Honda Civic Sort R: Final Information To Each Era

For 26 years, Honda has been competing on the very prime of the recent hatch recreation. Right here’s your full Honda Civic Sort R information, protecting all six generations to date…

All through the Honda Civic Sort R’s 26-year historical past, the marque has caught to the Civic’s front-engine, front-wheel drive roots. In doing so, it has frequently raised the bar for what a front-wheel drive scorching hatch can do. Right here’s our Honda Civic Sort R information that will help you determine the totally different generations.

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Honda Civic Sort R Information

Honda Civic Sort R EK9

The mathematicians amongst you’ll have found out by now that the Sort R’s story begins again in 1997. That was the yr that the EK9 technology Sort R made its public debut. Within the mid-nineties, Honda was making waves within the efficiency automobile scene because of its NSX supercar. The hype across the NSX was so giant that Honda determined to launch a collection of extra attainable Sort R based mostly on the DC2 Integra. Then it was the flip of the unassuming Civic hatchback.

The EK9 Civic Sort R was solely bought formally in Japan’s home market, however phrase of its capacity unfold. A 1.6-litre DOHC VTEC four-cylinder engine, designated ‘B16B’, outfitted the EK9 with 182hp at 8200rpm. The height torque figures reached equally excessive up the rev vary, with the 7500rpm level providing 118lb/ft. On paper these numbers may not sound that spectacular. Nevertheless, in a automobile which weighed simply 1050kg, that was greater than sufficient grunt. In actual fact, in ‘horsepower per litre’ phrases, the B16B was one of many highest-performing naturally aspirated engines of its period. 0-60mph got here in at 6.7 seconds and prime velocity was over 140mph.

It wasn’t simply the case of slapping a fast engine into a daily outdated Civic although. The entrance finish bought a helical restricted slip differential; each ends of the automobile benefitted from double wishbone suspension. The chassis was a seam-welded monocoque, thus tremendously enhancing rigidity over the usual Civic. Though it might look comparatively nondescript, the EK9 had the expertise to offer it driving dynamics that any entry degree sports activities automobile might be pleased with.

The way in which it handles, and the way in which it goes, shines by way of within the design of the cabin. Brilliant crimson Recaro bucket seats not solely get the heartbeat racing, however additionally they hug you tightly. And as for the gearbox, the brief titanium stick is just pleasant to make use of.

Naturally, it wasn’t lengthy earlier than Japan’s illustrious tuning business bought its palms on the EK9. One of the crucial well-regarded examples of this was the improve bundle provided by Spoon Sports activities. Along with a carbon fibre bonnet, the EK9 additionally obtained a brand new ECU. Spiritually, it felt like the ultimate evolution of all these modified EF9 and EG6 Civics utilized by the notorious Kanjozoku.


From Honda’s perspective although, they couldn’t simply sit on a recipe pretty much as good as this without end extra. No, a automobile as achieved because the EK9 Sort R deserved a global sequel… Extra on that, subsequent.

For a lot of, this unique Civic Sort R is the final word instance, so we’ve put collectively a helpful EK9 Sort R purchaser’s information that will help you purchase one. Look no additional than our EK9 tuning information for recommendations on the way to get probably the most from that 1.6-litre engine. Or, check out certainly one of our modified EK9 Civic Sort R options for some inspiration earlier than modding.

A front shot of the Honda Civic Type R EP3.

Honda Civic Sort R EP3

That promised sequel got here within the form of the EP3. For the Civic Sort R’s second iteration, manufacturing elevated to suit demand from Europe. Because of this, manufacturing shifted to Honda’s Swindon plant within the UK. Nevertheless, in contrast to a few of your favorite indie bands, not one of the magic vanished by going mainstream.

The EP3 Sort R debuted in 2001; the headline being a brand-new engine, which was a daring transfer contemplating how adored the B16B was. As a substitute although, the two.0-liter DOHC i-VTEC K20 unit surpassed expectation. In actual fact, Honda’s line of Ok-Collection engines would go on to achieve an excellent higher degree of ‘icon standing’ than B16B.

Admittedly, the changeover into the ‘VTEC Zone’ wasn’t fairly as express as within the outdated motor. Nevertheless, the K20 was nonetheless nonetheless a riot to make use of. The brand new engine introduced in 197hp for the European market. Whereas the Japanese model bought as a lot as 212hp. It was sturdy too. Verify the classifieds at present, and also you’ll come throughout a hoard of EP3s with far more than 100,000 miles on the odometer. And that’s regardless of the observe days and B-road chases that they’d’ve undoubtedly gone by way of previously.

