New Honda HR-V 2021 review


The new Honda HR-V compact SUV has arrived in the UK and it ticks plenty of boxes 


Ingeniously practical, well-built and impressively frugal, the HR-V ticks many of the compact SUV boxes. Our time driving in the UK has put to bed question marks over fuel efficiency - few cars in this class can offer the HR-V’s potential. It even drives smartly too, although it isn’t quite class-leading in any one area. Unfortunately, it doesn’t deliver enough to justify its relatively high retail price compared with some key rivals. Still, it’s the most convincing family car Honda has produced in years.

Back in the late nineties Honda dubbed its first-generation HR-V “The Joy Machine”, and now into its third iteration, this new compact family SUV will need to leave us grinning from ear to ear if it’s to topple rivals like the Toyota Yaris CrossRenault Captur and Ford Puma from the top of a fiercely competitive crossover class.

Our first encounter on German roads in left-hand drive form showed that there’s plenty to like, but the HR-V didn’t live up to Honda’s promise of class-leading fuel efficiency from its hybrid powertrain.

Step inside and the driver is presented with a neat, uncluttered environment. Build quality is excellent and feels as plush as anything else in the class. It’s backed up by Honda’s latest infotainment system, which is lightyears ahead of what the previous HR-V was lumbered with.

It’s towards the back where the really smart stuff starts, though. Overall knee room is up by 35mm, and in this area the HR-V measures up very strongly against its rivals. It’s just a shame that the boot is relatively pokey - the 319 litres on offer is disappointing. It does make up for this slightly with Honda’s ‘Magic Seats’ though. These not only fold forward, but the seat bases can also flip upward, which is ideal for carrying taller items.

This is made possible by the way that Honda’s engineers have packaged the fuel tank; it’s slotted beneath the front seats, as opposed to beneath the rear bench as in most cars. It’s partly because the HR-V uses a full hybrid, too.

On paper, the HR-V’s petrol/electric set-up is clever. Under the bonnet sits a 1.5-litre petrol engine, but for the most part this only serves to act as a generator for the battery and motor. In fully electric this motor/generator can be decoupled altogether, while under hard acceleration its energy isn’t transferred through a gearbox, but as a direct drive - again, in the name of efficiency.

 If this sounds familiar, then it is; this set-up is very similar to that used by the Jazz supermini. It offers more here, though; the petrol engine gets a power boost (up 9bhp to 106bhp) while the battery is more compact but also 25 per cent more energy dense; the the overall output stands at129bhp.

In some ways, it feels like a fully electric vehicle. Moving off from a standstill is silky smooth, but increase the speed further and we were left wishing for more pep from the electric motors. Accelerate onto a motorway slip road, for example, and that initial electric boost has little influence - instead, you’re left waiting for the engine to wake up, and the drive systems figure out how to most effectively deploy its power to the road. The delay here is similar to that of a standard automatic transmission kicking down - only it’s accompanied by a flare of droning revs from the 1.5-litre unit. This only happens under hard acceleration though; for the most part it’s fairly peaceful. 

The rest of the drive is impressive, if not game-changing. It’s stable and secure through the corners rather than fun like a Ford Puma. The steering is precise and well weighted, but the extra assistance some rivals offer around town make them easier to manoeuvre. Some low-speed fidget aside, the ride is comfortable, though there is slightly more road noise than we’d have liked.

 But for all the engine's slightly unnatural noises and slightly dull throttle response, on our first encounter we were left somewhat baffled by a car which struggled to hit 45mpg. On this occasion, the HR-V managed to match its claims - and then some. We regularly saw in excess of the official 52.3mpg figure, reaching over 60mpg in mixed use, which is impressive and towards the top of the class.

Unfortunately, it’s also at the pricey end of that sector too, starting from £26,960. To counter this, the HR-V is well equipped across all three trim levels. The base model Elegance gets 18-inch alloy wheels as standard, plus LED headlights, digital dials, heated front seats, and a nine-inch touchscreen with a reversing camera.

Above that sits this Advance trim, which is predicted to make up 60 per cent of HR-V sales. Among its extras are a hands free tailgate and dual-zone air-conditioning, but the price climbs to £29,210. The range tops out with the Advance Style, which for £31,660 introduces a contrasting roof finish, wireless smartphone charging and a premium hi-fi.

