The Hot Hatchback King is Back: New 2017 Honda Civic Type R
In the world of hot hatchbacks, Honda has always reigned supreme. The first EK9 Civic Type R was a true revelation in terms of front-wheel drive performance, trumping the best from both Europe and America. It proved that FF machines don’t have to be necessarily slow and boring with all of the associated understeer. The second generation, dubbed EP3, got a bit more modern but was still a true Type R in spirit. The third-gen FN2/FD2 didn’t live up to the hype however, as it didn’t offer anything more than its predecessor, the EP3. After getting discontinued in 2011, the Civic Type R made an appearance in 2015 with the fourth-gen model called the FK2. It proved to be a lot better, but was still lacking something.
Something which the new FK8 fifth-gen Type R simply reeks of, and that’s character. Honda has somehow managed to find their mojo and return to their roots, with a car which more accurate portrays what the Type R spirit is all about. Aggressiveness, lots of performance and speed, without sacrificing practicality and affordability. Sales start this summer, when it enters the U.S. market officially for the first time.
Revised Exterior and Interior
Unlike its predecessor which was too tall and short, the new FK8 is anything but. Although the standard Civic Hatchback is a bit too eccentric with the huge scoops and vents, it makes utter and complete sense in the Type R. You don’t have to be a car enthusiast or even know cars at all to look at it and realize that it’s not just an ordinary vehicle. It reeks of aggression and evil vibes. Trust us, pictures don’t do it justice. It’s not a handsome car, but it is stunning to look at. It looks like it’s pissed off, and rightfully so. It’s angry that Renault and Seat have stolen its Nurburgring lap record and it’s here to reclaim it. Honda touched up the cabin as well, introducing red accents in the suede seats, the dashboard and the door panels. The gauge cluster turns red as well. The seats are heavily bolstered, keeping you in place during heavy cornering. The short-throw shifter is nice to hold and with Type R plaques everywhere, you won’t forget you’re not just in another plain Civic anytime soon.
A True Powerhouse
Under the hood lies a 2.0-liter turbocharged i-VTEC four-cylinder lifted directly from the last-gen Type R. Don’t worry, Honda hasn’t left it untouched. Thanks to a tune and direct fuel injection it now makes 306 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque with just 20.3 psi of boost. The six-speed manual is fast and precise, sending power to the front wheels alone via a limited-slip diff. The new Dual-Axis front strut suspension reduces torque steer substantially. The sprint to 60 mph will be dealt with in around 5.5 seconds, with a top speed of around 170 mph. It gets large 13.8-inch rotors and Brembo calipers up front, with 12-inch ones at the back. Oh, and it weighs just 3,000 pounds.
Excited? You should be. The Civic Type R brings back madness into a world full of dull and boring Golf GTIs and Leon Cupras. It’s exactly what we needed and so much more.