Honda is bringing its fastest Civic to the U.S. We break down why that matters and explain who is interested in such a beast.
In 1992, the hottest Honda Civic in America, the Civic Si, was a 125 hp two-door hatchback with 14″ steel wheels and a single exhaust pipe with a little chrome trim. It had an MSRP of $11,900 and that is exactly what I paid for it.
Fast forward 25 model years and the folks from Honda have decided America is ready for the current-generation Civic Type R, a high-performance Civic that Honda has held back from the U.S. market since it was introduced in 1997.
When it arrives, the Civic Type R will have a 306 hp turbocharged four-cylinder, an available six-speed manual transmission, 20-inch alloy wheels, four doors, three exhaust pipes and will sell for around $35K. Honda calls it a “Track-Ready” car.
So who cares about 306 hp track-ready Civics anyway? The 2017 Honda Civic Type R is not for everyone. It is for people like me, Harry Johnston, and Kamil Kaluski. Harry Johnston is a 15-year-old high school student with a passion for cars. He is me, a long time ago. Kamil Kaluski is a colleague of mine, engineer, and writer, who owns a very special vintage Acura Integra GS-R that has a lot of shared DNA with the new Civic. He races affordable cars and wrenches on them in his spare time.
Cars like the Ford Focus RS, Volkswagen Golf R, and Subaru STI have a small, but passionate group of followers. Honda hopes to rejoin the party.
Harry has helped us with opinions in past stories, so we reached out to him for his thoughts on the new Civic Type R. Harry checked out the press release we sent him and he scrutinized it carefully. On the topic of looks, Harry commented, “I love the new curves and designs. They make the Type R look like an aggressive and sporty hot hatch.” On the topic of power and the available manual transmission, Harry added, “The turbocharged 2-liter inline 4-cylinder should have a very good punch to it. Hopefully, it will be very responsive and have little to no turbo-lag. I think the 6-speed manual gearbox makes a great combination with this type of engine and car.” Harry even liked the interior of the Civic Type R, saying, “The interior’s quality of materials looks decent and everything is nicely laid out.”
We don’t need to ask Kamil Kaluski what he thinks. He penned a story speculating on the new Civic Type R for Hooniverse that traced the lineage of this new 2017 Type R Civic. Kamil struck on the key points about the mid-1990s Type R cars, saying, “Due to their stiffer, lighter chassis and double wishbone suspension, the Hondas handled better than the other cars. While under powered out of the box, Hondas took much better to aftermarket modifications. There were turbocharged engines putting over 400 horsepower through the stock transmissions without much of a problem.” His analysis also points out the biggest difference between then and now – that this time, Honda is doing the modifications themselves. Kamil is clearly a harder sell. He is deeply into the hot Honda culture and doesn’t want to be disappointed. In a few short months, we will find out if the 2017 Honda Civic Type R satisfies fans like Harry and Kamil.
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See what our reviewers thought of the other new Civic Trims: