Honda debuted some small changes to the hottest version of its Civic hatchback back in January. The 2020 Civic Type R still looks as boy-racer as ever, but the mid-cycle refresh did make a few notable upgrades both to bodywork and mechanical components. The tweaked car makes its U.S. debut today at the 2020 Chicago Auto Show.

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To refresh your memory, the crux of the changes fall beneath the skin. Honda engineers went to work on the Type R’s brakes, developing new two-piece rotors with upgraded brakes pads for better stopping at higher speeds. Attention then focused on the suspension, installing stiffer rear bushings for less flex and better overall grip. Front suspension components and the steering were also revised, and though Honda doesn’t tell us the exact nature of the changes, the result is said to be a more direct steering feel. Amid all the dialing-in for more performance, Honda also optimized the Type R’s dampers to offer a more comfortable ride.

Gallery: 2020 Honda Civic Type R

Inside, drivers will find an updated steering wheel swathed in Alcantara and a new shifter with shorter throws. A tech update in the form of standard-issue driver safety and assist systems – a package better known as Honda Sensing – is also new and specific to the U.S. market. There’s also a new exterior color called Boost Blue, and if you look closely at the front you’ll see a revised grille that’s a touch larger. It helps feed air to the turbocharged 306-horsepower (228-kilowatt) four-cylinder under the hood. The powertrain is unchanged for 2020.

With its U.S. debut now official, there are two things we still don’t know: cost and arrival. Honda will release pricing information closer to the Type R’s on-sale date. As for when you can buy it, we only have a general timetable of later this winter, which likely means early March.

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Refreshed 2020 Honda Civic Type R Makes U.S. Debut at 2020 Chicago Auto Show

  • U.S. model makes official U.S. debut in new Boost Blue
  • 2020 model-year updates include revised suspension and upgraded brakes
  • Refreshed exterior and interior styling, plus standard Honda Sensing®

Fresh from its world debut at the Tokyo Auto Salon last month, the 2020 Honda Civic Type R made its U.S. debut at the Chicago Auto Show today, appearing for the first time in public in its new Boost Blue exterior color scheme. The 2020 Civic Type R brings a number of changes and improvements to Type R’s winning formula, with revised styling, improved handling and braking, better engine cooling and the addition of standard Honda Sensing® safety and driver-assistive technologies.

Headlining the changes to the 2020 Civic Type R are numerous improvements to its world-beating driving dynamics. New two-piece brake rotors and brake pads are designed to reduce fade and improve high-speed braking efficiency, while suspension revisions for 2020 include updated dampers for improved ride comfort, stiffer rear bushings for better grip, and revisions to the front suspension and steering for even better steering feel. Additionally, the grille has been redesigned to allow better engine cooling under high demand.

Inside, the 2020 Civic Type R will feature additional refinement that includes a new Alcantara™-wrapped steering wheel, and a new shifter with a restyled knob and shorter shift throws. Every 2020 Civic Type R will be equipped with the Honda Sensing® suite of safety and driver-assistive technologies, making the Honda Sensing® suite standard equipment on all Civic models and trims when the 2020 Type R it goes on sale.

Under the hood, the 2020 Civic Type R draws power from a race-bred 2.0-liter direct-injected and turbocharged 4-cylinder engine with VTEC™ valvetrain putting out a peak 306 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. of torque (both SAE net), with power to the front wheels delivered through a close-ratio 6-speed manual transmission and limited-slip differential. As before, drivers can choose between three driving modes – Comfort, Sport and +R – that vary suspension firmness, steering and throttle response. New for 2020 is Active Sound Control, which modifies interior sound in concert with the chosen drive mode. The Type R’s selectable drive modes and sophisticated design make it both a thrilling companion on a mountain road or a racetrack and a remarkably civilized daily driver with a degree of flexibility unmatched in its competitive set, especially at the price.

Additional information about the 2020 Civic Type R, including pricing and all specifications, will be available later when it goes on sale later this winter.

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