Model: Honda HR-V e:HEV Advance
Price:  £29,210
Engine:  1.5 4cyl petrol hybrid
Power:  129bhp/253Nm
Transmission:  Single speed, front-wheel drive
0-62mph:  10.6 seconds
Top speed:  106 mph
Economy/CO2:  52.3mpg/122g/km
On sale:  Now

New Honda Integra in official pictures

Honda will soon start selling the new Integra in China, as announced by these official images.

Integra is based on the latest generation of Civics (with refined lights, mask and bumpers), while the production will be taken care of by GAC-Honda.

The new Integra is 4689 mm long (15 mm longer than the new Civic), 1802 mm wide, 1415 mm high, with a wheelbase of 2735 mm.

For now, it is known that the new Integra will be offered in China with a 1.5-liter turbo gasoline with 182HP.

Honda Passport TrailSport

Honda's crossover Passport was introduced in this generation in November 2018, so it's time for some changes.

Thus, the off-road version of the Passport TrailSport was also offered for the 2022 model year.

For the Passport TrailSport, among other things, a wider wheelbase (+ 10 mm front and rear), improved stability, more aggressive bumpers, honeycomb front grille, 18-inch wheels, 245/60 R18 tires and of course 4x4 drive are provided.

There are also orange TrailSport badges, orange seams in the interior, TrailSport inscription imprinted in the headrests, as well as rubber floor mats.

There will be only a 3.5-liter V6 petrol with 209 kW / 280hp and 355 Nm, combined with a nine-speed automatic transmission.

The standard Honda Passport for the 2022 model received redesigned bumpers, standard LED headlights, smart entry system, infotainment system with 8.0-inch screen, Android Auto & Apple CarPlay, a long list of driver assistance systems, as well as contrasting seams on the leather seats. versions with EX-L equipment.

Also, there is the HPD Package (Honda Performance Development), with a new front grille, black fender arches, new alloy wheels, as well as HPD graphics.

The 2022 Honda Passport will be available to U.S. customers starting this winter.

Honda will also produce the third generation of the NSX model

A few weeks ago, Honda announced a special edition of the NSX model, which put an end to the impressive career of the second generation of the esteemed athlete. Such a model is marked Type S and will be available only next year, before the NSX is sent to retirement, and we recently wrote about this. However, that does not mean that we will never see this exotic four-wheeler with a centrally placed engine again.

In a conversation with colleagues from The Drive and Motor Trend, Acure Vice President John Aikida announced that we will see him again in the near future. North America has always been a key market for the NSX and the athlete has been sold under the Honda premium brand Acura, which also explains why such a statement is made by a person from this division.

But it is quite certain that the next NSX will be on electricity, since such technology seems to be the future of the automotive industry. This claim was somewhat confirmed by the aforementioned Aikido, which says that the Japanese giant represents a new generation of supercars only when it is ready to start a new chapter in its history.

With the first generation, that case was with a six-cylinder gasoline engine, and the current model was celebrated with powerful hybridization, so it is not difficult to conclude that the successor will be electric.

When asked when we can expect him, Vice President Acure does not give a clear answer. He says Honda is one of the largest gasoline engine manufacturers in the world and, if the industry is moving away from such technology, then the Japanese giant must analyze well in which direction it should go, as the NSX program is always expensive to develop, and rarely proves profitable.

There is no doubt that the trend is changing much faster than it was before. For example, the first generation of athletes was produced for as many as fifteen years (from 1990 to 2005), while the second had a career that lasted only six years.

Honda's slogan has been "The Power of Dreams" for many years, so there is no doubt that the Tokyo-based company will prepare something really special when the time comes.

If nothing else, Type S has shown us that not much has changed and that NSX still likes to defy and spoil the accounts of big players

The most powerful Honda NSX ever develops 600 hp

The supercar of the Japanese company was presented a few days ago on the American market, where it is sold within the Acura brand.

The second generation of this sports two-seater was introduced 5 years ago as a hybrid with a combination of V6 engine and three electric motors, and the new version of the NSX has the Type S designation, and will be available in a limited series of only 350 copies.

This limited edition comes in gray or red, with black detailing, red brake calipers and Type S markings above the rear wheels. Each of the 350 copies will also receive a label with the model number.

Compared to the standard model, the battery capacity has been increased and the nine-speed automatic transmission with double clutch has been improved, while the drive system consisting of a 3.5-liter V6 engine and three electric motors now develops 20 hp more, or exactly 600 hp. Production of the second-generation NSX will continue at Honda's plant in the United States, along with this special edition, until December 2022, when the end of production of this sports model is scheduled.

