Honda Civic Type R FL5 brings the hidden fanboy out of everyone

When was the last time that Honda officially brought over the Civic Type R onto our shores? That’s right, it was only in 2017.

Red-badged Civics have been available globally since 1997. It took two decades before we finally got an official taste of the Type R. And thankfully, Honda Cars Philippines, Inc. (HCPI) isn’t stopping with its goal to satisfy local enthusiasts.

Just months after the Civic Type R FL5 made its global debut, HCPI ushered in the arrival of the sixth-generation model to start 2023 with a bang. 

The launch was momentous, attended by members of the media in a rather intimate event that doubled as a commemorative party to thank those who supported the company for the past year.

The centerpiece, the Civic Type R FL5 in Championship White, was a sight to behold. I like this version better than the outgoing FK8, which I thought to be overstyled and too aggressive for my taste. Longer, wider and longer, the FL5 was subtly kitted out and just have the right amount of flair and swag – just like how Type Rs were in its previous iterations beyond the FK8. A return to form if you must.

Plus the fact the FL5 has improved the Civic Type R in terms of performance. The turbocharged 2.0-liter 16-valve DOHC VTEC four-pot engine is retained but revised to produce 316hp and 420Nm of torque. I won’t go deep into the details, but I can say that Honda took the outgoing engine and improved upon it for a better feel behind the wheel. Handling bits have been improved as well, including torsional rigidity, weight savings, and suspension upgrades for better cornering stability and improved lap times.

Of note, the Civic Type R can sprint to 100 km/h time in 5.4 seconds and a top speed of 275 km/h. It has out-seated the FK8 as the king of Suzuka even before it got stripped of its camouflage.

And then, there’s the point of contention – the pricing. When HCPI launched the Civic Type R FL5, the price tag it came with was P3.88 million, or over half a million higher than the FK8. That stirred internet users when we posted the information on our social media channels, with the word “overpriced” casually thrown around like people really know what it means.

I will not delve into details as to how this price was achieved but one thing’s for sure, it’s not a scheme put into place by HCPI. There are several factors to consider like importation duties (a.k.a. exorbitant taxes), production costs (a.k.a chip shortage), and supply versus demand. That last bit is pretty important as Honda has announced limited production of the Civic Type R in relation to the demand for the FWD sports car. So much so that Japan had to stop taking orders for the model and just so you know, our supply comes from the Land of the Rising Sun. We’re actually lucky to get an allocation this early.

Thinking about it, fans who have already purchased a Civic Type R FL5 can afford them and didn’t really care about that pricing. The world-famous red-badged Civic is a coveted nameplate and as it turned out, the first 39 units to be sold in the Philippines have already been spoken for by these fans.

Most importantly, those who were quick to throw rocks at the new Civic Type R because of the pricing will most likely get one in a heartbeat if given the actual capability to purchase. What they say about the thin line between love and hate applies here and frankly, those haters are just really secret fanboys waiting for their time to come.

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