Honda Civic Type R Buyer& s Guide 147 …

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Honda Civic Type R

Honda Civic Type R Buyer s Guide 147

March 17th, 2010 by NZPC

Ever since the first generation EB series of the 1970s, Honda Civics have not all been created equal. Back then it was the RS’, but in late 1997, coming from the same lineage as the famed NSX-R and the decimating Integra Type R, Honda Japan gave us the EK9 Civic Type R. This three-door hatch is fast and agile, thanks to the hard-revving N/A engine slotted between the front uprights of its lightweight, performance-tuned, front-wheel-drive chassis, making it one hell of a hot Japanese hatch. Using a stock standard EK9 Civic Type R as a guide, here’s everything you need to know about this red-raw model.

ENGINE: Although not the most powerful production spec B-series engine Honda has built (an honour reserved for the 200ps B18C5 fitted in the DC2 Integra Type R), the B16B engine that is factory fitted in the EK9 Civic Type R is an impressive piece of kit. With a displacement of just 1.6 litres, this remarkable little naturally aspirated four-pot is good for 185ps (136kW) delivered at 8200rpm. That’s a lot of power for a small, naturally aspirated engine 115ps per litre, to be exact.

The engine itself is a completely different beast when compared with the more familiar B16A Honda’s original DOHC VTEC engine as first used in the DA8 Integra and EF9 Civics in 1989. In its final incarnation the B16A was good for 170ps, some 15ps less than the B16B. Put A and B series B16 engines next to each other and you’ll spot a big difference straight away the Civic Type R B16B is noticeably taller.

This is due to the fact that the B16B block, as designated by its cast tag on the exhaust side, is the same as that of the Integra Type R B18C5, albeit in a de-stroked state to displace just under 1600cc. High-compression pistons are standard fare, as are stronger rods, and just like the 1.8-litre Integra Type R engines, all B16Bs were hand assembled.

Up top the Civic engine uses the PR3-2 DOHC VTEC 16V cylinder head, also found on the Integra engine. Basically a modified version of the B16A head, the PR3-2 features a tough valve train and an aggressive camshaft specification unique to the Civic Type R. In tuning circles the EK9 Civic cams are considered the best B-series bumpsticks Honda has ever made. On the intake side the B16B features a flowed intake manifold, and on the exhaust, a tuned extractor-headed system.

DRIVELINE: With the EK9 Civic Type R there’s only one choice of transmission: an S4C 5-speed manual. The hydraulic S4C gearbox is a relatively strong piece of gear, and in the Civic is factory fitted with a torque-sensing helical limited slip differential unit. Motorsport/N1 versions feature the same gearbox with shorter first, second and third gear ratios.

EXTERIOR: The Civic Type R’s exterior bodywork didn’t change much during its production run from the E-EK9 model released in 1997. In late 1998 the GF-EK9 facelift’ version made a slight revision to the front headlights (they became a little sleeker looking) and hence brought very subtle changes to the front guards, bonnet and bumper. The facelift also got red/white tail lights to replace the original red/amber/white units.

With the GF model change, lesser-spec Civics received new front and rear bumpers without mouldings, but as the E-EK9 model already had these there was no change made for the GF-EK9 version.

All Civic Type Rs featured a front lip spoiler, side skirts, rear lip spoiler, and a larger boot-top spoiler that is unique to the red-blooded car. Colour-wise there was only a choice of four hues for the EK9: Championship White, Starlight Black Pearl, Lightwrite Yellow and Vogue Silver Metallic. The vast majority of Civic Type Rs (including all the Motorsport/N1 versions) were produced in Championship White, an eggshell-type colour.

Red Honda badges and Type R insignias before the rear wheels on each side and the boot distinguish the model.

INTERIOR: Like its bigger sibling, the DC2 Integra Type R, the Civic Type R comes well appointed on the inside. Red half-suede Recaro SR seats feature up front, as does a black leather with red detailing Momo SRS steering wheel, and titanium shift knob. The R-spec car also features red carpets throughout, red trim on the door panels and carbon fibre-style detailing in the instrument binnacle and around the upper regions of the centre console panel.

