The 2017 Honda Civic Type R boasts a powerful turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, a race-tuned chassis, wildly outrageous styling, and the kind of day-to-day livability that has made the Honda Civic lineup a favorite everywhere. Make no mistake: This is not just a paint-and-stickers special, but a purpose-built and unique addition to the Civic lineup, with unique engine, chassis and interior upgrades.
You'll Like The 2017 Honda Civic Type R If...
If you used to read "tuner" magazines and pined for the Civic Type R available in Japan and elsewhere, you've probably already written your deposit check. If you're just looking for a great-handling, quick and fun hatchback you can drive every day, you should be writing yours, too.
You May Not Like The 2017 Honda Civic Type R If...
The Type R is not the quickest hot hatch in a straight line, being handily bested to 60 mph by the Focus RS and Subaru WRX STI. The wild design isn't universally loved, and while Honda says the aero add-ons are functional, that's still a lot of wings and vents.
The 2017 Honda Civic Type R is an all-new version of the Civic we have already come to know and love. Featuring a unique engine, suspension, body structure, and interior and exterior styling, the Type R is more than just a factory hot rod; it's a model unto itself.
The new Civic Type R steps up the interior accommodations with red-stitched Alcantara trim on the center console and doors, and red trim surrounding the vents and other areas. The Type R's signature red Honda "H" is on the steering wheel and key fob, along with a numbered Type R plate on the center console behind the aluminum-knob shifter. The Type R gets unique manually adjusted sport seats with stiff side bolsters, but not quite enough lumbar support. Yet it's still a Civic: There's lots of cargo space, the back seat is big enough for adults, and it's comfortable and thoughtfully designed.
Honda swears up and down that the gigantic wing, roofline nubs, deep front and side extensions, and other wild-looking styling elements on the Civic Type R are functional. The wing, for example, is said to help create downforce at speed to help with cornering, and the winglets at the edge of the front bumper and side skirts help route air around the wheels to reduce drag. There are openings in the front bumper to help cool the brakes, and the vent on the hood feeds air into the engine compartment to cool the turbo. We're not going to call it pretty, though.
Honda’s 2017 Civic Type R is one of those rare cars that lives up to the hype of being equally adept at the daily commute and a racetrack. Around town, with the adjustable suspension set to Comfort, the Type R feels a lot like a very quick Civic. The engine offers excellent torque delivery from low revs, meaning you don't have to constantly shift the 6-speed just to get the car moving; instead, you'll do it just because it's a joy to use, especially with the quick rev-matching feature. The triple-pipe exhaust system is maybe too good at its job, as there's very little exhaust noise even at full throttle. At the track, with the drive mode set to +R, the Type R fulfills its track-ready promise. The rev-matching speeds up, the suspension stiffens, and the engine pulls strongly as the car begs you to push it harder through each corner.
The option-free 2017 Honda Civic Type R comes with one Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP): $34,775, including the $875 destination charge. The Type R doesn't really have a direct competitor, as its primary rivals -- the Ford Focus RS and Volkswagen Golf R -- are quicker, offer more power and are both all-wheel drive. They're also more expensive -- the Golf R starts at more than $40,000, and the Focus RS starts at nearly $37,000, or nearly $40,000 when you include the navigation package. Whether the Type R is a bargain is up to buyer priorities. If that's you, be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others are paying in your area for the Civic Type R, and note that there are reports of dealers asking a premium for this car. As for resale, expect it to be solid, like the rest of the Civic lineup.
The 2017 Civic Type R is based on the Touring grade of Civic, which means it comes pretty well loaded: navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on the 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system, a 12-speaker premium audio system, USB input and Bluetooth phone and audio compatibility. It also includes “power everything” and cruise control, plus dual-zone automatic climate control. Unique to the Type R are heavily bolstered front seats, a drive-mode switch that includes a racy +R mode, and a unique gauge-cluster display that changes with the drive mode, and includes cool touches like a lap timer and racing-style redline-warning light.
Aside from color, there are no options on the 2017 Honda Civic Type R. And, of those colors, the one to get is Championship White. This off-white color is a historical play by Honda, reflecting the same color on its first Formula 1 effort from the 1960s. Note that even though the Type R boasts Touring levels of equipment, Honda's excellent HondaSensing suite of safety features – lane-keeping assist, active cruise control, collision mitigation and so on – is not available on the Type R. Honda says that the tech isn't available on any manual-transmission Civic, regardless of model.
ADJUSTABLE DRIVING MODES
We like that the Civic Type R has three driving modes: Comfort, Sport and +R. We like even more that they're immediately distinct from one another, with Comfort providing a smooth ride, +R perfectly suited to the track (but still acceptable on the street), and Sport a happy compromise between the two.
The Civic Type R has been around in various forms for 20 years...in other countries. This is the first time it's been available in the U.S., and we can thank the one-world 10th-generation Civic platform for the honor.
Under the Hood
Honda has made choosing an engine for the 2017 Civic Type R simple by offering only one drivetrain combination: a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder connected to a 6-speed manual transmission, all of it powering the front wheels through a helical limited slip differential. The engine puts out 306 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque, enough to make torque steer a concern. Torque steer, if you're unaware, is the tendency for a powerful front-wheel-drive car's front wheels to turn left or right when under a load; it's annoying and not very fun. However, the Civic Type R uses a clever front suspension setup that incorporates a special steering linkage that's different from the rest of the Civic lineup, helping reduce the effect of torque steer to practically nothing.
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
306 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
295 lb-ft of torque @ 2,500-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/28 mpg Note: Due to changes in EPA testing to more effectively reflect real-world conditions, some 2017 models show slightly lower fuel-economy scores than their 2016 versions.
The 2017 Honda Civic Type R is much more than just a faster Civic. Honda took the Civic, arguably the best car in its class, and thoroughly reengineered it into a performance thoroughbred. Under the hood is a 306-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine connected to a rev-matching 6-speed manual transmission. The Civic hatchback body has been modified with structural adhesives for better rigidity, and a unique front suspension to reduce torque steer. All that wild bodywork actually increases downforce. While it's true the Ford Focus RS is quicker in a straight line and boasts all-wheel drive, the Civic Type R costs considerably less and is far more comfortable on a day-to-day basis.