Civic Type R – Part 1: All The Fun You Will Need If You Have RM200k To Throw Around



wdl_4514As much as we Malaysians complain about our beloved country, we truly are a lucky bunch. We have some of the best roads this side of the world, lenient traffic police that we still complain about anyway even as we cruise down our ‘ways at 160km/h, and we have access to some of the best cars in the world if money is no object.

Take the Civic Type-R FD2R for example, Malaysia is the only market out of Japan to have the FD2R in its local Honda line up, how lucky is that? It’s a great car really, from the way it looks to the way it drives, everything is well pieced together to bring alive that legendary Type R experience, making it safe to say that this Type R is probably the most thoroughbred of Type Rs since the NSX-R.

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The FD2R runs on the same 2.0 liter K20 engine found in the Integra DC-5 but takes on a different character in the Civic, it could very well be the way the car handles that elevates the K20 engine to higher ratings but the engine also gives the car two different personalities for you to choose from (by the way, the K20 in the FD2R takes the Civic a full second quicker than the Integra DC5 around Tsukuba circuit and four seconds quicker at Suzuka). Short-shift all the way into sixth gear while staying below 5,800rpm and the menacing Civic Type-R is your friendly, everyday, go anywhere car with a roomy interior and comfortable supportive Recaro front seats that also provide a great seating position. On the flip side, pull through the cogs with the VTEC light flickering madly and the FD2R is probably all the fun you will ever need if you have RM200,000 to throw around.

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But having kept the car for a week and having had discussions with various owners and people who have driven the car, different points were brought up, the most nagging of all was that the car was not fast enough and that it sounds faster than it actually is. It’s somewhat true but it’s not a problem, drive is fed through a close ratio six speed gearbox which means that you’re shifting much faster and earlier than your usual road racers, the lack of sound insulation amplifies the VTEC scream and the super stiff suspension just seals the race car feel. Anyone with a lack of car-know, will believe that the FD2R is a race car for the road and that it’s doing 200km/h when its actually only doing 140km/h, but yet it still is able to provide a healthy dosage of adrenalin rush usually only reserved for high powered, high speed, high priced machines, very cheekily satisfying, just don’t get into a showdown against turbocharged competition.

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Honda claims that the body is actually 50% more rigid than its previous JDM only Integra Type R, and it definitely feels like it too, the Type R does not ride on a magic carpet, but then, it never had any intentions to ride like one either. The stiff suspension is actually at the very core of the car’s personality, it allows the car to be driven hard through corners at speeds you normally wouldn’t try doing but it is also too stiff for everybody’s taste as I later found out as I ferried more and more people around and had to deal with their complaints and observations.

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Such views effectively position the Type R as a hardcore enthusiast car that not everybody can appreciate, but then again, the Type-R IS an enthusiast only car. Everything about it is single-mindedly performance orientated; the FD2R features independent rear suspension rather than the torsion beam configuration used in its lesser European sibling, the FN2R. The suspension set up also happens to effectively ensure that the tyres retain contact with the tarmac at all times. Honda has even gone to the extent of adhesively bonding the extensively used aluminum instead of the traditional weld, all in the name of weight saving.

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With 222hp that is made available at the far end of the rev meter at 8,400rpm and 215Nm of torque, the Type R makes you work for your pleasure, that also means that you need to find empty roads where you can really stretch the engine all the way to 8,400rpm, there are not that many roads around Kuala Lumpur that allow you to do that, but that problem is solved once past midnight, and yes, people surely must have woken up as we were ‘VTEC-ing’ around, testing the extent of the Bridgestone Potenza RE070 level of grip, the four pot Brembo’s up front and of course, the standard limited slip differential, and let me tell you, its grandly harmonious how each component of the car from the engine, to the chasis, to the tyre, to the brakes and to the LSD work in unison to deliver that wonderful “oh my god, this is a f**kin blast” feeling.

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But sadly, not a lot of people can appreciate this car as it only serves very well for the driver who engages the car and is brave enough to exploit the extreme talent waiting patiently under that Championship white for his own benefit a.k.a knowing how to make it bloody quick around the bends and twisties and roads that don’t require the speed limiter intervening (180km/h). Not a lot of people know how to do that or find pleasure in doing so but to those who do, the Type R is a great ally.

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This also lead to some arguments with close friends and colleagues about whether or not it’s actually good at what its supposed to do and whether or not its worth all that money, I definitely think so, I had a blast in the Type R and loved every minute I had it, but then also, the other guys drive bigger capacity, faster, more expensive cars that could have the Type R for breakfast, so we decided to take our argument up a notch, we invited a professional driver into our argument. We invited our very own national drift champion and pro racer, Tengku Djan Ley for a test drive to see what he thinks about the Civic Type R and to settle our fiery debate once and for all, find out next week what he has to say about the Civic FD2R.

