• Did The US Market Miss Out On This FN2 Honda Civic Type-R Mugen?

Mugen’s revisions to the FN2 Civic Type-R have turned it from the most hated Civic Type-R to the ultimate, naturally-aspirated hot hatch

The 2023 Honda Civic Type-R was recently unveiled and, naturally, it became the most powerful version of the car ever made. While the 2.0-liter turbo-four now makes 326 horsepower (240 kilowatts) and 309 pound-feet (420 Nm), the model we’re talking about today is from a time before the Civic Type-R’s adoption of forced induction. UK car aficionado, James from JayEmm on Cars, got his hands on an FN2 Civic Type-R Mugen and he reckons it may be the best of them all. The model was never offered in the States so does that mean the U.S. market missed out on one of the greatest hot hatchbacks ever made?

The most hated generation Civic Type-R

Did The US Market Miss Out On This FN2 Honda Civic Type-R Mugen?
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The Honda Civic FN2 came out in 2006 with the Type-R coming out a year later, in 2007. The hatchback was sold in Europe and Australia while Asia and North America got the Honda Civic FA, FD, and FG. The FN2 featured a very futuristic design, but what was under the skin couldn’t quite live up to the expectations. This was due to the fact that the previous, EP3 generation, Civic Type-R was already a modern classic.

Moreover, the FN2 featured, essentially, the same engine, but was much heavier. It also ditched the double-wishbone, independent, rear suspension for a torsion beam setup for the sake of practicality, which, naturally, raised a few eyebrows. The revised K20 engine produced 198 horsepower, which was only 1 more than the outgoing, EP3 model, and the same 145 pound-feet (196 Nm) although it gained a lot of low-end torque. Interestingly enough, Honda claimed a 6.3-second 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) time for the FN2 Type-R, which was 0.2 seconds quicker than the outgoing model. However, a drag race between the two revealed the 220 pounds (100 kg) lighter, EP3 as the quicker hot hatch.

The FN2’s redemption lies with the Type-R Mugen

Did The US Market Miss Out On This FN2 Honda Civic Type-R Mugen?
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It’s worth noting that there’s more than one Type-R Mugen based on the FN2 Civic. This particular one is UK’s attempt to make the Civic Type-R even spicier. By the way, the FN2 Civic was built in Honda’s Swindon plant in the UK. The most distinctive feature of the Type-R Mugen is the new, more aggressive body kit, which includes a tall rear wing, on which you can have a romantic dinner. The whole body kit has been designed and tested in a wind tunnel to optimize the car’s aerodynamics.

Because of the Japanese Gentlemen’s agreement, which limited power to 280 horsepower, Japanese carmakers had to find other ways to make their cars more capable. This was achieved through exceptional chassis balance, suspension trickery, and optimized aerodynamics. The same philosophy carried on well into the 2000s. However, the Civic Type-R Mugen also features a revised engine. Although still naturally aspirated, the K20 unit now packs 237 horsepower (174 kilowatts) and 157 pound-feet (212 Nm). As James would tell you in the video, the exceptional, six-speed manual was somehow improved even further. With only 20 built, the FN2 Honda Civic Type-R Mugen is a real collector’s car and quite possibly, one of the best hot hatchbacks ever made.

Source: JayEmm

Dim Angelov
Dim Angelov
Dim's fascination with cars began when he was just six. Born into a family of car enthusiasts and racing drivers, he started learning basic mechanics and driving from an early age. While he loves writing for any car, Dim is most interested in exploring obscure and forgotten cars as well as finding the best deals on the enthusiast car market. His passion took him to car restoration in the Malta Classic Car Museum, where he briefly worked on a 1964 Jaguar E-Type and an Alfa Romeo Junior. In Malta, he also graduated Media and Communications, which further improved his skills as an automotive journalist. Dim is always ready to get behind the wheel of any car and tell you all about it later.  Read full bio
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