2020 Honda Civic Type R First Review

Pros

  • 306 horsepower & lightning-quick reflexes
  • 6-speed manual transmission
  • Hatchback practicality
  • Standard Honda Sensing safety suite
  • Standard Apple CarPlay/Android Auto

Cons

  • Boy-racer looks
  • No optional automatic transmission
  • Only seats four

What’s New this year?

  • Honda Sensing safety suite becomes standard
  • Upgraded suspension, braking, engine cooling
  • Larger grille, new front & rear bumpers
  • Debut of Honda LogR data-logging app

People Also Ask

Is the 2020 Honda Civic Type R AWD?

No, the Civic Type R isn’t all-wheel drive (AWD). It is front-wheel drive (FWD).

How fast is the 2020 Honda Civic Type R?

The Honda Civic Type does 0-60 mph in the 5-second range and has a top speed of 169 mph.

How much is a 2020 Honda Civic Type R?

The Honda Civic Type is $36,995, plus a $955 destination fee.

Is the 2020 Honda Civic Type R worth it?

We think the Civic Type R’s performance and features justify its cost. Moreover, the Civic Type R has terrific resale value.

KBB Editors’ Overview

The 2020 Civic Type R is the wild-child version of Honda’s esteemed compact car. Based on the Civic hatchback, the Type R takes Honda performance to the next level, even beyond that of the Civic Si sedan and coupe. The Civic Type R packs a turbocharged 4-cylinder that makes over 300 horsepower, track-worthy suspension and a 6-speed manual transmission.

In fact, if you need further proof that this is an enthusiast’s car, know that an automatic transmission isn’t even available, as one is in rivals like the Hyundai Veloster N, Subaru WRX and Volkswagen Golf R. Unlike the Subaru and VW that are all-wheel drive, the 2020 Civic Type R is front-drive, but it is among the best such setups we’ve tested.

On a track, the Honda Civic Type R is a star. In everyday commuting it can be high-strung and stiff, though the adaptive suspension can be set for more comfort. With its 5-door hatchback design, the Civic Type R is also practical, and for 2020 it is enhanced with Honda’s standard suite of active safety features. The Civic Type R’s roughly $37,000 price tag puts it at a premium and its boy-racer looks aren’t for everyone, but if you’re seeking the ultimate in Civic performance straight from the factory, the Type R is it.

Driving the 2020 Honda Civic Type R

This is the fastest, sharpest and most athletic Civic you can buy. We must admit we had our doubts of how 306 horsepower to the front wheels would translate, but all thoughts of torque steer were quashed as soon as we started flogging the Type R when we rented out the Streets of Willow racetrack in Southern California. It’s in this type of setting where the Civic Type R’s true colors show and where its performance can best be exploited — legally.

The Honda Civic Type R practically begs to be driven hard. Its rev-happy engine is at its best high in the rpm band, and its 6-speed manual transmission is a joy to use. Standard rev-matched downshifts can make you feel like a track hero while helping minimize upsetting the chassis. In a straight line, it’s quick: The Civic Type R’s 0-60-mph time is in the 5-second range. In corners, it’s even better.

The Civic Type R’s adjustable suspension is remarkable for a performance car costing less than $40,000. Set the drive-mode system to the +R race setting, and you’ll get stick-to-the-tarmac, razor-sharp handling.

In daily driving, the 2020 Honda Civic Type R is on the stiff side and its cabin can get noisy at speed. Setting the mode to Comfort will be your friend, but there’s still no denying the Type R prioritizes performance. Still, we found the clutch easy and the launches smoother than a manual-transmission Subaru WRX.

Favorite Features

HONDA SENSING
If the Civic Type R lacked anything, it was Honda’s suite of active safety systems. For 2020, that has been rectified. The 2020 Civic Type R gains Honda Sensing standard, which includes forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning and adaptive cruise control.

IT’S A STILL CIVIC
The Type R can certainly tear up a track, but we love that it’s also a Civic, and a hatchback version to boot. That means it’s blessed with Honda’s renown reliability, excellent resale value and overall practicality.

2020 Honda Civic Type R Interior

The Type R Civic is based on the hatchback model, which is our favorite version, but unlike the standard Civic hatchback that seats five passengers, the Civic Type R only has room for four. That’s because the rear seats are designed only for two, rather than the usual three.

