By on January 4, 2017

New Civic Type R Prototype breaks cover in Paris

An optional CVT, to be clear.

We all know true motoring — as Mother Nature intended — should involve the manual changing of one’s own gears, but even scrappy, youth-infected Honda knows that stick shifts are not the way to have customers beat down your doors.

Hence the availability of a traditionally tepid transmission in its upcoming Civic Type R.

Previously unreleased specifications for the top-rung model, expected to debut at the Geneva Motor Show, showed up recently in Britain’s Car Magazine. Details were then shared with the salivating aficionados who populate the CivicX forum.

According to the publication, which confirmed the details with the model’s head engineer and designer, as well as Honda Motor Europe president Katsushi Inoue, the hottest of Honda hatches will bow with a six-speed manual transmission and optional continuously variable transmission. Honda purists might see this as sacrilege, as many expected an optional dual-clutch setup, though the automaker has seen fit to ensure the CVT doesn’t drain all the fun out of the experience. Engineers have reportedly tuned the gearless box for low-end acceleration.

The Type R should also send its power to the front wheels only, while boasting a noticeably lower center of gravity compared to a regular Civic hatch. What we don’t know for certain is its output.  The model’s expected turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder is rumored to make up to 340 horsepower.

Meanwhile, the prototype flaunted by Honda since the middle of last year should be damn close to the real thing, so don’t expect any drastic design departures come March.

[Image: Honda]

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40 Comments on “Don’t Worry, Everyone – the Hottest Civic Money Can Buy Will Come With a CVT...”


  • avatar
    FerrariLaFerrariFace

    As long as the CVT keeps the engine pegged at a constant 7000rpm, it might be acceptable.

    • 0 avatar
      notapreppie

      This!
      If there’s a “sport” mode that sets the minimum RPM to be 75% of redline, then it sounds like an excellent idea. Look at the old Formula 440/500 cars.

    • 0 avatar
      carguy

      Given the output estimated from this engine, I’m surprised that the CVT will be handle the torque.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        Ditto.

        The CVT is coming of age, it seems. At least if efficiency is not dramatically compromised on the altar of torque handling in this niche application.

        If it works well in the Type R, over time I expect CVTs to start showing up in big volume Pilots, Odys and upper end Accords and Acuras as well. They really are the ultimate slushbox, conceptually.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    This is downright depressing. They must have heard about how much everyone hated the CVT in the WRX, and said “we can do even worse than that!”

    Truly bizarre considering they have a newly developed DCT in play in the ILX/TLX that absolutely needs volume/amortization. It’s hard being a Honda fanboi in 2017.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      Let’s stay positive. The MT is still available. Maybe this is an opportunity for Honda to engineer a CVT appropriate to a true driver’s car.

    • 0 avatar
      turbo_awd

      Funny, most of the feedback I’ve seen on legacygt.com is that CVT in the WRX isn’t that bad, especially as a daily..

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      As I recall Jack had nice things to say about the CVT in the Accord. Maybe Honda can do this right.

    • 0 avatar
      Nedmundo

      When the TLX came out, I recall reading the 8DCT couldn’t handle much torque, and the V6 models’ use of conventional automatics is consistent with this. I thought this was odd, because we all knew high-torque turbo motors were coming, but I figured Honda/Acura could update the DCT for those. Apparently not, which is a bummer because IMO it’s a cool transmission that would be great for the Civic Si and Type-R. I’d always get the manual, but I liked the 8DCT when I tested the TLX.

      Acura also has the 7DCT from the RLX hybrid, which obviously can handle more torque but might not fit other applications.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      Anything that helps relegate clumsy, complex robomanuals to the dustbin of temporary fixes to which they belong, can’t help but being a good thing.

      Honda is still pushing CVTs hard in motorcycles, where they arguably make more sense. But then again, it’s not like there’s a shortage of CVTs in two wheelers across the world either….

  • avatar
    OldManPants

    Maybe all y’all car guys here are just getting old and are clueless about what young ones coming up care about.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    but what if the money does not wish to buy it?

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Back in the 1980s, the US military changed their vehicle procurements to 100% automatic transmissions because so few incoming recruits could drive manuals…and it was wasting valuable time training them in that skill.

    So you can easily believe 30 yrs later the manual capable numbers are even a good bit lower.

  • avatar

    It’s not the end of the world, but rather a way that Honda can get more people to actually buy the Type-R.

    I hope that they’re offer the CVT with the Si as well.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Sometimes, when it’s in an inspired mood, Honda improves things in surprising ways. I’m just a bit hopeful that they will improve the CVT for this application. In particular, it needs the ability to move between ratios faster.

    • 0 avatar
      neilg

      This is how I feel too. Assuming they can do it well, then I why not, The current civic CVT appears to have struck a nice compromise in its manual mode between utilizing the CVTs benefits and having fairly quick shifts between the gear ratios once off the line,

      Considering how poorly the market has responded to most DCTs, it’s not shocking that Honda is more comfortable with using their CVT.

