Highlights of the 2021 Honda Civic Type R:

  • Suspension, brake and engine cooling performance upgrades
  • Refreshed exterior and interior styling and new Boost Blue Pearl colour
  • Debut of Honda LogR™ performance datalogging app, exclusive to Type R
  • Still 6-speed manual only

The redesigned 2021 Civic Type R is confirmed as launching in New Zealand with upgrades to ride and handling, braking performance and engine cooling. The car will be officially on sale Monday 12th October, with the first stock arriving late November 2020.

Honda says that since its introduction in 2017, Civic Type R has gathered acclaim for its combination of potent dynamic performance and day-to-day driving civility. The Type R has also garnered an enviable reputation on the track among professionals racing the Civic Type R TCR in the Pirelli World Challenge series and other top Touring Car series, and with enthusiast owners taking their street-going Type Rs to the track.

Design and Detail Upgrades

For the 2021 model year the Civic Type R receives styling and design enhancements both inside and out. The exterior is refreshed with updates to the front and rear bumpers with the addition of body coloured accent blades. The bold new Boost Blue Pearl colour joins Honda New Zealand’s full colour line up for the Civic Type R including, Championship White, Rallye Red, Crystal Black Pearl, Modern Steel Metallic and Sonic Grey Pearl.

Inside, a new Alcantara wrapped steering wheel, a new shift lever with a restyled knob and suede shift boot separate the 2021 model from earlier versions. The new knob shape is reminiscent of beloved EK9 Civic Type R. Part of the knob’s design is a 90g counterweight built inside, which helps improves shift feel and accuracy.

In-line with its Civic stablemates the Type R is fitted with the revised Advanced Display Audio touchscreen, that Honda says is redesigned for a more intuitive user experience, with the addition of hard keys for the most commonly used functions, along with a dedicated volume control knob. The usability of climate control functions has also been improved on with the addition of push buttons for one-touch adjustment and control of the fan speed

Also new is the addition of Active Sound Control (ASC).  Working through the audio system’s speakers, ASC is tuned to enhance engine sound in a natural way, during aggressive driving in all driving modes. In the same way the bespoke triple exhaust is thoughtfully engineered, Honda claims that ASC has been carefully considered to enrich the driving experience whilst balancing the requirements of day to day driving.

Dynamic Performance – Fun to Drive DNA

The Type R gets a new grille design with a 13 percent larger opening that along with an updated radiator core delivers improved engine cooling in high demand situations, such as track use, with a decrease in coolant temperature of up to 10° C in testing. In a testament to Type R engineers’ attention to detail, a small reduction in front downforce resulting from the new larger grille opening was countered by a redesigned front spoiler under the bumper, which was made slightly deeper on the left and right sides and modified to include new ribbed sections on each end to deflect air back onto the spoiler.

The suspension for the 2021 Civic Type R has also been updated for more responsive and sharper handling. The control software in the Adaptive Damper System (ADS) now evaluates road conditions ten times faster (2Hz to 20Hz), resulting in what Honda claims is improved damper reactions for both better handling response and ride quality. The rear bushings for the lower arm have been stiffened, resulting in better toe in tracking when cornering. In front, updated compliance bushings (10 percent stiffer longitudinally) and new lower-friction ball joints result in sharper steering feel for better control.

For improved brake performance with better fade resistance as well as reduced unsprung weight, the Type R’s single-piece front brake rotors are replaced by new two-piece rotors gripped by brake pads with a new more fade-resistant pad material. From the driver’s seat, the brake pedal benefits from a more immediate feel with approximately 17 percent less play before the brakes engage. In addition, the new front brake system reduces total unsprung weight by 2.3kg to aid both ride and performance.

LogR Performance Datalogger

Debuting for the first time in any Honda automobile is a new performance datalogger, exclusive to Type R. Known as Honda LogR, the new datalogger combines the Type R’s on board computer and sensors with a smartphone app to help drivers monitor and record a variety of performance parameters when driving on the track or other closed courses. It’s also designed to help improve their driving skills through the use of a driving-smoothness algorithm developed with the help of professional Honda drivers. With exclusive access to the Type R’s on board computer, Honda LogR can deliver much more detail than third-party performance logging apps.

