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2020 Honda Civic Type R Is Still Suitably Wild

But, Honda didn't give the Civic Type R more power.

Kelly LinWriter

After arriving to much anticipation in the U.S. in 2017, Honda's Civic Type R heads into 2020 with a significant refresh. The first-ever Type R to reach our shores, the Civic showed up with a 306-hp turbo engine and wild styling peppered with spoilers and wings and things. Our favorite hot hatch's in-your-face attitude is unchanged, but its suspension, brakes, and—yes—even some of its exterior styling have all been massaged slightly.

Honda says that the 2020 Civic Type R's updated dampers should improve ride quality, although the hatchback's electronically adaptive dampers already delivered an unbelievably comfortable ride in its softest setting. (It was particularly impressive given the Type R's 20-inch wheels wrapped in rubber-band-thin performance tires.) Front suspension modifications result in improved steering, while stiffer rear bushings are claimed to help the chassis deliver even more impressive grip. Braking is enhanced by new two-piece brake rotors and fresh pads designed to reduce fade during hard driving. Oh, and a larger grille opening allows more cooling air to reach the engine.

One thing that doesn't change is power. But that's good, because the Civic Type R doesn't really need any more than it already has. The turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder still pumps out 306 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque, which was enough to propel the hatch from 0-60 mph in as little as 5.4 seconds in our testing. A six-speed manual transmission continues to deliver power to the front wheels, but Honda shortened the lever's throws. Also new for 2020 is Active Sound Control, which modifies the interior sound based on the selected drive mode (Comfort, Sport, +R), a new Type R-exclusive Boost Blue paint color (pictured), an steering wheel wrapped in faux suede, and a fresh shift knob.

In less-exciting news, Honda Sensing, the brand's suite of active-safety features such as automated emergency braking, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping steering assist, and adaptive cruise control, is now standard fitment. While that's likely boring stuff compared to the Civic Type R's crazy styling and mind-bending front-wheel-drive performance, the addition of Honda Sensing means that the safety package is finally standard across the entire Civic lineup.

It might not have been crazy modified, but the '20 Civic Type R remains suitably wild. If this subtle update of the un-subtle Honda appeals to you, scrounge together your cash for later this winter, when the revised Civic Type R goes on sale. While pricing hasn't yet been announced, given the improvements and additional content, expect to pay more for it than you would have for a 2019 model, which started at $37,255.