2017 Honda Civic Type-R: VTEC just kicked in…hard

Posted by Wheels On Edge about 3 months ago
2017 Honda Civic Type-R

Type-R: It’s a name that carries a rich legacy in the automotive world. For Honda, it represents the pinnacle of performance and engineering on the road and on the track. It’s been 20 years since Honda teased Canada and the United States with the now legendary Integra Type-R. Made only in limited production, it vanished almost as quickly as it arrived. Honda hasn’t given North Americans a Type-R vehicle since – until now with the brand new Honda Civic Type-R. Does it live up to the hype and the precedent set by its ancestor? We put it to the test.

The first thing anyone will notice about the Type-R is the way it looks. Sharp angles, vents, ducts, aerodynamic fittings and a massive rear spoiler add to what is already a dramatic design. Our example, painted in Honda’s iconic Championship White, further accentuated every bold angle of the vehicle. The Type-R sits on black 20-inch wheels with bright red Brembo brake calipers behind them. Red pinstripes adorning the wheels and various aerodynamic accessories complement the well bolstered red Recaro seats on the inside. The dashboard is trimmed with more red striping and faux-carbon accents as well as a Type-R badge with a serial number, indicating the vehicle’s limited production. Our test car was serial number 25.
Sharp angles, vents, ducts, aerodynamic fittings

The Type-R is certainly unmistakable, and not just in looks alone. The Type-R is practically a Civic in name alone. It may be based on an economy hatchback but the way it drives is nothing short of sublime. Honda’s engineers have managed to hide all the inherent handling flaws that a Front-Wheel-Drive configuration presents. During more ‘spirited’ driving, FWD vehicles have a tendency to pull to one side. It’s a jarring and sometimes terrifying phenomenon called torque steer, and in a Front-Drive vehicle, it’s almost unavoidable at speed. But Honda’s engineers have managed to tweak and work the handling and suspension to eliminate virtually all of it. The Type-R is composed, nimble and shockingly sharp no matter how hard you throw it into a corner or mash the throttle on the straights. It’s a Front-Wheel-Drive car, but it certainly doesn’t feel like it. 
The Type-R is composed, nimble and shockingly sharp

The Type-R rides on grippy Continental Sport Contact tires. The 20-inch rubber was co-developed by Honda engineers and Continental. They won’t be cheap to replace, but the astonishing grip they produce keeps the car poised and planted on the road surface – even with traction control disabled. The slick shifting 6-speed manual is a joy to use when paired with the 306 horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. By default, it’ll automatically rev-match upon a downshift, raising the engine’s RPM’s and drastically smoothening out the shift. You can disable the feature through the (sometimes clunky) touchscreen in the centre console for an even more engaging experience. 

You can drive the Civic Type-R in three modes: Comfort, Sport (Default) and +R mode. Most of our driving was spent in +R mode, where the steering, adaptive suspension and throttle response is at its crispest and most aggressive. Upon switching to +R mode, the gauge cluster is bathed in ominous red backlighting – a sign of the good times ahead. Fuel economy can reach as good as 8.3 L/100km – a far cry from the 6.0 L/100km attainable by the base hatchback. But it’s unlikely a car like this is purchased for good fuel numbers. While Honda recommends premium gasoline in the Type-R, it is not required. Regular or mid-grade can be used in a pinch. 
Comfort, Sport (Default) and +R mode

From the inside, the Type-R doesn’t bathe you in luxury as one might expect from a nearly $41,000 vehicle. The dashboard is virtually the same plastic dashboard you’ll find in the base civic hatchback, complete with the clunky touchscreen interface. You won’t get much in terms of noise dampening, or even certain creature comforts like heated seats. But Type-R models have never been about comfort. They were originally designed with an emphasis on lightweight precision performance for the race track. While the focus has since widened to include street use, that original mantra is still apparent. Plus, with a roomy back seat and massive trunk, the Type-R is still very practical.

