Geneva 2017: Honda's Civic Type R Lands in American Driveways This Spring

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

If you’re an enthusiast in your thirties, there’s a good chance you’ve coveted Honda’s Civic Type R from a distance for the majority of your adult life. While the Civic Si made it to North American shores, it seemed like the whole rest of the world was enjoying its racier sibling without us. I personally knew at least two people in high school who stuck false Type R badges onto unsporting Civics, rounding out the lie with cheap aftermarket rims and a noisy exhaust.

The opportunity for those dishonest people to redeem themselves is now closer than ever. Honda has finally dished on the Civic, reassuring westerners that this Type R will be true to form while reminding us that the wait is nearly over. Just make sure you’ve budgeted some extra dough for new front tires and are practicing your lift-off oversteer technique.

Of course, that’s because the 2018 Honda Type-R will be front-wheel drive — like all Civics before it. Spinning those front wheels will be a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder i-VTEC motor making 306 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. According to the automaker, the engine is focused on mid-range punch, with peak torque coming in between 2,500 and 4,500 rpm. However, as this is a VTEC, peak power doesn’t arrive until 6,500 rpm.

Purists will be pleased to find that the sole transmission choice is a short-throw six-speed manual aided by rev matching and a lower final gear ratio than the car’s previous incarnation. Honda also saw fit to include a single-mass flywheel that it claims reduces clutch inertia by 25 percent.

Further proving that this Civic is special are model-exclusive spring, damper and bushing settings, with an upgraded front front suspension that includes aluminum lower arms and steering knuckles. Honda says this reduces dreaded toque steer while enhancing cornering on the bleeding edge of what’s stable. There is also a new four-wheel adaptive suspension system, limited-slip differential, and dual-pinion electric steering offering variable ratios.

The new car’s body is also more than 40 percent more rigid than the old European Civic Type R.

Attached to the car are 20-inch aluminum alloy wheels wrapped in 245/30R 20 Continental ContiSportContact 6 performance rubber — which are on par with Michelin Pilot Super Sports. Front mounted Brembo aluminum calipers grab cross-drilled 350mm rotors while the rears squeeze solid 305mm disks.

While this is certainly a track-oriented vehicle, the three selectable drive modes include a comfort setting in addition to the R+ race mode and the default sport setup. The modes adjust steering and throttle response, rev matching, electronic stability control, and the adaptive damper system’s presets.

Available only in a singular premium touring trim in the 5-door bodystyle, the Civic Type R goes on sale in North America late in spring, aimed squarely at every other super-hot hatchback currently on sale. While some might assume the all-wheel drive Focus RS, Golf R, and WRX STI might be off-limits, my gut tells me any driver familiar with at-the-limit FWD handling will find the Type R more than capable of keeping pace.

The 2017 Civic Type R will make its U.S. debut at the New York International Auto Show on April 12, and is currently viewable at the Geneva International Motor Show. While a few minor things could change by then — the vehicle in these images is the Euro-spec model — it’s a safe bet that none of them will alter the Civic’s rap sheet in any meaningful way, as the data Honda provided was in metric and imperial units.

[Images: Honda]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • Markf Markf on Mar 08, 2017

    20 inch rims, why Honda? Why?

  • Dr. Claw Dr. Claw on Mar 09, 2017

    I love it. Really, my only complaint is not about this particular "Type R" model, but of the Civic hatch in general; it's a "rounded" hatch type, like the last FK2 Civic. But that's minor. That it's a hatch, not a coupe or sedan, is the barrier to poseur adoption that cars like this need (see: Focus ST/RS, Fiesta ST, Golf in general) The EK or EP3 (lookswise) is ideal. FN2 sedan is anathema. Leave the "conventional looks" to the Si and below.

  • Ted Lulis Head gaskets and Toyota putting my kids through college👍️
  • Leonard Ostrander Plants don't unionize. People do, and yes, of course the workers should organize.
  • Jalop1991 Here's something EVangelists don't want to talk about, and why range is important: battery warranties, by industry standard, specify that nothing's wrong with the battery, and they won't replace it, as long as it is able to carry 70% or more of its specified capacity.So you need a lot of day 1 capacity so that down the road, when you're at 70% capacity with a "fully functioning, no problem" car, you're not stuck in used Nissan Leaf territory."Nothing to see here, move along."There's also the question of whether any factory battery warranty survives past the original new car owner. So it's prudent of any second owner to ask that question specifically, and absent any direct written warranty, assume that the second and subsequent owners own any battery problems that may arise.And given that the batteries are a HUGE expense, much more so than an ICE, such exposure is equally huge."Nothing to see here, move along."
  • Roger hopkins The car is in Poland??? It does look good tho...
  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X The push for EV's is part of the increase in our premiums. Any damage near the battery pack and the car is a total loss.