The LogR app is designed to work exclusively with the new Type R, for both iPhone® and Android™ users. Honda LogR features three main functions: a Performance Monitor, a Log Mode, and Auto Score Mode.

  • The Performance Monitor provides vehicle information to the driver on the Display Audio screen while the app is functioning.
  • Log Mode records lap times on the track, allowing drivers to improve their driving skills.
  • The Auto Score function encourages smooth driving by monitoring braking, acceleration and steering, and generating a score based on the smoothness algorithm.

While driving, all interaction with Honda LogR is through the Advanced Display Audio screen, but Log Mode and Auto Score both offer more in-depth analysis after driving when the phone is unplugged from the vehicle, including previous drives, performance traces and replays using maps, and detailed vehicle information.

Performance Monitor

When connected to the app-equipped smartphone, the Type R’s 7-inch centre screen displays a Performance Monitor, which allows the driver to see vehicle functions in real time, including coolant and oil temperatures, oil and atmospheric pressures, engine intake air temperature, and gear position.

Drivers can also choose between a “G-Meter” view that indicates acceleration, braking, and cornering G-forces on a “bowl” graph, or a “3D” view that provides a bird’s-eye visual of the car’s pitch, roll and yaw, similar to what one might see in a high-end racing video game. Additionally, the Advanced Display Audio screen shows the current drive mode (Comfort, Sport or +R).

Log Mode

Log Mode is designed to help drivers achieve the best possible lap times on the track. The program uses GPS to monitor and map the vehicle’s location and the car’s internal sensors to gather data on acceleration, braking, cornering Gs, and other parameters. The app encourages smooth, controlled driving through the use of a color-coded trace of each lap, with green, yellow, and red colours indicating progression. The goal is to encourage smooth use of the clutch, shifter, steering, brakes and accelerator, keeping the car in balance, and thus improving overall driving skills, not just the skills required for a particular track. Users can save their lap times to compare their improvement over time.

Auto Score

The Auto Score function operates whenever the Honda LogR app is in use, monitoring the driver’s behaviour over time by tracking inputs for acceleration, deceleration, and steering (cornering and straight driving), and generating a score for each. It also generates a combination score of those four parameters. The score is generated against the same pro-driver baseline that is built into the app and used in the Log Mode function. Similar to the Log Mode, Auto Score also keeps a historical record that ties in with the GPS function to show driving improvement over time.

Powertrain – Racing DNA

Under the bonnet, the refreshed Civic Type R retains the race-bred 2.0-litre direct injection, turbocharged, VTEC engine, which produces 228kW of power at 6500rpm and 400Nm peak torque from 2500-4500rpm. Proudly paired with the close-ratio six-speed manual transmission with rev-matching function, the Type R has been tuned to deliver flexible and exhilarating performance.

Specifically engineered for direct injection and turbocharging, with an ultra-lightweight forged steel crankshaft and forged steel connecting rods, the Type R powerplant is designed to offer maximum torque output in the mid-rpm range to provide power on demand. Offered exclusively with a six-speed manual transmission, the high-strength gearbox offers a short-throw shift action and closely spaced ratios tailored to suit the power delivery of the VTEC Turbo engine.

As before, all vehicles are equipped with the driver-selectable rev-matching feature ensures smooth high performance downshifts, while a helical limited-slip front differential helps the Civic Type R transfer its power to the ground. The Type R’s driver can choose between three driving modes – Comfort, Sport and +R – that vary damping force, steering assist and throttle mapping.

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How on earth to start this? I've been car/bike/truck crazy since I was a teen. Like John, I had the obligatory Countach poster on the wall. I guess I'm more officially into classic and muscle cars than anything else - I currently have a '65 Sunbeam Tiger that left the factory the same day as I left the hospital as a newborn with my mother. How could I not buy that car? In 2016 my wife and I drove across the USA in a brand-new Dodge Challenger, and then shipped it home. You can read more on www.usa2nz.co.nz. We did this again in 2019 in a 1990 Chev Corvette - you can read about that trip on DriveLife. I'm also an Observer for the Institute of Advanced Motorists - trying to do my bit to make our roads safer.

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