Honda Civic Type R
The Honda Civic FN2 Type R was one of those cars that deeply divided the motoring world. It was an iconic car but a polarising one which meant that it was one of those cars that you couldn’t always be sure about investing in it despite being attracted to it.
All this gave the Honda Civic Type R FN2 a very unique character that was and is still missing from most cars in production today. I had always wanted to take this car for a spin and find out what makes it so different – both the good and the bad. Find out more below.
How Did We Test The FN2 Type R?
The car definitely deserved a lot of seat time and so I took the FN2 Type R to Wales for two very important reasons. First, It has some of the most iconic “driver’s” roads with plenty of fast and flowing country roads where handing plays a bigger role than top speed.
Second, I could spend some quality time with the car without any distractions so I could know it inside out and come up with a comprehensive opinion about it.
At the very end of it, I was pleased with my decision. It helped me appreciate the fact that irrespective of all the hate this car has received, it deserves a spot on the list of the most iconic modern hot hatches.
I will admit at the very outset that there were some frustrating moments towards the beginning but once I let the car speak for itself, I was left more than impressed by it.
What Did We Learn?
I will be the first to admit that this car has some flaws and driving it like any regular car will leave you unsatisfied and even irritable. However, if you drive the FN2 Type R the way it is meant to, you will end up being addicted to it.
The reasoning behind this can be a bit difficult to put forward. Let us begin with the most obvious question that people have about the Honda Civic Type R FN2.
Max Power Outputs? Does It Really Matter?
The Civic Type R FN2 produces 201 bhp of power which is a measly amount even by hot hatch standards from a decade ago. To find an engine producing just this much power in what is touted as a performance vehicle can come across as a bit ‘all bark and no bite’ but as has been proven many times it is not always the numbers that matter.
This might be a difficult point to argue when you drive the Honda Civic Type R FN2 for the first time as it does feel quite underpowered.
Even I was on the verge of denouncing this car after my first couple of miles in it but then something inside me just forced me to keep going. The FN2 Type R is anything but a normal car and so if you treat it like one, the experience can be quite underwhelming.
So, I decided to forego everything I knew about cars and decided to try out a few different driving styles with the Honda Civic Type R FN2, and through a bit of trial and error, I was able to glean that this car is a car that comes alive in the top end.
The Honda Civic Type R FN2 is powered by a naturally aspirated engine which means that there are no turbochargers to provide that low-end grunt we all have gotten used to in modern cars.
There is no immediacy to the power delivery and instead of spluttering out all of its power during the lower end of the RPM band and slowly backing out as the RPM goes up, the engine in the Honda Civic Type R FN2 linearly builds up to its grunt most of which is available towards the top-end and that is the fun aspect of this car. It’s a screamer at 8000 rpm.
The power delivery and the power curve is very smooth. The best way to describe it is by comparing it to music. Modern cars are like metal music where you are immediately jolted but the Honda Civic Type R FN2 is like an orchestra that starts out gently and slowly builds up to a crescendo.
Even though the engine in the Honda Civic Type R FN2 can only churn out a limited amount of power, it does so in a manner that while being a little difficult to get used to, is ultimately quite fun.
Another reason to love this engine is that you can rev it to the red line and keep it there without the engine screaming for mercy like most cars do. The VTEC part of the engine kicks in around 6,000 rpm and it feels like a gentle nudge rather than a kick in the head.
But this is where the power really starts to get going, you really need to get used to wringing the car’s neck.
After spending quite a bit of time with the FN2 Type R, I got to understand one thing. It is an exciting car, just that you have to work for it. It is not as effortless as every other car out there and therein lies its charm.
Every time you manage to wring out every last drop of performance from this car, it will feel like an achievement rather than an obligation and while that might not be fun in the short term, it is awesome in the long term.
FN2 Type R – Brilliant Handling Dynamics
This is one aspect of the FN2 Civic Type R that even its most ardent haters will be impressed by. This is one of the sweetest handling cars out there that will surprise you with how sure-footed it can be.
