Honda Civic Type R: 20 years of awesomeness

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Honda has just officially launched the 2017 Honda Civic Type R (FK8R) in Malaysia and wow, when you think about it. It’s been 20 great years. It’s evolved in shape, size and performance, but one thing’s for sure, the race-bred DNA remains. How about we take a slow drive down memory lane and bask in the glory of this iconic JDM car?

The Honda Civic Type R really needs no introduction, but since you asked, the car itself was first introduced to the world back in 1997, and has been making headlines ever since. Arguably the mecca of high performance Japanese cars.

As a quick educational lesson to the newbies, the Civic Type R is the most powerful version of the regular Civic. How to tell it apart? Well, the dead giveaways come in the form of the red fabric interior, red badging and various Type-R emblems dotted around the car. And of course, track-ready handling and rev-happy screamer engines that were initially naturally-aspirated but have evolved into turbocharged units.

Honda Civic Type R (EK9) 1997 – 2000

Honda Civic Type R EK9

The first generation Civic Type R was actually based on the sixth generation EK4 Civic and came in a 3-door hatchback body style. It featured red seats as well as a red MOMO steering wheel. As for the heart and soul, the first generation Civic Type R came with a 1.6L DOHC VTEC naturally aspirated engine which produced 182bhp routed to a close ratio six speed manual gearbox and a helical limited slip differential. It actually shared much of its underpinnings with the legendary Integra Type R DC2.

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Honda Civic Type R (EP3) 2001 – 2005

After three years of motoring success with the first generation Civic Type R, the second generation model was launched and manufactured in Swindon, England. It too was a 3-door hatchback and was sold to both European markets and Japanese markets. As for the power section, the second generation car was powered by a 2.0L DOHC i-VTEC naturally aspirated four cylinder engine. It had an output figure of 200bhp for the European market, but had an additional 12bhp for the Japanese market. It came with a six speed manual ‘box with short gear ratios and a helical limited slip differential.

Honda Civic Type R (FD2R) 2006 – 2011

The next version of the Civic Type R was based on the eighth generation Civic sedan. This made it the first Civic Type R to come in a four door sedan guise. For the Japanese market, it was powered by a 2.0L DOHC i-VTEC naturally aspirated engine and produced 222bhp. Sticking to tradition, it too came with the good old six-speed manual transmission and a helical limited slip differential.

Honda Civic Type R (FK2R) 2012 – 2015

Next up came the fourth generation Civic Type R, based on the ninth generation Honda Civic hatchback. It was made for sale in the European market. It was also the first Type R to come with a direct-injected turbocharged engine. To be more exact, the 2.0L DOHC VTEC inline four cylinder engine produced 306bhp. It was the highest power output at the time. As always, it came with a six speed manual gearbox and was paired with a limited slip differential.

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The FK2R shedded the design subtlety of its predecessors, now chunkier and more chiseled.

Honda Civic Type R (FK8R) 2016 – Present

Honda Civic Type R FK8R

The latest 2017 Civic Type R was based on the tenth generation Civic hatchback. It continued the legacy of the Type R as an exciting, front-wheel-drive high performance hatchback and is the most radical looking Type R. It comes with a performance tuned 2.0L DOHC i-VTEC turbocharged engine which produces 306bhp and is paired to a six speed manual transmission as well as a helical limited slip differential.

The best part of the latest Civic Type R is the fact that it comes with a model exclusive dual pinion variable-ratio steering system, Adaptive Dampers System, aluminium front lower arms and steering knuckles for better at-the-limit cornering. Also new to the Type R is the configurable driving modes, designed to perform flawlessly in any given road condition. The drive modes consists of COMFORT, SPORT (standard) and the wild R+ mode.

It is also recognised as the fastest production front-wheel drive car in the world, thanks to its Nurburgring conquering performance. It’s currently available for sale in Japan, US (for the first time), Europe, Southeast Asia including Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia for a sizzling MYR320,000 (excluding insurance).

So, which is your favourite Civic Type R of all time?

Photo sources: Honda, CNETDriveTribe  

About The Author

Three things I require in this modern era. A flamboyant ride to stand out of the crowd, an absolute power plant in my hands and lots of Brazilian coffee. Also, Netflix and chill is my motto.