For a car so focused on function over form, the Honda Civic Type R really ought not to have a face stuffed full of fake vents. Granted, they’re carried over from the standard Civic, but the big fake panels flanking either side of the FK8’s front bumper still - rightly - cause a lot of ire.
It seems, however, that Honda has recognised the problem. The Japanese manufacturer has revealed a facelifted version of the car, and although it might look identical on first glance, a closer inspection reveals what’s new.
The fake vents have made way for smooth plastic parts - mirroring a change seen on the facelifted standard Civic - with slots cut into each side. They’re neatly split in two with hockey stick-shaped swoops finished in body colour. On that subject, the hue it’s wearing - Boost Blue - is a new addition to the options menu.
Unfortunately, the rear end is still sporting falsies, although as with the front, these parts have been broken up effectively with more body-coloured swoops.
Pleasingly, the changes aren’t limited to aesthetic ones. The 2020 Type R has new two-piece brake discs, which are teamed up with new fade-reducing pads. The dampers have been revised in the name of improving ride comfort, and the rear bushings are now stiffer. There have been some unspecified alterations at the front, which Honda says will “reduce friction and improve steering feel”. One thing we wish Honda hadn’t done was add Active Sound Control, “which modifies interior sound in concert with chosen drive mode”. Hopefully there’s an off button.
We haven’t seen inside the car yet, but there are some improvements in the cabin to look forward to. There’s now an Alcantara-clad steering wheel, plus a new gear lever with a redesigned knob promising even shorter throws. Rounding off the raft of tweaks is the Honda Sensing package of driver assistance features.
Nothing has changed under the bonnet - you still have a 2.0-litre inline-four turbo engine providing 306bhp and 295lb ft of torque. This is sent through the front wheels via a mechanical limited-slip differential.
The updated Civic Type R will go on sale summer 2020. Pricing is an unknown at this stage, but we’d expect a small increase on the £31,870 charged for the outgoing model.