Starting with the suspension setup, it is quite stiff to be able to live up to its ‘performance’ moniker. That, of course, means that it can be quite uncomfortable depending on the road conditions.
There are no adaptive suspension settings that will allow you to make the suspension softer which is another point that causes a lot of debate. I was aware of this while testing the FN2 and one thing I was able to understand was that while the suspension is hard, it is nowhere close to being unbearable.
The roads in Wales were a treat but even on a rough road, the suspension won’t break your back, it will just make you more aware of all the imperfections of the road. The upside to all this is that you will always be connected to the road in a way that is alien to most modern cars. This allows you to really push the car in corners which is where most of the driving pleasure lies .
Speaking about cornering, another aspect of the FN2 Type R that really helps on this front is the incredible amount of mechanical grip that is always available. This high level of grip can be attributed to two components. Firstly, the Bridgestone Potenza S001 tyres.
It just is quite sticky without sacrificing durability. Then there is the limited-slip differential when putting the power down. It is truly a work of art and always offers plenty of traction. This is where the lack of punch in the low end comes in handy. There are no ugly wheelspins in the lower gears and you can be a bit harsh with the accelerator pedal without causing any harsh lurches.
I will have to admit that the lack of torque at lower revs does make its presence felt. If you are used to a turbocharged car then you will often find yourself coasting around corners knowing you have instant torque available when you want to use it.
In the Civic you really have to push the engine to its limit to get the desired amount of grunt. I found myself cornering and maintaining over 6,000rpm just to keep the car in the powerband. It feels very unnatural at first but gives you the instant power you need to make the most out of the car.
Good Feedback and Feel From The FN2 Type R
That brings me to the biggest reason that makes the Honda Civic FN2 Type R a great car – the awesome feedback that it provides. I had alluded to this earlier and it is something that racecar drivers often describe their cars as after a perfect race.
Watch any post-race interview where the winner has dominated the opposition and invariably you will come across a version of the statement that their car felt like an extension of their body. All they had to do was let their senses work and the car reacted automatically.
That is the sensation you will get with the FN2 Type R. Go through a road with changes in elevation and you will be able to feel the traction increasing and decreasing. Go around a turn and you will know exactly how much more grip is available for you to exploit and how far the limit is.
Unpredictability is often mistakenly used as a synonym for exciting but in this case, it is the predictability that ensures you have loads of fun without ever having to put yourself, your co-passengers, or those around in any kind of danger. That means that every corner you go around, you will instinctively know how fast you can go or how late you can brake and the sharpness in how this car reacts and responds to your inputs allows you to be sure of every split-second decision that you are forced to take.
This car won’t provide any cheap thrills like sudden acceleration or a slide-happy tail section but it will provide you with the rewards of being able to carry speed in the corners and provides lots of confidence to the driver. In fact, the FN2 Type R allows you to really push the car and at the very worst, it will understeer a bit which is more than manageable.
So, it is not a car for cheap thrills but more for the connoisseurs of driving who want their drive to be more about what they and their car can achieve together instead of ending up as a vague bystander to a car that does all the heavy lifting.
FN2 Type R – Reliability
We have all come across the advice that prohibits us from pushing the car to the red line and keeping it there for any significant amount of time.
While this advice is applicable for most cars as you could end up with an overheating engine that can lead to temporary or permanent damage, the Honda Civic Type R FN2 thankfully is a happy exception to this.
The engine while underpowered on paper is a durable and sprightly engine that can be kept on the red line the entire day and at no point will it behave like it is being tortured.
It actually comes alive nearer to the red line and anyone who complains that this car isn’t exciting enough hasn’t pushed it far enough.
This is another very important quality that often gets overlooked on the Civic FN2 Type R. You could buy the most expensive supercar out there but you will face two big issues.
You will rarely be able to get it anywhere close to its limit and even if you get close, you will run into issues like an overheating engine, overheating brakes, shredded tyres, speeding fines, and so on. The Honda Civic Type R FN2 can be pushed hard all day and then be used without any maintenance the very next day to drive to work.
Big numbers can look great on paper but unless you are Lewis Hamilton at Silverstone, you will be seriously underutilizing the vast amount of power and torque at your disposal. With the Honda Civic Type R FN2, you can sleep easy knowing that you can push the car to its limits whenever you want without having to live at a racetrack.
FN2 Type R Has Lots of Enjoyable Characteristics
Even if we do not want to admit it, most of us who buy or want to buy performance cars is because we want to enjoy driving. One thing the Honda Civic Type R FN2 will provide without fail is shameless enjoyment throughout its lifetime.
A big part of this can be attributed to the level of refinement of this car. The steering wheel is perfectly weighted which allows you to do quick movements or hard cornering with equal ease.
Despite the suspension being quite stiff, the noise and vibration levels are surprisingly low. In fact, on a smooth road, you will feel super comfortable even when the engine is revving close to 8,000 RPM.
The VTEC boost is impressive too as it gives that gentle nudge needed to keep the FN2 Type R going and provide enough of a power boost to keep everything exciting as opposed to what the figures would suggest.
Ergonomic On The FN2 Type R
One area where Honda’s have been traditionally good is with the ergonomics and the Honda Civic Type R FN2 is no different. The driving position is excellent and the placement of the steering wheel, pedals and gear knob are just perfect.
The seats are really good too and offer enough support while also being one of the main sources of feedback.
The aesthetics of the interiors is a bit on the eyesore side of things.
It looks a bit plasticky but you have to keep two things in mind. This is a 9-year-old car and despite what the looks suggest, everything feels sturdy and is of decent quality and as this is something that doesn’t really affect the driving experience, it is something that you can live with.
The FN2 Type R Has All The Speed You Need For The Road
This is a momentum car. If you have ever watched a Moto3 race, you will know exactly what I am talking about. These races are incredibly close and part of the reason behind that is that the riders have to be really close to the limit all the time.
If they enter one corner without enough momentum, they can go from leading the race to outside the top 10 in a matter of seconds. That is how this car is. You have to trust the car and push it really hard to be able to enjoy it.
Think of the 200 bhp that needs some effort to be coaxed into life but once you manage to do that, you will have plenty of fun. There are plenty of options out there that will outperform the Honda Civic Type R FN2 on paper.
While most cars will require you to go beyond the limit of the tyres and the other components of the car to get close to utilising all the performance, the FN2 Type R allows you to do so in a safe and controlled manner with oodles of extra fun. It is the difference between a regular watch and a diver’s chronograph.
You can use the former to its full potential in your everyday life while the latter will just be something you can brag about but rarely be able to use to its full potential unless you suddenly decide to take up deep-sea diving.
To put it simply, you can stay in your comfort zone and still be able to enjoy the FN2 Type R while other cars might force you to go to extreme lengths to do the same in the real world.
Where Does It Miss Out?
The Honda Civic Type R FN2 is not perfect by any means. If anything this car has plenty of flaws. It could have been done with 20 or 30 extra horses. The looks aren’t exactly great.
The interior is quite drab and has aged quite poorly. These are all things you could live with but the biggest failing of the Honda Civic Type R FN2 is that it can be very exciting but you have to work hard to get there. You have to forget everything you know about cars to be able to enjoy this car. It is like learning a new language.
It can be incredibly frustrating and maddening but that is also what makes the Honda Civic Type R FN2 so special. If you are willing to put in that time and effort, it will lead to a very rewarding experience.
The limit of this car is much beyond where you would expect it to be and getting there is the whole point of owning a FN2 CTR.
True Honda DNA
Honda has a storied reputation of making some of the most fulfilling cars and the Honda Civic Type R FN2 is no different. This car especially is very unique and special.
Drive it like any other car and you will feel like asking repeatedly what the fuss is all about but drive it like it is meant to be driven and you will know exactly why those who love this car defend it so vehemently.
The VTEC boost while not being as exciting as it sounds is more useful than most similar technologies. There is an abundance of real mechanical grip. It is fun and it is affordable.
It is all of these that made Honda so popular and the Honda Civic Type R FN2 stays true to that ethos. The Honda Civic Type R FN2 can be best summarised as a car that is excellent not despite its flaws but because of them.
