2017 Honda Type R – the extreme hatchback of our dreamsMar 31th, 2017
Prepare to nerd out, Honda lovers.
The Honda Civic Type R is gaining new ground for its badge this spring as it lands for the first time ever on North American soil.
Those who celebrated the North American rebirth of the Honda Civic hatchback last year may care to take a minute here to realize what this means. Yes, you can own one and, yes, it shall be glorious, the most powerful, fastest Honda ever sold in the country and continent. Only in a hatchback, only with a manual transmission.
It’ll cost about $40,000, which means it’s the track-meets-street piece of Honda motorsport you’ve always wanted and now, as a functioning adult, can actually have. Visually however, it’s a far cry from your family friendly everyday-mobile – more fast and furious, sneakers over dress shoes type deal.
Front on, you get a few nods to its performance bent with the low and wide air intakes, blacked out grille, a hood scoop and that small red H. Sculpted side skirts skirts and a steep, sloping silhouette, a substantial (*cough) wing, and those three exhaust pipes also suggest it’s not your average commuter.
But underneath it all, the 2017 Honda Civic Type R has the same body style as the tenth-gen Civic with some welcome performance upgrades, including the 2.0-liter DOHC, direct-injected and turbocharged-VTEC (score!) in-line 4-cylinder engine capable of 306 horsepower, 295 lb. –ft of torque, and emitting a growl hardly becoming of a hatchback. It will be most powerful Honda ever sold here.
A 7-inch display screen fronts the infotainment system inside, with Honda Navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a 540-watt 12-speaker stereo system backing it up. There are three drive modes, Comfort, Sport and +R, which tweak the suspension and handling and overall drive feel.
In the Type R’s bag of track ready tricks are: improved body work to create more downforce while driving; an upgraded adaptive suspension that works well with the stiffer suspension and more rigid body; a new a spring, damper and bushel calibration setting unique to it; 20-inch aluminum allow wheels fitted with 245/30R performance tires; and, can’t forget, that VTEC timing system that has won over the masses. All this you’ll notice and appreciate when working through the 6-speed manual transmission on the highway and giggling gleefully as you take the on and off ramps at speed.
The Type R is a giggle friendly vehicle, for you and your co-pilot in the racing seats up front and for whomever may be in riding the back seats. A manual transmission is a rare thing in these evermore autonomous and digital times, and this one is a pleasant reminder why we subscribed to our purist ways in the first place.
The Type R will be manufactured in Swindon, England, with engines coming from Ohio. If you’re interested in seeing the Type R in person, Family Honda and Policaro Motorsport will be hosting a track day at Canadian Tire Motorsport this summer. Details TBD, so stay tuned to our channels.