t, so I’m digging on it now! I would have preferred Phoenix Yellow (why the hell can’t you buy this car in Phoenix Yellow!?) but blue is fun too.
Regardless, this marks the revised car’s debut here in the U.S. of A.
As for technical updates, let’s see what we can interpret from Honda’s press release:
New two-piece brake rotors and brake pads are designed to reduce fade and improve high-speed braking efficiency…
Well, that’s pretty self-explanatory. Fade, in this context, refers to brakes weakening as they heat up when you stamp them over and over again. In a modern car, you’re only going to feel that if you’re caning the crap out of it. But still, it could be a good upgrade for track people. Braking efficiency generally refers to brake force as a percentage of the total weight of the vehicle, so, improving it should essentially translate to a stronger response from the stop-pedal.
…while suspension revisions for 2020 include updated dampers for improved ride comfort, stiffer rear bushings for better grip, and revisions to the front suspension and steering for even better steering feel.
“Improved ride comfort” is a little vague, but it sounds like Honda spent some time figuring out where it could make the car softer to reduce punishment felt by the passengers and where it could make the car stiffer so it’d be better at turning. Adding stiffer bushings essentially makes a car less wiggly, which, as the release posits, should keep the car more planted and give it better grip.
Additionally, the grille has been redesigned to allow better engine cooling under high demand.
I wasn’t aware of any overheating issues with the Type R, but perhaps those of you who frequent CTR forums will have more insight. (If so, please comment!) My guess is that Honda just wanted to restyle the facia a little and is calling it a performance improvement because why not.
Inside, the 2020 Civic Type R will feature additional refinement that includes a new Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel, and a new shifter with a restyled knob and shorter shift throws.
Who doesn’t love Alcantara? Plenty of people, but it does look damn fine and I bet this new wheel will be nice to grab. At least, until you get drive-thru finger grease all over it.
Every 2020 Civic Type R will be equipped with the Honda Sensing suite of safety and driver-assistive technologies, making the Honda Sensing suite standard equipment on all Civic models and trims when the 2020 Type R it goes on sale.
I have been pretty underwhelmed with Honda’s collision-preventing sensor suite but it’s hard to argue against more safety tools, especially when they don’t add much weight.
New for 2020 is Active Sound Control, which modifies interior sound in concert with the chosen drive mode.
So, yeah, the CTR is going to pipe synthesized engine noise into the cab now. I personally don’t really care, but I’m sure some will be offended.
It’s going to be very difficult to tell a 2020 Type R from a 2017-2019, but for car spotters, look for the tiny little body-coloured winglets in the fake mesh grille cheeks (face and butt) to tell if the CTR you see is a new one. Or, look for the fuzzy steering wheel.