A yellow 2022 Honda Civic Type R Limited is shown from the side at a Honda Civic dealer.

Honda Civic Type R: That R stands for Racing!

If you have a need for speed and love sporty hatchbacks, then you need to head over to your Honda Civic dealer to check out the 2021 Honda Civic Type R. This performance compact hatchback has been turning heads since it made its debut back in 1997, leveraging Honda’s legacy in the world of professional motorsports. That first Type R was built on the platform of the sixth-generation Honda Civic compact car, but with a different powertrain and certain additional features to transfer your dad’s commuter sedan into a high-performance race car.

The 2021 Civic Type R is the final model year of the fifth generation of this street-legal racer, built on the 2017 Civic platform. Now, Honda has never been known to stand pat or rest on its laurels when it creates a successful model. The folks at Honda are constantly innovating, improving existing vehicles to provide you with a better driving experience. But before launching the sixth-generation Type R, the company decided to send off the old version with a new model for 2021 called the Limited Edition. This hot hatch is anything but Limited, with more features and functions than the standard Type R. You could say the Limited Edition is unlimited in its ability.

The only thing you can’t get with the 2021 Civic Type R Limited is the very first car with serial number 001 since Honda held a sweepstakes for it. A lucky winner recently drove off with the very first 2021 Civic Type R Limited Edition, while the company raised over $500,000 for a great cause, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.

The black and red interior of a 2022 Honda Civic Type R shows the steering wheel and center console.

Two Great Models, One Amazing Powertrain

Before we get into what sets the Limited Edition apart from the standard 2021 Civic Type R, let’s take a look at the amazing combination of engine and transmission that powers this high-performance compact hatchback.

The engine on the Civic Type R is a 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 gas engine. It utilizes direct fuel injection with a VTEC valvetrain, giving it a more aggressive cam profile as it nears redline. It is capable of 306 horsepower at 6500 rpm and 295 lb-ft of torque at 2500 rpm.

The 2021 Civic Type R is equipped with a close-ratio 6-speed manual transmission with a Rev-Match Control and limited-slip differential. There is also a drive-by-wire throttle system to improve engine responsiveness. Augmenting the handling of this manual transmission is a set of three different driving modes, Comfort, Sport and +R. This will vary the throttle mapping, damping force, and steering assist of your Type R.

The 2021 Civic Type R provides solid fuel economy without limiting its performance. It gets 22 miles per gallon in city driving, 28 miles per gallon when it opens up on the highway, and a combined 25 miles per gallon. This means you’ll spend more time enjoying the drive on your Civic Type R, and less time wasted at the gas station.

What’s New on the Limited Edition?

Honda has decided to make a number of changes to set the Limited Edition apart from your standard 2021 Civic Type R. First is something you cannot see. The engineers at Honda have taken the gross vehicle weight of 3,121 pounds on the Type R and made a number of adjustments to reduce overall vehicle weight by 50 pounds to 3,071 pounds. By reducing weight, the Honda Civic Type R Limited Edition will have improved performance over the standard model.

One of the ways that Honda was able to reduce weight was with the choice of wheels and summer weight tires. The standard 2021 Civic Type R rides on 20-inch cast alloy wheels fitted with Continental SportContact6 summer tires. The Limited Edition sports 20-inch BBS forged alloy wheels with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 street-performance tires. Not only has this succeeded in reducing vehicle weight, but it has also given the Civic Type R Limited Edition greater road grip than the standard model.

Honda took a number of other steps that resulted in weight reduction on the Civic Type R Limited Edition. Gone are the rear windshield wiper and cargo cover, as well as the removal of sound deadening material located in the hatchback’s roof, dashboard, front fenders, and rear trunk.

While I’m not sure if it helped lighten the load or make it faster, the new Civic Type R Limited Edition sports a gorgeous exclusive Phoenix Yellow exterior paint job. This is so bright and shiny, it truly makes this sporty hatchback look like a Phoenix rising from the ashes. The standard Type R will still give you the choice of five great colors if you decide not to go for the Limited Edition, including Crystal Black Pearl, Rallye Red, Boost Blue Pearl, Championship White, and Sonic Gray Pearl.

Great Handling No Matter Which Model You Choose

All models of the 2021 Civic Type R feature power-assisted, ventilated, two-piece front disc brakes with Brembo 4-piston aluminum front calipers. These not only look cool, but they also will help your Civic Type R stop on a dime. The rear brakes are solid discs. This is important since the Civic Type R is a performance front-wheel hatchback.

The front suspension features dual-axis MacPherson struts that have been completely redesigned from the standard Civic to eliminate torque steer, while the rear is a multi-link rear suspension. There is also a standard adaptive damper system to give you a smooth ride without compromising on the sports performance of your 2021 Honda Civic Type R. Honda has improved the active damper system on the Limited Edition model for even greater responsiveness. The dual-pinion, variable-ratio electric power steering on this hatchback makes cornering easy, with a very tight turning diameter of 39.5-feet.

A white 2022 Honda Civic Type R is shown from the rear driving on a track after leaving a Honda Civic dealer.

Barely Street Legal Performance

Honda has built a great deal of its reputation on racing, with founder Soichiro Honda once remarking that “If Honda does not race, there is no Honda.” Today, Honda Racing provides vehicles in Formula 1, WTCR, Indycar, SuperGT, and Super Formula. The engineering and expertise developed in motorsports are then applied to the Civic Type R. In fact, the Civic Type R TCR is a modified version of your own street-legal Civic Type R, brought up for the specifications needed to compete in WTCR events. The result is that you get a performance grade hatchback that is barely street legal.

The standard Civic Type R has been clocked at 0 to 60 mph in only 4.9 seconds, with a top speed of 169 mph. It can complete the quarter-mile mile in just 13.4 seconds with a trap speed of 108 mph and has a 70-0 mph braking distance of 148-feet. The Civic Type R Limited Edition, thanks to its weight reduction and grippier tires, builds on those numbers with an even shorter braking distance and an incredible 1.04 G of lateral grip.

The Civic Type R Limited Edition’s ability to build on speed while holding tight to the track with lighter and grippier tires was recently shown at the Suzuka Circuit, the Formula 1 racetrack maintained by Honda in Japan. The Type R Limited Edition set a track record for front-wheel drive cars, completing the 3.6-mile figure-8 in just 2 minutes 23.993 seconds. Like I said above, this is barely street-legal performance.

You’ll Need Speed to Catch the Limited Edition

If you love speed, then you’re going to need it if you want to get behind the wheel of the 2021 Honda Civic Type R Limited Edition. Honda announced that it is only bringing 600 of these fast compact hatchbacks into America, and we already know that Serial Number 001 is spoken for. So, that leaves you just 599 chances to get a 2021 Type R Limited Edition. But I guess if you have trouble finding one, you could always content yourself with a standard edition 2021 Honda Civic Type R.