2019 Honda Civic Type R new car reviews

The Civic Type R is getting a refresh for 2020, but we recently spent some time with the 2019 model–figured it would be a good ride for Publisher Tim while he was in L.A. for a few days. 

Want to hear what the rest of the staff thinks about the Type R? You can also read our review of the 2017 model.

Other staff views

Tim Suddard Tim Suddard
Publisher

We have written about the new Civic Type R and expounded on its performance, but what is it like to live with this car for a little while? And perhaps more importantly, is this the kind of car an adult with a bit of gray in his beard could live with in traffic, in city conditions and the other realities of suburban life?

Yes, yes and oh hell yes! We recently spent a week with a 2019 Civic Type R Touring Edition in and around the challenging conditions known as Los Angeles and its suburbs.

One of our editors suggested that the Civic Type R would not be a comfortable enough for this kind of service–that it would be better suited to twisty back roads, autocross courses and race tracks. While perhaps, conceptually, a true statement, I found the Type R quite conducive to city life.

With a featherlight clutch, power steering, and near infinite braking prowess, the Type R was surprisingly docile in stop-and-go traffic. And speaking of go, when it was time, the 306-horsepower Civic could run the stop light grand prix with the best of them.

I love the interior of this car. The two-tone red and black touches on the steering wheel and dash come off as truly stylish and, despite the boy racer implications, truly work for adults, too.

The seats are arguably the most supportive stock seats I have ever experienced. Yes, still they are wide enough for plus-size drivers. The bolsters, while supportive enough to run Laguna Seca or Sebring, are somehow not annoying in daily use.

While arguably a nearly all-out race car for the street, the Type R has all the creature comforts you would ever need. From a truly thumping 12-speakeer stereo system to cruise control and an easy to use navigation system with hands-free controls, the Type R coddles you completely.

The adjustable, three-position suspension is taut in even the comfort mode, but for this somewhat fussy driver, it was never too harsh for street use. In track mode, the suspension was truly incredible. Assisted by 20-inch Michelin Pilot Sport tires and front Brembo brakes, the handling on this car is truly world class.

The styling certainly screams Transformers or Import Tuner with the knobs turned to 11. Still, in the Sonic Gray with black and red interior, this hero-colored car comes off as somehow a bit subdued. On the standard Civic, we find the styling a bit much, but somehow on the Type R, with its monster rear spoiler and splitter style front spoiler, the styling works for me.

Speaking of spoilers, in real life, there are no issues with rearward vision with the huge wing and if you have any sense at all when parking, the front spoiler will survive, too. Large changes in elevation coming out of a parking lot need to be executed with some care with the extended front spoiler.

There is really only one downside to the Type R: No red-blooded gearhead can possibly drive this car with any restraint. The minute you set foot in this car, you want to race. The engine sound, seats and controls whisper, or even scream, for to you race, race, race!

Every stop light, every on and off ramp, challenge you to seek the limits (which you may never find) with this amazing machine.

Honda truly has created a car for the ages. In a lineup that includes the BMW E30 M3, the Shelby Mustang, the Subaru WRX STI and the Integra Type R, the Honda Civic Type R certainly has earned its spot among this vaunted list. Kudos to Honda for building what is probably the fastest, best handling and nicest equipped car ever build for well under $40,000.

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pinchvalve
pinchvalve MegaDork
2/17/20 7:18 p.m.

I was impressed by the size of the hatch, it is truly a useable space and makes the CTR much more practical than a pure sports car like the S2000 or BRZ.

Datsun310Guy
Datsun310Guy UltimaDork
2/17/20 8:13 p.m.

I really like this car - I've said before that I rented one on Turo for 24 hours and I had a blast with it.  I would love to have one parked in my garage for not snowy days.  

The older I get and the more I try to live a frugal life this still seems like a lot of money.  With Illinois sales tax and plates/title it is pushing $40,000 for a new one.  Some of the places are showing used ones in the $33-34 range.  It feels like a lot of money for a Civic and I'm convinced they will some day follow the S2000 or NSX tax and I will be telling myself I should have bought one cause now they are crazy dollars.

 

poopshovel again
poopshovel again MegaDork
2/18/20 5:11 p.m.

Does the 2020 model have a "one-tone" interior option?

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
2/18/20 5:31 p.m.

In reply to Datsun310Guy :

It will probably be one of those cars you want to buy used before they stop producing them.  Or at least very shortly afterwards.  That seems to be the sweet spot in the depreciation curve for clean examples with low miles.

crankwalk
crankwalk SuperDork
2/20/20 7:03 p.m.
poopshovel again said:

Does the 2020 model have a "one-tone" interior option?

There is a Honda dealer in Woodstock GA that has them. 

Carbon
Carbon UltraDork
2/20/20 8:45 p.m.

I find the styling absolutely unforgivable 

Rufledt
Rufledt UberDork
2/20/20 9:02 p.m.

In reply to Carbon :

I'm with you.  The old type R wasnt crazy over the top, just a sticker and some minor visual things with magic underneath.  This new one is so over the top visually i just cant look at it, even though I'm sure it totally backs up the looks.

