Honda’s Type R brand has become shorthand for fast, front-drive hot hatch fun – we pick out its biggest icons.
1. 1998 Integra Type R DC2
The first Type R in the UK; Japan got it three years earlier, with different lights. Its 1.8-litre VTEC engine found 30bhp on top of the donor Civic VTi’s 167. It used all Honda’s weight-skimming tricks, but gained huge brakes, extra bracing, a limited-slip diff, red seats and a titanium gearlever. Just great.
2. 2001 Civic Type R EP3
A huge hit at the time, and still a joy to drive today, the EP3 took the three-door version of the van-styled Swindon-built Civic and gave it the full Type R treatment. A 2.0-litre VTEC engine that revved to 8000rpm, with the variable valve timing sending it bananas north of 6000rpm.
3. 2017 Civic Type R FK8
Developed at the same time as the non-R, the current Civic Type R is immensely civilised (for a hot hatch) and thrillingly hot (for a small family car). The engine and gearbox are basically the same as the FK2’s, but everything else is new: three dynamic modes, adaptive suspension, roomy interior and challenging styling. And three tailpipes.
4. 2015 Civic Type R FK2
5. 2007 Civic Type R FN2
The FN2 Civic was striking rather than beautiful. And the Type R tweaks emphasised its muscularity at the expense of any lingering elegance: lowered suspension, open-mouthed bodykit, blindspot-creating rear wing. But mechanically this was the most refined Civic Type R to date.
6. 1992 NSX-R
Started the R bloodline, but wasn’t actually called a Type R, and wasn’t sold outside Japan. Based on the 1990 NSX, it wasn’t radically different: red H on the nose, firmer suspension, higher revving 3.0 V6 engine, shorter gear ratios – and everything that could be lightened was lightened.
7. 2002 NSX-R
>Unlike the first NSX-R, the R version of the gen-two car was an official UK car, albeit hard to find and hard to afford. Where the Mk1 had only a minimal power increase, this had no power increase at all – but it lost 145kg for a total of 1270kg. The 3.2 V6 got a lighter flywheel and shorter throttle action.
8. 1998 Accord Type R
Based on the British-built sixth-gen Accord saloon, this was the car that showed Honda had grasped that the essence of Type R was taking an ordinary car and making it extraordinary, without sacrificing much of the everyday practicality. The 2.2-litre four revved to 8000rpm, made 209bhp and had a limited-slip diff. It drove like a big hot hatch and had the option of a daft spoiler.
9. 2001 Integra Type R DC5
Half of 2001’s double whammy. But unlike the previous generation, when the first Integra Type R completely outshone the first Civic Type R, this time around the EP3 made the DC5 seem a little ordinary. Not an official UK import, although it did form the basis of a successful BTCC race car.
10. 1997 Civic Type R EK9
Not a UK model, and with hindsight oddly half-hearted. In Russell Bulgin’s 1998 twin-test with the DC2 Type R, he likened the Integra to the Sierra RS Cosworth – pretty much the highest praise he could offer – while the Civic felt like driving the Integra Type R in mittens and orthopaedic shoes.