Since 2017, it’s been a truly outstanding hot hatchback that operates on a different cấp độ to the rest of its front-driven rivals. One with nary a chink in its armour. Yet three years into its life, Honda has dug very, very deep và found room for improvement. Crikey.

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So you’re looking at the mildly updated Civic Type R (the FK8, if you’re a mã sản phẩm code nerd). Notice we’ve not called it a ‘facelift’; to vị so when one of the most divisive styling packages on the market hasn’t really changed would feel wrong. But the geekier among you will spot the revised grille, which now has a 13 per cent larger opening resulting in a 10-degree drop in coolant temperature on track days.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg of Honda’s forensic-level update; behind those red-trimmed alloys lurk two-piece discs (rather than one) to lớn take 15mm of ‘dead travel’ out of the brake pedal, which we’d wager no one had actually complained about. There’s been a retune of how the adaptive damping behaves through a corner, for more precision. Something we never, ever thought the FK8 Type R lacked.

And then there’s its knob. The Type R possesses the finest manual gearshift of the last decade, with a satisfyingly stubby metal stick that controls the most beautifully wrought shift movement at any price. Except if you’re on the Civic’s engineering team. “Could be better,” they ludicrously thought.

So you’ve now got a teardrop (rather than ball) to lớn grasp, recalling fast Hondas of yore, và it shrouds counterweights which improve the way it moves around the H-pattern. While everyone else abandons the good ship manual, Honda’s engineering team are the band still aboard clutching their instruments. Not only playing, but fine-tuning their performance as water washes in around their ankles. We salute them.

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The Type R is otherwise mechanically untouched: six-speed manual và front-wheel drive only, with a 316bhp 2.0-litre turbo four flinging its 1.4 tonnes towards a 169mph đứng top speed via a 5.8sec 0-62mph time. Proper figures, those.

There are a few more options than before, though: the ‘regular’ car, pictured here, is now bookended by a slightly more demure Type R thể thao Line (much smaller rear wing, less red detailing, more sound deadening) & the considerably madder Type R Limited Edition (wearing committed Cup 2 tyres và weighing 47kg less than standard via forged BBS wheels, removal of the air con and stereo and less sound deadening). The latter costs a smidge under £40,000 và the UK’s 20-car allocation sold out in an hour. Suggesting you might never pay less than forty grand for one when they re-emerge in the classifieds.

The Civic Type R is spectacular, a hot hatch of great maturity when you use it for sensible stuff, but one possessing a truly wild side when you’re in the mood.

Yes, the looks are OTT, but it’ll be a real shame if they hold people back from delving beneath the surface, where it’s an engineer’s playground. Even more so in updated, 2020 form. This may be the geekiest facelift ever, but it’s made the most formidable opponent on the hot hatch scene even trickier khổng lồ beat.




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