Dealing with-wise, the EP3 picked up the place the EK9 left off. On this sense, the Japanese EP3’s firmer chassis marked it out because the one to have. To not snub the European-spec variant. In comparison with the outdated EK9, even the European EP3 loved an 80% enhance in torsional rigidity. This was because of the usage of high-tensile metal in its underpinnings.

Electrical energy steering was one other new trick up the Civic Sort R’s sleeve. Although, being a reasonably primitive iteration of the expertise, it received’t be to everybody’s style these days. Nonetheless, there have been struts on the entrance and a nifty multi-link suspension set-up on the rear. It additionally had a minimal 1200kg kerb weight, which gave the automobile a puppy-like playful attraction by way of the corners.

An additional cog meant that you just now had six speeds to play with within the close-ratio guide gearbox too. The dash-mounted positioning of the gear lever falls effortlessly into hand over time.


If there was one space which could have stifled the EP3’s success, it maybe would’ve been the way in which it seems to be. Personally, we’re followers of the EP3’s aesthetics, however we all know that the love isn’t common. That mentioned, any surface-level doubters have been quickly silenced as soon as they bought behind the wheel of it. An immediate hit when it launched, the EP3 loved a unbelievable reception.

Today, the EP3 continues to be one of the financially attainable Civic Sort Rs, regardless of its sturdy fame. It’s additionally began to realize extra traction within the US, too, with hardcore fanatics trying into the again catalogue of Civic Sort R genius. You should definitely take a look at our EP3 purchaser’s information and tuning information in case you’re eager about proudly owning one. We’ve additionally featured loads of modified EP3s over time, so be at liberty to verify these out too!

The FN2 generation of Civic wasn't everyone's cup of tea.

Honda Civic Sort R FN2

With the bar set so excessive, it was all the time going to be tough for the automobile that changed the EP3. That job fell the way in which of the FN2, which from the offset divided opinion. The chunky, ‘spaceship-like’ proportions didn’t naturally evoke ideas of sporting agility. Sadly, its 1320kg kerb weight didn’t do a lot to quash their fears. In any case, that’s greater than 100kg heavier than the EP3.

Nonetheless, the FN2 Sort R does nonetheless deserve some plaudits. It’s a barely extra cleverly packaged automobile in comparison with its non-Sort R counterpart. Even the gasoline tank moved beneath the entrance seats to enhance inside house. The choice to change the rear suspension to a torsion beam was much less well-liked, however the automobile nonetheless handles higher than many would have you ever imagine. Then there’s the engine. The spec of K20 discovered within the FN2 produces a single further horsepower over the EP3’s energy unit.

By most accounts, the height instance of the FN2 platform is the one constructed by tuning home, Mugen. Simply 20 have been ever constructed, and all of them got here to the UK. On this guise, the K20 engine was totally revised to bump it as much as 237hp. Whereas the brakes, aero and suspension have been all bespoke. So too have been the 18-inch rims, which weighed in at round a 3rd of the burden of the usual ones. Plus, as a nod to the automobile’s excessive intentions, it got here with semi-slicks as commonplace. On a observe, the Mugen elevated the FN2 expertise to a complete new degree, although as a highway automobile, its experience was too harsh for UK roads. Regardless of this, its aggresive VTEC crossover and additional ponies revealed the potential inside the FN2 Sort R.

In actuality, in order for you the very best that this technology of Civic can supply, you must look abroad…

The saloon variant of the third-gen Type R Civic is more desirable.

Honda Civic Sort R FD2

Over in Japan, the third-gen Civic Sort R was very totally different. As a substitute of the FN2 hatchback form, Honda’s home market bought a Sort R based mostly upon the FD2 saloon, which lately is way extra fascinating. Not simply due to the aesthetics and the rarity, however due to its underpinnings. Their common FD2 Sort R had an additional 24hp underneath the hood in comparison with our commonplace FN2 Sort R: to place that in perspective, that’s simply 5 horsepower lower than the bonkers Mugen FN2 talked about above.

On prime of that, the Japanese automobile had extra highly effective Brembo brakes, in addition to a bunch of different set-up alterations which, to be brutally sincere, make it a much more interesting prospect than the European model. Oh, and in case you have been questioning, it too bought the Mugen remedy. Referred to as the Mugen RR, solely 300 have been ever constructed, and each single one bought inside ten minutes of the mannequin occurring sale.

Let’s be sincere although, most of us within the Western a part of the world are unlikely to have the ability to get our palms on a Mugen RR, or perhaps a common FD2 Sort R. At the very least, not cheaply, anyway.


