Honda Plans to Make the Civic Type R Wilder… and Milder
You’re not likely to find another car sporting over 300 horsepower and a price below $35,000 with the same kind of visual impact as the Honda Civic Type R. Call it over the top, call it arresting, or call it exactly what you’ve been waiting for.
Honda designers and engineers know what buyers they want to reach — as many as possible. Otherwise, it wouldn’t have decided to spice up its every-popular Civic with warm ( Si) and hot (Type R) variants. With both models, deciding on power and price meant walking a fine line. Honda wants the Civic to be a big tent model. Nothing too exclusive, thank you very much.
Regular Civics for the masses, a 205 hp offering for the lively commute type, and a 306 hp hatch festooned with go-fast add-ons for the wannabe (or legitimate) racers. Seems like a pretty good range, right? Nope, there’s still white space in need of filling, says the Civic’s head engineer.
Speaking to Automotive News at the recent Type R first drive event, Hideki Matsumoto revealed that the existing Type R, which only just went on sale in the U.S., is a starting point, rather than the model’s end point.
“We’re hoping that by gradually putting out more [variants] that we’ll be able to maintain a more stable sales volume,” said Matsumoto. Yes, the Civic is poised to become even more prolific.
Right now, roughly $10,000 of MSRP separates the Civic Si from its beastly brother — plenty of room in which to slot another model. Rob Keough, the model’s senior product planner, recently suggested that the Si, which was kept fairly tame to preserve the longevity of its 1.5-liter engine, could spawn a slightly warmer variant. Now, Matsumoto is suggesting a similar plan for the Type R.
The engineer claims a more powerful Type R is on the way, which could bow with all-wheel drive — a Ford-and Subaru-fighting feature the Civic currently lacks. In addition, the automaker wants to build a version that’s a little less aggressive, something “focused more on the grand touring aspect,” he said.
It’s more likely Honda would choose to let some steam out of its turbocharged 2.0-liter to fill the Si-Type R gap, rather than try and coax more output from its 1.5-liter mill. Even one variant with long-term dependability issues could give the brand a stigma.
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The 2018 Golf R should arrive this Fall and that's the sport compact to buy if you have the means. I would guess the Civic Type R is fun to drive on back roads but the acceleration numbers aren't very impressive. I'd be far more willing to put up with it's brash 90's tuner scene looks if it had SH-AWD and thus offered some legitimate performance.
This is great news, both the "wilder" AWD version and the possibility of a "milder" version to slot between the Si and current Type-R. I could definitely go "wilder" than the new Civic Si, which I tested last week, but the Type-R is too extroverted and probably too extreme for the rough roads here in downtown Philly. (I'll test it though, and I could probably live with its aesthetics in the metallic gray.) So the "milder" Type-R seems appealing, but I wonder whether it will actually be the next Acura ILX, in which case it probably won't be available with MT. Boo.