Does more power = a better Type R?

Intro

From Hot hatches to Hyper cars it seems the World has become obsessed with more power. But does this equate to a better driving experience? We’ve picked the Honda Civic Type R to help us answer this question…

EK9 1997 – 2000

Exclusive to the Japanese domestic market the original Civic Type R was Honda’s answer to the VW GTI back in 1997. Respected across the globe the EK9 has now earned a cult-like status with Type R purists favouring this lightweight, high revving pocket rocket over the later turbocharged models. As expected values have continued to rise in Japan as quality examples dwindle whilst demand remains strong.

Technical data

  • Engine size: 1600cc
  • Power: 185PS
  • Curb weight: 1090kgs

EP3 2001 – 2006

The first model to be manufactured in the UK helped the Type R become a household name amongst hot hatch fans. Affordable, reliable and immensely fun to drive was a winning recipe and consequently helped Honda sell in excess of 35,000 units. The most affordable Type R in today’s market unless of course you opt for the more powerful JDM model with the superior engine and gearbox from the DC5 Integra Type R and limited slip differential.

Technical data

  • Engine size: 2000cc
  • Power: 200PS (215PS – JDM model)
  • Curb weight: 1246kgs

FN2 2006 – 2011

This heavier Type R with torsion beam rear suspension was definitely the model that split opinion. Some even going as far to say it was designed for the shopping run rather than the focused driving experience the Type R had become so well known for. Although we’d opt for alternative generations over the FN2 its still a fun car to drive with that all important Honda reliability.

Technical data

  • Engine size: 2000cc
  • Power: 201PS
  • Curb weight: 1320kgs

FD2 2007 – 2010

The CTR the UK should have received? This is a statement we often hear and have to agree with. The FD2 is a fabulous driver’s car with razor sharp handling and plenty of character. Like the EK9 the FD2 was also exclusive to the Japanese domestic market and was only in production for 3 years due to a tightening of emission laws. A rare sight in Japan its even more difficult to spot one on UK roads. Many argue that the FD2 was the pinnacle Civic Type R. If the opportunity arises we highly recommend experiencing one first hand.

Technical data

  • Engine size: 2000cc
  • Power: 220PS
  • Curb weight: 1260kgs

FK2 2015 – 2017

The first turbocharged Civic Type R predictably resulted in a surge of mixed reviews. The ‘confident’ styling had its admirers and critics in equal measure. Its a shame that Honda had no option but to move to forced induction but anything different would have almost certainly left them behind the competition. We have to say there’s a lot to like about the FK2 but its a difficult car to fall in love with.

Technical data

  • Engine size: 2000cc
  • Power: 310PS
  • Curb weight: 1382kgs

FK8 2017 – Present

The 4th generation of CTR to be manufactured in the UK but the 1st to be sold globally the FK8 has initially been better received than the previous FK2. Officially setting the fastest Nurburgring lap time of any FWD car has certainly helped its cause especially having smashed the previous lap record held by the Golf GTI Clubsport S. Time will tell as to whether this generation Civic Type R will be as successful as previous models but signs are good so far.

Technical data

  • Engine size: 2000cc
  • Power: 320PS
  • Curb weight: 1380kgs

Summary

There’s no arguing that the Civic Type R has come a long way since its introduction some 20 years ago. But the question remains does more power necessarily equal a better Type R? Many hardcore fans will no doubt feel alienated from the later generations arguing that the bloodline has all but disappeared whilst those less loyal to the brand will be cooing over those impressive performance figures. Whichever camp you may favour Honda appear to be back in the game and with talk of an AWD model on the horizon we expect the debate to heat up in the coming months.

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2 thoughts on “Does more power = a better Type R?

  1. Great, review of these cars. I’ve had an ep3 dc2 and now champ white fn2 with limited slip diff. Not sure why the fn2 got such a bad rep. It’s a well focused car, great to drive, steering is precise and sounds great with the added bonus of all the creature comforts of a modern motor. Not as raw as say the dc2 but I’m pretty impressed by it.

    Regardless honda build quality motors and type r is a hardcore offering that has to be drived at the limit to achieve peak performance which is a good and bad thing.

    I’d be interested to see what torque gt think about the s2000 as well.

    Cheers!

  2. Great blog as always! I always thought of the EK9 as the best Civic Type R. Not only was it built to fulfill it’s function (handling, power and lightweight) but the overall styling and technology was way ahead of its time. Honda, with there NA engines, stayed true to what they’re best at but with the newer motors (FN2 models onwards) and with today’s technology/computers in cars, it feels the rawness and connection between driver and car is slightly lost (but then again, I’m biased towards JDM cars between the 80’s – early 00’s).

    My answer to your question whether ‘does more power = a better Type R?’ is ‘Not at all’. The fine balance between handling and power not only makes a better Type R but a better car overall.

    P.S. I’ll be keeping an eye out on the Toyota Trueno build!

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