    • 0 avatar

      A CVT can be plenty fast, but they would need to set it up so it does not act like a regular transmission. I think that’s part of the issue they can make CVT performance and economy better but it tends to annoy the driver.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Well, Honda CVTs are improving.

    But why they’d put one on this model is kind of mystifying.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      Well, it’s getting pretty hard to get a Ferrari with a third pedal these days. (not that I’m in the market)

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      I thought that the output dictated CVT versus real TC slusher.

      Wonder how much oomph that 2.0Ts gonna contain (if not yet higher output from the 1.5T)!

      High-strung turbo + fragile transmission = WTF, Honda!!!!

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Do you have any evidence that the Honda CVT is fragile?

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          Just that they won’t put a CVT behind anything more than four cylinders, on account of the torque.

          Either that R is going to have output disappointingly close to the Si, or they’d better have overbuilt that thing!

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            You can be pretty darned sure that the reason a CVT was chosen for the low volume, enthusiast R, is that Honda has spent a way-more-than-can-even-remotely-plausibly-be-recouped-from-type-R-sales-alone amount of development, on higher torque, higher power CVTs. And that this is just the coming out party.

            CVTs are really cool (greater practical engine efficiency can be achieved by narrowing the engine’s required operating range), as long as they can be made to work efficiently and reliably. 5 to 6 to 7 to 8 to 9 to 10 speeds in ever more densely packed and more tolerance dependent conventional gearsets, is just throwing Indians at a problem better solved by employing rifles instead of bows and arrows.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      This was probably approved two years ago and they really wanted that extra 1 mpg at the expense of anything else.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    One, Honda’s recent CVTs have been very good: they tend to pick the right ratio and are much less prone to manic ratio-hunting than automatics with six or more gears.

    Two, there’s nothing wrong with a CVT in a car like this. It can change ratio faster than a human, and can park the engine in the sweet spot of it’s power band and never drops out between shifts. A neat bonus would be if Honda allows the driver to lock in a specific engine RPM, or manually control the ratio without resorting to discrete “steps” like an AT would.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      “….. manually control the ratio without resorting to discrete “steps” like an AT would.”

      Or, make some sort of sense, out of those transmission control rotary dials employed by Ram in their 8 speed trucks…..

  • avatar

    How the hell do they plan to get 340 hp through the front tires without making an undrivable mess?

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      Also interested to understand this. LSDs and ATTS can only do so much.

    • 0 avatar
      EAF

      Google “Honda DASFS” for info on the Type R suspension system designed to deal with torque steer & understeer.

      I believe in Euro the engine output is 306hp; I would think the US will get similar HP figures, if not, maybe less? I doubt we will see 340hp!

      In my experience with FWD and boost, anything above 300fwhp is completely useless for anything other than straight-line high speed runs.

      • 0 avatar
        blppt

        Hasnt Ford offered at or near 300hp FWD Foci for years overseas? With that trick “revoknuckle” thingie? My guess is that if they werent able to tame the torque steer, Europeans wouldnt be lining up to buy.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    A manual is standard, so much ado about nothing. To me, the availability of a CVT is no more discouraging or laughable than the availability of any automatic transmission, a well-programmed dual-clutch such as that in the GTI the possible exception.

    CVTs can be more responsive to input than a geared automatic and if you need to bomb down canyons and want to control the ratio, Honda just needs to make sure they put some shift paddles on that steering wheel. The manumatic ratio function in our cheapo Altima swaps ratios very quickly and provides a lot of control during mountain driving. Step this up further to match the character of the Si and I simply do not see how a conventional automatic would be considered better.

    The bigger concern for me is FWD + 340 hp.

  • avatar
    yamahog

    I hope to goodness we see a real performance CVT – one that keeps the turbos lit and the torque rheotstatic during aggressive driving.

    Also, enough with the ‘steps’ on CVTs. It’s not a slushbox, don’t make it seem like a slush box, there should be two switches on every car with a CVT:

    1. Simulated shifts – on / off
    2. Creep – on / off

    I want my CVT to maximize efficiency and I want to be able to take my foot off the brake at long lights. Make it happen.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Everything in this comment. Exactly.

      I want my CVT to use the most efficient ratio for the amount of power requested through my right foot. I don’t care if it “drones” (i.e. feels different from a conventional automatic). If the “drone” is objectionable that’s an engine NVH problem, not a CVT problem.

  • avatar
    nels0300

    VTEC kicked in, yo!

    Now, the VTEC is always kicked in!

  • avatar
    Joss

    Will thieves be able to row an R once they’re past the push button..?

    What would be the biggest challenge?

  • avatar
    stuntmonkey

    I will lol if the CVT version sets the fastest Nürburgring time…. which is entirely possible.

  • avatar
    Crancast

    It is a little sad when Temple of Vtec can reach out to Honda PR for an answer/confirmation, but then that likely defeats the purpose of this click bait shiiite.

    http://www.vtec.net/news/news-item?news_item_id=1302343

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