The Honda Civic Type R. Generations of power that transcend time. Many dream to own it, but only a few grasp it.
It all started out with the humble EG6. While technically not a Civic Type R, it is widely regarded as the grandfather of all performance Civics. We all know the stories — Early in the 90s, Honda has been synonymous with consumers as a reliable and budget friendly Japanese car maker, and the past successes of the Civic series cemented itself as a great car for the young family all over the world. But what about the folks that want some power? In comes a little hatchback equipped with the B16A2 powerplant, guaranteed to give this lightweight machine miles of fun!
The predecessor EG6 set the foundations right for a true performance fighter, and that’s when we saw the birth of EK9, the first Civic Type R. Born in 1997, Honda reworked the engine design slightly to put in a hand-ported B16B powerplant in place of the aging B16A. As a proper pocket rocket, they threw in all the necessary performance parts; front helical LSD and a closed-ratio transmission, thus making sure this nifty power can be transferred efficiently to the wheels, while you take corners at high speeds. If you’re still living under a rock, this car is still widely regarded as one of the finest cars in the world even till today.
EP3 was the next gen Civic Type R, but sadly, it’s not available in our sunny island.
But then, we were treated to what is known as the other gem within the Civic Type R family — the FD2R. A JDM special, just like the EK9, this sedan (and the only sedan variant in the Civic Type R family) is now known as ‘the last NA Type R in existence’. Honda closed the curtains on performance NA by churning on this incredible Civic that, at times, looked more like a boring family transporter (and that’s a real bonus for the family conscious folks out there!). Handling’s been sharpened, and performance pushed up to its limit with a K20A heart. In some reviews, the FD2R is actually considered the best Civic Type R, with its simple yet effective power, 4 door functionality, yet extremely sharp stability and cornering abilities.
But just as we thought that chapter was closed, a big bang happened to really close its doors on NA — Mugen developed a special edition Civic FD2 Type R, and loaded it up with all the Mugen goodies. Upgraded K20A engine, check. Reworked Mugen intake and exhaust systems, check. CF Mugen aero kit, check. Mugen suspensions, check. Mugen seats, shifter set, instrument clusters, and even a special Milano Red paintjob, okay fine we’ll take them as well. This is the holy grail of the FD2R.
(By the way, there’s also the Euro variant known as the FN2R, but…)
Honda took on the “if you can’t beat them, join them” mentality and went Turbo from this point onwards, to the chagrin of Honda purists all over the world. But we say “change is good”. The next 2 performance Civics, FK2 and FK8, share the same K20C1 powerplant, which is a testament to how good that metal heart is. The wilder child, FK2, comes with what some considered crazy aero, with its big wings and quad exhaust, while the more refined FK8 looks more like a cross between a sedan and a hatchback (but it’s still a hatchback, going back to the roots of performance Civics). Gone are the crazy VTEC screams, but in comes boost power, pushing horses beyond 300 on stock. Once upon a time, cars with the Type R badge usually challenges others at corners, but nowadays, throw in a straight and it’s still competitive.
This is what Honda peak performance looks like, and they’re not exactly civic-minded.