2017 Honda Civic Type R Revealed in Geneva, Headed to U.S.

img602850305 1488988039572 jpg 2017 Honda Civic Type-R | Manufacturer image
CARS.COM — Honda’s new Civic Type R is an extremely overdue, 306-horsepower “thank you” to its fervent and long-suffering North American fan base. Making its global debut this week at the 2017 Geneva International Motor Show, the Civic Type R is due to make a stopover at the New York International Auto Show in April before going on sale in the U.S. by early summer. With an estimated entry price expected to be around $35,000, the Civic Type R goes head-to-head with pint-sized performance machines like the Ford Focus RS, Volkswagen Golf R, and Subaru WRX STI.
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A little historical perspective: For decades, Honda fans here in the U.S. have been trying to recreate the Civic Type R by using any means — i.e., gobs of aftermarket performance parts — deemed necessary. That’s because, until now, Honda has never officially brought it stateside. To make up for this sad reality, countless low- to mid-range Civic sedans, coupes and hatchbacks have been slammed to the ground, often fitted with chainsaw-mimicking exhaust systems, all in a quest to tune the standard Civic into something more special.
Not only has Honda finally done the hard work for its U.S. buyers, the Japanese automaker also appears to have been working overtime to make certain this generation of Civic Type R is unforgettable.
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That begins with an exterior covered with angular spoilers, towering wings and gaping air vents (many of some of them fake, notably) along most surfaces. The design isn’t what you’d call “mature,” but you’ll certainly never lose it in a crowd — and that’s probably exactly what diehard Honda fans want in the first place.
From its blunt nose to the three-pipe exhaust outlets sticking out from the rear bumper, the Civic Type R bristles with aggression like one seriously peeved-off porcupine.
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Based on the recently overhauled Civic line, Honda has stuck with front-wheel drive in the Type R, despite the temptation to follow others — such as Ford and Subaru — down the popular path to all-wheel drive. The decision saves overall weight and engineering complexity, though performance-minded shoppers in blustery snow belt states may be disappointed. This is also a car that demands you shift yourself since the only transmission available will be a six-speed manual gearbox.
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Under the hood of the Civic Type R is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, which delivers 306 hp at 6,500 rpm and 295 pounds-feet of torque from 2,500 to 4,500 rpm. The turbocharger ensures plenty of low-end grunt, something that hasn’t always been a forte of Honda’s high performance (and small displacement) engines.
Lower and lighter than the standard Civic — Honda says the Type R weighs 15 pounds less than a base 2017 Civic hatchback — the car features a heavily revised suspension system fitted with select aluminum components to help trim weight. The engine cover is also constructed out of weight-saving aluminum, while ultra-high-strength steel is used in 14 percent of the chassis. This created a much more rigid platform for Honda engineers to work with when tuning and tweaking the latest Type R.
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Three drive modes are now available: Comfort, Sport, and Plus R. Unlike some competitors that allow you to mix and match a softer ride with the edgiest throttle response, the Honda system is much less democratic: With Sport as the default, stepping up or down a driving mode will adjust everything from throttle response, the reaction time of the revised dual ratio electric power steering, the quickness of the rev-matching feature, Vehicle Stability Assist and the behavior of the Type R’s unique three-chamber dampers. Helping to keep all this power under control at each of the car’s 20-inch alloy wheels — all shod with Continental ContiSportContact 6 performance tires — Honda has fitted the Type R with a front-mounted limited slip differential.
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In terms of comfort and convenience, every Civic Type R comes in the upmarket Touring trim level and includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, along with a 540-watt 12-speaker sound system. Whether that stereo proves powerful enough to drown out the exhaust zing of this edgy and angular Civic Type R remains to be seen. Something tells us that’s highly unlikely.
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