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  • yea!!

    huh???…this car is not fast enuf?????…u kiddin??

  • KrAyven

    Anyway, a JDM FD2R is selling RM199,850 at Honda Malaysia. Eventhough it is pricey but have you ever think that this is a brand new car direct imported from Japan? Mostly people will take FD2R compared with those more sports and powerful car like Subaru Impreza, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, Nissan Silvia, Nissan 350z, ETC. Yes, they are right instead of these car of course can bring you more power with lower price compared to FD2R. But let’s take 350z as an example, most the guy know the market selling price for a ’03 – ’04 350z is around RM170k to RM190k depending on specs. But this selling price is for a recond’s 350z but not a brand new 350z. A brand new is selling around RM500k more or less and this is a fact. This is just my view and would like to share with you guys. Anyway, I like FD2R and 350z too. Cheers!

  • yea!!

    yea…just give me 1 of these babe anydays..no matter fast or slow :)

  • apalalu

    It is Vtec, not Vtech u idiot. Were you test driving a civic type-R or fooling
    around with a 3 yrs old toy’s?

  • savahn

    We were comparing notes on the design of the car against more “sports” oriented cars from 10 years ago. The Civic Type-R is a well execute car, there is no argument.

    But dont compare it with the NSX-R. Completely different class.

    Again, “sports” cars are a rich man’s playing field here in Malaysia. In sharp contrast with Australia, US and other countries where sportscars can be purchased at less than 1 years salary… in comparison with 5-7 years salary.

    And there is NO WAY the Civic Type-R can be considered a “daily drive” kind of car. The suspension is too stiff. Put your grandmother in the backseat and her hip will displace, her back will break apart and her head will fall off from the shear jostling going on.

  • keshy

    if im an idiot for accidentally including the H in the V-Tec.. Then “apalalu” must be Einstein for figuring that out and that the FD2R is a 3 yrs old toy..

    Thanks though for pointing that out.. It’s been changed..

    p/s I don’t recall comparing the FD2R against the NSX-R

  • detomaso_runna

    some people just don know how to mind their word. don worry “keshy” u did a good job commenting. but still i choose my Subaru rather than FD2R.

    btw Civic type r can be dailly driven car “FOR YOUNG PEOPLE”….. if wanna put grandma buy another ALgrand or Alphard.

    come on ZTh people…. open ya mind!!!

  • Crazy Biscut

    i actually will choose this over both Evo X and the STi Hatchback and dont relly care about the stiffnesss becuase im used to it already

  • aku_sangap

    wow……..rm200k..woohoo….but, what the hell..it’s a type r!!!….;)….

  • takuya kimura

    for me just buy the js racing speed limiter cut, then you will find all the pleasure you one!!!!!!!!!!! die hard waitng my mugen rr will coming!!!!!! you will see ya!!!!!!!!!!!!! no bullshit talking!!!!! I will post my car when thing happen! No more R but here come RR MUGEN MILANO RED! Superb and marvelous what can i say!

  • yea!!

    aiya…scare the suspension too stiff then go change to tein adjustable suspension lor..

  • king_jamez

    i love this car to the bits….MUACKS! LOL

  • saya

    .
    Nice to see, nice to hold, once touched, consider bought! He..he..he..
    .

  • http://deleted apalalu

    keshy on July 17th, 2008 1:56 pm

    if im an idiot for accidentally including the H in the V-Tec.. Then “apalalu” must be Einstein for figuring that out and that the FD2R is a 3 yrs old toy..

    Thanks though for pointing that out.. It’s been changed..

    p/s I don’t recall comparing the FD2R against the NSX-R

    ———————————————————————————————————–

    To the idiot “Keshy”, read my comments properly. Or u don’t understand simple english?? Sorry i don’t speak or write tamil….

  • KrAyven

    takuya kimura: Bro, I heard somebody is bringing in the Mugen RR with 8000km mileage selling around RM250,000. I thought the car already arrived in Malaysia?

  • mpower

    Which dealer bringing in the Mugen RR?

  • keshy

    “apalalu” – whatever makes you happy man.. I’m sure you’ll keep coming back to read my “idiotic” simple English articles.. For that.. I thank you for your support.. Look out for Part 2.. It could be just as idiotic.. Cheers..

