For a long time after the FN2 there wasn't a Civic Type R; the first turbo car was more than worth the wait
By Matt Bird / Monday, 6 June 2022 / Loading comments
It would be a surprise bordering on a shock if the next Honda Civic Type R didn’t turn out to be a brilliant hot hatch. The old one was so adept at just about everything that to expect anything less than greatness from the replacement would seem silly. The Type R is likely to be the car to beat in its segment, and with good reason if it’s anything like the car that came before.
But it wasn’t always the case for the Civic Type R. Back when the first turbocharged model, the FK2, was launched back in 2015, expectations weren’t quite so high. It had been four years since the last Civic Type R, the FN2, had gone out of production, and that hadn’t been universally adored even when new; then there was the turbocharged engine to think about (in a Type R Honda!), the contentious looks, the torsion beam rear suspension when the Golf GTI had an independent back axle… It can be easy to remember now given the reverence around the outgoing Type R, but many were unsure just a few years back.
By and large, however, the fears were allayed by the driving experience. The FK2 Type R was revvy for a 2.0-litre turbo (if hamstrung by a heavy flywheel effect), composed for a car without multilink rear suspension and looked… well it looked unforgettable, let’s put it that way. Those that thought Japanese cars should be fast, attention grabbing and unlike anything else were well served by the Civic Type R. It had almost 100hp more than a Golf GTI (310 vs. 220), had better traction than a Focus ST, the best manual gearbox by miles and the sort of robustness and sturdiness that was never really a calling card of the fast Japanese car. It felt built for days and days, months and months of hard driving. If not without flaw – the driving position was a bit perched and the ride punishing in more aggressive modes – then the FK2 proved Honda could definitely still make a great Civic Type R. Even a five-door, turbocharged one.
As a used prospect the first forced induction car holds additional appeal as a really rare fast Honda. On sale for just 18 months, the Type R was never going to sell in huge numbers; add into that the divisive styling and £30k+ price and tiny sales were guaranteed. On PH right now there are just 16 Type Rs from 2015-17 available, compared to 45 from 2017 onwards. Even limit the replacement FK8 to a similar two-year period (2017-19) and there are 28 cars for sale. Which itself isn’t exactly a car you see every day.
With so much of what made the later car so good (engine, gearbox and differential, most notably) as well as the rarity factor, the FK2 Civic Type R is an intriguing car. Because the FK8 is probably worth reaching to if possible, but then there’s always something to be said for the older, rawer, rarer car that costs that little bit less. This FK2, as a 2017 model, is one of the last sold, with just 23,000 miles and one owner to its name. Somehow the infamous 20-inch wheels have avoided (much) kerbing, so that’s always an encouraging sign. It’s for sale at £23,990, which is some feat of residual strength given it would have only cost about £10k more when new. Part of that will the nature of used cars at the moment; but partly its recognition of just how good the Civic Type R we all weren’t sure of really turned out to be.
SPECIFICATION | HONDA CIVIC TYPE R (FK2)
Engine: 1,996cc 4-cyl turbo
Transmission: 6-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Power (hp): [email protected],500rpm
Torque (lb ft): [email protected],500-4,500rpm
First registered: 2017
Recorded mileage: 23,000
Price new: £32,960
Yours for: £23,990
See the original advert here
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