Why the 2020 Honda Civic Type R’s Slight Price Increase Is Entirely Justified

We love Honda’s Civic Type R. We don’t get many front-drive hot hatches here in the U.S., but with the Type R we get one of the best in the world, a thrilling pocket rocket with one of the most accomplished front-drive chassis in the business. Honda has updated the Civic Type R for the 2020 model year with a host of detail changes designed to make it not only even more fun to drive but also easier to live with. And the good news is that at $37,950, only $695 more than the previous model, it’s still a bargain state-of-the-art performance car. In addition to hardware upgrades, the 2020 Civic Type R, which arrives in U.S. Honda dealerships later this month, also debuts a startling new color, Boost Blue, and an app-based data-logging system, Honda LogR, to help drivers keep track of their own performance behind the wheel. Let’s take a closer look at some of the highlights.

Improved Cooling and Revised Aerodynamics

The 2020 Civic Type R’s redesigned front bumper and grille isn’t just for show. The grille opening is 13 percent larger and feeds an enlarged radiator core. The result, says Type R engineering chief Hideki Kakinuma, is a reduction in coolant temperatures of up to 18 degrees in extreme conditions such as track sessions. The larger grille opening was found to have subtly altered the aerodynamic balance of the car, reducing downforce on the front axle, so to compensate Honda engineers redesigned the front spoiler, making it deeper on the left and right sides with new ribbed sections to deflect air back onto the spoiler.

Sharper and More Responsive Handling

The software controlling the Civic Type R’s adaptive damping system has been revised, allowing the system to evaluate road conditions and vehicle behavior 10 times quicker than before. Honda uses the adaptive damping system to provide pitch control and diagonal roll control on corner entry, to stabilize roll movement mid-corner, and to control pitch on corner exit, all of which helps give the Type R its trademark balance and stability. In addition, the rear suspension’s lower bushings have been stiffened to give better toe-in characteristics while cornering, and the front compliance bushings have been stiffened by about 10 percent across the longitudinal axis and low-friction ball joints fitted to sharpen steering feel and response.

New Front Brakes Improve Feel and Performance

Two-piece front brake rotors have been fitted to the 2020 Civic Type R, replacing the single-piece units used on the previous model. In addition, new brake pads offer more fade resistance. Honda claims the new setup reduces pedal movement by 17 percent before the brakes engage, and reduces unsprung weight by 2.5 pounds per wheel.

The Interior Looks, Feels, and Sounds Sportier

Though the basic format is unchanged, the 2020 Civic Type R’s new Alcantara-trimmed steering wheel is immediately obvious. It’s not just for show—the grippier texture subtly enhances perceived feedback through the steering-wheel rim, say Honda sources. The shifter also features a restyled knob whose form follows function. Not only is the overall shape reminiscent of shifter knobs fitted to previous Type Rs, including the original 1997 Civic Type R, but the design includes a 90-gram counterweight built inside to help improve both shift feel and accuracy. Active Sound Control is another new feature in the 2020 Civic Type R. It uses the car’s audio system to refine the engine sound when the car is driven in Comfort mode, and to enhance it when Sport and +R modes are selected.

Monitor Your Own Performance as Well

Honda’s new app-based data logger, Honda LogR, makes its debut on the 2020 Civic Type R. Honda LogR uses data from the Type R’s onboard computers and data sensors to monitor and record a number of performance parameters. LogR offers three main functions: a Performance Monitor, Log Mode, and Auto Score Mode. The Performance Monitor provides vehicle information to the driver on the Display Audio screen while the app is functioning. Log Mode records lap times drivers can analyze to improve their skills. The Auto Score function encourages smooth driving by monitoring braking, acceleration and steering, and generating a score based on the smoothness algorithm.

Expected in the U.S. this spring, the LogR app is designed to work with both Android and iPhone and is for now exclusive to the 2020 Type R.

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