New Honda Civic Type R Limited Edition 2020 review

The new Honda Civic Type R Limited Edition has already sold out, and those buyers are in for a treat

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4.5 out of 5

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A short race-circuit drive leaves us wanting more miles in the extra-focused Civic Type R Limited Edition. Honda’s engineers have made only small tweaks but the overall package feels sharper than ever - and a total hoot to drive on track days. The price doesn’t even look that bad, compared with some rivals, so it’s a pity the production run is so limited.

The Honda Civic Type R has long been at the more extreme edge of the hot hatchback spectrum - even if the addition of a softer side in the latest incarnation has helped it to be our pick in the class. But someone at Honda obviously felt there was demand for even more focus - and this Civic Type R Limited Edition is the result.

And before you ask, yes, it is a properly limited edition. Just 100 examples of this car are being produced in total and the 20 that were earmarked for British buyers were sold in a couple of hours. Honda UK reckons it could have shifted double the amount, apparently - and that’s with a price tag fast approaching £40,000.

As is often the case with these things, you’re actually paying more for less when you sign the cheque for that amount. Power remains the same as regular editions, so the 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder motor produces 316bhp and 400Nm of torque. But it loses a few choice items from the spec sheet - air conditioning, for starters, plus the infotainment system and sound deadening material that’s taken out of the roof lining, rear hatch, front bumper and dashboard. 

Factor in new 20-inch forged BBS wheels, which shave 2.5kg off each corner, and you end up with a net saving of 47kg compared with a Type R GT. That’s enough of a diet for the adaptive dampers and power steering to have required recalibration.

To round it all off, you get a natty bespoke yellow paint scheme that shows every one of the Civic’s considerable number of bodywork creases, and, more usefully, Michelin Pilot Sport 2 tyres that promise to be a little bit more tacky than the standard car’s Continentals.

We’ve only been able to try the Type R Limited Edition around the twisty Great Tew circuit near Chipping Norton. But some back-to-back comparison allows us to tell you that those who are eagerly awaiting their Type R Limited Edition are right to feel impatient. 

The latest updates to all Civic Type Rs bring benefits on the circuit; the steering is beautifully weighted and impressively direct, the ride and body control are brilliantly judged for a smooth circuit and there’s really not that much interference under hard acceleration. The gearshift is the best of any hot hatch, helped further by a newly added counterweight and a teardrop gear knob. All told, the Civic is an easy car to drive quickly and a really rewarding one to thrash. 

But if anything, it’s the combination of the new brakes (which are shared with regular facelifted Type Rs), the lighter kerbweight and the sticky rubber that’ll grab your attention. You can really hold on to speed for longer in braking zones, counting on the extra stopping power to pull you forward in your seat belts as you explore the excellent feel through the middle pedal. It’s huge fun and definitely a notch on from a regular Type R - although we’ll have to reserve judgement on how it translates to on-road behaviour. 

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There’s very little inside to remind you that you’ve spent extra cash on your Civic - beyond the absence of air-con and a blank space where the infotainment screen should be. But you at least get a numbered plaque - and unlike in the even more hardcore (and considerably more expensive) Renault Megane RS Trophy-R, you can seat more than two people in the cabin.

Model:  Honda Civic Type R Limited Edition
Price:  £39,995
Engine:  2.0-litre 4cyl turbo petrol
Power/torque:  316bhp/400Nm
Transmission:  Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
0-62mph:  5.7 seconds
Top speed:  169mph
Economy:  33.6 (est, WLTP)
CO2:  191g/km (est, WLTP)
On sale: Sold out

John started journalism reporting on motorsport – specifically rallying, which he had followed avidly since he was a boy. After a stint as editor of weekly motorsport bible Autosport, he moved across to testing road cars. He’s now been reviewing cars and writing news stories about them for almost 20 years.

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