With plenty of big behemoths on display, Honda decided to take a different approach at the Chicago Auto Show with the Civic Type R making its U.S. debut at McCormick Place.
The pocket rocket made its world debut last month at the Tokyo Motor Show, and the new wee beastie is loaded with improvements to its braking and handling as well as its engine cooling. It also gets some new technology with the addition of the Honda Sensing system.
The massive spoiler on the back remains in place, but engineers put in some time to improve the driving dynamics. New two-piece brake rotors and brake pads are designed to reduce fade and improve high-speed braking efficiency.
Additionally, they made revisions to the suspension with updated dampers for to improve ride comfort, stiffer rear bushings for better grip, and there are changes to the front suspension and steering for better steering feel. Additionally, the grille has been redesigned to allow better engine cooling under high demand — a problem for past iterations of this speedster.
Changes to the 2020 Civic Type R weren’t limited to the interior. The coupe gets a new Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel, and a new shifter with a restyled knob and shorter shift throws. Additionally, each 2020 Civic Type R will be equipped with Honda Sensing, a suite of safety and driver-assistive technologies.
Better control also allows for plenty of power and the Type R doesn’t lack for that. The new model is powered by a 2.0-liter direct-injected and turbocharged 4-cylinder engine with VTEC valvetrain putting out 306 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. The front-wheel drive mighty mite’s engine its mated to a close-ratio 6-speed manual transmission and limited-slip differential.
As before, drivers can choose between three driving modes – Comfort, Sport and +R – that vary suspension firmness, steering and throttle response. New for 2020 is Active Sound Control, which modifies interior sound in concert with the chosen drive mode.
The Type R’s selectable drive modes and sophisticated design make it both a thrilling companion on a mountain road or a racetrack and a remarkably civilized daily driver with a degree of flexibility unmatched in its competitive set, especially at the price.
Additional information about the 2020 Civic Type R, including pricing and all specifications, will be available later when it goes on sale later this winter.