With the U.S. release of the 2017 Honda Civic Type R, there has been a lot of buzz in Detroit, as well as the automotive world in general. While there are Honda enthusiasts who have spent many a night talking about this legendary badge, a lot of people are just meeting the Civic Type R. With Honda’s sights set on the inclusion and progression of their performance models, the Civic Type R is a moniker that won’t be easily forgotten.
The Type R badge translates to “Type Racing.” In a mechanical sense, it lives up to its name. Models that bear this badge focus heavily on performance, many including a more powerful engine, reduced weight, adjustments to aerodynamics, track-oriented suspension, and heavily bolstered sport seats.
The first vehicle to represent and introduce the Type R badge to the automotive world appeared in 1992: the Honda NSX Type R, which was sold exclusively in Japan. From there, the badge made its way onto the Honda Integra Type R, also exclusive to the Japan market. The United States received its first taste of the Type R badge in 1997 with the Acura Integra Type R; more powerful and lighter than the Integra GSR, the Integra Type R was a hot commodity for sports car enthusiasts. The Type R nameplate disappeared from U.S. shores after 2001 without ever appearing on a Honda-branded model. The Honda Civic Si has been a staple of Honda in America for many years, offering a higher level of performance over standard models, but it still left enthusiasts lusting for a Type R badged model.
The Honda Civic has captured the adoration of car enthusiasts for decades. While drivers have found enjoyment behind the wheel of all types of Civic models throughout the years, the ultimate driving experience can be found behind the wheel of a Honda Civic Type R. While it has gone through many variations over the years, the Civic Type R platform was most commonly based off of the hatchback chassis, starting with the unforgettable EK chassis.
The 1997 Honda Civic Type R was the first Civic to come equipped with the Type R badge and the performance tweaks that are associated with it. Available only in the Japanese market, the first Civic Type R (CTR) was a potent track car in the form of a three-door hatchback. Attention to detail was evident with the fact that each of the DOHC VTEC 1.6L normally aspirated engines were hand-ported to assure quality control. While the engine sounds small, it produced a very impressive 182 hp. Sending power to the ground was a close-ratio 5-speed manual transmission equipped with a helical limited-slip differential (HLSD). This setup not only allowed the engine to rev quickly, but the inclusion of the HLSD helped to minimize wheel spin and make for a more stable driving experience. Omitting the interior sound deadening, along with the inclusion of a MOMO steering wheel and red sport seats, aided in reducing overall weight.
The second version of the Civic Type R arrived in 2001. While the United States still had no sign of this model, Honda sold this version in both Japan and in Europe, where it was manufactured. Also in the form of a three-door hatchback, the redesign was not limited to just the body. This generation of CTR was fitted with a 2.0L DOHC i-VTEC normally aspirated 4-cylinder engine. The version sold in Europe was rated at 200 hp, while Japan received a 212 hp model thanks to an engine that was built in Japan solely for the Japanese market. Further boosting performance, the Japanese market’s Civic Type R included a helical limited-slip differential and shorter gearing that aided in grip and acceleration.
The third variant of the Civic Type R was not a universal platform across the Europe and Japan markets. In Europe the tradition of the CTR being a three-door hatchback was carried on, with a redesign over the previous generation, being powered by a 197 hp 2.0L DOHC i-VTEC normally aspirated 4-cylinder engine. Japan’s Civic Type R was available solely as a four-door sedan (this body style is also what the United States’ Civic platform was based upon). Once again, the Japanese market version was the most powerful, equipped with a normally aspirated 2.0L DOHC i-VTEC engine pushing 222 hp. With driver involvement as a focus, present in both models were the helical limited-slip differential and 6-speed manual transmission, offering a very engaging and energetic driving experience.
The fourth iteration of the mighty Honda Civic Type R laid the groundwork for the current version of the CTR. Rather than the mixed offering of the previous generation’s three-door hatchback and four-door sedan, this generation came solely in the form of a five-door hatchback, combining sporty styling with functionality. Just as in previous years, a 6-speed manual transmission mated to a limited-slip differential transferred power to the ground in a controllable manner. The most groundbreaking bit of this chassis was the inclusion of the turbocharged engine. For the first time in history, Honda had steered away from the high-revving route of their naturally aspirated engines and equipped the CTR with a turbocharged, 2.0L DOHC VTEC Inline-4. The previous generation peaked at 222 hp, whereas this generation was rated at a whopping 306 hp.
This is the generation that reinvigorated the Honda enthusiasts in America. No longer must we imagine what it’s like to be in the presence of a menacing CTR. This generation marks the first time a brand-new Civic Type R has been available at U.S. dealerships. Detroit area drivers are in luck, as the 2017 Honda Civic Type R is the best-performing variation that Honda has built thus far. Motor Trend gushes, “The speed and unflappable control of this production car was an absolute revelation. It felt like a factory-backed homologation-special race car, of which the absolute minimum number will be built and pre-sold.”
This aggressive redesign has already proven itself with the latest Civic Type R setting the front-wheel-drive Nürburgring lap record. With this track setting the benchmark for performance cars, a win there is a big deal. Even with the 2017 Honda Civic Type R being a record-smashing beast on the track, Honda has found the ideal balance of race car and daily driver, making this CTR capable of work and play.
The 10th-generation CTR is also powered by a 306 hp, turbocharged, 2.0L DOHC i-VTEC Inline 4-cylinder engine. With plenty of power being created, Honda’s engineers focused on dialing in the rest of the chassis. A new, exclusive steering system was fitted to increase the response while working with an adaptive damper system, and aluminum suspension components that improve stability through the corners, designed precisely for at-the-limit situations. In addition to the structural upgrades, technology also aids in performance thanks to the variable driving modes: Comfort, Sport, and +R. These let you dial in optimal ride quality for the streets of Detroit, while being able to firm up the suspension and pump up the response while blasting around a track.
With the 2017 Honda Civic Type R now available in America, excitement continues to build as these powerful creations are not only lurking at Detroit Area Honda Dealers, but also on the streets near you. With the Civic Type R being a low-production model, be sure to contact us today to inquire about our excellent financing options and obtaining the legendary Type R badge!
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