Launched in 2007, the FN2 Honda Civic Type R shunned the increasingly popular practice of turbocharging seen in many of its rivals. Instead it features an updated version of its predecessor’s 2.0-litre, naturally aspirated engine.
So that’s 198bhp and 142lb ft of torque in a car that despite weighing 60kg more than the EP3 generation of Civic Type R can still get from 0-62mph in an identical 6.7 seconds. It looks the part, too. The triangular-themed design of the eighth-generation Civic lends itself nicely to a more aggressive stance. This comes courtesy of lowered sports suspension, 18-inch alloys and a body kit featuring a rear wing that cuts right across your field of vision.
The interior design is more polarising, with a futuristic dashboard and layered dial design that is perhaps not as easy to operate as Honda had intended – apart from anything else, some owners find the top of steering wheel blocks their view of the speedometer. Still, you certainly couldn’t call it plain.
HOW MUCH DOES A HONDA CIVIC TYPE R FN2 COST?
The FN2 is also been great value, having fallen into Half Price Hot Hatch territory some time ago. Prices these days range from around £3,000 for an early, high mileage example to about £11,000 for a newer car.
As with all of the Type Rs of its era and before, the FN2 is all about revs. So to find out what all the fuss is about you must four-cylinder engine into the VTEC zone. Because that’s when you’ll witness the way the engine can spin just beyond 8,000rpm.
To drive, this is not one of those hot hatches that fizzes with feel the moment you get in. While the deeply bolstered Recaro seats do a fine job of setting the scene, at normal speeds the FN2 can still feel plain. That’s because the steering lacking any sense of connection and the ride is distinctly jiggly.
One thing you can appreciate immediately is the gear shift, for the metal-topped lever is great to hold and moves through its six ratios with sublime precision. Good thing too, because to get the most out of the Honda’s engine you need to stir those gears, keeping it on song above 5,400rpm. It is here that the Civic Type R comes alive. At high revs the engine takes on a deeper, more aggressive roar, and the lightning quick throttle response makes it feel almost like a road-going touring car. On top of that, it’s easily quick enough to feel truly entertaining.
Admittedly the handling isn’t as delicate as some of Honda’s other great Type Rs. But the steering is very pointy once you pick up some speed, and there’s plenty of grip. And so while it is ultimately lacking in feedback, this particular Civic should still make you grin.
The Type R was hugely popular in the UK so there are plenty of used examples to choose from. Due to the car’s nature often attracting owners who drive them hard, you should be picky. Paying for a full vehicle history check or used car inspection will help to give you peace of mind. It’s also worth looking at a car’s online MOT record prior to going to see it, using past results to verify the mileage and as a rough guide to how well it’s been cared for.
In terms of items to look out for make sure it stays in gear, particularly third. If not it can be an expensive fix. Check the clutch feels strong too (and doesn’t squeak), and note that engine oil consumption can be high on some cars, so check the dipstick shows the correct level.
Rattles from around the car need not signal an expensive problem, but they can be tricky to trace. Look closely at the seals around the windscreen and doors as rust can begin to develop here.
HONDA CIVIC TYPE R FN2 SPECIAL EDITIONS
Special editions to look out for include the Championship White (pictured above), which was launched in 2008 and included a limited-slip differential to improve traction. This become standard on Type Rs from 2009 onwards.
In 2010 the Mugan 200 joined the line-up. This has the same specification as the Championship White, but a more aggressive body kit designed to emulate a highly-tuned Mugen model of 2009, only a handful of which came to the UK.
Honda Civic Type R (FN2)
Power: 198bhp @ 7,800rpm
Acceleration: 0-62mph in 6.7 seconds
Top speed: 146mph
In the market for a used car?
CarGurus makes it easy to find great deals from top-rated dealers. CarGurus compares price, detailed vehicle data and dealer reviews to give each used car a deal rating from great to overpriced, and sorts the best deals first. Find out more and begin your used car search at CarGurus.