2020 Honda Civic Type R
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2020 Honda Civic Type R Hot Hatch Breaks Cover in Chicago With New Performance Upgrades

The 2020 Honda Civic Type R breaks cover at the Chicago Auto Show. See what new performance upgrades are coming to the hot hatch.

It’s hard to believe, but the fifth version of the Honda Civic Type R made it’s U.S. debut in 2016 as a 2017 model. In its fourth year, it needs something to get performance fans excited about it again. The 2020 Honda Civic Type R gets a mild refresh and broke cover at the Chicago Auto Show this week. Here are the changes and performance upgrades coming to the 2020 Civic Type R.

Outside, Honda brings a new Boost Blue exterior color scheme to the new Civic Type R hatchback. It also gets revised exterior styling with a redesigned grille to allow for improved engine cooling.

2020 Honda Civic Type R
2020 Honda Civic gets a new Boost Blue exterior color scheme

Honda says the performance hatch also gets new two-piece brake rotors and brake pads designed to reduce fade and improve high-speed braking efficiency. Suspension revisions for 2020 will include updated dampers for improved ride comfort, stiffer rear bushings for better grip, and revisions to the front suspension and steering for an improved steering feel.

Inside, the 2020 Civic Type R will feature new upgrades that include a new Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel, and a new shifter with a restyled knob and shorter shift throws to the 6-speed gearbox. New standard safety technology includes Honda Sensing driver-assistive technologies. Honda says a new Active Sound Control, will modify interior sound and work in concert with the chosen drive mode (Comfort, Sport, and +R).

2020 Honda Civic Type R
2020 Honda Civic Type R is in its fourth year in the U.S.

No changes were made to the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine or transmission, and the newly-refreshed model delivers the same 306 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. of torque coupled with a close-ratio 6-speed manual gearbox.

How does the 2020 Civic Type R compare to the competition?

There are reports the new Volkswagen Golf R could get around 328 horsepower, a 37 horsepower increase over the current Golf R. If this is the case, the Honda Civic Type R will fall behind the Golf R in performance. The new Golf R is expected to be unveiled at the 2020 Goodwood Festival of Speed in July so we’ll have to wait to see.

The one advantage the 305 horsepower 2020 Subaru WRX STI still has over the Honda Civic Type R is it comes standard with the brand’s excellent Symmetrical all-wheel-drive system versus the Type R’s front-driver configuration. When the snow flies, Type R owners who live in cold climates have to leave the performance car in the garage.

Honda did not release further details for the latest Civic Type R but says pricing and complete specifications will be available when it hits dealer showrooms later this winter. Fans can check out the 2020 Honda Civic Type R at the Honda display at the Chicago Auto Show that runs from February 8-17, 2020.

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Denis Flierl has invested nearly 30 years in the automotive industry in a variety of roles. All of his reports are archived on our TN Honda page and be sure to follow Denis on FacebookTwitterInstagram. Check back tomorrow for more Honda news and updates.

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Photo credit: Honda USA

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It seems like pretty minor changes, but personally I like the new blue color, and Honda's Civic Type R is a hit already, so incremental improvements are always welcome. For me I wish that they had a stealth model that looked like the Civic SI, but had all of the go-fast bits under the skin, without the giant wing, etc..