Otherwise, like the standard hatchback, the Type R boasts a good-size rear cargo area with a nifty cargo cover that slides from side to side instead of the usual back to front. Folding the rear seats expands the cargo area from an already-impressive 25.7 cubic feet to 46.2 cubic feet.

Up front, it’s also like a standard Civic with a simple but sleek dash anchored by a 7-inch touch-screen display (and yes, it now has a volume knob!), plus hard-button controls for climate.

Yet even the Civic Type R’s cabin appointments point to its performance mantra. Splashes of red abound, including for the seatbelts and trim pieces. A nice touch is the Type R serial-number plate, which always reminds that you’re driving something special. The manually adjustable faux suede front seats are also dressed largely in red and highly bolstered, but we do wish for more lumbar support.

2020 Honda Civic Type R Exterior

We know, we know: There’s a lot going on here. Honda claims the roofline nubs, deep front and side extensions, the gigantic wing, and the other wild-looking styling elements on the Civic Type R actually improve aerodynamics and/or downforce. That wing, for example, is supposed to create downforce at speed, helping with cornering. But we know it can be a tough pill to swallow aesthetically speaking if you are over the age of, say, 30.

For 2020, the Civic Type R gets minor tweaks to the front and rear bumpers, and a slightly larger grille opening for enhanced engine cooling. The Civic Type R wears 20-inch alloy wheels, and in back remain the distinctive triple exhaust outlets.

2020 Honda Civic Type R Standard Features

As a top-spec Civic, the Type R comes very well equipped. Aside from its track-ready performance hardware like Brembo brakes, limited-slip differential and adaptive damper system, the 2020 Type R Civic includes keyless entry, dual-zone climate control, auto-hold brake system, and multi-angle rearview camera.

The Type R’s infotainment system is robust, featuring a 7-inch touch screen with navigation, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto integration, and 12-speaker/540-watt premium audio system.

As mentioned in Favorite Features, this year’s Civic Type R now includes the Honda Sensing suite of safety and driver-assistance systems. Also new this year is Honda LogR, a performance data-logging system that combines the car’s onboard computer and sensors with a smartphone app.

2020 Honda Civic Type R Options

As a mono-spec vehicle, the Civic Type R comes from the factory pretty much loaded. About the only options to choose from relate to exterior and interior aesthetics. One temping new color choice is Boost Blue. If you really want to embrace the racy look, a carbon-fiber kit is available, but at over $3,500, that’s 10 percent of the total price of the car. Other options include an interior illumination package, body-side molding, and various cargo accessories.

2020 Honda Civic Type R Engine

Honda’s Civic Type R is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that makes a powerful 306 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. The only transmission is a slick-shifting 6-speed manual with driver-selectable rev matching. The Honda Civic Type R is front-wheel drive and uses a helical limited-slip differential.

With so much power running to the front wheels, torque steer would normally be an issue, but in the Type R Honda cleverly employs the car’s unique front suspension and steering linkage to mitigate the problem. Fuel-economy estimates are surprisingly good considering the Type R’s stats. The Honda Civic Type R’s high-output turbocharged engine can run on regular unleaded gasoline, but Honda recommends using premium.

2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
306 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
295 lb-ft of torque @ 2,500-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/28 mpg

How Much Does the 2020 Honda Civic Type R Cost?

The 2020 Honda Civic Type R has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $36,995, plus a destination charge of $955. Notably, that price is only $400 more than last year’s model, despite this new one coming with the Honda Sensing suite.

At this price, the Civic Type R is some $15,000 beyond a base Civic Hatchback and nearly $12,000 more than a Civic Si sedan. But it’s the exact same price as a Subaru WRX STi. As for other performance hatchbacks, the VW Golf R is higher, starting just over $40,000, while the Hyundai Veloster N starts as low as $26,600.

Before buying, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying. The Honda Civic Type R’s resale value is expected to be excellent.

Which Model is Right for Me?

2020 Honda Civic Type R

306-horsepower turbocharged engine
6-speed manual transmission
7-inch touch screen w/navigation
Apple CarPlay/Android Auto
20-inch alloy wheels

2020 Honda Civic Type R Safety Technology

Honda Sensing

The 2020 Honda Civic Type R includes this impressive suite that bundles frontal-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping system, and adaptive cruise control.

Auto high-beam headlights

This standard feature enhances visibility on dark roads by automatically turning on the high beams.

Vehicle Stability Assist with Traction Control

This system helps reduce wheel speed and slippage to better keep the car under control during acceleration and cornering.