The R's have it: the history of the honda Type R

We take a trip through Honda's archives to look at its high-revving flagships – from the first to the latest...

4y ago
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Honda NSX R: 1992

Honda NSX prices are escalating at a ferocious rate. So, if you can, buy one now!

Honda NSX prices are escalating at a ferocious rate. So, if you can, buy one now!

The fIrst ever Honda type R was a stripped-down NSX with less weight, better suspension, carbon buckets (back when you couldn’t get them in a supermini), forged wheels, unassisted steering, and not much branding to give the game away – besides a red H badge on the bonnet. The Japanese kept this one all to themselves...

Engine: 3.0-litre 24v V6
Power: 276bhp @ 7300rpm, 217lb ft @ 5400rpm
Transmission: Five-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Performance: 5.0sec 0-62mph, 163mph
Weight: 1230kg

Integra Type R (DC2): 1995

You can still buy a sound DC2 for around £6k. Just keep an eye out for rust and skipped cambelt changes.

You can still buy a sound DC2 for around £6k. Just keep an eye out for rust and skipped cambelt changes.

Light, revvy, and packing a limited-slip diff between the front wheels to get all 197bhp to the pavement, the first Teg was a revelation years before Honda had even thought of the Civic type R. It was the first R to come to the UK (with round, rather than JDM-spec rectangular headlights) – and the only one, until now, to make it to the US (as an Acura).

Engine: 1.8-litre 16v 4cyl
Power: 197bhp @ 8000rpm, 133lb ft @ 7500rpm
Transmission: Five-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Performance: 6.7sec 0-62mph, 145mph
Weight: 1060kg

Honda Civic Type R (EK9): 1997

When was the last time you saw one of these?

When was the last time you saw one of these?

Think the Civic type R story starts in 2001? Not so. VTEC Civics had been around since 1989, but the first Civic R was properly unhinged, testing its unusual-for-the-class double-wishbone suspension with a screaming 8200rpm four pot that made over 180bhp from just 1.6 litres.

Engine: 1.6-litre 16v 4cyl
Power: 182bhp @ 8200rpm, 118lb ft @ 7500rpm
Transmission: Five-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Performance: 6.8sec 0-62mph, 135mph
Weight: 1040kg

Honda Accord Type R: 1999

Only the wing really gives away the fact that this Accord is far removed from a regular one....

Only the wing really gives away the fact that this Accord is far removed from a regular one....

The Accord R didn’t wind as high as the Civic or Integra, and the car didn’t lunge towards the horizon like the Impreza Turbo you could have for the same money. But if family commitments made you ditch your Teg, this four-door meant you didn’t have to give up your type R. When the new Accord was launched in 2003 Japan got the (ironically named) Euro R version – which never made it to the UK.

Engine: 2.2-litre 16v 4cyl
Power: 209bhp @ 7200rpm, 159lb ft @ 6700rpm
Transmission: Five-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Performance: 7.2sec 0-62mph, 142mph
Weight: 1405kg

Honda Civic Type R (EP3): 2001

The EP3 is one of the best used hot hatches around – but don't buy a tired example.

The EP3 is one of the best used hot hatches around – but don't buy a tired example.

"146mph for £16k!" screamed the mag headlines. The first official CTR for Europe was a sensation: Ford’s wimpy Focus ST170 couldn’t get a look in, VW’s 150bhp Golf GTI was light years off the pace, and even the weird bread van styling and dash-mounted gearshift didn’t put people off.

Engine: 2.0-litre 16v 4cyl
Power: 197bhp @ 7600rpm, 145lb ft @ 5900rpm
Transmission: Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Performance: 6.8sec 0-62mph, 146mph
Weight: 1270kg

Honda Integra Type R (DC5): 2001

A really smart DC5 can be had for around £8k.

A really smart DC5 can be had for around £8k.

Gorgeous gen-two Teg moved up to 2.0-litres, but it’s the chassis, and not just the few extra nags that makes this so much better than an EP3 Civic. What’s the secret? A standard LSD and hydraulic, instead of electric, power steering. Not sold in the UK, sadly, but Matt Neal won the BTCC in 2005 and 2006 in his.

Engine: 2.0-litre 16v 4cyl
Power: 217bhp @ 8000rpm, 152lb ft @ 7000rpm
Transmission: Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Performance: 7.1sec 0-62mph, 140mph
Weight: 1170kg

Honda NSX R: 2002

Flat out, the NSX R will hit 165mph.

Flat out, the NSX R will hit 165mph.

Honda reached for the R badge again, just as the NSX’s first chapter was drawing to a close. Weight was down by about 145kg thanks to lightweight buckets a carbon bonnet and ditching lazy-boy kit like central locking and power steering. Theoretically no more powerful than a regular (by now, 3.2) NSX, and only 4lb ft more torque, but shorter gearing made better use of it. Honda UK was all set to sell, but bottled it at the last minute.

Engine: 3.2-litre 24v V6
Power: 276bhp @ 7300rpm, 224lb ft @ 5300rpm
Transmission: Six-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Performance: 4.8sec 0-62mph, 165mph
Weight:1300kg

Honda Civic Type R (FN2): 2007

This generation of CTR is a bargain these days.

This generation of CTR is a bargain these days.

Stunning sci-fi styling made CTR v3 a massive hit, but under the skin Honda had been treading water. Power was up by one solitary pony, nowhere near enough to offset the extra kerb weight, and the double wishbone rear was ditched for a cheaper torsion beam. Mugen version, limited to 20 units, came with 237bhp – and a near-£40k price guaranteed to drive buyers elsewhere.

Engine: 2.0-litre 16v 4cyl
Power: 198bhp @ 7800rpm, 142lb ft @ 5600rpm
Transmission: Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Performance: 6.6sec 0-62mph, 146mph
Weight: 1301kg

Honda Civic Type R (FD2): 2007

The FD2 was a fine car, but it was hamstrung in the UK by its high price.

The FD2 was a fine car, but it was hamstrung in the UK by its high price.

Based on the terminally boring four-door Civic Europeans know, if at all, from the tedious IMA hybrid, JDM-spec CTR was a proper weapon with more power and better handling than the FN3 hatch. Mugen RR went event further, pushing power to 237 horses and stripping weight to 1255kg with greater composite and aluminium content.

Engine: 2.0-litre 16v 4cyl
Power: 222bhp @ 8000rpm, 159lb ft @ 6100rpm
Transmission: Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Performance: 6.3sec 0-62mph, 149mph
Weight: 1270kg

Honda Civic Type R (FK2): 2015

The FK2 was on sale for just two years.

The FK2 was on sale for just two years.

Inevitable switch to turbocharging meant masses more power – and the option of even more, a quick remap away. A whole 20mph faster than its predecessor, but a whole lot less interesting to listen to, FK2’s ran for only two years before the Civic range was renewed.

Engine: 2.0-litre 16v 4cyl, turbo
Power: 306bhp @ 6500rpm, 295lb ft @ 2500rpm
Transmission: Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Performance: 5.7sec 0-62mph, 168mph
Weight: 1382kg

Honda Civic Type R (FK8): 2017

It ain't pretty, but it is quick...

It ain't pretty, but it is quick...

Honda's next-gen Civic Type R was finally revealed in full at the 2017 Geneva motor show in March. It's still front-wheel drive, but its 2.0-litre turbocharged engine now puts out 316bhp. Will that be enough to keep the new Type R in contention with its highly respected rivals? Time will tell.

Engine: 2.0-litre 16v 4cyl, turbo
Power: 316bhp @ 6500rpm (est.), 295lb ft @ 2500rpm (est.)
Transmission: Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Performance: 5.7sec 0-62mph (est.), 170mph
Weight: 1382kg (est.)

Which one would you take home? Have your say below...

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Comments (5)

  • I had a DC2 Integra Type-R. Great car but not an ideal daily driver.

      4 years ago
    • FWIW Jay, I run one as a daily driver(JDM 98 Spec) and for the last decade. Great seats, fantastic driving position, decent sized boot, even space in the back seats for friends who've pissed you off recently and if you take it handy can return...

      Read more
        4 years ago
  • An awesome read for Honda lovers!

      4 years ago
  • they should made Accord VII Type R. For me it is one of the prettiest cars ever made. With Type R bage on the boot, red H on the bonet and with some upgrades, more POWER - it would be just perfect.

      4 years ago
  • nice work 👍

      4 years ago
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