Updated Honda Civic Type R: What’s new for 2020?

One of the best hot hatches in the market – and our favourite – has just gone better. The updated FK8 Honda Civic Type R brings a host of changes and improvements to the Type R’s winning formula, including upgrades to ride and handling, braking performance and engine cooling, freshened exterior and interior design elements, plus the first performance data-logging application in a Honda vehicle, exclusive to the Civic Type R.

Launched in 2017, the Honda Civic Type R has managed to impress us with its perfect blend of driving engagement, performance, and every usability. It continues the heritage of Honda’s high performance hatchback bloodline, delivering expertly tuned front-wheel drive chassis dynamics with aggressive design and extensive aerodynamic detailing.

So, what’s in store for 2020? Read on.

Chassis upgrades

The suspension of the new Civic Type R has been upgraded for more responsive and sharper handling. The control software for the Adaptive Damper System (ADS) now evaluates road conditions ten times faster (2Hz to 20Hz), resulting in improved damper reactions for better handling response and ride quality.

The rear bushings for the lower B-arm have been stiffened for an eight per cent improvement in lateral loads, resulting in better toe-in characteristics when cornering. At the front, updated compliance bushings (10 per cent stiffer longitudinally) and new lower-friction ball joints result in sharper steering feel for better control.

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. The enhanced brake system is said to improve thermal efficiency, increasing braking capabilities during high intensity driving.

Engine cooling performance has been improved by a new larger grille and thinner grille beam, which delivers a 13 per cent larger air intake opening. Combined with an updated radiator core, this decreases coolant temperature by up to 10 degrees (under Honda internal testing) in high-demand situations, such as during track driving.

The larger grille opening results in a slight reduction in front downforce, but is offset by a redesigned front under-bumper air dam, which was made slightly deeper and modified to include new ribbed sections on each end to create negative pressure on the front tyres.

Styling Changes

The Civic Type R has always been one of the boldest looking hot hatches in the segment. For 2020, the Civic Type R receives a number of styling and design enhancements to both exterior and interior. The lower fog light surrounds feature a new symmetrical design, incorporating smooth surfaces and sleek styling blades, while a revised profile front grille benefits engine cooling performance.

The body-coloured blades are also a feature of the refreshed rear bumper design, bringing Type R in line with the rest of the Civic hatch range, which was updated in early 2020.

A bold new paint colour helps mark the introduction of the updated Civic Type R. Called Racing Blue, the new pearlescent paint finish joins Rally Red, Crystal Black and the iconic Championship White, which have all been carried over from the existing colour range.

Inside, the Civic Type R gains a new Alcantara wrapped steering wheel for improved grip, a new shift lever with restyled knob and the same Alcantara finish for the shift boot. The new teardrop-style gear knob is reminiscent of those found on earlier Type R models and includes a 90g internal counterweight to help improve shift feel and accuracy.

A revised seven-inch infotainment touchscreen display with integrated climate controls is part of the new update package, with hard key for the most commonly used functions, along with a dedicated volume control knob.

Also new for the updated Civic Type R is the addition of Active Sound Control (ASC), which is Honda speak for digitally enhanced engine sound.

Honda LogR

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.

It can also help improve driving skills both on and off the track through the use of a driving-smoothness algorithm. With access to the onboard computer, Honda LogR can deliver details on brake pressure, steering angle and pedal position data.

Honda LogR features three main functions: a Performance Monitor, a Log Mode and an Auto Score Mode.

Performance Monitor provides vehicle information to the driver on the infotainment screen while the app is functioning.

Log Mode records lap times on the track, allowing drivers to improve their driving skills in a circuit environment.

The Auto Score function encourages smooth day-to-day driving by monitoring braking, acceleration, steering and straight line driving, and generating a score based on the smoothness algorithm.

Powertrain

Under the bonnet, power from the 2.0-litre VTEC turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine remains unchanged, churning out 228kW of power at 6500 rpm and 400Nm of torque from 2500-4500 rpm. Power is transferred to the front wheels via a close-ratio six-speed manual with rev-matching function.

Pricing

The new 2020 Honda Civic Type R is priced from $54,990 plus on-road costs in Australia, a $3,000 increase over the outgoing model.

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