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

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
geneva 2017 hondas civic type r lands in american driveways this spring

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]

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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.

  • Nrd515 I bought an '88 S10 Blazer with the 4.3. We had it 4 years and put just about 48K on it with a bunch of trips to Nebraska and S. Dakota to see relatives. It had a couple of minor issues when new, a piece of trim fell off the first day, and it had a seriously big oil leak soon after we got it. The amazinly tiny starter failed at about 40K, it was fixed under some sort of secret warranty and we got a new Silverado as a loaner. Other than that, and a couple of tires that blew when I ran over some junk on the road, it was a rock. I hated the dash instrumentation, and being built like a gorilla, it was about an inch and a half too narrow for my giant shoulders, but it drove fine, and was my second most trouble free vehicle ever, only beaten by my '82 K5 Blazer, which had zero issues for nearly 50K miles. We sold the S10 to a friend, who had it over 20 years and over 400,000 miles on the original short block! It had a couple of transmissions, a couple of valve jobs, a rear end rebuild at 300K, was stolen and vandalized twice, cut open like a tin can when a diabetic truck driver passed out(We were all impressed at the lack of rust inside the rear quarters at almost 10 years old, and it just went on and on. Ziebart did a good job on that Blazer. All three of his sons learned to drive in it, and it was only sent to the boneyard when the area above the windshield had rusted to the point it was like taking a shower when it rained. He now has a Jeep that he's put a ton of money into. He says he misses the S10's reliablity a lot these days, the Jeep is in the shop a lot.
  • Jeff S Most densely populated areas have emission testing and removing catalytic converters and altering pollution devices will cause your vehicle to fail emission testing which could effect renewing license plates. In less populated areas where emission testing is not done there would probably not be any legal consequences and the converter could either be removed or gutted both without having to buy specific parts for bypassing emissions. Tampering with emission systems would make it harder to resell a vehicle but if you plan on keeping the vehicle and literally running it till the wheels fall off there is not much that can be done if there is no emission testing. I did have a cat removed on a car long before mandatory emission testing and it did get better mpgs and it ran better. Also had a cat gutted on my S-10 which was close to 20 years old which increased performance and efficiency but that was in a state that did not require emission testing just that reformulated gas be sold during the Summer months. I would probably not do it again because after market converters are not that expensive on older S-10s compared to many of the newer vehicles. On newer vehicles it can effect other systems that are related to the operating and the running of the vehicle. A little harder to defeat pollution devices on newer vehicles with all the systems run by microprocessors but if someone wants to do it they can. This law could be addressing the modified diesels that are made into coal rollers just as much as the gasoline powered vehicles with cats. You probably will still be able to buy equipment that would modify the performance of a vehicles as long as the emission equipment is not altered.
  • ToolGuy I wonder if Vin Diesel requires DEF.(Does he have issues with Sulfur in concentrations above 15ppm?)
  • ToolGuy Presented for discussion: https://xroads.virginia.edu/~Hyper2/thoreau/civil.html
  • Kevin Ford can do what it's always done. Offer buyouts to retirement age employees, and transfers to operating facilities to those who aren't retirement age. Plus, the transition to electric isn't going to be a finger snap one time event. It's going to occur over a few model years. What's a more interesting question is: Where will today's youth find jobs in the auto industry given the lower employment levels?
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