This supercar will not be available in Europe, however, because the sale of the NSX on the Old Continent ended last year.

2022 Honda Civic First Drive Review: Honda’s Boy Racer Grows Up

Despite the popularity of new SUVs, the fact is that not everybody wants to sit up high in a quasi-off-road station wagon. And for those remaining resisters, Honda has this: the updated 2022 Honda Civic. As you can see, the new Civic has shed its old “boy racer” look and has adopted the calmer, more conservative appearance of the bigger Accord sedan. Gone are the odd bumper polygons and the low and racy roofline, and in its place we have … well, what appears to be a three-quarter-scale Accord. But how much of the rest of the old racy Civic has become the new, more conservative Accord? I recently got to spend a couple of days with the new 2022 Honda Civic Touring, and I can confirm: The new one has grown up in many ways.

Controversial Looks
From the outside, the new car is easily mistaken for the Accord. There are many styling similarities, from the new proportions of the longer, lower body to the more upright roofline and larger windows; even that little kink in the C-pillar is copied over from the Accord sedan. It’s a decidedly more conservative look than the Civic has had for the previous two generations, and it comes just as competitors are getting ever more outrageous (have a look at the new Hyundai Elantra) in order to stand out and grab whatever share of the shrinking compact sedan class they can get. It’s not a bad look for the Civic, by any means, but its tepidness does make me wonder how this is going to look in a Type R version with scoops, wings and ducts added.

It’s Strong at Heart
Under the hood is a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine mated to a continuously variable transmission, which is, yes, the Accord powertrain. But in the Civic EX and Touring trims, this powertrain combination is good for 180 horsepower and 177 pounds-feet of torque, understandably less than it makes in the bigger Accord. It’s one of two possible engines in the new Civic, the other being a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter four-cylinder you get in the basic LX and Sport trims making 158 horsepower and 138 pounds-feet of torque. (Both are tied to the retuned CVT). There’s no sporty Si model or fire-breathing Type R track monster just yet, but Honda likes to get the basic stuff out of the way first before turning up the heat later on.

A Rethink of Honda Interiors
While Honda stylists may have made a near carbon copy of the Accord from the outside, the inside is a whole new world for the brand. The interior is much, much different than the Accord, featuring a retro-cool style that brings back some of the boxier looks of classic Japanese cars of the 1980s. There’s a long strip of hexagonal mesh dash trim that hides the front passenger climate control vents, and the interior itself no longer looks like it was designed by several committees that never talked to each other. What do I mean by that? Well, the doors now meld well with the dash design, and the graining of the materials is the same from the dash to the doors, as well. There’s a sophistication to the new Civic interior that looks quite refreshing, and it comes from a newfound minimalism that we first saw in the Honda e electric car that’s not sold in the U.S.

The new electronics look good, with a high-mounted 9-inch multimedia screen (the biggest ever fitted to a Honda-brand vehicle) easily reachable by the driver, with a dedicated volume knob and a big prominent “home” button. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard with the 9-inch system in the Touring but require a cable if you stick with the standard 7-inch multimedia system. The new 10.2-inch digital gauge cluster that comes only in the Touring trim is also well done, with four possible arrangements: either traditional round dials or bar-type graphics, each also featuring a minimalist option that reduces the information overload to the driver.

Overall, there are only as many buttons as are needed, nothing extra, nothing confusing. Everything is arranged within the driver’s sightlines. I can even see the buttons that Honda likes to mount low and to the left of the driver’s knee without a problem now. You feel like you’re sitting low in the Civic thanks to the plentiful headroom, but the windshield feels upright and the dash and beltline feel low, improving the outward visibility considerably over the past Civic. The steering wheel feels substantial, and the shifter position (note that it’s not a push-button affair) is perfectly located for resting your hand.

Materials quality was excellent in the top Touring trim level I drove, with leather seats and nicer trim up top. It’s also plenty spacious inside, with about average room for the category both front and back. The tall design to the overall exterior sheet metal comes in handy in the trunk, which feels quite capacious, with sufficient room in it to wonder if the upcoming hatchback model is really necessary. There’s a maturity to this design; it’s more friendly and approachable than futuristic and fantastical, but it again makes me wonder how Honda is going to zoot this up for its sporty models down the road. Guess we’ll have to wait and see.

