While the Honda Civic was first launched in 1972, this year marks the 20th anniversary of the Type R and at long last, it will be making an overdue appearance on this side of the Atlantic. Typically this hottest of hatches has been the exclusive plaything for Asians and Europeans, but as it goes on sale in America for the first time in its illustrious history we ask, has it been worth the wait and does the 2017 Honda Civic Type R stand up to the legend which precedes it?
2017 Honda Civic Type R Redesign, Exterior
This is the first in the fourth generation of the Type R and the main difference is in the new FK8 chassis which Honda have introduced with this model. This makes it slightly longer (4.5 meters or 180 inches,) wider (1.87 meters or 74 inches) and lower than the FK2 which was launched in 2015 and seemingly abandoned after only two years.
While the upgrade can also boast improvements in the suspension system, it’s the heavily stylized body which has caught most of the attention. Featuring an array of different vents and air scoops to match the oversized rear wing, the front fender, enlarged wheel arches and rear bodywork which all add many angular extensions into the aesthetic. Furthermore, the LED headlights also have a very sharp look to them to complete an aggressive, muscle car appearance with this car.
Sitting on 20” x 8.5” wheels which are furnished with a bespoke set of 245/30-series CSC-6 (Continental Sport Contact 6) summer tires, even they look and perform at the top-end of the sports range which is symbolic of the way in which this car has been designed. For this reason, it is slightly surprising to find a pleasantly large rear trunk of 420 liters hidden in the back which means that you can always try and pass it off as a practical purchase.
If there’s one area of the 2017 Civic Type R which lets it down, it’s the interior design. While it is a dream to drive with its low riding position, well-balanced pedals, and a general feel which connect you directly to the road with a sense of comfort, comfort is not at the forefront of Honda’s design.
Read: 2018 Honda Civic Type R
With a stiff suspension system that is performance-lead rather than being built for luxury. However, not everything here is sportified and the introduction of a third tailpipe greatly reduces the noise created inside the car when hitting higher speeds on the freeway compared to their previous offering. Also, the new Type R still provides a lot of background noise relative to its competitors.
Where the Type R falls flat is in the general design which has been given a red hue and seemingly designed in a hurry, although, to be fair to Honda, the build quality itself is above average. The in-car technology is also a disappointment with a 7” touchscreen display that features a simple GPS system and a poor user interface although we found no problem with the GSM that ably supports both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to connect to the 12-speaker audio system installed around the car.
While a GT version is available in Europe which offers additional driving aids, improved climate controls, LED fog lights and other nifty details over the base model. The full touring option is currently available in the States but we shouldn’t really complain too much about that.
Honda Civic Type R 2017 Specs, Engine
Looking under the hood, the 2017 Honda Civic Type R packs the same 2.0-litre VTEC turbo as the earlier version but the power has been tweaked upwards to 316 hp now which is mainly due to the third tailpipe which reduces the back pressure created around the exhaust. With 295 lb-ft of torque to play with, the Type R can hit 272 km/h (169mph) but this doesn’t paint the full picture.
Read: 2017 Honda Civic SI coupe
Coming in at 16kg lighter, featuring a turbocharger which comes into play when the car is up and running, and with its torsion rigidity being increased by over 130% on the previous model, this car feels and is much faster than its predecessor. Honda also claims that the aerodynamics on this car make it the first hot hatchback to have the negative lift. This means that the bulk tail-wing and side vents have been added to serve stability rather than merely create a talking point.
What this all means is that while the 2017 Honda Civic Type R may only record a 0-100 km/h or 0-62mph time of 5.7 sec, a time which is slower than some of its rivals, it’s incredibly fast and an immensely exciting car which performs well above the standard expected of it. Not only does it stick like glue to the road, it has a phenomenal level of mid-corner balance and adaptability while it even manages to retain a high level of stability when placed under heavy braking from high speeds. While the fuel consumption respectably limps in at an average of 25 mpg, this is the fastest FWD car that money can buy as it proved by clocking a time of 7mins 43.8 seconds around the Nürburgring in Germany.
Price and release data
Honda’s official website list the guide price for the basic model at $33,900 which puts it in the same price bracket as the likes of the Chevrolet Camaro SS, a Subaru WRX STI or the Ford Mustang GT. The best news of all though is that it went on sale on June 14th meaning you can go out and buy your own Type R right now!
2017 Honda Civic Type R US photos