The Honda Civic Type R FN2 might not have the fanbase of its predecessors, but it’s still a fantastic driver’s car and a bit of a bargain to boot.
Honda Civic Type R FN2 – A Brief History
While looking dramatically different to the EP3 that came before it, the Honda Civic Type R FN2 actually carries over exactly the same VTEC engine and transmission.
Purists in certain quarters were aghast that the FN2 offered no more power than the EP3 (well, if we’re being pedantic the official figure was 1hp higher). They were also unhappy with Honda’s decision to replace the older car’s multi-link rear suspension with a simpler beam rear. Having extensively test-driven and owned many EP3s and FN2s, we can assure you that the FN2’s simpler rear suspension setup doesn’t hamper the fun factor!
A facelift in 2008 brought in HID headlights with washers, and improved sound deadening. It’s worth noting that cars built after March 2010 came with an LSD as standard. Notable special editions include 2008’s Championship White Edition, which had an LSD and white wheels. As well as the rare Type R Mugen, with a raucous 240hp thanks to uprated pistons, cams and ECU, as well as model-specific body kit and suspension tweaks. Don’t confuse this obscure special with the more mainstream Type R Mugen 200 from 2010, which mated the stock engine to Mugen styling, white paint and an LSD.
The GT Spec added auto headlights, cruise control, rain-sensing wipers and a refrigerated glovebox.
Honda Civic Type R FN2 Prices
The entry price point for the more abundant Honda Civic Type R FN2 is actually pretty similar to the EP3. Early cars also starting around £4500. LSD-equipped 2010 cars can be found from £6000, rising to £9500 for the very best. Championship White Editions tend to sell for £7k-8k, and if you’re able to track down the more obscure Type R Mugen 200, these usually sell for between £17,000-19,000. Want a full fat Mugen Type R? You’ll first need to find 1 of the 40 examples, secondly, you’ll need to muster up around £40,000.
Honda Civic Type R FN2 Top 5 Common Problems
- Timing chain
- Valve clearances
- Gearbox synchro issues
- Soft paint
- Interior rattles
Honda Civic Type R FN2 buyer’s guide
As Honda carried the drivetrain over from the EP3, many of the ‘what-to-look-for’ elements are identical. The K20 engine is a supremely robust thing, provided that it’s properly looked after. Service history is crucial here, along with the reassuring knowledge that the car’s been owned and maintained by somebody who knows what they’re doing. The Honda Civic Type R FN2 went through a period of surprising affordability when you could pick them up cheaply and rag them around. As a result, it’s all the more important to ensure that the seller is the type of person who will have been checking the oil every week. Because you need to with these engines – they naturally use a bit of oil, it’s just what they do.
As with the EP3, it’s worth bearing the timing chains in mind. You won’t get any warning when it’s going to let go, so if you’re looking at an FN2 with higher mileage then it’s worth factoring the cost of renewing the timing chain (around £600) into the purchase price, as you’ll be wanting to do this sooner rather than later as a preventative measure. You might hear a tappety noise on cold startup, which is normal; just make sure you check the car’s history to see if someone’s maintained its valve clearances every 25,000 miles. Finally, not an internal issue, but flakey rocker cover paint is a common problem.
Transmissions are generally pretty robust; you may experience a bit of a graunch going into second gear, but that’s not uncommon. 2007 cars frequently have third-gear issues. The synchro wears prematurely and the signs are that third gear will feel notchy when engaging. If the wear is bad enough, the gear will pop out. The clutch can whine at the biting point when cold, but this is just an FN2 quirk and not something to worry about.
If the clutch pedal squeaks, it will either be down to the pedal box, where the washers from the pedal springs have either broken or come out, or the clutch master cylinder having dried up. You might be able to get rid of the noise by lubricating the clutch pedal assembly or the master cylinder where the rod from the clutch assembly goes in. Those in the know recommend that you use motorbike chain lube as it doesn’t evaporate, unlike other lubricating sprays. Make sure the clutch is light in its operation. If it feels heavy, it’s worn and due for replacement (unless it’s been uprated with an aftermarket item).
Suspension and brakes
The front subframe will sometimes make a clicking noise under acceleration or when braking due to dirt getting caught between two sections of the subframe. This isn’t anything to worry about, though. The rear suspension sometimes creaks when driving the car for the first time after it’s been parked up. Again, it’s not anything to worry about.
As with all Civic Type Rs, the seat bolsters wear due to being so large and supportive. The FN2 also suffers from several interior rattles. Sounds from the headlining are usually caused by a loose cable or clip. Dashboard rattles are caused by numerous things and you’ll just have to learn to live with them. Water and dirt between the scuttle and the windscreen can result in a rattling noise when driving. The solution is to simply remove the windscreen cowl, and add a length of adhesive foam tape before refitting it.
Make sure you do a careful rust inspection. If you spot any weathering on a 2011 model, the 12-year anti-corrosion warranty could still just about cover it (at the time of writing). Bubbling might occur on the roof due to the rubber strip at the top of the windscreen cutting the paint. Meanwhile on pre-facelift cars, the rubber seal at the top of the doors at the edge nearest the B-pillar collect water, causing the doors to start to rust. Facelift models received a revised seal design.
You will almost certainly find a whole world of stone chips on the nose; the paint was very soft from the factory. Copious blemishes are just a thing that happens. As a result, a car with a front-end respray doesn’t always mean it’s been in a collision. Some owners may have decided to tidy the car up due to stone chips.
The standard Honda Civic Type R FN2 boot spoiler is a minor practical annoyance, as it largely obscures your rear view. And take a look at the full-width light strip on the boot lid. Water ingress is pretty common, so it might look a bit mossy around the seals.
The plastic covers on the door handles sometimes loosen as they have a tendency to break away from their fixings. The cover isn’t available to buy separately, so you either need a new handle, or you can try to glue the cover back on. Door mirror modules can fail, which makes them fold slowly or stop folding altogether. Each mirror has its own module, but luckily replacing them is a quick job.
Words: Daniel Bevis and Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Honda
Tech Spec: Honda Civic Type R FN2
Engine: 1998cc four-cylinder
Transmission: Six-speed manual
Max Power: 201hp @ 7800rpm
Max Torque: 142lb ft @ 5600rpm
0-62mph: 6.6 secs
Top Speed: 146mph
Price When New: £18,619