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17 Mar 2017

Honda Civic Type-R FK2



Text and Photos: Reinis Babrovskis

Honda Civic Type-R, love it or hate it, remains one of the most enjoyable sports hatchbacks out there since the release of  its first model in 1997. With the fifth generation of the Type-R now debuting in Geneva's Motor Show it is time to look back at the previous fourth generation Civic Type-R (CTR) model, code named the  FK2. 

Vtec is dead, long live the turbo...

Well not quite though; the recent Type-R installment from the Japanese automotive manufacturer finally received a forced induction after years of pledge to the high revving naturally aspirated engines that were powered by the famous variable valve timing and lift electronic control (a.k.a. VTEC). The strict EU legislation on emissions left Honda no choice but to add a turbo along the vtec (that by no means is as angry as before), but you know what - that could have been the best decision ever. By the looks of things it also received a hefty dose of steroids; it looks as mad and violent as a Rottweiler infected by rabies; arguably, this could be the most aggressive and best looking Type-R to date.

The fourth generation Honda Civic Type-R was certainly one of the most anticipated cars in the recent auto market industry. It had been five years since the release of the latest Type-R and Honda fans were thrilled to see what the latest generation CTR (Civic Type-R) was going to offer. The wait was finally over at the Geneva International Motor Show in 2015 and first models appeared on public roads in 2016.
Honda Civic Type-R had always been a true driver’s car, a sports hatchback etalon if you wish, so the expectations were high. With each generation of the Civic Type-R just like majority of modern cars became bigger, “fatter” and heavier. So was this going to be any better?
Hell yeah!

Compared to the rather "lazy" FN2 model the new CTR returned to the roots of the Honda Type-R - a true sports car that is, designed to tackle the circuits and twisty roads; furthermore, do it better than any FWD out there. Beating the lap time round the “green hell” was a true testimony to that. In fact, the time it took the FK2 to drive round the Ring was so impressive it put many cars costing double the FK2 value to shame. And as to date, the FK2 Civic Type-R holds the fastest recorded FWD hatchback 0-60 mph acceleration time of 5.7 seconds.

However, following the exceptional concept model, many felt they have been let down by the final production model. The styling of the £30k performance model suddenly was now rather unsympathetic to many; however, let’s not ignore the fact every splitter, diffuser, panel and parts are there for a reason. Each of the modifications actually contributes towards the aerodynamic lift resulting in a larger downforce; larger downforce = more grip, more grip = more speed. Good enough for me. If it’s doesn’t convince one and the styling is too much, there is always Golf R and other subtle look fast sport hatches out there.



CTR production model features a rather aggressive front end with "beefed-up" front arches very sharp xenon powered front headlights, metal mesh, razor sharp bumper lines and the usual blood red Type-R badge. The front end of the fourth generation CTR was completely transformed from the previous model, giving the latest car a more evil look.
Whilst looks are subjective I do really believe this is one of the best looking sports hatchbacks out there. Yes it might be bonkers, it might be over the top, but it works for me.

The rear of the car received the most of the critique; gone was the amazing concept arches, as was the the amazing "devil's aero wing". Honda settled for a more subtle rear spoiler and tiny arches that upset many. However, I must say the mean looking quad exhaust system along a huge aero spoiler, made up for it. It is a beautiful car too look at from any angle in my opinion.For many, including me the only let down of the production model was the rear arches on the quarter panel; I just wish they would be larger, as the car really deserved that to finish the look.


The interior of the Civic Type-R is a masterpiece. It really is a beautiful place to be in. The new seats are very comfortable and snug the driver perfectly. The black and red theme continues inside on the seats, steering wheel, door cards and gear stick leather surround.
Once the CTR has engaged the R+ mode the dials glow evil red. As always the civic comes equipped with outstanding media system and speakers.


Civic Type-R comes equipped with massive 19" alloy wheels; Sam opted for black and red finish and it looks amazing. The wheels are wrapped in  235/35 ZR19s Continental CSC6s to provide that superior grip. Massive Brembo brakes provide the car with great stopping time. The ride quality is stiff, but not unbearable. Honda re-engineered the lower arms, damper forks and bushes; however, the rear of the vehicle still came equipped with a torsion beam, but before anybody complains - this car is so stiff that there is no need for a rear anti-roll bar. The outstanding performance on track is a proof of this. As with any high-power output front wheel driven car torque steer is the biggest enemy. Ford tackled this with its revolutionary revo-knuckle system, Vauxhall used HiPerStrut and Renault used a PerfoHub, Honda called it the Dual Axis Strut Front Suspension and they claim the end figure was a whopping 55% reduction in torque steer. Once the R+ mode is engaged it loosens the ESC shackles, engages a more aggressive torque map, reduces assistance to the electric power steering and firms up the magnetorheological dampers.


So was turbo the right thing to do? Well, typically that would be the ideal case with any N/A engine, but for some reason it just feels a little bit of wrong with the Honda's fabulous VTEC engines. It has been the key ingredient for years and the reason why so many petrolheads around the world enjoyed the Japanese car manufacturer. Their high revving engines gave the ultimate race car feel straight out of the box. Has it changed? Has the turbo ruined it? With the emission rules now close to being ridiculous Honda had to take steps to redesign its flagship series model to fit in with the rest of the “environmental friendly” cars and accommodate the EU restrictions – that meant the vtec engine had to be turbocharged.

So in it's standard form the Honda Civic Type-R is powered by 2.0 Turbo VTEC engine, code name K20C1 and produces 306bhp and 400Nm of torque. With the kerb weight of 1378kg it makes 222bhp per ton. Whilst there is a small turbo lag at very low rpm's once the boost and vtec engages this thing can go. 0-60 takes 5.7 seconds (some owners claim a 5.2 in standard form) and it can reach a maximum of 177mph. The engine is manufactured in USA in Honda plant in Ohio before being shipped to UK. It does sound amazing but with a simple upgrade of an air filter, the new Type-R really can sing. The engine is paired with a 6 speed manual gearbox and LSD and the gear changes are pure perfection, so smooth and precise. It really does feel like a race car straight out of the box. It is that good. Honestly.

It is a car you want to take for a drive, the experience you get from this car is far superior to its competition in my opinion. It really is a playful hatchback and just wants you to rev the car and throw it in corners that extra bit harder.

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