What Makes the Honda Civic Type R so Special?

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Honda Civic Type R

With a raging powertrain and physics-defying chassis, how do you pick the best thing about the Civic Type R?

It’s no secret that we, along with the rest of the automotive world, are in love with the new Honda Civic Type R. And for good reason. The hottest hatch in the hot hatch world seemingly defies physics and does everything well. It’s fast, it corners like it’s on rails, and it even displays manners on the street. And, if you can get one at MSRP, it’s also the performance bargain of the century. But what is it that makes the Civic Type R truly special? It’s a question recently posed by .Grimace right here in the Honda-Tech forums.

“Simple question. Would you say the more powerful motor, limited colors, iconic red/black interiors, suspension and brake upgrades make it special? Or would you say the additional chassis bracing/ engineering (by engineering we are not talking about the above items)? As an example, if you take a B16 base model Civic and add the Type R chassis bracing is it suddenly an iconic car? Or do you take the base model car and add everything CTR to it? Which would be more special?”

Honda Civic Type R

Rguy, for one, doesn’t think you can replicate the Civic Type R’s magic with bolt-on parts.

“The general consensus is that you can add ALL the parts you want. But without a doubt, some of the chassis changes like seam welds and thicker pieces here and there cannot be reproduced. Nor should they be discounted as not having much effect either. Honda made all those changes in concert with everything else. If they could have just added the R parts, they would have.”

Then again, Pinja thinks it’s the drivetrain that creates most of the magic.

“I mean (I think I’m answering this right), the motor/trans are what make it special for me.

-Short geared trans with a mechanical LSD
-More aggressive cams
-Better valvetrain
-Better cams
-Higher compression

That motor/trans are iconic and why everyone seeks them out.”

Honda Civic Type R

Or more likely, as newt2 notes, it’s a combination of all of those things in one masterfully balanced piece of work.

“To me, the chassis modifications are the real standout thing about the car. When most manufacturers make a special version of a car they install a lot of different parts. Better diffs, more powerful motor, different transmission, stuff like that. The thing with all those cars is that you can do all that stuff yourself and often with even higher performance parts from a third party.

You’re not going to take apart your STi or Mustang special edition of the year and reinforce the chassis though. The chassis changes made a big difference to the car too. It was laterally stiff (vs. stiff suspension) and very responsive to minor inputs from the driver.”

Unsurprisingly, this debate has been one of the hotter topics at Honda-Tech recently. And everyone has their own opinion on what makes the Civic Type R so special. Still, we want to know what you think. So head on over here and join in on this raging discussion!

Join the Honda-tech forums today!

Brett Foote has been covering the auto industry for over five years and is a longtime contributor to Internet Brands’ popular Auto Group websites, including Corvette Forum, Rennlist, and Ford Truck Enthusiasts, among others.

Foote has been an automotive enthusiast since the day he came into this world and rode home from the hospital in a first-gen Mustang, and he's been wrenching on them nearly as long.

In addition to his expertise writing about cars, trucks, motorcycles and every other type of automobile, Foote had spent several years running parts for local dealerships.

You can follow along with his builds and various automotive shenanigans on Instagram: @bfoote.

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