Technical Discussion

Honda FK8 Civic Type-R - Apex Enthusiast Guide

Article | 04/05/2024 by Matt Thompson

Introducing the Apex Enthusiast Guide for the Honda FK8 Civic Type-R. If you’re looking for the latest Civic Type-R, you’ll want to check out the FL5 Essentials Guide instead.

After years of only experiencing the Civic Type-R through TV screens, the Honda gods finally blessed U.S. enthusiasts with a bright red ‘R’ badged Civic of our own—and it lived up to every bit of the hype. The Civic Type-R specs were among the most competitive in the Hot Hatch segment.

2017-2021 Honda Civic Type R Specs

Honda Civic Type-R Zero to 60 4.9 Seconds
Honda Civic Type-R Engine K20C1 - 2.0L Turbocharged Inline 4
Honda Civic Type-R Transmission 6-Speed Manual Transmission
Honda Civic Type-R Horsepower 306 Horsepower
Honda Civic Type-R Torque 295 Lb-Ft
Honda Civic Type-R Curb Weight 3045 lbs
Honda Civic Type-R Weight Distribution 62% Front / 38% Rear
Honda Civic Type-R Dimensions Wheelbase: 106.3 in / Length: 179.4 in / Width: 73.9 in / Height: 56.5 in

Thankfully avoiding the blasphemy that a Civic Type-R auto would be, the FK8 was exclusively offered with a slick 6-speed manual transmission. Paired with a factory LSD and phenomenal suspension tuning, the front wheel drive Civic Type-R arrived with a splash.

2017 Honda Civic Type R Nurburgring Time: 7:43.80

Splash may be a bit of an understatement. The Honda Civic Type-R quickly reminded everyone who was the King of Sport Compacts, handily beating out each of its competitors in test after test, lap after lap. Heavy is the crown, or something like that.

With the prices of a used Honda Civic Type-R going as low as $25,000, the performance-per-dollar ratio of these cars is hard for any enthusiast to deny. Being able to shatter lap records and still pick up the kids from school for half the price of an M car is no small feat.

Civic Type-R Versus (Comparisons)

Civic Type-R Vs GR Corolla

Civic Type-R GR Corolla
Engine Performance 306 Horsepower / 295 Torque 300 Horsepower / 273 Torque
Curb Weight 3045 Pounds 3276 Pounds
Base MSRP $34,790 $36,500

The new Toyota GR Corolla has arrived to much fanfare and rightfully so. Although the hot hatch has not had an official Nürburgring lap time posted, testing on various local road courses has shown lap times within a tenth of the FK8 CTR.

Civic Type-R Vs WRX STI

Civic Type-R WRX STI
Engine Performance 306 Horsepower / 295 Torque 305 Horsepower / 290 Torque
Curb Weight 3045 Pounds 3450 Pounds
Base MSRP $34,790 $34,495

The Subaru WRX STI has long been a tuner staple with its signature boxer rumble and symmetrical all wheel drive. In most track comparison tests, the FK8 CTR tends to be a tad quicker than the WRX STI, but it’s still a worthy comparison.

Civic Type-R Vs Focus RS

Civic Type-R Focus RS
Engine Performance 306 Horsepower / 295 Torque 350 Horsepower / 350 Torque
Curb Weight 3045 Pounds 3434 Pounds
Base MSRP $34,790 $36,995

Ford’s Hot Hatch was designed around all-out performance and it shows. With a whopping 350 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque, the turbocharged engine of the Focus RS sends its power to all four wheels. Often running neck-and-neck in comparison tests to the Civic, the Focus RS might be the closest thing we’ll ever see to an 'American' Type-R.

Civic Type-R Vs Golf R

Civic Type-R Golf R
Engine Performance 306 Horsepower / 295 Torque 292 Horsepower / 280 Torque
Curb Weight 3045 Pounds 3283 Pounds
Base MSRP $34,790 $36,475

Though the notorious back-and-forth battling for the Nürburgring record is technically between the FK8 CTR and the European-Exclusive Golf GTI Clubsport, the Volkswagen Golf R tends to perform comparatively well at local race courses, setting lap times near to that of the much more track oriented Civic Type-R.

Civic Type-R Vs Elantra N

Civic Type-R Elantra N
Engine Performance 306 Horsepower / 295 Torque 276 Horsepower / 289 Torque
Curb Weight 3045 Pounds 3199 Pounds
Base MSRP $34,790 $33,245

With a quick glance at the spec sheet, the Hyundai Elantra N does look to be a bit of an underdog compared to the Civic Type-R. The stand out feature of the Elantra N however, is the optional 8-speed dual clutch transmission. Having lightning-fast sequential shifts is typically a feature reserved for much more expensive vehicles, putting the Elantra N in a category of its own.