That’s the fantastic thing about the standard FN2 hatch. Certain, it has a number of shortcomings, nevertheless it nonetheless represents unbelievable worth in at present’s market. Typically the most affordable Sort Rs round, they’re a good way to get into the world of scorching Civics on a good price range.

So, in case you’ve bought round £5000-£6000 (or much less!) to spend on a scorching hatch, take a look at our FN2 purchaser’s information, and tuning information. There’s some cool modified FN2s in our again catalogue as effectively!

Alternatively, in case you’re in search of extra FD2 content material, make sure you take a look at this head-to-head function, the place we pitch it towards one of many UK’s finest FN2s

The FK2 brought turbo power to the Civic line-up.

Honda Civic Sort R FK2

Quick ahead to 2015, and the automotive panorama is beginning to look very totally different. With environmental rules looming over Honda’s shoulders, the inevitable change to compelled induction arrived with the fourth-gen FK2 Civic Sort R. Realistically, this was the one strategy to maintain emissions down, however horsepower up.

Nevertheless, as a substitute of viewing turbocharging as a dilution of the Sort R’s purity, Honda’s engineers embraced the tech to make it one of many FK2’s most interesting options. The ensuing K20C1 engine developed 306hp – a staggering quantity greater than the FN2. What’s extra, weight solely elevated marginally, that means that the FK2 might supply a way more explosive driving expertise.

To fight the newfound energy, Honda launched its Twin Axis Strut Suspension, which included a wider observe and strengthened rear torsion bar. This, mixed with a brand new limited-slip diff, would assist the automobile to beat torque-steer. But, regardless of all of those positives, the FK2 stays ignored, and we expect we would know the reply as to why.

When lined up towards the remainder of the Sort R bloodline, the FK2 seems to be a bit like an adolescent canine that hasn’t fairly grown into its huge pointy ears but. It’s nonetheless recognisably a Civic Sort R, only a bit gawkier in some areas. The aggressive splitters and obnoxious rear wing, for instance, simply don’t appear to match the remainder of the bubbly silhouette. Sadly, there’s no different strategy to describe it than the awkward center floor between the gentle, spherical FN2, and the frivolously aero-adorned FK8 (extra on that, subsequent!)

It’s a disgrace actually, as a result of what lies beneath the bodywork is a genuinely sensible piece of engineering. The introduction of turbocharging opened the doorways to a definitive new chapter within the Sort R historical past guide. Impulsively, a Honda Civic was able to 168mph flat-out, and it had a way more usable powerband alongside the way in which to that determine too. Peak energy arrived 1000 revs sooner than within the FN2, whereas most torque (which stood at double the quantity provided within the outdated automobile) was on faucet from simply 2500rpm in comparison with 5500rpm. What’s extra, a person oil cooler for the gearbox ensured that the FK2’s transmission might sustain with the additional mechanical demand when used on observe.

It maybe shouldn’t come as a shock then that the FK2 Civic was the idea of many profitable racing vehicles. It received a number of titles within the British Touring Automotive Championship, and had it not been for a freak testing accident, Tiago Monteiro in all probability would’ve claimed an FIA World title together with his FK2 in 2017.


General then, the FK2 Sort R perhaps doesn’t get the popularity that its underlying engineering deserves. Nevertheless, no one appears to have instructed the used market that, as costs for these vehicles are nonetheless surprisingly sturdy in comparison with its predecessors…

Trying to purchase one? Head over to our FK2 Sort R purchaser’s information. Sadly for these within the US, the automobile was by no means bought domestically. Because of this, you’ll be trying to the import market to get your palms on one. Or, in case you’re already the proud proprietor of 1, take a look at our Honda Civic Sort R FK2 tuning information for recommendation on what mods you should purchase to take advantage of out of your FK2. And if you wish to see what we considered a inventory one after we bought behind the wheel, you too can learn our FK2 automobile evaluation .

Honda Civic Type R FK8 front shot

Honda Civic Sort R FK8

If the FK2 has flown underneath the radar, the fifth-gen Civic Sort R actually didn’t. The FK8 took on a a lot sleeker silhouette, and with it a big array of extremely divisive aero elements. Some favored the unashamed aggression of the automobile’s design, whereas others felt it was far too ‘boy racer’ recent from the manufacturing unit.

No matter you consider the way in which the FK8 seems to be, you’ll be able to’t deny that it’s a unbelievable automobile to drive. Arriving in 2017, the FK8 got here with new adaptive dampers to enhance its dealing with, and the next output K20C1; 316bhp to be exact. That wasn’t fairly the case over within the US although; as a substitute, the ability determine throughout the pond remained at 306hp. This was, nevertheless, the primary time {that a} Civic Sort R would formally be bought in America.

