The 2019 Civic Type R is a highly-anticipated hatchback from Honda that taps into the company’s performance excellence. With a four-door layout, the compact performance car gives families and enthusiasts a safe daily driver AND a race-ready automobile.
Built around Honda’s Civic platform, the Civic Type R uses a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine coupled with a 6-speed manual transmission. It delivers an fun-to-drive automobile that’s best in its class thanks to expert driving dynamics, a manual transmission, and a host of technology and safety systems.
Compared to cars with price tags of six-figures or more, the Civic Type R holds its own and, in some cases, comes out ahead.
Deliveries of the Civic Type R started in late 2017. Honda made any changes to the Civic Type R’s capabilities, technology, or safety in the year and a half it’s been on sale.
The 2019 Honda Civic Type R is available in a single variant: a four-door, manual transmission, hatchback. The Civic Type R is based upon the tenth generation Civic platform.
The turbocharged 4-cylinder engine develops 306 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. Its power is sent through a 6-speed manual transmission to the front wheels alone. Front wheel power delivery is managed by a limited-slip differential that eliminates the normal front-wheel-drive torque steer.
No new colors are available for 2019, but the standard colors offered by Honda remain a good assortment of shades that compliment the Civic Type R’s aggressive exterior design.
The Honda Civic Type R competes with the following cars:
The Honda Civic Type R is one of the best enthusiast performance cars you can purchase. It offers the reliability of a Honda, the racecar-like capabilities of Honda’s racing group, and Honda’s well-known safety features.
Its interior is spacious, the hot hatch gets great fuel economy, and it is the only car in its class that solely offers a manual transmission
The exterior of the Honda Civic Type R remains divisive among enthusiasts. Its aggressive styling either inspires thoughts of a taut racecar or a misshapen eyesore, depending on perspective.
The front of the Civic Type R is replete with air extractors, scoops, sharply designed aerodynamic flourishes, intakes, and faux air inlets that denote its racy demeanor. A red-lettered “Type R” finishes off the front grille and lets all around you know this isn’t your standard Honda Civic.
Honda’s aggressive styling continues toward the back with a set of large fender flares to accommodate the car’s 20-inch wheels. At the rear of the Civic Type R is a three-port exhaust exiting in the middle of the rear fascia. Atop the rear hatch, a large wing provides downforce in conjunction with roof-mounted aerodynamic strakes that funnel air toward the wing.
Honda only offers a single wheel design for the Civic Type R: a 20-inch alloy wheel in gloss black.
Though the Civic Type R’s exterior is controversial, we find Honda’s decision to sell something with concept car-styling, a breath of fresh air. While the Civic Type R’s competitors shoot for more subdued designs, its eccentricity sets it apart and livens up the staid compact car market.
Honda’s Civic Type R cabin continues the performance aesthetic, but in a more subtle fashion.
The Civic Type R offers a driver-centric cockpit. Flourishes of red highlight certain aspects of the cabin and denote the Type R’s exclusivity. Red stripes in its instrument cluster, stitching on the transmission boot, lettering for its performance switches, buttons, knobs, and red stitching on the steering wheel are some of the Type R’s bespoke features. The sport bucket seats are lined in a black and red color scheme with red stitching.
While the current trend for steering wheels is to fill it with a large assortment of buttons and knobs, the Civic Type R’s wheel only carries what is needed: phone call features, audio controls, and cruise control.
Behind the steering wheel is a hybrid semi-analog/digital dashboard that blends together nicely and is easily read.
Above the transmission tunnel is another hybrid digital/analog infotainment/HVAC unit. Analog controls are used for the HVAC system. A single 7-inch infotainment touch display allows the driver and passengers to access navigation, music selection, and audio controls, as well as a host of vehicle functions, performance metrics, and vehicle information.
The Civic Type R’s seats are a two-piece bucket design finished in black and red cloth. This cannot be changed for personalization. Aside from optional in-cabin illumination, the cabin’s design — like the seat upholstery — cannot be optioned in any other way.
Due to the Civic Type R’s short nose overhang, visibility is superb.
Though the Honda’s focus is on the Civic Type R’s driver, passengers won’t feel cramped or confined. The front passenger is held in firmly with an identical sport bucket seat. Those in the rear are given ample leg and headroom in the bench seats.
Honda has always been at the forefront of delivering technology across its lineup. The Civic Type R’s standard equipment is replete with the marque’s latest and greatest tech suite.
As standard, the HondaLink system houses its functionalities in a single 7-inch configurable display. The system includes:
The front sport seats are manually operated for reduced weight. The rear seats come as a 60/40 split bench seat and have LATCH child anchor points.
The Honda Civic Type R includes standard safety features such as:
The Honda Civic Type R had much to live up to when the company announced it would be a global product and it meets those expectations. The Honda Civic Type R is an enthusiast favorite because of its handling, personality and outright fun-to-drive nature.
While other performance cars center around powerful engines, the Civic Type R feels much more holistically built. From the chassis, large brakes, sticky tires, and turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, the hatchback is a complete package and delivers a driving experience that will stick with you.
The turbocharged 4-cylinder engine is punchy. But thanks to the Civic Type R’s limited-slip differential, it doesn’t feel like other overpowered front-wheel-drive cars with mountains of torque steer. As such, the Civic Type R builds confidence when the driver begins pushing toward their own limits.
The Civic Type R’s electric power steering is one of the better units available. Though it isn’t as responsive as hydraulic units, it provides adequate fingertip feedback.
For enthusiasts, the manual transmission is one of the chief selling points of the Civic Type R. The 6-speed unit is one of the best Honda has produced. Clutch engagement is progressive and there’s a satisfying solidity to every shift. The Civic Type R also features auto-rev matching for more precise downshifts. This is especially appreciated as it took much skill and time behind the wheel to properly downshift heel-toe previously.
In short, if you are in the market for a hot hatch that is truly fun to drive and comes at an affordable price, you should certainly consider buying the Honda Civic Type R. The new Honda Civic Type R is one of the most fun cars to drive. The real consideration for prospective buyers is whether or not they enjoy the exterior of the car.
We’d highly recommend a test drive but in our opinion, the Honda Civic Type R is worth every penny.
Given that the Honda Civic Type R has only been out for two short years, used Civic Type Rs are hard to come by. Furthermore, because of their status as an enthusiast car, the few that have entered the used car market can still be fairly expensive. Our best advice is to save your money for a new Civic Type R.
The 2019 Honda Civic Type R is on sale now and prices start at $36,620, including destination.
Honda debuted the Civic Type R in 2016 at the Geneva Motor Show alongside the Acura NSX. Production started in 2017 with deliveries starting later that year.
Honda’s Type R program dates back to the early 1990s and was first seen on the back of the NSX, which was badged in Japan as a Honda and an Acura in the United States. The NSX Type R was a more hard-core edition of the NSX and received a host of performance and aerodynamic upgrades.
The first Civic to receive the Type R emblem was the sixth generation built in Japan for the Japanese market only. Like the NSX before it, the first Civic Type R was honed and given performance parts to make it a much more capable machine. Manufacturing of the follow up to the original Civic Type R was moved to the United Kingdom and remains there to this day.
Through the years, Honda has refined the Civic Type R recipe by building off its long history of winning motorsport programs to produce the current generation car, which the entire world can purchase.