Full electrics are standard. Motorsport/N1-grade Type Rs were less fortunate when it came to interior appointments, and in their most basic guise were sold minus the Recaro seats and Momo SRS wheel, instead featuring basic treatments from the bottom models in the Civic line-up. In the name of weight reduction, electric windows were replaced with wind-up equivalents, and depending on how the car’s first Japanese owner specified it, A/C may also be absent.

ON THE ROAD: The Civic Type R is a pretty raw beast but that’s to be expected given its racing pedigree. That said, it still makes a good daily driver, as long as you can live with the fact that there’s not a lot of performance on tap until you really stick you foot up it. The cams engage their performance VTEC lobes at around 6500rpm, and from there on in the Civic Type R is a totally different animal. Keep it in that zone and they’re quick, offering 0-100kph in the mid-six-second range.

Fully loaded the 0-400m sprint should be able to be despatched in less than 15 seconds, which isn’t bad at all for a 1.6-litre N/A car. Handling is tight, and a twisty road is the habitat where the Civic Type R truly revels. For best results you’ll need to run 98RON fuel, although 95-96RON is sufficient.


HOW MUCH TO PAY: Like any performance car, how much you’ll pay will depend on the condition of the car, its year of manufacturer, its mileage, and whether or not it has been modified. In many cases, unmodified cars are of greater value than those that have been tweaked, because it’s a hint of what it may have endured under a previous ownership. It is possible to pick up a pre-facelift 1997/1998 E-EK9 Civic Type R for around $10,000, but you’ll get what you pay for.

Clean, late-model examples can run as high as $20,000 on a dealer’s yard, but expect a top-grade, well-maintained car for that sort of money. This particular facelift 1999 Championship White example, on sale at Auckland’s A Grade Cars for $15,995, was completely stock standard (a rare find!) and had travelled just 100,000km.

SPECIAL EDITIONS: Apart from the Motorsport/N1-grade EK9 Civic Type R, the only other special model sold by Honda was the Type RX. This version was reserved for the very last of the EK-series Civic Type Rs sold from December 1999 until all cars had run out in 2001. The RX is actually no different to the facelift Type R, featuring only a CD player and alloy pedals over the existing model.

There was no specific Type RX badging, only model detailing on the chassis tag.

MODIFYING GUIDE: The EK9’s B16B engine is a highly strung beast, but there’s still more attainable from the setup if you want to go down that road. First mods should be a good intake and exhaust system the bread and butter of any good N/A build. Likewise, a lightweight flywheel will get you into the high cam zone quicker, so that’s something worth investigating, too.

Honda Civic Type R

If you want to take things a lot further, you’ll find power increases by going to a B18CR5 (Integra Type R) 1.8-litre block, or even a B20B for 2.0 litres of cubic capacity.

Unlike lesser spec Civics the EK9 rolls on five-stud hubs (5 114.3), so wheel choice is little less easy than the standard Civic 4 100 fitment. If you’re after a JDM brand wheel, however, there’s plenty on offer. Most Civic Type R owners are content with the factory body kit, but if you want to take things a little further the EK Civic body style offers up many options for modifiers.

Factory Specifications

Engine: Honda B16B 1.6-litre inline-four DOHC VTEC 16V, 10.8:1 compression ratio, PGM-FI electronic fuel injection

Driveline: 5-speed manual gearbox, front-wheel drive, torque-sensitive helical limited slip differential

Suspension/Brakes: Double wishbone front/rear, struts, coil springs, front strut tower bar, ventilated discs front, solid discs rear, ABS

Exterior: Front lip spoiler, side skirts, rear lip spoiler, hatch top rear spoiler, privacy glass (rear side, and rear window tint)

Interior: Recaro SR red front seats, Momo 368mm SRS steering wheel, titanium gear knob, carbon-style dash trim, carbon-style instrument binnacle, red carpet/door accents

Wheels/Tyres: 15 6-inch lightweight alloy wheels, 195/55R15 tyres

Performance: Max Power 185ps (136kW) @ 8200rpm, Max Torque 16.3kg/m (160Nm) @ 7500rpm

This article is from Performance Car issue 147. Click here to check it out.

Honda Civic Type R
Honda Civic Type R
Honda Civic Type R
Honda Civic Type R
Honda Civic Type R
Honda Civic Type R

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