As a successor to the EK9, the EP3 Civic was introduced in Japan in September of the year 2000. Built in the Suzuka plant, it only came as a five door hatchback body. For the predecessor there was the EK9 Type R version solely for Japan which as a sporty hatchback was a great success. Honda also wanted build forth on this success with an EP3 Type R but the five door body style was not ideal for this so Honda started to look into different solutions.
Being a world car, the Civic was sold in different body styles around the world. In Europe there was a three door hatchback body style which was manufactured in the United Kingdom. Based on this version there was already a Type R for the European market developed. With some adaptations, Honda used this model as a base to import and sell in Japan.
And the adaptations for the Japanese market were mainly upgrades in order to be a worthy successor to the EK9 Type R. These make the JDM EP3 Type R more sought after than the European ones. Starting with the exterior, there is not so much difference with the EDM version. The JDM unique Championship White paint option which most of the Japanese customers chose was the most obvious one. With this color, the wheels were also painted in a white color. The black and red painted cars got anthracite color wheels like in Europe. A different small detail to identify the JDM version is the UK flag badge next to the Civic badge at the back of the car. As a reference to the fact it was manufactured in Swindon, UK.
The simple but functional interior got more stylish by installing red Recaro seats similar like the EK9 Type R had. Matching red carpet and floor mats make this working environment just that bit more special. The gauge cluster was also changed indicating a maximum speed of 180 km/h same as to which the car was limited as per Japanese legislation. And another change were the rear seats as no headrest and only two seatbelts were installed meaning that there was a maximum capacity of only 4 people that can ride the car.
A lot more changes were made to the car on technical level. Instead of the K20A2 engine for the European market, there was now the K20A engine. It was prepared in Japan and shipped to the UK to be assembled in the car there. This K20A engine had a special balanced crankshaft assembly, used higher compression pistons, higher-lift camshafts and a lightweight flywheel. Combined with a different intake manifold, exhaust manifold and ECU tuning it resulted in 215 horsepower and 202 Nm. A 15 horsepower and 6 Nm gain versus the EDM version.
The gearbox also got shorter gearing which meant there was a clear difference in acceleration benefit for the JDM. And for handling, the suspension settings were changed to be more sporty. With a limited slip differential between the front wheels as standard equipment (the EDM did not have this), the cornering ability was unmatched by any other hatchback at the time.
As standard the Type R in Japan came as a spartan model for around 2.2 Million JPY, but there was a comfort package available called the C Package for 0.33 Million JPY which included:
– Auto air conditioner (with outside temperature display function),
– Power window (with driver’s seat pinch prevention mechanism)
– Power door lock (with tailgate interlocking)
– Radio keyless entry system (with welcome lamp function)
– Map lamp (both seats)
– Vanity mirror
– Rear shelf
– Discharge head Light (High / Low Beam)
– Privacy Glass (Rear Quarter / Tailgate)
– Intermittent Rear Wiper with Washer
– Body Same Color Electric Retractable Remote Door Mirror
In April 2004 a facelift was done. Changes to the headlights, rear lights and front bumper were done. In the interior, the all red seats were changed to mix of red and black. While red and black exterior colors were not available anymore, silver was added as a new color option. The facelifted model did not sell as well as the pre-facelift. It is said that around 1000 units have been sold of the facelift model of which less than 10% is the silver color. The total sales of the JDM EP3 Type R are 4735 units.
Click on the picture below to see the Civic Type R details and specifications per year such as weight, new price and equipment for each version in the Goo-net.com catalog.
For the Civic enthusiast the following book might be of interest: