The 2017 Honda Civic Type R makes quite a first impression. At least it did on a fella named Anton who followed me for miles just so he’d have an opportunity to see the car up close and take pictures. Then there was another guy in his 20s who approached me at Juban Crossing and wanted to know all about the “R.”
It’s not surprising that this hot hatch from Honda would catch the attention of young men. Highly styled with a long list of exterior design elements, the Civic Type R is definitely an attention-grabber.
But make no mistake, the Civic Type R is more than just glitzy sheet metal and shiny paint. It’s got the goods underneath as well.
The Civic Type R has under its hood the most powerful engine ever offered in a Honda production vehicle in America. And lest you think the Type R is new, it isn’t. It’s been available overseas since the early 1990s. The 2017 model is the Civic Type R’s 10th Generation.
The Type R is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline 4-cylinder that develops 306 horsepower and sends 295 lb.-ft. of torque to the front wheels. The only available transmission is a rev-matching 6-speed manual, which eliminates a lot of buyers. But Honda isn’t aiming this car at most buyers. It’s aimed at serious drivers, the purists who wish these self-driving, autonomous vehicles would just go away. They don’t want a car that drives itself, they want a car they can drive with passion.
And the Type R is just that. It’s a car that can get you comfortably to a racetrack and then whip you around said track until you’ve had all the fun you can stand. Zeroto60times.com reports the 2017 Civic Type R can sprint to 60 mph from a standstill in 4.9 seconds.
The Civic Type R has three distinctive driving modes: comfort, Sport and Plus R. The comfort mode is for daily driving with passengers like my wife, who does not under any circumstances want to go fast. The Plus R mode is the selection for the racetrack, and the Sport mode is between those two.
Driving the Civic Type R is a sensory delight. The transmission is excellent, with short throws and a smooth clutch. The rev-matching feature allows for more aggressive driving and downshifts without having to guess at where the engine throttle should be.
The Type R has a high-flow exhaust system that uses an unusual triple tailpipe design. The exhaust note isn’t too loud or soft. The low grumble of the Type R is just right.
Slightly longer and wider than a regular Civic hatchback, the Type R has numerous style and aerodynamic upgrades that Honda says are just as functional as they are cool. The hood scoop allows the engine to gulp air, while the ginormous wing on the rear deck helps the car stay planted at speed. The Type R is shod with 20-inch alloy wheels and high-performance summer tires.
Also included are LED daytime running lights, LED fog lights, LED turn signals and automatic LED headlights.
Inside the 90.7-cubic-foot cabin, Honda has really outdone itself. Form-fitting, race-inspired front seats are heavily bolstered top to bottom, and Type R logos are stitched into the seatbacks.
The 4-door Type R is roomy enough for four adults, and Honda has loaded it with everything you’d find in a Civic Touring model. There’s a premium audio system with 12 speakers, a 7-inch display with navigation, Bluetooth, an HD satellite radio with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and dual-zone climate control.
Headroom in front is 39.3 inches and in the back it’s 37.4 inches. Cargo space with the second row folded is 46.2 cubic feet.
The 2017 Civic Type R hasn’t been fully safety tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, but the regular hatchback is an IIHS Top Safety Pick, and the Type R gets five safety stars from the government.
2017 Honda Civic Type R
2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder
$33,900 ($34,775 as tested with freight)
EPA mileage estimates:
22 mpg city/28 mpg highway/25 mpg combined
Estimated highway range: