2020 Honda Civic Type R hot hatch revealed: price, specs and release date

Class-leading Honda Civic Type R hot hatchback gains a wider model line-up and mechanical upgrades...

2020 Honda Civic Type R front

On sale: Summer | Price from: £33,000 (est)

The Honda Civic Type R is as good as hot hatchbacks get. It’s thrilling yet practical, involving yet comfortable; little wonder, then, that it’s been our Hot Hatch of the Year for three years running.

Indeed, such is the Type R's dominance in this market that not even much more powerful and expensive rivals such as the Mercedes-AMG A35 and BMW M135i have been able to depose it. To strengthen its grip on the crown, though, Honda is giving the Type R updates to not only improve its performance but also make it appeal to a wider audience.


2020 Honda Civic Type R rear

2020 Honda Civic Type R versions and equipment

Key to the latter objective is the addition of new Limited Edition and Sport Line variants. The Limited Edition – described as being the most extreme Type R to date – features lightweight components, a stripped-out interior (with the air conditioning and infotainment systems removed to save weight) and an even more aggressive look thanks to its bespoke yellow paintwork. Just 100 will be built for Europe, so expect it to become something of a collector’s item. 

The Sport Line variant, meanwhile, is designed to look more subtle than the standard Type R, while retaining its grin-inducing performance. Sport Line versions get a new 19in alloy wheel design, softer tyres (designed to increase comfort) and additional sound-deadening materials.

The standard Type R retains its own look, getting a new front bumper with larger air intakes, while the headlights have been redesigned. No matter which version you choose, the suspension has been tweaked with the aim of making the handling sharper and more responsive. The brakes have also been upgraded, improving stopping performance while reducing weight.


2020 Honda Civic Type R interior

2020 Honda Civic Type R interior

Inside, Honda has addressed one of our biggest criticisms of the existing Type R by fitting physical shortcut buttons and dials to control its infotainment system; this should make it easier to use on the move than the purely touchscreen-based system of the existing car. There’s also a new steering wheel wrapped in Alcantara, and a new gearknob with a retro design. 

The car’s engine sound – which we’ve said could do with a little more volume previously – is also now enhanced through the stereo, becoming louder when you’re driving in either Sport or +R driving mode and quieter in the Comfort setting.

Buyers who want to delve into the detail of their driving performance can now do so via the new LogR smartphone app, which shows data collected through the car’s on-board systems and can even offer tips to make driving smoother – a service that might be especially useful for track day enthusiasts, because it includes an on-board lap timer.


Honda Civic Type R Sportline front

2020 Honda Civic Type R engine and price

No changes have been made to the Type R’s engine, which means the 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine produces the same 316bhp that it does today. Honda doesn’t need to fix what isn’t broken, though – so expect this updated Type R to still be a hoot to drive.

Prices won’t be announced until closer to the new Type R’s on-sale date this summer, but expect it to start at around £33,000. As an example of what Target Price discounts could eventually net you, buyers can save close to £1000 on the current Type R if they buy through What Car?.

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The best hot hatchbacks of 2020

Has this updated Honda Civic Type R got you pining for a fast and thrilling hot hatchback? In this next story, we'll reveal our class favourites.

10. Audi RS3

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Audi RS3 front

The RS3 isn't the sharpest hot hatch to drive, but it is still incredibly fast, thanks to a 394bhp 2.5-litre five-cylinder engine that's also used in the TT RS sports car. Four-wheel drive ensures it has incredible all-weather pace, and its interior is the most opulent of any hot hatch. 

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9. Volkswagen Polo GTI

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Few manufacturers have as much hot hatch pedigree as Volkswagen, but the hot Polo might not be the first model to spring to mind. It should be on your wish list if you're after a compact hot hatch, though, because it's an accomplished all-rounder that's comfortable and has a good driving position. 

Used Volkswagen Golf R 2016-present

If the bonkers A45 is too much for you, AMG's entry-level hot hatch, the A35, is a pretty tasty choice that provides a lot of performance for much less cash. A grippy chassis and classy interior add to its appeal. 

Read our full Mercedes-AMG A35 review >>


Next: more of our favourite hot hatches >>

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