Honda’s most fuel efficient 2018 Civic Hatchback not available in the U.S.

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2018 Honda Civic Deisel Hatchback presented in Britian.

Honda Motors is a world-brand, and as such, caters to the unique market conditions dictated by regional specificities. One critical consideration when designing a mass-marketed car or light truck is fueling infrastructure, and more specifically, the fuel of choice within a specific geological region. Unlike the United States, when driving in the European Union, one encounters diesel engine powered cars and trucks with regularity, many of them manually shifted.

As a side note, 55% of all on-road-grade Diesel fuel refined in the United States is exported to Great Britain, Europe, and beyond; where nearly half of all passenger cars roll on Diesel power.

As announced Monday by Honda U.K. Introducing the 2018 Honda Civic Hatchback 1-DVTEC

The latest and final variant of the 10th generation world-platform Honda Civic will be Diesel engine powered, and initially, manually shifted. 2 years prior we reported on a Diesel engine powered Civic Touring Hatchback that broke the Guinness Book of Record’s “most miles driven on one gallon of fuel,” where a team of Honda associates hyper-miled their way to a world record. At that time I read from our European Honda fans of real-world fuel efficiency approaching 70 MPG, adjusted. While I haven’t personally confirmed the claim, it’s impressive, just the same.

Today I expound on Honda’s most fuel-efficient Civic Hatchback variant in Torque News. Check it out, and let me know what you think. Would you buy a diesel-powered Civic Hatchback if it was available in the U.S.? Honda’s EarthDream i-DVTEC turbocharged 4-cylinder diesel engine rolls worldwide. Why not in the United States?

In other Honda News: Yet another accolade for 2018 Honda CR-V

Earlier in January, our Honda News was dominated by C.E.S. Las Vegas. Honda attended the world’s premier Consumer Electronics Show and presented cutting-edge Robotics, some rolling some stationary. Me, I like Honda’s Autonomous work-horse 4-wheeler. Pre-programmed and controlled remotely through an app, this 4-wheel quad-like platform can be modified for work, and homesite labor saving tasks.

As to human mobility and mental health, yes, Honda has that covered too. On the Automotive side of C.E.S., Edmunds Auto, in conjunction with C.E.S., award 2018 Honda CR-V its inaugural ” Most Innovative SUV” award. Read how and why 2018 Honda CR-V beats all comers in the compact SUV segment with superior standard features, available Honda SENSING, and superior ride dynamics.

2018 Honda Accord is North American Car of the Year : Or, how did Honda Accord beat Toyota Camry to the trophy case

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Henio Arcangeli, Senior Vice President of the Automobile Division of American Honda Motor Co., accepts the award for 2018 North American Car of the Year at the 2018 North American International Auto Show on 1/15/18.

2018 marks the third year running that a Honda brand car or truck wins a North American Auto of the year award. This award is in effect the Oscar or Emmy for the auto industry. The selection process is arduous, long-winded and political. North American Car, Truck, or Utility of the Year is vetted by, reduced to finalist, and and then chosen by the majority consensus of a panel composed of active automotive journalists, editors, and lifestyle bloggers — a few of them good friends and associates.

This year, 2018 Honda Accord finds itself in good company with the reinvented 2018 Volvo XC60 midsize SUV, and the flagship Lincoln Navigator. An interesting cross-section of automotive engineering to be sure. Yet each winner is a standout in its respective segment. And like 2018 Honda Accord, the best at its intended application. Here’s where my Accord, Camry comparison reference comes into play. I have driven both, and find each car to be an extraordinary redo of what was in the not too distant past, a bread and butter appliance car.

With a hat off to Toyota engineering, the 2018 Toyota in any variant, is a pleasure to drive. You may read my initial drive impression of 2018 Camry hybrid here. With newfound cutting-edge good looks, premium cabin refinement, a much-improved driver to car connectivity, and very impressive normally aspirated pedal power, Camry is a winner. Yet, according to a jury of 60 professional automotive jurors, Honda Accord takes the nod for, and here I quote; “2018 Accord honored for bold “new from the ground up” approach to remaking America’s best-selling car over the past 41 years.” says American Honda Motors.

Enough already. Here’s what I like about the reinvented from the ground up 2018 Honda Accord

Looking to Accord’s newfound design directive, one would be hard-pressed to find a more dynamic, eye-catching body design, available in today’s subpremium midsize auto segment. Playing off of the well-received 10th generation Honda Civic design, 2018 Accord, regardless of trim level, runs with Civic’s European inspired body language, and takes it to the next level in refinement and understated elegance. From its short-overhang trunk line to its classic touring car inspired long hood and pronounced 3D grill design, Accord breaches the limitations of an affordable midsize family car segment with exceptional standard featured connectivity and advanced active safety features. On the performance side, we find a new lineup of dynamic, fuel-efficient, turbocharged engines, and 2 new proprietary transmissions.

For 2018, Accords suspension is re-engineered for not only improved handling dynamics, but a quiet and comfortable drive and ride experience. 2018 Honda Accord is the quietest midsize sedan in the sub-premium midsize sedan segment — thanks to the strategic placement of acoustic deadened auto glass, carpet batting, and active electronic noise cancelation, Accord is at times, eerily quiet — something one doesn’t anticipate from a sedan sporting a beginning MSRP well below $30,000. read my initial 2018 Honda Accord drive review here.

