Aaron A. Bullock
40k Miles and (Almost) Two Years of Type R Ownership Later...
Bored on a Saturday night, I happened to re-read my "6 months" article and decided it was time for an update.
At the time of writing this, the clock reads just shy of 42,000 miles and there's two months left before my two-year anniversary of owning a Type R. I know; it's being driven.
My first write-up emphasized a lot of the things that make it a great car to begin with. In summary, I gushed about it being a daily-able racecar with Civic practicality. That hasn't changed a bit. It's still seeing the daily 60-mile work commute alongside the occasional canyon-carving day trip with other car buddies. I figured in this article I'd go over what's new, along with how my ownership experience has evolved in the past two years.
(Fun fact: This picture is on Honda's Instagram page. Humble brag.)
Frankly, not a whole lot has changed since the first review, but there are some differences. For starters, I burned through the stock Continentals after the first year, as would be expected for summer performance tires. In fact, I surprisingly didn't blow one after going on a weekend trip to Albuquerque. When I returned from that drive, I took my car in for a routine oil change and tire rotation. What I got back from my service advisor was, "hey, the cords are showing on your tires." (For those of you unaware, cords showing on your tires is not good). I had felt at the time that I was getting close to the end of stock tires' lifespan, but the car gods were generous enough to get me home from out of state before they revealed the news.
This leads me to my first bit about Type R ownership experience. The car had to sit in the garage for about a week while I was waiting on a new set of tires (ended up getting Nitto NT555 G2's, same stock size all around and still on the car to this day). During that time, I was driving my father's Buick Encore to get to work and back. This was the first time I was without the R, and it was the first time I experienced missing it.
I'll admit that I was getting too comfortable with the Type R, as I guess is normal human nature no matter how nice something is to have every day. There had been more than enough moments of catching glances from other drivers/pedestrians where I wondered, for a split second, "what are they looking at?" The loud exhaust, the whooshy turbo, the bright red paint, aggressive lines, and a sharply-angled picnic table pushing down on the back... I got very used to it.
When I had to drive its polar opposite counterpart for a week, I realized then just how special the Type R is. Here I was in a subcompact 'luxury' SUV (the Encore is nice, but it's no Audi or Porsche) moping along on the highway, blending in with all of the other commuter cars on their way to work and back. No loud drone of internal combustion, no effort being expended going through gears, and certainly no passing slow drivers with ease.
That week went by dreadfully slow. Each day coming home from work, I was forced to see a bright red Hot Wheels sitting idle in the garage as I parked next to it in a beige-colored Buick. I actually felt a twinge of genuine sadness that I couldn't drive it. But in feeling that, I understood a new level of gratitude for possessing such a machine. I missed driving it, and I couldn't imagine another car I'd rather own. Maybe a Ferrari 488 Spider, but even then I would want a Type R sitting next to it in the garage. Plus, I'd also get a kick out of putting a "My other car is a Honda" license plate frame on the back of the 488.
Discount Tire called right on schedule. It was time to fire it up back and, well, limp it to the shop. But man, just hearing it cold start in the garage was enough to give me that chuckle of "oh yeah, I missed this." That raw feeling of driving a performance-focused car was fresh again. Slamming the shifter around, feeling the extra bit of weight in the steering, hearing "pssshhh" after letting off the gas pedal... I undoubtedly experienced the cliché, "you don't know what you have until you lose it."
(This is also on Honda's social pages. I know, I'm so cool.)
So yeah, almost two years later and I've yet to be tired of it. Even in the aforementioned time of getting "too comfortable" with it, I still felt enough excitement that I was getting to drive a Type R. My Type R. I even look at it with the same level of "damn, girl" as day one, which brings me to the new additions since the last review.
I didn't clear bra the car, which was a mistake in hindsight, but the next best option was ceramic coating it. What a difference that made. I'm fortunate to be friends with a great guy who did the job for me, and it's easily one of the best investments put on the car. The first time I washed it after application, I giggled a little. Yeah, giggled. Watching water bead off the red paint is a therapeutically satisfying sight. Cleaning the car has been much easier, and the shine it maintains certainly disguises the 42k miles of driving the car has been through.
Next were a pair of smoked LED side markers that a friend and fellow Type R owner was generous enough to give me. I'm embarrassed to admit that they took longer than they should have to install, not to mention I cut a thumb in the process, but they blend perfectly with the black and red all around the car.
I also installed a set of window visors. Purely an aesthetic choice as they help add a subtle hint of aggression to the already sharp lines all over the car. It's an added bonus that I got to roll down the windows a tad during our rather active monsoons this year to let in the fresh air without the rain getting inside.
And the most recent addition is a Raceseng weighted shift knob. The OEM shifter was fine, but grabbing a shiny aluminum ball that's been sitting in the Phoenix summer sun for a while was getting old. Frankly, I could've just thrown a microfiber cloth on top of it when I was away, but this new knob caught my eye with its red and black color scheme that matched the car. It also possesses a delrin insulated material to prevent branding my hand with a 1-R gear sequence (although that would be a sweet tattoo, just not backwards and on the palm of my right hand). The added weight to the shifting feels nice as well.
There is one last thing coming for the car. Well, maybe? COVID and material shortages have pushed it back to what is currently estimated for the end of September, but really, who knows any more? I placed an order for a set of 18x9.5" Titan7 T-S5 wheels in Techna Bronze back in May. The original ETA would've seen the wheels on my car by now, but I know the waiting woes are being universally felt by everyone in the car industry. So, hopefully sooner than later I'll finally have a new set of shoes on the R.
As far as the downsides go in the past two years, there's not much. The only major annoyance I've experienced is the TPMS system, which is a notorious issue for Hondas in general. But on the Type R specifically, seeing the light flash has become an eye roller at this point. There were only two times that I actually had a pressure issue, both being tire punctures that were easily patched up at Discount Tire. Then there were the routine seasonal changes that required some extra air. The rest of the time, however, has just been getting out of the car and measuring all the tire pressures only to see they're perfectly fine. I hop in the car, find my way to the recalibration setting, and drive off into the sunset until the next time the light decides to bother me.
There have also been two recalls on the car. One was the fuel pump which has been commonly giving out on some Type R's. I fortunately didn't have the issue, but it was a free replacement anyway. The second isn't so much a recall as it is an extension on warranty. Some A/C units have had leakage problems, and while mine still blows cold, it's nice to know I have a free fix in line if it dies out. Nobody deserves to be driving windows down during Phoenix summers.
(Not pictured: the new window visors and side markers, along with about 6-7 rock chips on the windshield. Still need new photos)
All in all, the Type R is still an amazing car. I'm thrilled to own one and drive it virtually every day. The community of owners I get to share it with are still a joy to spend time around, and it continues to grow. If you're thinking of getting one, my argument still stands as it being one of the best cars out there that mixes daily use with sheer driving excitement. I'm ashamed to admit that I still haven't tracked it yet, but hopefully that'll change soon as the summer season starts to taper off and boost weather approaches. I know, it's virtually a sin to own a car that's track-focused and still hasn't torn up a circuit after 42k miles. It will happen some day, and then I can actually talk about what this car is meant to do.
Until then, it will continue to be my daily commuter and canyon carver until it either falls apart or I can't afford it any more, or both! Here's to many more years and miles, especially while I can before electric rules the world...