The mighty Japanese hot hatch gets a significant mid-cycle facelift

The current-generation Honda Civic Type R has been around since 2017. It caused a ruckus when it first arrived, but like all things hyped, the frenzy surrounding the Civic Type R died down. Expectations among fans and customers were satisfied and it wouldn’t be until Honda gave the Civic Type R a mid-cycle refresh that the hype once again started to rise to a crescendo.

Well, that time has come. Honda unveiled the updated Civic Type R at the 2020 Chicago Auto Show with a few notable upgrades on its bodywork and its mechanical components.

What Changed for the 2020 Honda Civic Type R?

The Facelifted Civic Type R Finally Made it to America - Here's What Changed Exterior
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On the surface, the Civic Type R still looks like a proper boy-racer. There are some updates, sure, but unless you’re an eagle-eyed observer, there’s a chance that you might miss them.

The front grille, for example, is slightly bigger than it was in the current model. There’s no doubt that Honda made that move to help feed more air to the Type R’s 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The other significant change — it’s more of an addition — in the Type R’s exterior is the color it’s wearing. It’s called Boost Blue, and it’s all-new for the facelifted Civic Type R.

The interior also benefits from a proper upgrade. The steering wheel is updated and one of those updates is the Alcantara material that’s wrapped around it. The gear shifter is also new with shorter throws and, in terms of tech updates, the facelifted Civic Type R now boasts Honda Sensing, a suite of driver-assistance systems.

The Facelifted Civic Type R Finally Made it to America - Here's What Changed Exterior
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Mechanical changes are found in the not-so-sexy places of the Civic Type R.

Those of you were expecting a power bump from the aforementioned turbo-four engine will be disappointed to know that the facelifted Civic Type R’s turbo-four will still produce 306 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. The good news is that even if output remains the same, there are plenty of surrounding upgrades that should make the Civic Type R more enjoyable to drive. Most of the changes can be found in the hot hatch’s suspension setup.

2020 Honda Civic Type R specifications
Engine 2.0-liter turbocharged i-VTEC four-cylinder
Horsepower 306 HP @ 6,500 RPM
Torque 295 LB-FT @ 7,000 RPM
Transmission 6-Speed Manual
Weight 3,117 Lbs
Fuel economy city/highway/combined 22 / 28 / 25
0 to 60 mph 5.7 seconds
Top Speed 169 mph

The facelifted Civic Type R now comes with stiffer rear bushings that should provide better overall rip on the front. The hot hatch’s dampers have also been upgraded to create a more comfortable ride, even if you’re going balls-to-the-wall with the pocket rocket. Modifications to the car’s steering and front suspension components should give future owners a more nuanced feel of the car’s overall steering. These aren’t sexy upgrades and they probably won’t make any headlines, but, rest assured, the facelifted Civic Type R should be better than the current model in more ways than one.

The Facelifted Civic Type R Finally Made it to America - Here's What Changed Exterior
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Honda has yet to reveal pricing and availability details for the facelifted Civic Type R. Judging by the frenzy the model created when it first came out three years ago, expect Honda to tread carefully on how it wants to price and distribute the updated hot hatch. It did hint at a late winter timetable so that could be sometime around March 2020. As a basis, pricing for the 2019 Honda Civic Type R came up to $36,595, including the $895 destination charge.

Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert - kirby@topspeed.com
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read More
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