Search CarGuide.PH

June 4, 2023

The Curious Case Of The Honda Civic Type R's Key Fob

Don’t mind my misshapen thumb. Focus your attention instead on the Civic Type R’s rather peculiar key design. The Honda Smart Card Key, as it’s officially known, is probably one of the most overlooked features on the all-new Type R FL5. And after trying out the hot hatch for about a week, frankly, more Hondas should get this as standard.

You can read our full review of the Civic Type R here, but for now, let’s talk about the key itself.

The Honda Smart Card Key has rolled out in several markets already, with Thailand and Indonesia already getting them on the non-Type R Civic and HR-V. However, for the Philippine market, it made its (pardon the pun) lowkey debut on the Type R FL5.

Now, for those who’re curious, the Honda Smart Card Key makes the ownership experience just a tad more personal. Though a more traditional key fob still comes with every Civic Type R, this is undoubtedly a cooler, low-profile alternative.

It acts like a traditional key fob in that if you keep the card in your pocket, you can enter the car by simply touching or tugging on the door handles. It can even start the car by pressing the Push-Start button.

Even when the car battery dies out, the Smart Card Key even has a conventional key in there; simply pull the top part of the card and the key comes out.

The biggest benefit of the Smart Card Key is its thickness. At just 3 to 4 millimeters thick, it’s equivalent to just two credit cards stacked on top of each other. This means you can place it in your wallet; unlike the traditional key fob. With this, you can say goodbye to unsightly pocket bulges or having them dangle on your belt loops like a certified tito.

Of course, the main downside of the Smart Card Key is its limited functionality. With the traditional key fob, there are buttons which you can use to lock/unlock your car from a specific distance. In some cases, you can even remotely start the car, open/close the windows, and operate the tailgate (you can’t do those on the Civic Type R so no big loss). Take note that you can activate the Walkway Auto Lock to alleviate a part of the issue.

I can imagine that the Honda Smart Key isn’t for everyone as some will still prefer opening and closing their doors from a distance. However, this suits my needs perfectly, and in the week I’ve had the Civic Type R FL5, almost all of them were spent with this card key placed in my wallet. The traditional key fob? I just left it at home.


  1. Is there a chip and/or battery inside the smart card key?

    1. Yup there is. It uses a CR2412 battery.

    2. I believe best if owners can use either key fob or smart card key.

    3. can use either one. Honda will give you the more traditional key fob and a Smart Card key.


Feel free to comment or share your views. Comments that are derogatory and/or spam will not be tolerated. We reserve the right to moderate and/or remove comments.