  • yea!!

    aiya..cheers la keshy..u did a good job la…continue with it la…dun bother critics la

  • zk11

    i was contemplating on civic type r and integra type r (dc5), and settled for the dc5r. I know civic type r is an improved version, but i wonder how much better? a better second or 4 seconds on the track, but heck i don’t think it’ll be much different on kl road, what do you think? i drive my dc5r daily to work, and everywhere i go, a bit stiff on the road, but i got no complain. purely on physical assessment, i prefer the 2 door sport hatchback, but beauty is on the eyes of the beholders. again, on physical, i prefer the hatchback cockpit, smaller, and more hmm confined feeling.
    has anyone really compared on the performance on daily driving?

  • netmatrix

    This is a fantastic machine. I read a magazine dedicated to this car in Kinokuniya when it was launched few weeks later. If you could look at the pictures, (sorry can’t read japanese) There are too many improvements to the K20A. Its crazy! Every machine seam is polished. The exhaust are all calibrated. And the suspension is more complex.

    Few months on, i bouth a best motoring mag that features Keichi testing this car against 2 tuned F20Cs. All i can say is the grip and power of this Type-R is anything but fantastic. If you look after a few runs being in front, you notice just how fast the front tires wear out and the Type R lost to the 2 F20Cs.

    This cars chassis is tuned to the max. Its amazing. I think non of the other new and old Honda cars except the NSX could touch it in stock form.

  • keshy

    Totally agree with NetMatrix.. I can’t tell you what we put this machine through and there wasn’t so much as a whimper.. It gripped when it needed to.. It got up and went when you wanted it to.. and it can keep doing that all day long.. It is one of the best handling cars on the road today.. Many may not agree but that’s probably cause they have driven better cars that cost twice or thrice as much.. Nevermind then.. The FD2R Civic is probably one of the best ever built.. Save the NSX-R..

  • JINEIL2EN

    well… why my FD2R doesn’t fitted with “front pair of Recaro”..?? .. & why the statement made a 225ps on the spec sheet instead of 222ps..???
    …just wondering…..???

  • netmatrix

    Huh you didn’t get the recaros? Damn must ask Honda malaysia then. It like paying 200K for a rocket without seatbelts. hahaha.

  • JC@

    don’t really like “sport cars” with 4 doors, FF.

    it’s just my own taste ya.
    i know it has a good engine and body as well.

  • pandaB

    hehehe…good excuse to shut the Mrs to own a sports car……*boot+4 door… ok maybe a lil firm on the suspension tho…

  • netmatrix

    Well we just wait until T Djan finished testing the car, then we know how well it is. BTW, i think its a good benchmark to improve the Protons cars for MME. hehehe.

  • nehemiah

    Good read. Now.. where’s that Tengku Djan review..? :)

  • keshy

    on the way…

  • JINEIL2EN

    i just got Type-R seat only…
    asked Honda Malaysia, they said there is no Recaro at all in all over the world for this FD2 Type-R. Just Type-R seat, made by Honda itself…

    >>netmatrix on July 21st, 2008 1:38 am
    Huh you didn’t get the recaros? Damn must ask Honda malaysia then. It like paying 200K for a rocket without seatbelts. hahaha.<<

  • netmatrix

    Wasn’t the seats made by recaro? Even though they didn’t print recaro on them. Even if they don’t its still bucket seats right? Oh in that case, can visit half cut shops and buy those seats cheap. Can always argue they are not recaros. hahaha.

  • JDM_Car

    new 2009 Civic Mugen RR, use 2.2 engine, but I prefer Type R and Cyrrent Mugen RR

    http://www.autoworldblog.net/2009/01/2009-honda-civic-mugen-rr.html

  • oWEz

    Shud i wait for new 2009 Civic Mugen RR or juz buying this gorgeous babe type-R………………………………………………………………..

  • Ben

    The only market outside of Japan to get them?? Yeah, that’s why we have them here in NZ =P

  • Bernard Lim

    Why dont u guys get a real race car driver to do the review. I mean T Djan my be a great drifter but as a racer I would consider him average. I am sure there are alot of top ace drivers out there with better track records willing to share their views on this cracking car!!.

  • A1Diablo

    Djan is not just a drifter. He is a serious race driver and has been very, very quick especially behind a Lotus. he knows the Elise like the back of his hand. Having been part of the development team, having raced it in Australia and in Malaysia and the Exige 300RR in both MME (which he won) and in Japan GT.

    More significantly he is a qualified chassis engineer which the general public doesn’t realize or appreciate. He worked with Porsche AG before before joining Lotus UK. This alone puts him above most local race drivers as he understand vehicle dynamics better than most drivers.

    It is the reason why he was picked to be Deputy Technical Director in A1 Team Malaysia, a senior technical position in the team never before held by a Malaysian

  • Wixly

    the seats are oem from Recaro…