A Closer Look at the 1997 Civic Type R

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Want to know where form meets function? You need to dive deep into the 1997 Civic Type R. From the red logo to the bucket seats, get to know the mystery behind these features as we go through the specs and features of the Honda Civic Type R 1997.


The 1997 Honda Civic Type R is a compact car known for its tuned performance and sporty design. This vehicle is known for high-revving engines and enhanced performance. Lightweight materials are incorporated into their construction to optimize vehicle performance.

Throughout the years, this vehicle maintained its performance and efficiency while serving the looks. Its sportier styling elements are enough to distinguish the Civic Type R from the rest. The spoilers, unique body kit, and wheels all contribute to the appealing design.

Many special and limited edition models have also been produced for the Civic Type R to this date. However, our focus in this article will be entirely on the 1997 Civic Type R. So, let’s get into it.


The 1997 Honda Civic Type R is a high-performance hatchback based on the Civic and developed by Honda. This vehicle was introduced for the first time in September 1997. Civic Type R comes in third place in receiving the Type R badge. Previously, only NSX and Integra held the badge.

The Type R models usually have a stiffened body, upgraded chassis and brakes, and finely tuned engine. These models can be recognized from the Honda badge, which has red in the background. This gives a unique sporting distinction to the Type R models.

This Civic Type R has evolved through multiple generations, each bringing design, technology, and performance improvements.

GenerationYearsEnginePerformanceSpecial VersionEngine
1st Generation (EK9)1997 – 20001.6L B16B              182 hp, 160 Nm torque (1997) / 185 hp, 160 Nm torque (2000)Championship White Limited Edition (2000)1999
2nd Generation (EP3)2001 – 20052.0L K20A              197 hp, 193 Nm torqueCivic Type R Premier edition (2005), C Package (2004)2004    
3rd Generation (FN2)2007 – 20102.0L K20Z4197 hp, 188 Nm torqueMugen Edition (2009), Type R GT, Type R Heritage, Type R Race, Type R (Aust)
4th Generation (FK2)2015 – 20172.0L VTEC Turbo306 hp, 400 Nm torqueMugen Civic Type R (2016), Civic Type R Black Edition (2017)   2020 (minor)
5th Generation  (FK8)2017 – 20222.0L VTEC Turbo316 hp, 400 Nm torqueCivic Type R Limited Edition (2021)              
6th Generation  (FL5)2022 – Present2.0 L K20C1 turbocharged I4316 hp–  

The FL5 is the sixth and current generation of the Honda Civic Type R. This generation model is considered less aggressive in terms of exterior design compared to its predecessors. There are now semi-bucket seats, complemented by vibrant red carpeting and floor mats. The interior is further distinguished by a specialized interface for the instrument panel screen and infotainment display.

An achievement of the six-generation Civic Type R is that its pre-production model broke the lap record of Suzuka Circuit for front-wheel drive vehicles in a time of 2:23.120.

Engine, Transmission, and Performance

Under the bonnet of the 1997 Honda Civic Type R (EK9), you will find a 1.6-liter inline-4 engine having the code B16B. It could deliver 182 horses and 160 Nm of torque. This engine is essentially part of Honda’s B-series and is quite famous for its high-revving characteristics. This engine also features the TEC (Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control) system, which adjusts valve timing and lift for both low and high RPM, optimizing performance. Having said that, this vehicle reaches 60 mph in just 6.7 mph.

This vehicle has a close-ratio 5-speed manual transmission, emphasizing driver engagement and control over the vehicle. The manual gearbox was a popular choice at that time and for performance-oriented cars, as it allows the drivers to manually select gears for the best driving experience.

Due to its high-revving nature, agility, and responsiveness, this 1997 Civic Type R was known for its performance. The combination of suspension and aerodynamics certainly contributes to its reputation as a capable compact sports car.


The base model of the 1997 Honda Civic Type R was a three-door hatchback, though many later models were available in sedan body style. With the hatchback style, the Civic Type R gets a more compact and agile appearance. Moreover, aerodynamic elements are included in the exterior design, like side skirts, rear wings, front lip spoiler, etc., to improve downforce and stability at higher speeds.

