2021 Honda Civic Sort R Restricted Version first drive evaluation: A sharper observe weapon

Honda has an ulterior motive with the Civic Sort R Restricted Version. That is to not say there is not a marketplace for a lighter, sharper, limited-run Civic Sort R, in fact. However Honda’s acquired a particular objective for this automotive that does not actually contain you, expensive buyer.

Let’s again up actual fast. After the Sort R launched in 2017, Honda used it to set a blistering 7-minute, 43.8-second lap of the Nürburgring Nordschleife, making this Civic the quickest front-wheel-drive manufacturing automotive to run the notorious German course. However then the Renault Megane RS Trophy-R got here alongside and trounced the Sort R’s document, beating the Civic by 4 entire seconds. When the Sort R Restricted Version debuted earlier this yr, a Honda government instructed me it was born out of the will to reclaim that FWD sizzling lap title. And following the Sort R LE’s current document lap on the Suzuka Circuit in Japan — the place it beat the Megane Trophy-R, by the way in which — Honda’s fairly assured the ‘Ring crown will quickly belong to the Civic as soon as once more. 

2021 Honda Civic Sort R Restricted Version can actually lay down some sizzling laps
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So as to shed time whereas shredding laps, Honda opted to chop weight fairly than enhance energy. The two.0-liter turbo I4 carries over from the bottom Sort R unchanged, producing 306 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 295 pound-feet of torque at 2,500 rpm. The 2021 LE’s six-speed handbook transmission, limited-slip differential, suspension {hardware} and Brembo entrance brakes are all an identical to these on the 2020 Sort R, too.

As a substitute, Honda reduce 50 kilos out of the US-spec Civic Sort R by deleting the rear wiper, eradicating the cargo cowl, becoming lighter-weight BBS wheels and eradicating a complete bunch of sound-deadening materials — 28 kilos price, in truth. That “US-spec” qualification is essential, as Restricted Version fashions bought in different markets drop an extra 30 kilos due to the elimination of the audio system and air-con.

Now, earlier than you bitch concerning the US not getting the complete Restricted Version light-weight expertise, here is one other historical past lesson. When Honda launched the track-ready S2000 CR in 2007, the radio and air-con have been non-obligatory, however solely a super-duper-small share of Individuals ordered the CR this manner. So until you are planning to make use of your private CTRLE to set a lap document, which you are not, perhaps simply crank some tunes and benefit from the cool breeze of your AC. Individuals at all times assume they need a stripped-out automotive till they really must dwell with it.

A set of forged-aluminum BBS wheels lowers the Sort R’s weight by 18 kilos.


As a result of it is lighter, the Restricted Version has barely totally different adaptive damping and digital steering calibrations than a regular Sort R. The dampers preserve the Civic managed whereas accounting for the trimmer physique and after driving a Restricted Version again to again with a Sort R Touring on observe, the steering tweaks are actually noticeable. Flip-in is way sharper with faster response, however there’s nonetheless tons of really feel and suggestions via the wheel. I am into it.

Actually, the Restricted Version simply helps reinforce what makes the Civic Sort R so nice to start with. Plenty of turbo energy, a slick-shifting six-speed stick and an extremely succesful front-wheel-drive setup makes for a significantly chuckable little sizzling hatch. The LE merely hones the issues that make this rowdy little rascal a peach.

The shortage of sound-deadening materials does end in much more cabin noise, but it surely’s not that large of a deal out on the observe. That mentioned, I wasn’t in a position to spend some high quality time with the Restricted Version on public roads and I may see the elevated quantity getting a little bit annoying on longer drives. However I suppose if you happen to’re choosing the marginally extra rambunctious package deal, it is a tradeoff you are keen to make.

This little factor’s an actual track-slayer.


So far as creature comforts are involved, the Restricted Version has every thing you may discover on the traditional Sort R Touring. The game seats are as supportive as they’re comfortable and a 7-inch central touchscreen has embedded navigation in addition to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. You get a complete mess of driver-assistance options, too, together with forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping help and adaptive cruise management. The one factor that is lacking? Heated seats. Sigh.

Honda will construct 1,000 examples of the Civic Sort R Restricted Version for international distribution, with 600 coming to the US. They’re going to all be painted Phoenix Yellow and may have a serialized plaque on the sprint.

With a $44,950 price ticket (together with $955 for vacation spot), the Restricted Version prices $6,500 greater than the 2021 Sort R Touring. I might in all probability simply follow a Touring, personally, because it’s 95% of the automotive for lots much less cash. However I completely get the attract of the Restricted Version, and I am positive Honda may have no hassle transferring each single one. In addition to, it is not like Honda wanted a powerful gross sales case to green-light this undertaking, anyway. Which jogs my memory: Good luck with that ‘Ring run.

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