More Entertaining Than Expected
Or will we? The Touring trim may not be the vaunted Si, but it still is far more entertaining to drive than any non-sport Civic trim level I’ve ever tried. The turbocharged engine is super-torquey; even a light jab of the pedal brings surprising acceleration. The transmission may be one of the best-tuned CVT units I’ve ever tried, it’s perfectly matched with the engine to provide quick power and impressive response. Something new for 2022 is a Sport mode on 2.0-liter Sport and turbocharged Touring trims, which changes steering and throttle response when you select it, allowing you to hustle the Civic along back roads with surprising speed — and you’ll find yourself grinning as you do it.

The whole experience of driving the new Civic is one of sophistication, and as good as an Accord is, this just might be better. The chassis response is excellent, the ride and handling balance is outstanding, and there’s actual steering feel and feedback, too. It feels considerably lighter on its feet than a new Accord, which always struck me as a bit piggish and heavy. Even the brakes are outstanding, providing excellent bite and progressive stopping strength without being the slightest bit grabby.

It may not be billed as a sporty sedan, but the Civic holds its own nicely and conveys the sensation of an advanced, refined, even premium driving experience. You can feel that the bones of the car are going to provide an amazing base for the actual sporty versions in the Si and Type R whenever they do arrive. I’d easily stack it up against the best out there like the latest Elantra, the Volkswagen Jetta or even more premium models like the Audi A3. If, like me, you really don’t see any need for a new crossover when there are still sedans out there that are this good, you’re going to want to put this new Civic on your list.

Long Live the Resistance
Honda has also brought some updates to the Civic’s onboard safety tech, now featuring available rear-seat side airbags, some next-generation front airbags meant to minimize head and neck trauma, and a new camera for forward facing systems like adaptive cruise control and pedestrian detection. There’s also a new optional 12-speaker Bose premium audio system that sounds fantastic. And loaded examples like my fully equipped Touring test car will come in just a hair less than $30,000, including destination.

But really, the story with the new Civic is the enhanced driving dynamics and simplified interior styling that elevate the car beyond its humble compact sedan class. It’s a substantial, satisfying car to drive, either on back roads or urban boulevards — and for SUV resisters, it’ll give you one more reason to avoid that new crossover for a few more years.


Honda HR-V: e:HEV hybrid powertrain details revealed

New Honda HR-V SUV has a fresh look, updated technology and a 129bhp dual-motor hybrid powertrain

The all-new Honda HR-V was revealed earlier this year and now the firm has confirmed further details of the new car’s 129bhp e:HEV hybrid powertrain.

For the third-generation HR-V, Honda has given it a sleeker exterior design, an all-new interior and updated technology onboard. The new car will only be available as a hybrid and is expected to go on sale later this year with a starting price of around £25,000.

When it arrives, the new HR-V will go head-to-head with small SUV models including the Ford Puma, Renault Captur and Skoda Kamiq.

2021 Honda HR-V hybrid: engine and performance

Honda has announced the latest HR-V will be powered by a 1.5-litre petrol engine mated to two electric motors and a CVT automatic gearbox. This powertrain is similar to the one used in the current Jazz but features a larger battery mounted under the boot floor. It also produces more power, with a total output of 129bhp.

The way the e:HEV hybrid powertrain operates is unique, with one electric motor powering the car along with the petrol engine. The second motor is connected to the engine but is used as a generator to charge the car’s onboard battery.

This powertrain will be capable of pure-electric running but Honda has not specified any range figures saying “In city driving, most of the time you can, as an accumulated time of driving, drive in pure-electric mode. However, we haven’t actually determined and measured, and also focused our development in terms of maximising the pure-electric range in one go.”

Honda discontinued its 1.6-litre diesel engine in 2020 amid freefalling diesel sales. The new HR-V is part of the brand’s ‘Electric Vision’ strategy, which aims to introduce hybrid or electric power to all of its mainstream models by 2022.


The new HR-V has a rakish design thanks to a coupe-inspired swooping roofline and a longer bonnet. Despite the sporty profile of the roof, which is 20mm lower than the old car, Honda claims the new HR-V can accommodate four adults in comfort thanks to improved packaging of the hybrid powertrain which results in an extra 35mm of rear legroom.