Can You Even Compare It To The FK8?
Invariably, the Honda Civic Type R FN2 will draw comparisons to the present-day CTR FK8 and the two are more similar than you would expect. The steering characteristics and the way the gear shifts are handled is pretty similar.
It is the power delivery that has seen the biggest change. The presence of turbos means that there is plenty of grunt low down in the rev range and the performance is a bit more accessible.
However, it should not be forgotten that the two are separated by almost a decade and just like the FK8 the Civic Type R FN2 managed to stay at the sharp end of the competition while managing to carve its own special niche thanks to its exciting and fun-filled but sure-footed handling characteristics, attributes that the FK8 has inherited from its older sibling. Also one decade earlier the EK9 Civic Type R was the king with its B Series engine and all that DNA still trickles through to the FN2 here.
The Honda Civic Type R FN2 is the Lamborghini Countach of affordable performance cars. Not at all perfect but somehow but desirable at the same time.
Facts: Honda Civic Type R FN2
- The Honda Civic Type R FN2 was launched in 2007 and was the third generation of the Type R.
- The FN2 was the first Civic Type R to have a torsion-beam rear suspension instead of the sophisticated suspension layout of double wishbones used in its predecessors.
- The Civic Type R FN2 had a 2-litre K20 four-cylinder VTEC engine producing 198bhp, which was just one horsepower more than the previous EP3 Type R.
- The FN2’s VTEC cam change point was dropped from 6000rpm to 5400rpm for improved driveability.
- The Civic Type R FN2 had a more striking body shell than the EP3, which some found to be too heavy, and its performance and handling were criticized at launch.
- The FN2 received a minor update with the launch of the ‘Championship White’ edition in 2008, which added a limited-slip differential.
- Mugen UK built 20 special Type R Mugens for the UK with new pistons, camshafts, retuned ECU, and a louder exhaust, producing 237bhp at 8300rpm, with a premium of almost £20,000 over the standard Type R.
- The production of the eighth-generation Civic ceased in 2011, with the Type R having stopped in 2010 due to not meeting upcoming emissions regulations.
- The FN2 is not the most beloved of Civic Type Rs but is a conspicuous bargain and is praised for packing one of the all-time great four-cylinder engines.
- The FN2 is the last naturally aspirated Type R, and since the FK2 Civic R arrived in 2015, it has been turbocharged.
Honda Civic Type R FN2: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Here are some popular frequently asked questions (and their answers) about the Honda Civic FN2 Type R…
How Much Is a Honda Civic Type R
The price of a Honda Civic Type R varies depending on the model year, condition, and location. As of writing, a new Honda Civic Type R typically costs around $37,000 to $45,000 in the United States. However, used models can be found for a significantly lower price. It is recommended to check with local dealerships or online car marketplaces for the most accurate and up-to-date pricing.
Is the Civic Type R AWD
No, the Honda Civic Type R is not equipped with all-wheel drive (AWD). It comes with a front-wheel-drive (FWD) system. The Type R is designed with a sophisticated suspension system and a limited-slip differential to optimize performance and handling in an FWD configuration.
Is the Honda Civic Type R Automatic
No, the Honda Civic Type R is not available with an automatic transmission. It comes exclusively with a 6-speed manual transmission. This is because the Type R is designed for enthusiasts who prefer a more engaged and sporty driving experience.
How to Turn Off Lane Departure Honda Civic
To turn off the lane departure warning system in a Honda Civic, locate the button on the dashboard with an icon of a car veering out of a lane. Press this button to toggle the lane departure warning system on and off. The location of the button may vary slightly depending on the model year, so it is advisable to consult the owner’s manual for specific instructions.
Are All Type R Manual
Yes, all Honda Civic Type R models come exclusively with a 6-speed manual transmission. The Type R is designed to provide a sporty and engaging driving experience, and many enthusiasts prefer the control and connection that a manual transmission offers.
