When Honda first introduced the Civic back in 1972, it was the entry-level offering from this Japanese manufacturer. Over the years, the Civic has grown in size, and performance, and it is now at a point where it has never been at before – at least in North America – because it is truly a road-legal track car that can monster the type of cars most people typically think of as sports cars. Ladies and gentleman, I am talking about, the 2017 Honda Civic Type-R.
Let’s start with the numbers, shall we. Under its hood, lies a 2.0L, four-cylinder motor, that features double over head cams, and 16 valves – with variable valve timing. That on its own would have made for a pretty tasty engine, but the clever engineers at Honda decided to bolt a giant turbocharger to it. End result is a motor that produces 306 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque.
All that energy gets transmitted to just the front wheels, via what is possibly the best six-speed manual transmission currently on sale, in any car. Build up some heat in its 245/30 ZR18 performance tires, launch it properly, and it’ll sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in 5.0 seconds flat! Keep that accelerator pedal buried (on the autobahn, or on a proper race track) and its speedometer will go all the way up to 277 km/h! This is a properly fast car.
However, surprisingly, what makes this car special are not the numbers it can achieve, but how it achieves them. The Civic Type-R sits on a chassis that is stiff in all the right places, and has excellent suspension geometry. As a result, the very moment you turn it into a corner, you get the feeling that everything from camber angles to tires, to chassis and suspension, plus the steering ratio, are all dialed in to work with each other. As a result, this car can take corners at ridiculous speeds, and not lose its cool – most drivers on the other hand, will not have the skills, or the nerves, to extract all that the Civic Type-R can offer.
Aiding in its pursuit of speed, are its aerodynamics. Look all around this car, and you’ll find splitters, ground effects, and spoilers, which are not just for show. They all work together to keep this car nailed to the tarmac. It looks the way it does, not because some designer wanted it that way – it looks this way, because it has to! The fact that it looks wonderful – like a mad, anime racing car – is just a bonus.
However, don’t think that Honda went all track-focused, and forgot all about creature comforts. Not at all, as the Civic Type-R comes really well equipped with features such as power windows, locks, and mirrors. It also has a good infotainment system – which features navigation – and conveniences like a blind spot camera (a Honda exclusive technology), cruise control, and a whole lot more. However, the best button in here, is the red “Engine Start” button.
Like all current generation Civic models, the Type-R is spacious, and its sports seats are, in a word, perfect.
So, is this car flawless? It comes close, but no. First issue you have to keep in mind, is that it is a bit noisy on the highway, because it doesn’t have lots of sound deadening material in it to keep the weight down – at 1,415 kg, it is quite a bit lighter than its main rivals. Secondly, it has a stiff ride – which gets even stiffer when you select ‘Sport’ or ‘+R’ mode – so it is not ideal for daily driving. Because it is a Type-R, it is pretty much impossible to drive it sensibly, which means, it’ll drink a lot of gas – I averaged 9.7 L/100km, and it’ll drink the finest premium fuel you can find, 94 octane please.
My biggest complaint with it, is its exhaust note – despite having three exiting pipes, it is far too quiet to be a performance car. Honda, I hope that you have a sportier exhaust coming for the Type-R in the future, because it surely deserves that.
However, after spending a week with the 2017 Honda Civic Type-R, I am fully convinced that it deserves its asking price – even if it baffles some people, who view it as just another Civic! That price is: $40,890 + freight, PDI, dealer fees, and taxes.
Should you buy one? Well, considering that they are all sold out for the first model year, I say, if you can find one that is not being offered at a huge premium, don’t hesitate even for a second, the Type-R is not only all the performance car you wish for it to be, it delivers much more than that.