The front features a new integrated grille and slim LED headlights joined together by a narrow piece of chrome trim. The new HR-V also sits 10mm higher than before, with the sides of the car featuring black plastic body cladding around the arches and sills, together with a high indent line along the length of the car and a flush-fitting rear door handle. Large 18-inch five-spoke two-tone alloy wheels also feature.

The rearmost C-pillar is more sharply angled than before, leading to a new tailgate that houses a slim rear tail light cluster that wraps round from the rear quarter panel across the width of the car.

Interior and technology

Inside, the dashboard has been redesigned with a new minimalist look. A nine-inch central infotainment touchscreen is mounted to the top of the dashboard, which appears to be running similar software to the system used in the Honda e, which includes sat nav and smartphone connectivity.

Honda has retained physical rotary dials for the climate controls in a wrap-around centre console with a refreshed gear stick design. The clean dashboard design features an ‘Air Diffusion System’ that replaces the traditional air vents in the centre of the dashboard. This comprises two L-shaped vents mounted by the windscreen pillars, which direct air along the inside the windows to adjust the interior temperature - all without blasting hot or cold air directly at the driver or passenger.

The brand’s versatile Magic Seats storage system also features, offering the option to fold the rear seats flat or to flip up the rear seat bases depending on the storage space required.

Full details of the new car’s interior tech and trim levels are expected to be announced later this year.


The new third-generation HR-V is fitted with Honda’s ‘Sensing’ safety suite adding an array of driver assistance technology. A new front camera is fitted, which has more processing power than before and improves both the car’s emergency braking and steering systems.

The new camera is able to better detect pedestrians detection, and is capable of recognising oncoming vehicles including cyclists and motorcycles, automatically applying the brakes when a hazard is detected.

A new adaptive cruise control system is also included, with new advanced software meaning it can perform overtakes when prompted. The system can work out the acceleration and steering angles required to complete a passing maneuver, all with minimal input from the driver.

Honda CR-V Hybrid Sidles into Our Long-Term Fleet

We begin a 40,000-mile shakedown of Honda's first electrified crossover to see if the powertrain scales up into the brand's bestselling vehicle.


We invited a 2021 Honda CR-V to join our long-term fleet so we could spend some quality time (and 40,000 miles) with Honda's bestseller and the fifth-bestselling vehicle in the United States. We chose the hybrid because it's new to the lineup and because we liked the 212-hp fuel-sipping powertrain in the Accord. In the CR-V, the system boosts fuel economy and performance, making it the choice for buyers who want efficiency and power. Those customers will have to shell out for it, though, given the CR-V Hybrid sits at the top of the range. In addition to shaking down the powertrain and seeing if it can deliver the promised fuel economy, we're hoping this compact crossover—the brand's first with hybrid power to make it to the U.S.—will give us a glimpse at the future of Honda, which will soon phase out gas-only powertrains in Europe.

We ordered a top-of-the-line Touring model loaded with just about everything: leather seats (heated up front), navigation, wireless phone charging, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration, a nine-speaker audio system, a liftgate that opens when you wave your foot under the bumper, proximity key entry, remote start, the Honda Sensing suite of driver-assistance features, and more. Our $37,920 example has but one option: white paint for $395. Perhaps it's because all of southeast Michigan is currently covered in two feet of snow or because half the vehicles in the grocery-store parking lot are also painted in America's favorite automotive hue (and shaped like tall boxes), but the CR-V blends in a little too well with its surroundings. We wouldn't call the color choice regrettable but maybe a bit forgettable.

Inside, Honda's inoffensive design, easy-to-use 7.0-inch touchscreen, and highly adjustable center console should satisfy most shoppers in this class if not the nit-pickiest staffers on our masthead. Hybrid versions differ from regular CR-Vs in a few subtle ways. A unitless battery gauge replaces the tachometer in the digital instrument cluster and tells you vaguely how much juice you're using at any given moment. Honda also opted for a push-button transmission instead of the chunky gear lever used in the core model. Staff reaction to push-button shifters is mixed, but the setup at least makes for a tidy, unobtrusive center console. In the same way a light color creates the illusion that a room is larger than it is, the Ivory surfaces in our CR-V make the cabin appear adequately spacious, which, granted, it is, offering 103 cubic feet of passenger volume. Provided that light-beige leather can withstand the dye in our Levis, the simplicity of this interior all but ensures it will age well.

