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Honda Civic Type R Refresh: 8 Updates You Need to Know About for the 2020 FK8 CTR

The 2020 FK8 Civic Type R mid-model refresh reenergizes Honda's golden child

Sam Du
Feb 7, 2020

In 2016, we got the very first look at the FK8 during a private unveiling.

The refreshed 2020 Civic Type R made its global debut at Tokyo Auto Salon last month and unfortunately, we completely missed it! At least we had good reason as there was a limitless number of awesome builds at Auto Salon this year; as we shared with you and stock cars tend to get lost in the mix at times. But fear not! We are here braving the snow flurries and 26-degree cold of the Midwest to give you an up-close look of the latest version of Honda's FK8 CTR from the Chicago Auto Show.

2020 Honda Civic Type R Front Bumper Photo 24/24   |   Honda Civic Type R Refresh: 8 Updates You Need to Know About for the 2020 FK8 CTR

Warning: There are no changes to the engine or drivetrain, and the design changes are minimal ... Don't get your hopes up if you're expecting anything groundbreaking.

Updates to the 2020 Civic Type R

  • New color code
  • Reworked grills
  • Side mirrors
  • Brake upgrades
  • Suspension changes
  • Honda Sensing standard

1. New Blue Paint. The first and most obvious update is this gorgeous new hue dubbed Boost Blue Pearl. This is a lighter and brighter blue that replaces Aegean Blue from the two previous model years. It's nice to see this blue pop on the FK8 Civic Type R, and it's slightly reminiscent of the Apex Blue Pearl that was offered on the limited edition S2000 CR.

2020 Honda Civic Type R lower side grille Photo 24/24   |   Honda Civic Type R Refresh: 8 Updates You Need to Know About for the 2020 FK8 CTR
2019 Honda Civic Type R old lower side grille Photo 24/24   |   Honda Civic Type R Refresh: 8 Updates You Need to Know About for the 2020 FK8 CTR

2. Lower side grilles. Located where the fog lights sit, the previous generation featured a honeycomb grille that many disliked because the plastic wasn't perforated. The new version gets rid of the honeycomb for a more stylish design which has a color-matched accent and small opening on the passenger side for the horn, while the driver-side is a dummy piece.

2020 Honda Civic Type R upper grille Photo 24/24   |   Honda Civic Type R Refresh: 8 Updates You Need to Know About for the 2020 FK8 CTR
2019 Honda Civic Type R upper grille Photo 24/24   |   Honda Civic Type R Refresh: 8 Updates You Need to Know About for the 2020 FK8 CTR

3. Front grille. I had to examine the 2019 and 2020 models' side-by-side to notice, but the center grille offers a larger opening with the refreshed FK8. Hard to see but looking at the front emblem, you notice the opening is taller (we also counted the mesh and there's one extra hole). Honda has tested this to minimize cooling issues, which, if you've heard stories of heavily beaten-on Civic Type Rs at the track, is a known problem Honda has rectified.

2020 Honda Civic Type R rear side grille Photo 24/24   |   Honda Civic Type R Refresh: 8 Updates You Need to Know About for the 2020 FK8 CTR
2019 Honda Civic Type R rear side grille Photo 24/24   |   Honda Civic Type R Refresh: 8 Updates You Need to Know About for the 2020 FK8 CTR

4. Rear lower side grilles. Doesn't offer any function but the lower side grilles on the rear bumper mimic those from the front with a color-matched accent and perforated 3D-like grille.

2020 Honda Civic Type R side mirror Photo 24/24   |   Honda Civic Type R Refresh: 8 Updates You Need to Know About for the 2020 FK8 CTR
2019 Honda Civic Type R side mirror Photo 24/24   |   Honda Civic Type R Refresh: 8 Updates You Need to Know About for the 2020 FK8 CTR

5. Side mirrors. Minor update but side mirrors are now standard with turn signals.

2020 Honda Civic Type R brakes Photo 24/24   |   Honda Civic Type R Refresh: 8 Updates You Need to Know About for the 2020 FK8 CTR
2019 Honda Civic Type R brakes Photo 24/24   |   Honda Civic Type R Refresh: 8 Updates You Need to Know About for the 2020 FK8 CTR

6. Two-Piece rotors and new pads. There's not much visually that changes about the front brakes as the four-piston aluminum Brembo caliper and 350mm discs remain; however, the rotors have gone to two-piece assembly. Wasn't a common complaint by Civic Type R owners but will help in the long run for better heat management and also offers lower unsprung weight. The pads are also updated and designed to improve high-speed stopping and fade life.

2020 Honda Civic Type R lower grille Photo 24/24   |   Honda Civic Type R Refresh: 8 Updates You Need to Know About for the 2020 FK8 CTR
2019 Honda Civic Type R lower grille Photo 24/24   |   Honda Civic Type R Refresh: 8 Updates You Need to Know About for the 2020 FK8 CTR

7. Minor suspension changes. Can't comment on 'em yet since we haven't driven it, but Honda has revamped the dampers and rear bushings, all in the name of sharper handling, extra grip and nicer ride comfort. Ride height has not changed in case you're wondering.

8. Anything else? All that Honda Sensing safety stuff is standard now, but that's not too fun to talk about. Lastly, we don't have photos yet but we heard from a little birdie that there will be a new steering wheel, shift knob, and trim pieces, plus the possibility of active sound control (engine/exhaust audio that emits from the speakers).

2020 Honda Civic Type R Passenger Side Rear View Photo 24/24   |   Honda Civic Type R Refresh: 8 Updates You Need to Know About for the 2020 FK8 CTR

Top 3 Things Super Street Would've Changed on the Refreshed FK8

1. Smaller wheels and tires. We know there's some technical reason behind going with those massive 20x8.5-inch wheels, but they're too big, and we've heard from Honda dealers and representatives that they're typically the first thing damaged on the FK8 Civic Type R. Go down two sizes and 18-inch looks perfect as proven by the Evasive Motorsports/HKS USA Civic Type R which rocks 18x9.5-inch Advan TC4 wheels all-around with 265-series Yokohama Advan A052 tires.

2. Aggressive exhaust. If we're putting our feet in the shoes of potential Type R owners, we'd want an exhaust that's burlier. If you've ever heard or driven the FK8, it's stealthy and lacks authority. Maybe good for the crowd that wants to try their best to sneak by unwanted attention, but we could use a bit more oomph (nothing the aftermarket couldn't fix, but just saying!)

2020 Honda Civic Type R Rear Bumper Photo 24/24   |   Honda Civic Type R Refresh: 8 Updates You Need to Know About for the 2020 FK8 CTR

3. Interior options. Maybe there's more news to come here, but are we the only ones that don't necessarily want a red-black interior combo? Something more subtle would be nice, or at least some options!

In case you missed it last December, Honda introduced two race versions of the FK8 Civic Type R in TC and TCR trims.

2020 Honda Civic Type R Passenger Side Font View Photo 24/24   |   Honda Civic Type R Refresh: 8 Updates You Need to Know About for the 2020 FK8 CTR
Chicago Photo 24/24   |   Honda Civic Type R Refresh: 8 Updates You Need to Know About for the 2020 FK8 CTR
By Sam Du
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