Honda Civic Type R

The latest Honda Civic has been a wonderful return to form for Honda, who made its bones on smartly designed, efficient and fun-to-drive small cars. Honda’s new Civic Type R takes the latest generation models intrinsic goodness, adds some crazy anime-inspired boy-racer bodywork, and seriously upgrades the powertrain and suspension to match. The CTR, as it’s known among enthusiasts, is a very different sort of Civic, a high-performance hatchback designed to take on the Ford Focus RS, Volkswagen Golf R and Subaru’s venerable WRX STI.

Unlike those cars, however, the Civic Type R is actually still front-wheel drive. With 306 horsepower from its 2.0-liter turbo four, not being AWD sounds like a recipe for torque steer, but Honda’s suspension and driveline engineers have proven to be quite clever. This is one of the finest-handling and most entertaining front-wheel drive cars ever made. Starting at $34,100 before options and delivery, the 2018 Honda Civic Type R isn’t cheap, but it is electrifying.

Editors' Review

The Civic Type R Limited Edition is a screamin' little hot hatch that's a serious track weapon. Lighter and sharper than a standard Type R, this small-batch Honda can outrun sports cars costing twice as much, and best of all, none of this added performance comes at the expense of daily-driving comfort.

A quick history lesson: After the Type R launched in 2017, Honda used it to set a blistering 7-minute, 43.8-second lap of the Nürburgring Nordschleife, making this Civic the fastest front-wheel-drive production car to run the infamous German course. But then the Renault Megane RS Trophy-R came along and trounced the Type R's record, beating the Civic by 4 whole seconds. When the Type R Limited Edition debuted in the before-times of early 2020, a Honda executive told me it was born out of the desire to reclaim that FWD hot lap title. And following the Type R LE's recent record lap at the Suzuka Circuit in Japan -- where it beat the Megane Trophy-R, by the way -- Honda's confident the 'Ring crown will soon belong to the Civic once again. 

In order to shed time while shredding laps, Honda opted to cut weight rather than boost power. The Limited Edition's 2.0-liter turbo I4 carries over from the base Type R unchanged, producing 306 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 295 pound-feet of torque at 2,500 rpm. The 2021 LE's six-speed manual transmission, limited-slip differential, suspension hardware and Brembo front brakes are all identical to those on the 2020 Type R, too.

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The Good ~ Sharp steering ~ Excellent front-end grip ~ Lots of creature comforts

The Bad ~ Outdated infotainment tech ~ Expensive upgrade

The Bottom Line The small-batch Civic Type R Limited Edition is an even sharper track weapon that's just as nice to drive on the street.

Editors' Rating
  • Performance 9.5
  • Features 9.5
  • Design 7.5
  • Media 7

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