Honda Civic 2017
The anticipation for the 2017 Honda Civic Type R – the first generation available in the US – has been running high, but I did not realize how high it was for some people until recently during Honda’s introduction to Car near Montreal.
I was filming a video late in the day when an impressively preserved Honda CRX went up and a guy jumped and asked if he could take some photos of the car. After talking a little about the Type R, he mentioned that he had seen a post on social networks about the unit’s event and had climbed in his car and driven an hour and a half to see the new Type R. Yep, an hour Y A half to see a car that could very well have been a long time by the time it arrived. I was stunned.
It is that kind of enthusiasm that speaks of the reverence that the name of Type R has developed even though it was never sold in the United States (or Canada, by the way) until now. After spending most of the day driving on a track as well as public thoroughfares in the Canadian countryside, it is clear that many of the qualities we like the regular Civic remain – they have just been converted to 11.
It starts in the exterior, where new signs of aggressive style go far beyond what any other Civic offers, including the new Si. Many of the changes are functional: Winglets direct the air around the wheel openings, the hood vent cools the engine and reduces lift, ceiling-mounted vortex generators channel the air to the massive rear wing and that wing generates Downforce at higher speeds. The resulting appearance might be a bit more for some buyers, but remember earlier Type Rs.
The four-cylinder turbocharged transports from the previous Type R. The engine makes 306 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 295 foot-pounds of torque from 2,500 to 4,500 rpm. It works exclusively with a six-speed manual transmission that delivers power to the front wheels through a limited slip differential. Estimated gas mileage is 22/28 mpg city / highway.
The regular Civic offers adequate power from its range of engines, but little else. As expected, the R-type engine is operating at a completely different level. The engine pulls hard and spills over power very linearly. You need to keep the revs or start to feel slow, but that’s easy to do because the engine is happy to rev as much as you want. The exhaust system has a central resonator for low-speed sound that is flanked by outputs designed for high-speed flow. Car manufacturers tend to take more freedom with exhaust intensity in their top performance cars, but the Type R exhaust is not much stronger than a regular Civic.
The six-speed manual launches are very short and have a satisfying mechanical feel. It is easy to make quick gear changes most of the time, although it appeared that the gear lever was not fully engaged in the chosen gear a few times. A Honda-first rev-match feature is included; It automatically raises the engine speed when shifting gears, so it is not necessary to lock the throttle to ensure smooth change. It worked quite well on the track and on the street. The clutch pedal feels elastic when pressed down, but hooks easily without any shaking.
The current generation of Civic helped to bring the car back to its fun-to-drive roots thanks in no small part to its great handling, and handling is one of the outstanding features of Type R, too. The car feels hunkered-down and planted, and even when it is pushed hard on the track, the body roll was not excessive. The car has a unique double-axle front suspension that separates the steering axle from the race axle to help maintain torque steering in the bay. I did not feel any twists on the track or on the street.
The standard adaptive suspension has three modes: Comfort, Sport and Plus R. I was pleasantly surprised that the Comfort mode fits your name: it does a good job of absorbing road imperfections and offers a comfortable road trip. Sport, the default mode, companies up the ride noticeably, while Plus R gives you very tense suspension adjustment which creates an uneven driving experience on the roughest public roads, but worked well on the smooth concrete of the track.
In addition to the steadiness of the suspension, modes vary steering feel, throttle pedal response and rev-match feature. The steering felt a little artificial – especially in Sport and Plus R, which added more weight to the rue Da.R brakes are another highlight. With four-piston calipers made by Brembo in the front, the brakes had no problems to lose speed on the track, and the firm pedal has good feel. When can you get one? The Type R begins to reach the dealers on 15 June. It comes in a version with many of the same features that go in Touring versions of other Civics, such as navigation and a premium stereo. Significantly, the Honda Sensing active safety system is absent. Let’s dive into the rest of the Type R features in a later full review, but it’s clear from a performance standpoint that those who have been waiting a long time for The Type R have finally been rewarded.