A couple of hybrid caveats to note: Choosing this powertrain nullifies the nonhybrid CR-V's 1500-pound tow rating, so technical editor David Beard will have to look elsewhere when he wants to tow his snowmobile. Which is just as well, considering the cargo hold probably wouldn't fit all of his gear. The gas-electric CR-V sacrifices six cubic feet of cargo space (and its spare tire) to the battery. The upside is that, compared with a regular all-wheel-drive CR-V, you gain 9 mpg in combined driving by the EPA's yardstick. That said, if you drive like we do, you can expect much worse results: We're currently averaging a mere 27 mpg.

The Honda's road manners are in line with the amiable-but-boring norm of the segment. Its smooth ride and secure handling are immediately apparent, but there's nothing here that'll make an enthusiast grin—unless of course you're reading its VIN, which by dumb luck contains a bit of bathroom humor. Floor the accelerator and the powertrain fills the cabin with 75 decibels of sound. That's quieter than the regular CR-V's 78-decibel moan at full throttle.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we haven't had as many butts in these seats as we'd like, but after soft-shoeing it through the break-in period, we sent the Honda to the test track. The hybrid's drive motor can contribute 232 pound-feet of torque from the get-go, which helps this ute reach 60 mph a tenth of a second quicker than the unelectrified model, but the latter catches up by 70 mph and pips the hybrid at the quarter-mile, 15.9 seconds to 16.1. Our long-termer also lagged behind the regular CR-V in braking (170 feet versus 165) and roadholding (0.80 g versus 0.85). Given both cars wear identical Continental CrossContact LX Sport tires, we suspect the hybrid's extra 190 pounds are primarily to blame. Fortunately, in the real world, this CR-V seems more athletic than the gas-only version, and its quicker 5-to-60-mph time bears that out. As we put more miles on the odometer, we hope to see some of these numbers improve—particularly the observed fuel economy.

Months in Fleet: 2 months Current Mileage: 5131 miles
Average Fuel Economy: 27 mpg
Fuel Tank Size: 14.0 gal Observed Fuel Range: 370 miles
Service: $0 Normal Wear: $0 Repair: $0
Damage and Destruction: $0

Tested: Honda Civic Type R Refines a Great Hot Hatch

Honda makes the bonkers Civic even better by adding features, retuning the chassis, and tweaking the hatchback's still polarizing styling.

Everyone is seeking a distraction these days. The crumbs collecting in the seat of our racing simulator and the growing pile of empty cans beside it suggest that we've spent an unhealthy number of hours lapping computerized cars around circuits in Forza Motorsport. Perhaps it's the fleeting pleasure those pixelated races provide that made our hands-on experience with the revised 2020 Civic Type R feel like Honda gave us a healthier way to seek catharsis.

In southeast Michigan, our favorite paved playground, the loop we employ to select our 10Best list every year, lives close by. The drive there includes enough highway time to allow plenty of peepers to gawk at the Type R's gloriously juvenile bodywork. Its bulging front fenders, countless aero bits, and distracting (yet functional) wing are made more obvious by the Type R's new brilliant Boost Blue hue, which is the least subtle update Honda introduced on the 2020 Type R. (We expect an all-new Civic Type R for the 2022 model year). Other exterior revisions include body-colored trim on both bumpers, a larger grille opening that improves engine cooling, and, to add back some lost downforce from the new grille, a reshaped front spoiler. While nothing will ever convince the haters that this Civic looks badass, it's hard to deny that the Japanese-designed Batmobile draws as much attention as significantly more expensive metal. Apart from some dealer-installed accessories, the no-cost paint colors are the only options. Our 2020 copy cost $37,990, which is only $735 more than it did last year.

HIGHS: Unflappable poise, excellent turbo-four engine, daily driver livability.

The Type R looks as out of place on the interstate as Marilyn Manson performing at Sunday service. Although our long-term 2019 Civic Type R has revealed that extended road trips are not this car's strong suit, we had just a short interstate blast in the 2020 car before we reached our destination. Those outrageously red front seats are more comfortable than they look. And like lesser Civic hatches, the Type R has an Uber-grade back seat and sizable cargo space behind it. The 2020 model replaces the leather on the steering wheel and shift boot with a racier microsuede material. A new teardrop-shaped shifter hides a 90-gram counterweight to deliver better feel. Somewhat surprisingly, Honda kept the aluminum knob, which burns your hand in the summer and bites it in the winter.