BlueInGreen - Jon
BlueInGreen - Jon SuperDork
2/20/20 10:27 p.m.

I like it. In black it’s like a baby batmobile.

dps214
dps214 Reader
2/21/20 9:15 a.m.
Datsun310Guy said:

I really like this car - I've said before that I rented one on Turo for 24 hours and I had a blast with it.  I would love to have one parked in my garage for not snowy days.  

The older I get and the more I try to live a frugal life this still seems like a lot of money.  With Illinois sales tax and plates/title it is pushing $40,000 for a new one.  Some of the places are showing used ones in the $33-34 range.  It feels like a lot of money for a Civic and I'm convinced they will some day follow the S2000 or NSX tax and I will be telling myself I should have bought one cause now they are crazy dollars.

We have one at work for a silly project. Everybody that test drove it liked it way more than any of us expected to. It's one of the better implementations of electronic shocks we've seen, certainly the best on a honda product. It doesn't photograph well but honestly isn't awful looking in person aside from the atrocious rear wing. Especially in red since it makes all the little red accents on the trim less out of place. Of course I can't fathom spending $40k on a fwd civic no matter how well it drives. But once the hype wears off a little and used ones get to reasonable prices, it'd be a good buy. Bonus points if someone comes up with a wing delete kit since Honda refuses to sell their new "adult trim" version in the states.

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
2/21/20 9:52 a.m.

If you haven't seen it yet, you should looks at the new Type R Sport Line. Honda knows that the whole car looks very boy-racer, so they made a toned-down version for more "mature" buyers.

It doesn't sound like it'll be coming stateside, though, as the theory seems to be that U.S. buyers of the Type R tend to be younger and like shouty cars.

300zxfreak
300zxfreak New Reader
2/23/20 10:44 a.m.

Just saw a new one at the local home and garden show (go figure), and it did catch my eye. I think it was in a good way, but I'm not sure.

docwyte
docwyte UberDork
2/23/20 11:18 a.m.

In reply to Carbon :

Totally agree.  There's absolutely no way I'd buy something that fugly.  Inside and out its a total miss for me, which is too bad because performance wise it's the king of the hot hatch segment.

trucke
trucke SuperDork
2/24/20 10:42 a.m.

I love the Civic Type R.  My wife showed her approval when she wrote the check for a new one (below MSRP) on Valentine's Day.  One reviewer said there is no way you can look mature driving this car.  That's perfect for me!  I'm 59!  Only 250 miles on it as of today.  It's not a daily driver for me so the mileage will stay low.  What an incredible machine!  I do believe it was past time to replace the FX16 GT-S.

 

DirtyBird222
DirtyBird222 UberDork
2/24/20 1:33 p.m.
trucke said:

I love the Civic Type R.  My wife showed her approval when she wrote the check for a new one (below MSRP) on Valentine's Day.  One reviewer said there is no way you can look mature driving this car.  That's perfect for me!  I'm 59!  Only 250 miles on it as of today.  It's not a daily driver for me so the mileage will stay low.  What an incredible machine!  I do believe it was past time to replace the FX16 GT-S.

 

Wife obviously loves you. 

CobraSpdRH
CobraSpdRH Reader
2/24/20 1:40 p.m.

This looks so much better/more subdued to me, but as said above, I guess this isn't coming to the US

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
2/24/20 3:03 p.m.

In reply to CobraSpdRH :

The only difference is the rear spoiler. 

Knurled.
Knurled. MegaDork
2/24/20 3:19 p.m.
Colin Wood said:

If you haven't seen it yet, you should looks at the new Type R Sport Line. Honda knows that the whole car looks very boy-racer, so they made a toned-down version for more "mature" buyers.

It doesn't sound like it'll be coming stateside, though, as the theory seems to be that U.S. buyers of the Type R tend to be younger and like shouty cars.

I have seen a few CTRs.  Two of the drivers looked to be of retirement age.  The third looked like he was in his 30s and was pulling his kid out of a baby seat in the back.

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
2/24/20 3:26 p.m.

In reply to Knurled. :

The CTR is sort of like the Focus RS: Aimed at the "youngsters" but only the "older" crowd can afford one.

DirtyBird222
DirtyBird222 UberDork
2/24/20 4:46 p.m.
Ian F said:

In reply to CobraSpdRH :

The only difference is the rear spoiler. 

You are wrong sir. The interior gets black seats similar to the Si and an all black steering wheel. This version of the Type R would steal all my money so fast if they brought it to the US. The red seats and steering wheel are horrendous. I love my red/black interior on the S2000 but that's because it's done well. 

dps214
dps214 Reader
2/25/20 9:00 a.m.

Also 19" wheels down from 20s which, while it isn't the 18s wheels it really should have, is definitely an improvement.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
2/25/20 11:15 a.m.

Personally, I'm still amazed that the car remains civil around town despite the performance. If only my old EG rode this nicely....

jstein77
jstein77 UberDork
2/25/20 11:24 a.m.
trucke said:

...I do believe it was past time to replace the FX16 GT-S.

 

laugh Ya think?

crankwalk
crankwalk SuperDork
2/25/20 5:56 p.m.

 

That Corolla looks suuuuuper bummed out.

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