Honda has sold the Civic Type-R, and other Type-R designated models overseas for years now. But here in Canada, we’ve only had one taste of it 20 years ago with the Acura Integra Type-R. But even though it’s a vehicle two decades old, the old Integra is still regarded as one of the finest Front Wheel Drive vehicles in the world. With the new Civic Type-R, Honda has lived up to and surpassed the legacy left by the old Integra. It’s not just a street car though. Right out of the box, the Type-R is race ready. In fact it holds the Front-Wheel-Drive lap record on the famed Nurburgring with a time of 7:43, beating the last record held by the Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport S. That’s also faster than its competitors including the Ford Focus RS.
The Type-R is still very practical

The bold and almost outlandish styling of the Civic Type-R is a polarizing point to potential buyers. It makes competitors like the Focus RS and Subaru STI look downright tame. We’d argue the looks suit the nature of the car and regardless, it doesn’t take away from what is a monstrously fun, sharp and engaging driving experience. With a waiting list extending to next year, it seems like buyers aren’t too bothered by the opinions of jaded internet users for the time being. We’ll have to wait and see if the Type-R can maintain the hype during its lifetime. But for the time being, we’re happy to welcome the Type-R name back to North America and we hope it’ll stick around longer this time.

Written by Shane Kalicharan
Tags:
2017 Honda Civic Type-R, Honda Performance, Brembo, VTEC Turbo, Integra

Latest Articles

See All
  • Bad Driving Habits You Need To Quit Immediately
    Bad Driving Habits You Need To Quit Immediately

    October 18, 2017 - None of us get into our cars with the intention of causing harm to ourselves or others, but we are often guilty of slipping into bad habits that could cause endangerment. We will look at some of these unsafe practices in this article, and if any of t

  • Unusual Ways Your Car Can Make You Money
    Unusual Ways Your Car Can Make You Money

    October 16, 2017 - We all know that driving for a company like Uber or Lyft can make you a little money on the side, but what other ways are there to make a bit of cash from your car? After all, you’ve probably spent a lot of money paying off the loan and running your

  • A Real Biting Point... Small Car Issues That Can Cause Big Problems
    A Real Biting Point... Small Car Issues That Can C...

    October 12, 2017 - While we run into our fair share of common car issues, there are some problems that we tend to paper over. Or we don't do anything about it until it is too late, it's always important to make sure that your car is in general working order, but let's

  • Staying On Track For Your First Track Day!
    Staying On Track For Your First Track Day!

    October 10, 2017 - Choosing to take your car to a track can be a big adventure. It’s a trip that you’re always going to remember and if you want the memories to be good ones, you need to be as prepared as possible. You need to know what in your vehicle will break first

  • Va Va Voom! Easy Ways To Retain The Value Of Your Car
    Va Va Voom! Easy Ways To Retain The Value Of Your ...

    October 5, 2017 - It doesn’t matter if you have a retro sporty little number or a larger, more ubiquitous SUV, there are many ways that you can slow down the depreciation of your car’s value. You may have only just driven your brand new shiny car from the forecourt, a

  • The Models That Made Harley Davidson The Epitome Of Cool
    The Models That Made Harley Davidson The Epitome O...

    October 3, 2017 - That brings us to the only question worth asking, a question that roars and rumbles with the same ferocity as one of their Twin Cam 1700 six-speed beasts, and that is, what are the greatest Harley Davidson’s of all time?

  • Don’t Play Roulette With Your Pre-Loved Car, Be Smart!
    Don’t Play Roulette With Your Pre-Loved Car, Be Sm...

    October 3, 2017 - Let’s take a look at the steps that you can take to ensure that when you buy a new car, you aren’t making a costly mistake. Read on for everything that you need to know.

  • Car Ownership Comes At a Price: Can You Afford It?
    Car Ownership Comes At a Price: Can You Afford It?

    October 1, 2017 - You don’t realize quite HOW expensive until you start adding everything up. Here’s what you need to be taking into consideration when you want to own a car.

  • How to Find the Perfect Used Car for You
    How to Find the Perfect Used Car for You

    September 20, 2017 - When it comes to finding a used car, the main thing to consider is whether it suits your needs and requirements for day-to-day driving. So, how do you find the used car that’s the perfect match for you? We’ve listed our top tips.

  • Consider These Things Before Using Car Vacuum Cleaners
    Consider These Things Before Using Car Vacuum Clea...

    September 19, 2017 - So you just got yourself a car vacuum, but are you 100% sure that you know how to use it? I mean sure, you can follow the complicated vacuum instruction if you want or you can read this easy simple guide that will give you all the information you nee

Share This!

or