The 2020 Type R's turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four makes the same healthy 306 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque as before. That power is dispatched to the front wheels through a helical limited-slip differential and a six-speed manual transmission, which has short gearing that prioritizes rapid acceleration. While the engine starts making power around 2500 rpm, the party is pretty tame until the tach needle passes 3500 rpm, unleashing a thrilling blast to redline that conjures the high-revving VTECs of yore. It also provides enough shove to ensure that the Daewoo Lanos with a duct-taped wing that's lingering in your mirrors can only dream about overtaking you.

In the 2020 model, we recorded a 4.9-second dash to 60 mph and a quarter-mile pass of 13.4 seconds at 108 mph—solid runs that are both impressive for a front-wheel-drive car and similar to those of previous Type Rs we've tested. But the hottest Civic's reign as the quickest front-driver has come to an end. The updated 2021 Hyundai Veloster N with its new optional automatic transmission just beats the Honda to 60 mph by a tenth of a second. The 302-hp 2020 Mini John Cooper Works GP is a tenth quicker still to 60 mph (4.7 seconds) and posts an even stronger 13.1-second quarter-mile at 110 mph. Even more significant is that the Mini GP snagged the title of fastest front-driver ever at this year's Lightning Lap, beating the Type R's time around our 4.1-mile configuration at Virginia International Raceway by just 0.1 second.

LOWS: No longer the quickest hot hatch, love-it-or-hate-it styling persists, still doesn't sound as good as it drives.

The Type R’s trademark triple-outlet exhaust issues a droning boom unless you’re working the engine hard enough to push exhaust through the center pipe and its resonator. The odd arrangement is intended to add character to the engine's soundtrack, but it only emphasizes our disappointment. The mightiest Civic sounds subdued, especially compared with the firecracker soundtrack of the Veloster N. Honda apparently realized this disparity and sought redemption by installing Active Sound Control on all 2020 models. This new feature artificially enhances the Type R's engine sounds using the audio system, and the intensity increases as you move through the drive modes. Too bad it's really only noticeable during large blips of the throttle—during heel-and-toe maneuvers or rev-matched downshifts—but even then, it just sounds like an auto-tuned bumblebee blasting from the speakers. The 88 decibels we recorded at full-throttle and 74 decibels at a 70-mph cruise are in line with other Type Rs we've measured, although those figures are 3 and 2 decibels quieter, respectively, than what our long termer produced when it was new.

As we approached the hard right turn that begins the clockwise circulation of the loop, we killed the climate system and the radio to focus on the Type R's chassis improvements. The 2020 car gets new lower-friction ball joints and updated bushings for the front suspension, revised rear bushings that are stiffer laterally, and retuned adaptive dampers that now sample the road 10 times quicker. The front brakes are fitted with more fade-resistant pads and new two-piece floating rotors that are no longer cross drilled that cut unsprung weight by 2.5 pounds per side. These careful tweaks are hard to perceive without driving the new and old models back-to-back, and they don't produce any measurable difference at the test track. The 2020 model returned a familiar (and excellent) 1.03 g of grip around the skidpad and a 148-foot stop from 70 mph. However, we did notice the new car's firmer brake pedal, which Honda says has 17 percent less initial lost motion before the pads meet the rotors (and the Type R already had spectacularly good brake feel).

Our route includes several places where you can accelerate hard from a stop, and that’s one of the few situations where the Type R’s front-wheel-drive layout feels like a liability. The car's Continental SportContact 6 tires—sized 245/30ZR-20 all around—frantically scramble for traction as the turbo spools up and the tach approaches the 7000-rpm redline. While the front tires struggle to find grip right off the line, they’re at least not tugging toward the ditch, as the Type R's dual-axis strut front suspension magically vanquishes the dreaded front-drive torque steer. Once you’re moving, flowing along a ribbon of twisty road in third gear, the lack of all-wheel (or rear-wheel) drive feels irrelevant.

Despite pancake-thin sidewalls and huge 20-inch wheels, the Type R’s ride is almost unbelievably free from the expected jolts and jitters. While there's a noticeable change between the softest damper setting (Comfort) and the firmest (Plus R), the Civic feels unflappable in either mode while roller-coasting up and down the loop's esses. Steering effort incrementally increases with each of the three drive modes (the default, appropriately, is Sport) and every note reminds us of Porsche's divine composition.

