We’ll just call this the VTEC Wars

You know how they say ’respect and honor your elders?’ Well, we can all agree that Honda is doing just that with the Civic and in particular with the Civic Type R.

The nifty hot hatch has remained true to its origins - albeit switching to turbocharging along the way - but that original Type R ethos is still present in modern Type Rs. Don’t believe us? Check out Throttle House’s latest video.

2003 Honda Civic Type R vs. 2020 Honda Civic Type R

While we're all pretty accustomed to the current 2020 Civic Type R, the 2002 EP3 Honda Civic Type R, although not forgotten, doesn't get the sort of attention it deserves these days.

It was introduced by Honda in 2001 in the U.K. Production was carried out at Honda’s plant in Swindon, U.K., where the EP3 Type R got its 2.0-liter i-VTEC engine good for 197 horsepower (200 PS).

Splitting the Difference: 2003 Honda Civic Type R vs. 2020 Honda Civic Type R
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In addition to these markets, the EP3 Type R was also sold in Japan - Honda would in fact ship JDM-spec cars from Swindon to Japan - with Recaro sport seats and the helical limited-slip diff similar to the one in the EK9-gen Civic Type R. The U.S. never got the Civic EP3 Type R.

Now, the EP3 in the video is a JDM-spec car painted in the exquisite Championship White body color and we’re already in love with it.

Splitting the Difference: 2003 Honda Civic Type R vs. 2020 Honda Civic Type R
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Sure, the $37,000 2020 Civic Type R is nothing to play with either, thanks to a 2.0-liter VTEC engine good for 306 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque and the race-inspired downforce-inducing rear wing and drag-reducing diffuser. But the old one is lighter, nimbler, and more focused on driver involvement - even from the acoustic perspective.

Splitting the Difference: 2003 Honda Civic Type R vs. 2020 Honda Civic Type R
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That said, we won’t spoil the fun of watching the video, so head below and enjoy a nicely laid out comparison between two iterations of the same legendary nameplate. And don’t ask which one we’d pick, because we haven’t decided yet. It’s a tough call, this one.

Tudor Rus
Assistant Content Manager - Automotive Expert - tudor@topspeed.com
Tudor’s first encounter with cars took place when he was only a child. Back then, his father brought home a Trabant 601 Kombi and a few years later, a Wartburg 353. At that time, he was too young to know how they worked and way too young to drive them, but he could see one thing – each of them had a different ethos and their own unique personality. As time went on, he started seeing that in other cars as well, and his love for the automobile was born.  Read More
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2017 - 2020 Honda Civic Type R

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