Civic Type-R Vs Civic Si

Civic Type-R Civic Si
Engine Performance 306 Horsepower / 295 Torque 205 Horsepower / 192 Torque
Curb Weight 3045 Pounds 2889 Pounds
Base MSRP $34,790 $23,900

Price aside, the Civic Type-R and the Civic Si are simply intended for two different purposes. The Civic Si is great as a slightly hotter Civic than most. Think of it as a jalapeño, it will add a little kick, but not entirely change the formula. Whereas the Civic Type-R is a habanero. While there may be some similarities, the CTR is a noticeably different vehicle than the other Civics in the lineup.

Recommended Honda Civic Type R Mods

As sensational as the FK8 Civic Type-R is from the factory, there is still some room for improvement, especially depending on which model year you purchase. While the earlier models can be a lower priced entry point, the later models did clean up some of the weak points through small tweaks and revisions.

Wheels & Tires

After sorting out cooling, the next must-have modification to any CTR would be wheels and tires. The 2017 FK8 Type-R notoriously arrived with 20x8.5” ET60 wheels and 245mm wide tires, a setup that would have landed the Honda on the cover of Dub Magazine back in the day. While the high offset did help with scrub radius and torque steer, overall the factory setup wasn’t exactly favored by enthusiasts from both a performance and ride quality standpoint.

Swapping to an 18-inch wheel is an extremely common modification for the Civic Type-R, typically allowing owners a wider variety of tire choices and more sidewall for improved driving comfort. Apex Wheels 18x9.5” ET45 Forged VS-5RS is a great option for the R as it provides an easy direct-fit upgrade over stock and allows for a much wider tire than the factory wheels. The lower offset brings the wheels flush to the fenders whether your CTR has factory suspension, lowering springs, or coilovers.

Apex VS-5RS in Motorsport Gold

Be sure to check out Apex’s full Honda Civic Type-R FK8 wheels catalog for all CTR-compatible Forged and Flow Formed options!

Suspension Modifications

The FK8 comes equipped with adaptive dampers, allowing drivers to transition between a comfort-oriented ride and a track-focused ride at literal flip of a switch. Because many CTR owners prefer to maintain this feature, pairing a good set of aftermarket springs with the factory dampers is a common upgrade for these cars. Although there are quite a few offerings on the market, the Swift Springs Spec-R are a stand out option for anyone aiming to retain the adaptive dampers.

Bolt-On Engine Modifications

Like many modern performance vehicles, the FK8 Civic Type-R does not leave a lot of performance on the table. The days of gaining 10 horsepower from simply adding an intake and an exhaust might be behind us for good. That said, adding an aftermarket tuning component such as Hondata FlashPro can open up a lot of opportunity for additional power, even with the included base maps. Keep in mind that while a more aggressive tune may provide more horsepower, it can often come at the expense of cooling efficiency.

Cooling Modifications

Although the FK8 is a very robust vehicle on the street, on track these cars were known to encounter cooling issues under hard driving. Naturally, the aftermarket produced a variety of radiators, oil coolers, grills, and vented hoods to help alleviate the issues. The facelifted 2020 Honda Civic Type R featured a revised front grill and a revised radiator design which provided a mild improvement to cooling performance.

The C&R Radiator and Oil Cooler are a great pair of cooling upgrades that are known to produce meaningful improvements to the CTR’s cooling performance and are worth investing in if you have any plans to do more than one or two track days in a year.

Looking for more Civic Type-R FK8 photos? Check out our Gallery!

For more in-depth wheel fitment information, check out our FK8 Civic Type-R Fitment Guide!

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Matt Thompson

Matt became the JDM Product Expert at APEX Wheels in 2022. Prior to joining APEX, he worked extensively in automotive sales. As an enthusiast he made the shift from street driving to track driving in order to fully experience his cars at the limit without putting the public at risk. Matt has owned six Hondas (‘94 Integra LS, ‘95 Integra RS, ‘96 Integra GS-R, ‘06 RSX Type-S, ‘95 Civic VX, ‘17 Civic EX-T), two Subarus (‘15 Impreza, ‘22 BRZ), and is likely shopping for the next addition to his stable. When he’s not helping JDM owners figure out the best wheel setups for their cars, he enjoys playing racing video games and indulging his interest in automotive photography. Fun fact: Matt knows every quotable line in The Fast and the Furious by heart.

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