A flat underfloor labored in unison with all these wings and splitters to offer the automobile distinctive downforce, which translated effectively into grip. Nürburgring lap information quickly tumbled at a formidable charge. To at the present time, it stays the second-fastest front-wheel drive highway automobile to ever lap the Inexperienced Hell, with a time of seven minutes 43.8 seconds. In a wider context, that’s simply two seconds slower than a Porsche 997 GT3 piloted by World Rally champion Walter Rohrl. Bonkers.

Mid-life replace

Honda nonetheless noticed room for enchancment although, so in 2020, they fitted a bigger radiator and greater grille to go together with it. The brakes additionally bought an improve – not solely making them in a position to face up to extra hardcore observe use, but additionally supplying you with some further really feel by way of the pedal. On the identical time, refreshed damping coped even higher with sharp cornering, whereas the gearstick – a key touchpoint for the motive force – was given an ergonomic redesign.

Scarce variants of the up to date FK8 quickly adopted, certainly one of which being the imaginatively named Restricted Version. Solely 20 got here to the UK, all of which boasting an unmissable yellow paint scheme and a few important weight reduction. Then, there was the Sort R Sport Line. Clearly, Honda hadn’t been deaf to the complaints concerning the FK8’s ‘immature’ styling, and so the Sport Line remedied that. The large rear spoiler bought ditched for a subtler one, and on the within the brilliant crimson upholstery was swapped out for a calmer shade of gray.


Whichever aspect of the styling debate you stand on, the FK8 is broadly thought of probably the most dynamically adept scorching hatch in the marketplace. Or at the very least, it was. Now although, there’s a brand new Civic Sort R on the block…

You should definitely take a look at our FK8 purchaser’s information, tuning information, in addition to our evaluation of it and modified FK8s we’ve featured, as effectively!

front 3/4 driving shot of blue Honda civic Type R FL5 on track

Honda Civic Sort R FL5

If any automobile can knock the FK8 off its throne, it would effectively be this one. The FL5 Civic Sort R is the newest and – hopefully – best scorching hatch to roll off the Honda manufacturing line.

First issues first, let’s deal with the most important gripe that individuals had concerning the outdated automobile: the outside design. Fortunately, it’s excellent news! The FL5 has actually reined issues in a little bit, and to our eye at the very least, has grow to be a extra enticing automobile because of this. It’s nonetheless a sporty little quantity because of a decrease and wider stance than the earlier automobile, nevertheless it carries itself in a fashion which isn’t going to make its driver really feel self-conscious each time they pull up on the lights. In fact, aerodynamic aids like splitters and spoilers stay a key function, however the whole lot has been dialed down only a smidge. And that’s factor.

Tech-wise, the modifications made are largely incremental. A extra compactly packaged turbo and high-efficiency exhaust ought to assist to enhance the automobile’s power-to-weight ratio, whereas a brand new rev-matching system and lighter flywheel intention to additional reward spirited drivers. Honda are additionally promising a greater sound out of the again of the Sort R’s three central exhaust pipes.

All in all, these little alterations have bumped the Civic’s energy figures as much as 324hp and 310 lb ft of torque. Properly, that’s the case in Japanese and UK market vehicles, at the very least. Over within the States, scorching hatch fanatics can be 4 horsepower down in comparison with these abroad.

On the highway, the beefiest engine ought to enable this front-wheel drive hatchback to achieve 62mph in simply 5.4 seconds, in the meantime the highest velocity is pegged at a barmy 171mph!

So far as the automobile’s dynamics go, the same old array of ‘driving modes’ return within the FL5 too. Nevertheless, the addition of a brand new ‘Particular person Mode’ ought to give eager drivers probably the most customizable set-up choices ever seen in a Civic Sort R. Every of those totally different modes enable the motive force to regulate the automobile’s steering, suspension, and varied components of the engine’s efficiency.

You’ve bought to confess, there’s an terrible lot to love concerning the newest entry into the Sort R historical past books. However it’s not all sunshine and roses. There may be one slightly giant draw back.

Pricing begins at $43,990 within the US, and £46,995 within the UK. Let’s be sincere, that’s *so much* for a Honda Civic. In actual fact, that’s about ten grand greater than the FK8 price when it first launched. We’re certain these will promote in huge numbers regardless, however nonetheless, a value hike that huge appears a bit cheeky contemplating you’re just about simply paying for refined FK8 tech in a prettier bundle.

Eager to dive additional down the Honda Civic Sort R rabbit gap? Have a learn by way of this subsequent article to take a look at one of the best modified examples we might discover!