Most of you are probably already familiar with Honda’s Civic Type R. The hottest of hot hatchbacks has made a grand entrance last year, dethroning the likes of the Golf GTI and the Focus ST and rightfully reclaiming its title as the quickest FWD hatchback to date. Although Honda is famous for offering only automatic transmissions in its everyday vehicles, CVT to be more specific, the civic Type R is a manual-only proposition. Not that a lot of people wanted an automatic anyway, but a decent amount wondered why it wasn’t available in the first place. Well, as it turns out, the reasoning behind it is actually very simple.
It doesn’t have anything to do with driving involvement or any of that silly stuff. No, because the real reason why you can’t get an auto in the new models R is weight. That’s right, you read that right. Weight has been the largest drawback hindering the Civic from getting an automatic transmission. We’re not talking about a fancy dual-clutch unit here either, as those weight nearly twice as much as a conventional torque-converter auto. As it turns out though, a conventional automatic is too heavy for the Type-R as well, so they’ve had to resort to the manual. If you’re going to have an issue with your brand-new performance hatchback, the lack of offering an automatic seems like the most pleasant outcome to us.
Yes, they could have fitted an auto and be done with it, but the car wouldn’t have been the same. The Type-R is, as you probably know, front-wheel driven. This means that its engine is transversely mounted (rather than longitudinally), so a lot of the weight is placed in front and on top of the front wheels. Because the transmission sits just behind the engine, it plays a large role in how the car corners and handles. The new Type R comes with a larger turbo and even more components under the hood, so Honda had to be clever and find a way to minimize the possible weight increase. Sacking the automatic seems like a decent way to do that to us. In fact, every performance car manufacturer should take a leaf out of Honda’s book and only offer manuals from now on. Ferrari, are you writing this down for your 488 Specialie?
The Type R’s weight distribution sits at 62.5/37.5 for front/back ratio, in case you were wondering. It’s already plenty nose-heavy then, hence why Honda couldn’t afford to add any more weight. We salute you Honda, and may all your future performance vehicles come with a manual transmission only.