There is a unique yet aggressive-looking bumper right at the front that often features large air intakes to aid in cooling the engine. As for the headlights, they are usually clear or lightly smoked. The side profile showcases the three-door layout, emphasizing a more dynamic and sporty stance.

Inside the 2023 Subaru Forester

As discussed earlier, the 1997 Honda Civic Type R was a three-door hatchback. Hence, we cannot expect the space of a sedan; still, it was quite spacious given its compact size. This vehicle can accommodate up to four occupants with two front bucket seats and a rear bench seat. However, the rear seat area may be more suitable for shorter journeys due to the compact nature of the three-door design.

This model was equipped with specially designed bucket seats for both the passenger and the driver, thus providing excellent support during spirited driving. Moreover, its steering wheel is also designed with a sporty feel, featuring a smaller diameter for better grip and control. Other than that, its dashboard was pretty minimalistic, focusing on essential driver-centric elements.

As for the cargo space, being a hatchback, it offers more versatile cargo space compared to traditional sedans. It turns out to be just enough for everyday commuting.

While the focus of the Type R is on performance, the interior is designed for driver and passenger comfort during spirited driving. The bucket seats provide good support, but the ride may be firmer compared to standard Civics due to the sport-tuned suspension.

Moving on to infotainment, knowing it is an older 1997 model, the infotainment features have to be pretty basic by modern standards. You can expect a standard audio system to have features like AM/FM radio. Advanced infotainment systems with touchscreen displays were not prevalent during this era, so that’s obviously missing in this car, too.  

A total of 16,000 units of the EK9 Civic Type R were produced. Since this vehicle has remained a collectible now for its sporty features, you can expect its price to be around $40,000.

Driving Experience

The sound of the engine coming to life is surely one of the joys of starting the 1997 Civic Type R. When on the highway, you can expect comfort and smoothness. The high-revving engine, combined with the VTEC system, provides a burst of power as the RPM climbs, making overtaking and merging onto the highway a spirited affair. However, its sporty nature contributes to some level of road noise at highway speeds.

The compact size of this vehicle makes it easy to maneuver through traffic and into tight parking spaces found in the city. The three-door design aids in quick stops and starts. City driving may reveal a bit more engine and road noise, especially when accelerating. While the ride may be stiffer than a standard Civic, the 1997 Type R remains comfortable for short to moderate city commutes.


The 1997 Honda Civic Type R turned out to be super attractive for car enthusiasts of that time due to its exceptional handling and high-revving engine. Nonetheless, its limited production status contributed to its desirability. It is certainly the sporty design and exclusivity that make it a demanding collectible, particularly for those who appreciate the heritage of performance-oriented Hondas.

Besides so many pros, its limited practicality as a three-door hatchback is an obvious downside. It might not be perfect for daily practicality, but it gives you the joy you’re looking for.

Overall, if you’re passionate about driving, value the unique features of the 1997 Civic Type R, and are comfortable with its limitations, it can be a thrilling and satisfying choice for a classic performance car.

Automotive Journalist Views

Most of the journalists have also viewed 1997 Honda Civic Type R with great admiration, noting its iconic status among the car lovers of that time. The car’s performance, nostalgic appeal, and meticulous restoration efforts make it stand out in the automotive world.


  • Comes with the VTEC engine technology
  • a sportier and aggressive interior
  • Precise handling


  • hatchback design limits rear-seat accessibility
  • Comes in manual transmission only
  • lack comfort features


Are there any special editions of the 1997 Honda Civic Type R?

Though there are not any special edition models for 1997, later models and years, such as the 2000 Championship White Limited Edition, have unique variants with special features.

Is the 1997 Honda Civic Type R still in production?

Unfortunately, its production ceased as the 1997 model was part of the first generation. However, subsequent generations of the Civic Type R have been produced in later years.

Can we get the 1997 Honda Civic Type R with an automatic transmission?

No, the 1997 Civic Type R was available with a close-ratio 5-speed manual transmission only.

Written by: Motorcardata

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