The talkative wheel is a major factor in the Type R's preternatural ability to turn any road into a racetrack. This is a car that transforms grocery runs into hot laps, commuting into rally stages. While it shares an aging infotainment system and its standard driver-assistance features (such as adaptive cruise and lane-keeping assist, which are new for 2020) with the regular Honda Civic hatch, the alpha-dog model looks and feels like an altogether different car. It’s a raw, visceral machine, an IRL antidote to virtual living. You might have a million-dollar racing simulator, but those screens can’t compare with the view through a Type R’s windshield.

Honda Civic Si Long-Term Review: The Goldilocks of Sports Sedans

Minor concessions in comfort return huge gains in driver engagement.

Buying a performance car often costs more than money; it costs comfort and convenience. If you're buying a 2020 Honda Civic Si, though, it doesn't have to.

The Civic Si is essentially a mono-spec vehicle. As such, it rings in at just $26,155, making it one of the cheapest sports cars on the market in the best way possible. For that price, you get 31 more horses than a standard Civic, two-mode electronically controlled dampers, and a limited-slip differential. We spec'd ours with the $200 High-Performance Tire (HPT) option, but aside from that, all you could add to this car are some dress-up parts, a wireless phone charger, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. The last two would've been nice, but we easily lived without them.

2020 Honda Civic Si: The Cost Of Caring

The Civic Si doesn't cost much in terms of comfort, either. The standard setting for the adjustable shocks is firmer than that of the average compact sedan, but not much. The shocks get firmer still in Sport mode, but that's just for when you're pushing the car on a good road. The front seats have big bolsters on the sides to keep you in place, but they're big, soft pads, not rigid extensions. If the Si is any louder inside than a standard Civic, it's not enough to notice (interior noise has long been a Civic weak spot).

The Civic Si costs almost nothing so far as convenience is concerned—provided you don't consider driving a stick shift in traffic inconvenient. In sedan guise, it gives up nothing in rear-seat space or access, and you get a big, secure trunk. And although there's no navigation option, it does come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility so you can use your phone's navigation instead.

In fact, the Civic Si is comfortable and convenient enough that my wife and I didn't have a second thought about taking it on a three-hour journey to celebrate our anniversary at a house—with a pool—we rented. I thought for sure we'd stuff the car to the roof with clothes, food, drinks, and entertainment for a week, but we barely filled the trunk. Hours on the freeway to and from were no big deal, as the car was neither too stiff nor too loud for a road trip (nor were the seats too stiff).

On this particular trip, the Honda was just a nice little compact sedan with some extra zip for passing lane hogs. On other trips, especially those up into the mountains to go hiking, it was the best sports sedan for the money on the market (the Civic Type R is a hatchback). The composure of the chassis could teach things to more than a few sports cars that cost three times as much.

2020 Honda Civic Si Sedan: Momentous Performance
The Civic Si is what we call a momentum car. With 205 hp, it's no performance monster, but at 2,900 pounds, it's light enough to chuck about without constantly needing to slam on the stoppers. There's a delightful dance to be had in braking just enough to safely make the corner without losing any more momentum than absolutely necessary. The brakes, which aren't even upgraded past a set of performance pads, stand up to anything you can throw at them, which isn't much because again, you don't really have to slow down much for most corners. On the way out, the Civic Si's limited-slip lets you get back on the power early and pull it out of the corner, making the most of every pony. The manual transmission, the best of any this side of a Porsche, never lets you miss a shift, and the pedals are perfectly spaced for heel-toe downshifting.

Its shortcomings are few and far between. If you're something of a drag racer, this isn't the car for you. Although the Civic Si feels quicker than it is, it's still held back by an engine that lags below 3,000 rpm and runs out of steam a thousand rpm before redline. The little Honda sedan is best when hustled on a road where you can keep both its speed and the engine's speed up. Around town, you're best off shifting before the turbo switches on, and when you're hustling, short-shifting. You'd also be well advised to keep a rag in the car to protect your hand from the cool-looking but scalding-hot or freezing-cold aluminum-topped shifter. When you're done driving, make sure to wait until the engine actually stops running after you switch off the car. If you release the clutch in gear too quickly ... well, it could get ugly.

It's easy to overlook the Civic Si when the Civic Type R is right there on the lot and only $11,500 more, but whether you're on a budget or just not ready to make the compromises its more powerful kin demands, the Si delivers. It's rewarding to drive on the best roads and comfortable on the commute. Ultimately, the Civic Si demands very little in exchange for the fun it provides, leaving you with a practical sedan every other day of the week.


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