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Honda Civic Type R 2021 gets revised suspension and better cooling

John Law

Honda has updated the Civic Type R hot hatch to address some of its criticisms – the mad looks remain, however.

Hot hatches don’t come much more in-your-face than the Civic Type R, though the Japanese competitor has always backed its looks up with equally gobsmacking performance.

But like anything, the FK8 wasn’t perfect when it launched back in 2017. For 2021, Honda has tweaked lots of little details from suspension to infotainment software to make it just a little bit better.

Honda Civic Type R 2021 driving
The 2021 Type R looks very similar from the front, but there are changes afoot.

Following the global reveal of the new Type R, the hot hatch is on sale now in Australia from $54,900 before on-road costs.

Naturally, there are some styling changes which include new foglights, slightly re-styled bumpers front and back and a new colour dubbed Racing Blue (pictured).

The interior gains a new Integra Type R-inspired weighted shift knob, an Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel and the updated seven-inch infotainment system that appeared on the regular Honda Civic in 2019.

Honda Civic Type R 2021 interior
Not what you’d call opulent – the updated interior keeps the driver’s focus on the road.

Inside the cabin, the fantastic Recaro bucket seats remain, as does the remarkable practicality you get in any Civic including 414L of cargo space.

Linked up to the updated screen is Honda’s new data logging software. This kind of system was seen first on the Renaultsport Megane, but Honda has pushed it further.

Alongside lap timing software and a dedicated smartphone app, the ‘LogR’ software analyses steering inputs, brake pressure and pedal position. If you like, it will even give you a smooth-driving score.

Honda Civic Type R 2021 front
Underneath, the suspension and cooling systems have been revised for 2021.

Under the skin there are some notable tweaks, starting with revised brakes with two-piece floating rotors clamped by more aggressive brake pads. Honda has also shortened the brake pedal travel by 15mm for a more immediate bite.

The adaptive suspension system is now ten times faster at processing information, theoretically improving both comfort and stability. Increasing grip further, Honda has fitted stiffer bushings and higher quality ball joints to the front axle.

Although fabulous on track, the FK8 Type R had a tendency to get hot on the racetrack, a 13 per cent larger grille opening and new radiator core should remedy those issues.

Honda Civic Type R 2021 engine
But the engine remains the same. Not that the Civic Type R needs any more power.

Under the bonnet, the two-litre turbocharged four-cylinder remains as do the juicy 228kW and 400Nm outputs. That power is sent to the front wheels exclusively via a six-speed manual gearbox. 

Honda has revised the active sound control feature; the new Type R should pump a little more noise into the cabin when in Sport and Plus R modes to make the experience more visceral.

Sadly, Australia still misses out on the wingless version sold into the USA. There will only be one Type R specification in Australia, and has climbed in price by $3,000, listing for $54,900 before on-road costs.