Used FK8 Civic Type R vs FL5 Civic Type R: Is the Previous Version the Hot Ticket to Avoid Hype and Dealer Mark Up?
The latest iteration of the Honda Civic Type R is quite simply one of the best all-around enthusiast vehicles on the market. It can handle commutes all week and rip up the track on the weekend.
More than that, it’s also a car that provides a great balance of fun and driver engagement with legitimate speed.
Understandably, all of that comes at a cost. Not only has the MSRP of the American market Civic Type R climbed substantially over its lifespan, the car is notoriously subject to some of the biggest dealer markups around.
A year ago, when the new FL5 started hitting dealers it wasn’t uncommon to see cars with absurd asking prices of $60,000 or even $70,000 — apparently with some buyers actually paying those figures.
Yet for as good the FL5 is, it’s not fundamentally different car than the previous FK8 Civic Type R.
New or Old?
Yes the exterior styling is different, and a lot more subtle than the FK8. The FL5 also makes a little more power, and has a nicer interior. But the bones of the car — the general engine, transmission and platform are largely the same.
So knowing that, could a used FK8 Type R make more sense these days? The answer is yes and no.
For starters, unlike nearly every other car there, few Civic Type Rs have ever really depreciated much below that initial MSRP on the used market.
If you’ll remember that back in 2017 when the FK8 first went on sale, it had an MSRP of about $35,000, which seems like an absolute bargain by today’s standards. And even back then was a great price for a car with tons of hype behind it.
That meant the vast majority of Type Rs were sold with at least some dealer markup. And with the exception of cars with very high mileage or salvage titles, a used FK8 has rarely dropped below that original $35,000 mark.
Looking at the used market today, the earlier 2017-2019 cars typically have asking prices in the mid to high $30,000s, which seems crazy given their age and original MSRP, but it also understandable knowing that today’s dollar is worth a lot less than it was five or six years ago.
In 2020 Honda refreshed the FK8 with some slight styling tweaks and small mechanical improvements, and those 2020 and 2021 model year cars are naturally more sought after. Asking prices for those usually hover between the high $30,000s and low $40,000s.
If you can find a used early model FK8 Type R in good condition with reasonable mileage mid $30,000s, or 2020+ FK8 in the high $30,000s - you can indeed get a lot of the modern Type R experience at a significantly lower price than an FL5.
As with any used performance car, you’ll probably want to steer clear of cars with heavy modifications or clear signs of abuse or neglect. Fortunately, the modern Type R has proven to be pretty reliable so there aren’t any major mechanical issues to worry about.
Money Well Spent?
With all that said, the transaction prices for the FL5 Civic Type R do seem to have come down a bit over the last several months.
Although MSRP deals are still pretty rare in most regions, there have been reports of certain dealers selling their FL5s at sticker price, and others moving for cars for “just” a few thousand bucks over sticker.
Keep in mind though, even at sticker price - the MSRP of a 2024 Civic Type R is now almost $46,000, so in most states you’ll be looking at $50,000 plus out the door purchase.
The FK8 might not be the hot new thing anymore, but it’s still a fantastic platform that isn’t fundamentally different than the new Type R. If you take your time and find the right car, it can be enthusiast buy that delivers a lot for the money.
Ultimately, the right choice is going to come down to the specific car you find. And as long you avoid overpaying for a used FK8 or paying excessive dealer dealer markup on a new FL5, it’s hard to go wrong with either option.
Whether old or new, history tells us the Civic Type R it should continue to hold its value in a way few cars have. And that’s on top it being a fantastic car to own and drive.
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