How Major Are the 2020 Honda Civic Type R Updates?

Refreshed subcompact hits dealerships late 2020

Three years after hitting North American shores, Honda feels 2020 is the right time for a hefty Civic Type R refresh. Making its official world debut at the Tokyo Auto Salon, expect the speedy subcompact to arrive with multiple performance improvements, revised aerodynamics, engine cooling, suspension, and upgraded brakes — with a few exterior and interior tweaks in the mix.

Overall, not much has changes inside or on the styling front compared to the original Type R released in 2017. Nor has power been updated. But a much better braking system and decent suspension updates is all new Type R buyers really need.

Also read: 2018 Honda Civic Type R | A Closer Look

Release Date and Price

The on-sale date for the US-spec Type R is set for late 2020. Pricing will be released closer to the release date in winter, but you can buy a new 2019 Civic Type R today for about $36,595. So, we expect a near $40,000 price tag for the new 2020 model. Once Honda releases official pricing, we’ll have it so check back.

Civic Type R vs Civic Si

For buyers who can’t wait for the aggressive Civic Type R, the more mild-mannered 2020 Civic Si Sedan and Si Coupe hits dealerships September 6, 2020. The redesigned, 10th-generation Si is a worthy choice at $25,000.

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The Si offers a 6-speed manual option for a more spirited drive and makes a respectable 205-hp. A far cry from the 306-hp in the Type R, but enough for everyday commutes. The new Si also finds a shorter final-drive ratio for more responsive acceleration.

Horsepower and Performance: what’s new for 2020?

2020 Honda Civic Type R rear profile in blue
306-hp remains unchanged from the 2.0L turbo engine but brakes gets ramped up and suspension updates to the 2020 Civic Type R are worthy. Photo: Honda

The outgoing Civic Type R is powered by a North American built 2.0L DOHC, direct-injected and turbocharged i-VTEC in-line 4-cylinder engine with peak ratings of 306 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 295 lb.-ft. of torque from 2,500 to 4,500 rpm.

Not much has change for 2020 in the power and powertrain department — the same 2.0L direct-injected and turbocharged 4-cylinder engine with VTEC valvetrain will put down peak 306-horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. of torque. We’re sure Honda massaged the engine here and there, but from the looks of it, it’s nothing significant.

Also read: 2017 Honda Civic Type R Sets New Nürburgring Time-attack Record

Better brake setup and improved suspension

However, the real changes focus on suspension and handling, so those hitting the track in Honda’s updated compact will appreciate what’s new.

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Stopping power gets ramped up with new two-piece brake rotors and new brake pads designed to reduce fade and improve high-speed braking efficiency. The suspension finds updated dampers for better ride comfort, stiffer rear bushings for improved grip, and tweaks to the front suspension reducing friction while improving steering feel.

New Active Sound Control for unchanged Drive Modes

Expect the 3 drive modes to remain unchanged for 2020 — Comfort, Sport and +R. But to spice these modes up a little, Honda introduces Active Sound Control. Essentially, this new feature modifies interior sound in concert with chosen drive mode. Sounds a bit gimmicky to us, but hey, to each their own and we’re guessing fans of the Civic Type R will appreciate this.

2020 Honda Civic Type R in blue and white side by side
Honda adds Type R-exclusive Boost Blue to the lineup. Photo: Honda

Interior and Exterior: few changes for 2020

With a new Type R-exclusive Boost Blue colour for 2020, the biggest exterior change is the larger front grille opening for improved engine cooling. That’s about it.

Inside, Honda tells us to “expect added refinement.” This includes a new Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel and a new shifter with a restyled knob and shorter shift throws. The outgoing Civic interior had a 7-inch display audio touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and a 542-watt, 12-speaker audio system. So we expect this to remain for 2020.

For the first time on a Civic model, the Honda Sensing suite of safety and driver-assistive technologies will come standard on the range-topping 2020 Type R model.

Again, more info including pricing on 2020 Civic Type R will be available closer to the release date late Fall 2020, so stay tuned.