2021 Honda Civic Type R Limited Edition review: Sharper on the track, but still great on the street

2021 Honda Civic Type R Limited Edition

Each limited edition is painted phoenix yellow.

Steven Ewing / Roadshow

The Civic Type R Limited Edition is a screaming hot little hatch that’s a serious track weapon. Lighter and sharper than a standard Type R, this small-batch Honda can outperform sports cars that cost twice as much, and best of all, none of this added performance comes at the expense of everyday driving comfort.

Like it

  • Sharp steering
  • Excellent front grip
  • Many conveniences

I do not like

  • Outdated infotainment technology
  • Expensive upgrade

A quick history lesson: Following the Type R launched in 2017, Honda used it to set a 7-minute 43.8-second lap of the Nürburgring Nordschleife, making this Civic the fastest front-wheel drive series car to drive the infamous Corsican German. But then the Renault Megane RS Trophy-R arrived and broke the Type R record, beating the Civic by 4 full seconds. When the Type R Limited Edition debuted in early 2020, a Honda executive told me it was born from the desire to claim that hot FWD ride title. And following the type R LE recent record lap at the Suzuka circuit in Japan – where it beat the Megane Trophy-R, by the way – Honda is confident that the ‘Ring’ crown will soon belong to the Civic again.

To waste time during laps, Honda opted to reduce weight rather than increase power. The Limited Edition’s 2.0-liter I4 turbocharged from the base Type R unchanged, producing 306 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 295 pound-feet of torque at 2,500 rpm. The 2021 LE six-speed manual transmission, limited slip differential, suspension hardware and Brembo front brakes are also all identical to those of the 2020 Type R.

Instead, Honda cut 50 pounds off the US-spec Civic Type R by doing away with the rear wiper, removing the cargo cover, fitting lighter BBS wheels, and removing a whole bunch of sound-deadening material – 28 pounds, in fact. That “US-specific” qualification is important, by the way; Limited edition models sold in other markets lose another 30 pounds thanks to the removal of the sound system and air conditioning.

Now, before you complain about the US not getting the full limited edition lightweight experience, here’s another history lesson: When Honda launched the track-ready S2000 CR in 2007, the radio and air conditioning they were optional, but only a super-duper-small percentage of Americans ordered the CR this way. So unless you’re going to use your personal CTRLE to set a lap record, which you’re not, maybe just spin some tune and enjoy the cool breeze from your AC. Always Americans to think they want a car stripped down until they have to live with it.

A forged aluminum BBS wheelset reduces the Type R’s weight by 18 pounds.

Honda

Because it is lighter, the limited edition has adaptive damping and slightly different electronic steering calibrations than a standard R-type. track, the changes to the steering are really noticeable. Turn-in is much sharper with quicker response, but there’s still plenty of feel and feedback through the wheel. I’m in.

Off the track the changes are less noticeable, but still appreciated. You’ll feel the sharpest turn, but the retuned adaptive damper settings don’t really alter (read: ruin) the Type R’s ride quality in the city or on the highway. Honestly, the Limited Edition only helps reinforce what makes the Civic Type R so great to begin with: plenty of turbo power, a six-speed stick with smooth shifting, and an incredibly capable front-wheel drive setup. All of this makes for a seriously resizable little hot hatch. The Type R has always been a hunter of giants – you can chase Porsche 911s on mountain roads all day, and the Limited Edition is no different.

The lack of sound absorbing material results in a lot more noise in the cabin, but that’s not a big deal. Comfortable and well-appointed as it can be, the standard Civic Type R isn’t exactly a serene highway cruiser, so I don’t think most people will notice the added rumble from the wind and tires.

This little thing is a riot.

Steven Ewing / Roadshow

When it comes to creature comfort, the Limited Edition has everything you’ll find on the regular Type R Touring. Sports seats are as supportive as they are comfortable, and a 7-inch center touchscreen also has built-in navigation Apple CarPlay is Android Auto Compatibility. You also get a whole mess of driver assistance features, including Front Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keeping Assist, and Adaptive Cruise Control. The only thing missing? Heated seats. Yet. Sigh.

Honda will build 1,000 Civic Type R Limited Edition units for global distribution, 600 of which are available in the United States. They are all painted phoenix yellow and will have a serialized license plate on the dashboard.

Priced at $ 44,950 (including $ 955 for the destination), the Limited Edition costs $ 6,500 more than the 2021 Type R Touring. It’s probably easy enough to swing for a serious fanboy, collector, or track rat, and as in the case all Hondas with type R badges.
, the 600 US-spec cars are sure to be sold soon. Thankfully, the Type R Touring offers 98% of the experience, so if you can’t capture one of the limited editions, there’s still plenty of hot hatch grandeur to go around.

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