How to Make Honda Civic Faster
To make a Honda Civic faster, consider the following modifications: 1. Install a cold air intake to increase the amount of air entering the engine. 2. Upgrade the exhaust system to reduce back pressure and improve exhaust flow. 3. Install a turbocharger or supercharger to increase engine power. 4. Upgrade the suspension system to improve handling and cornering speed. 5. Use performance tires to increase grip and traction. It is important to consult a professional before making any modifications and to ensure that they are legal and safe.
How to Unlock a Honda Civic Without a Key
If you are locked out of your Honda Civic and do not have a key, you can try the following methods: 1. Use a big easy lockout tool or a slim jim to unlock the door. Slide the tool between the window and the door frame and carefully manipulate the lock mechanism. 2. If your car has a keyless entry system, you can contact a roadside assistance service or your car manufacturer’s customer service for help. They may be able to remotely unlock your car. It is important to exercise caution and, if in doubt, seek professional assistance.
How to Connect Honda Civic Bluetooth
To connect your phone to a Honda Civic via Bluetooth, follow these steps: 1. Ensure that your phone’s Bluetooth is turned on. 2. Start the car and go to the ‘Settings’ menu on the infotainment system. 3. Select ‘Phone’, then ‘Bluetooth Device List’, and then ‘Add Bluetooth Device’. 4. The infotainment system will start searching for available devices. Select your phone from the list of available devices. 5. A pairing code will appear on the infotainment screen and your phone. Confirm that the codes match and accept the pairing request on your phone. Your phone should now be connected via Bluetooth.
How to Get Radio Code for Honda Civic
The radio code for a Honda Civic can be found in the owner’s manual or on a separate card that was provided with the vehicle. If you cannot find the code, you will need to contact a Honda dealership and provide them with the vehicle’s VIN number and proof of ownership. They should be able to provide you with the radio code. Once you have the code, turn on the radio and enter the code using the radio preset buttons.
How Fast Is a Honda Civic Type R
The Honda Civic Type R has a top speed of approximately 169 mph (272 km/h). It can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph (0 to 97 km/h) in about 5.7 seconds. However, the exact performance figures may vary slightly depending on the specific model and conditions.
How Much Horsepower Does a Honda Civic Type-R Have
The Honda Civic Type R is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 engine that produces 306 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. This engine provides a high level of performance and helps the Type R achieve impressive acceleration and top speed figures.
How to Use Cruise Control Honda Civic
To use cruise control on a Honda Civic, follow these steps: 1. Press the ‘Cruise’ button on the steering wheel to activate the cruise control system. 2. Accelerate to the desired speed and then press the ‘Set’ button on the steering wheel. The cruise control system will now maintain this speed. 3. To increase or decrease the set speed, use the ‘+’ or ‘-‘ buttons on the steering wheel. 4. To deactivate the cruise control system, press the ‘Cancel’ button on the steering wheel or press the brake pedal.
Does Honda Civic 2010 Have Bluetooth
The 2010 Honda Civic does not come with Bluetooth as a standard feature. However, some higher trim levels or models with a navigation system may have Bluetooth as an optional feature. It is advisable to check the specifications of your specific vehicle or consult the owner’s manual for more information.
How to Unlock Steering Wheel Honda Civic
To unlock the steering wheel on a Honda Civic, insert the key into the ignition and turn it to the ‘ON’ position while simultaneously turning the steering wheel slightly from side to side. This should unlock the steering wheel and allow you to start the car. If the steering wheel remains locked, it is advisable to seek professional assistance.
What Size Tires Are on a Honda Civic
The tire size for a Honda Civic can vary depending on the model year and trim level. For example, the 2020 Honda Civic Type R comes with 245/30ZR20 tires. It is important to consult the owner’s manual or the tire placard located on the driver’s side door frame for the correct tire size for your specific vehicle.
How Many FK8 Were Made
As of writing, the exact number of FK8 Honda Civic Type R units produced is not publicly available. The FK8 is the chassis code for the tenth-generation Honda Civic Type R, which has been in production since 2017. It is a popular model among car enthusiasts, but specific production numbers have not been released by Honda.