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  • 2017 Honda Civic Type R Touring

    Posted on December 22nd, 2017 ninarussin

    High-Performance Compact Sedan Lands Stateside

    By Nina Russin

    Honda Civic Type R

    Honda Civic Type R

    When Honda introduced the 10th-generation Civic to the US last year, it opened-up an opportunity to bring with it the Type R: a high-performance variant first introduced in Japan two decades back.

    The Type R is far more than a Civic Si on steroids. It’s a completely different animal, powered by a 306-horsepower iVTEC turbocharged engine with a six-speed manual gearbox. The Type R’s magic goes beyond its powerful engine and crisp, short-throw shifter. With improvements to torsional rigidity and suspension design, the Civic Type R is a high-performance sport sedan that needs to be taken seriously by European car aficionados.

    Pricing for the upscale Touring grade starts at $33,900 excluding the $875 destination charge. That might seem expensive for a model with pricing that starts below $20,000, but then again, this isn’t just an ordinary Civic, which is why dealerships are charging over MSRP for the few they can get their hands on.

    Standard convenience features include keyless entry and start, 20-inch alloy wheels with summer performance tires, LED headlamps and tail lamps, an extremely large rear spoiler, special racing seats, premium audio system with navigation, dual-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth interface, USB ports, satellite radio, Pandora, 60/40 fold down rear seats, triple outlet exhaust and ground effects. Final MSRP is $34,775.

    Test drive in Southern Arizona

    2018 Honda Civic Type R

    2018 Honda Civic Type R

    Nobody is better than Honda at making sports cars that can live in the real world. As powerful as it is, the Civic Type R is an easy car to live with on-a-daily-basis. EPA fuel economy is listed at 25 MPG, but I averaged over 28 on my test drive that included crawling down the 101 Freeway east of town during Friday-afternoon rush hour.

    The clutch pedal is very light, so drivers needn’t worry about fatigue in stop-and-go traffic. The gears also have plenty of range. Second gear starts are quite easy, saving the driver from constant shifting between first and second gear when commuting. Driver and front passenger seats are heavily bolstered but access and egress is surprisingly good and the seats are quite comfortable for drives several hours in duration.

    Acceleration at a moderate pedal is delightfully linear: no harsh tip-off. The turbocharged block develops peak torque at 2500 rpm and maintains it to 4500, which is the range most drivers will find themselves in off the track. The torque makes it possible to accelerate very quickly if necessary, to pass a slower vehicle or when making an emergency evasive maneuver. A rev matching feature makes it easier to keep the engine in its sweet spot when cornering.

    2017-2018 Civic Type R

    2017-2018 Civic Type R

    Because the Civic is a front-wheel drive car with most of the weight over the front end, it can get jiggy. If you floor the car off the line be prepared for it to edge towards understeer, especially on wet roads. Large Brembo brakes stop the car straight and on a dime.

    Despite its size, the rear spoiler doesn’t interfere with visibility out the back. A rearview camera displays a wide-angle view when the driver shifts into reverse, making it easier to back out of parking spots when surrounded by higher profile crossovers. The sedan’s thin B-pillars are located far enough behind the driver so-as-to not interfere with over-the-shoulder visibility. I had no problems monitoring traffic when merging onto the highway or vehicles in adjacent lanes: something I was concerned about since the test car did not have blind spot monitoring.

    While I’m not a big fan of electric power steering, the system on the Type R is masterfully tuned. On-center response is as perfect as anything this writer has experienced without feeling dicey. There is plenty of assist at lower speeds for maneuverability.

    2017- 2018 Honda Civic Type R

    2017- 2018 Honda Civic Type R

    A four-wheel independent suspension with adaptive damping enables the driver to meet his needs for performance and comfort. Anti-roll bars on both axles keep the chassis pancake flat in the corners.

    Because the car comes with summer performance tires, buyers in four-season climates should count on purchasing a separate set of winter tires to run in the cold weather.

    Engineers did a good job of minimizing engine and wind noise intrusion to the interior. There is some tire noise but that’s to be expected on a car with an aggressive wheel and tire package.

    Driver-focused interior

    2017-2018 Civic Type R

    2017-2018 Civic Type R

    In keeping with its performance mission, the Civic R interior focuses primarily on the driver. But unlike some competitors, it’s also a comfortable passenger car, with easy access to both rows and pretty-good rear hip and leg room considering its compact dimensions.

    Keyless entry and start saves the driver from fumbling for a key fob adding a measure of safety in urban areas after dark. An electric parking brake saves some space in the center console and gives the driver some more elbow room when working the shift knob.

    Climate controls are two knobs that are easy to access from either front seating position. Controls for the audio system are on the touchscreen. I found the volume control on the touchscreen more difficult to use than a traditional knob, but most drivers will use the steering wheel controls instead.

    The fold-flat rear seats add versatility by making the Civic Type R capable of carrying larger gear such as skis and snowboards. Bicycle owners could add a roof rack, but that would impact the vehicle’s aero and fuel economy. A better bet would be to look at one of Honda’s crossover vehicles.

    Standard safety

    The Honda Civic Type R comes with six airbags, antilock brakes, traction control, stability control, daytime running lamps, rearview camera and tire pressure monitoring.

    Honda builds the Civic Type R at its Swindon, Wiltshire England assembly plant. Honda builds the Type R engine in Anna, Ohio: the same plant that produces the V-6 engine for the Acura NSX.

    Like: An exceptional performing sport sedan affordably priced.

    Dislike: Unattractive rear spoiler

    Quick facts:

    Make: Honda
    Model: Civic Type R Touring
    Year: 2017
    Base price: $33,900
    As tested: $34,775
    Horsepower: 306 HP @ 6500 rpm
    Torque: 295 lbs.-ft. @ 2500-4500 rpm
    Zero-to-sixty: Sub six-seconds
    Antilock brakes: Standard
    Side curtain airbags: Standard
    First aid kit: N/A
    Bicycle friendly: No
    Towing: No
    Off-road: No
    Fuel economy: 22/28 mpg city/highway

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