Honda debuted some small changes to the hottest version of its Civic hatchback back in January. The 2020 Civic Type R still looks as boy-racer as ever, but the mid-cycle refresh did make a few notable upgrades both to bodywork and mechanical components. The tweaked car makes its U.S. debut today at the 2020 Chicago Auto Show.
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To refresh your memory, the crux of the changes fall beneath the skin. Honda engineers went to work on the Type R’s brakes, developing new two-piece rotors with upgraded brakes pads for better stopping at higher speeds. Attention then focused on the suspension, installing stiffer rear bushings for less flex and better overall grip. Front suspension components and the steering were also revised, and though Honda doesn’t tell us the exact nature of the changes, the result is said to be a more direct steering feel. Amid all the dialing-in for more performance, Honda also optimized the Type R’s dampers to offer a more comfortable ride.
Inside, drivers will find an updated steering wheel swathed in Alcantara and a new shifter with shorter throws. A tech update in the form of standard-issue driver safety and assist systems – a package better known as Honda Sensing – is also new and specific to the U.S. market. There’s also a new exterior color called Boost Blue, and if you look closely at the front you’ll see a revised grille that’s a touch larger. It helps feed air to the turbocharged 306-horsepower (228-kilowatt) four-cylinder under the hood. The powertrain is unchanged for 2020.
With its U.S. debut now official, there are two things we still don’t know: cost and arrival. Honda will release pricing information closer to the Type R’s on-sale date. As for when you can buy it, we only have a general timetable of later this winter, which likely means early March.