Not wishing to read too much like An Accord Ad

Honda engineering presents an Accord variant for every sedan driver. From the entry-level 1.5 Liter Accord Basic to the 2.0 Liter Turbocharged VTEC, 10-speed Accord Touring, 2018 Accord presents the greatest bang for your buck found today in a mainstream 4 door sedan. For the “Green” among us, 2018 Honda Accord Hybrid should arrive at dealerships sometime in the late Spring. I drove Accord Hybrid in New Hampshire last Fall. As with the current Accord Hybrid, the 2018 Accord Hybrid sits at the top of the Accord lineup, with sophistication, and fuel efficiency befitting a hybrid mainstay. Me, I like driving Accord. And will miss the V6 powered, manually shifted Accord Sports Coupe featured in this article. This too shall pass.

January 15, 2018 an epic day for American Honda Motors, Acura Division in Detroit

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The 3rd generation Acura RDX captivates one’s imagination from every angle.

January 15, 2018, will mark a day in Honda history when two innovative, segment topping, benchmark-setting vehicles were presented to the world press from Detroit, Michigan –still, the epicenter of North America’s auto industry. Honda, America’s #5 automaker comes to N.A.I.A.S (North American International Auto Show) with two showstoppers — the reinvented 3rd generation Honda Insight and Acura Divisions 2019 RDX SUV, the first ground-up reinvention of Acura’s best selling compact SUV in the better part of a decade. I wouldn’t throw my 2017 Acura RDX in the crusher.

The Insight journey began in 1999 as America’s first hybrid electric car

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Shades of Civic Hybrid

I still see first generation Honda Insights from time to time running the streets of North America, tinny by today’s standards, the initial Insight offering was a 2-place 3 door hatchback that averaged over 60 MPG highway. Very cool looking. in a quirky, fender skirt sort of way. The original subcompact Honda Insight fell to the side of the road in sales due to Toyota’s introduction of the larger Prius, the best selling gasoline/electric hybrid in history.

After a brief market hiatus, a second generation Insight returned to the market in 2010 as a larger 4-door hatchback with underwhelming performance drive dynamics. Yet, In my several interviews with Insight owners, I’ve yet to meet one that didn’t praise their Insight. In rolls a much improved, larger scale 5-passenger sedan, featuring Accord Hybrid, Clarity PHEV, 2nd generation 2-electric motor Honda hybrid gasoline/electric hybrid technology. As of this writing, Honda’s expanded a bit on the date of arrival, as well as specifications for this Prius slayer. However, that’s about it. I’ll keep you posted.

Moving on: The 3rd generation Acura RDX is visually captivating

As promised by our friends at Acura, 2019 RDX is a show stopper that most definitely lives up to its pre-reveal hype. Without question, the most advanced future-forward SUV design to come out of Acura’s Los Angeles based design studio, the manufactured in Ohio 3rd generation RDX presents the maker’s near future design directive for Honda’s premium brand. When released to markets in midyear 2018, RDX will return sport-driving dynamics to the very popular 2-row crossover segment.

New for 2019 is the first mainstream integration of Acura’s Precision Cockpit Concept design architecture; a much improved up-trim interior, full-length glass roof, available 2nd generation SH-AWD (smart-handling-all-wheel-drive) greater structural rigidity, a new turbocharged high-torque engine, 10-speed transmission, available 3-D ELS sound/ entertainment interface, and more. Read my Detroit Car Show recap here.

My congratulations go out to Acura’s G.M. Jon Ikada, the Acura engineering and design team, as well as Acura P.R., for a job, well done. In other news, Acura tells us that the V6 is not dead in their future lineup. Look for a turbocharged, high output V6 to premiere in the 2019 RDX. Also, Acura vows to resurrect an S-Type for the sport-driving enthusiast, while expanding the A-Spec trim packaging to all Acura car and light truck offerings.

Why 2018 Honda Ridgeline is the highest rated midsize pickup truck in North America

2017 Honda Ridgeline road trip
Honda reinvents the midsize truck segment. Photo attributions Parks McCants 2017

True enough, when looking to the midsize truck segment, none of the contenders, Chevy, GMC, Nissan or Toyota beat Honda Ridgeline for overall comfort, utility, and drive performance. Granted, the midsize pickup truck segment in North America is overshadowed by full-size Ford F150 and Chevrolet Silverado pickup sales. After all, why go midsize? We find up to $10,000 manufacturer’s rebates available on full-size truck models, with retail gasoline priced cheaper than 5 years ago. Again, why buy a midsize truck?

Consumers much like my self, prefer the compact maneuverability of a midsize pickup truck when commuting to the job site, or searching for that viable parking spot in town. There’s also the general appeal of a midsize pickup truck that handles and seats more like a car — that’s where 2018 Honda Ridgeline comes to play. Torque News drives Honda Ridgeline down to Fort Umpqua Days.

From my lifetime truck driving experience, I find Ridgeline to be the most comfortable pickup truck offering on the market today. And according to bellwether automotive publication Car and Driver, Edmunds.com and others, Ridgeline, when measured against the competition, is the best overall ownership value in the segment today.

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Out to the Ranch with Honda Ridgeline Black Edition

Granted, for those of you looking to a midsize pickup truck for maximized boat and trailer hauling, Ridgeline may not be your best option. However, if your occasional towing and hauling needs run secondary to interior cab space, comfort, quiet, and standard featured active safety, Honda’s only pickup truck offering is for you.  True enough, Honda Ridgeline is truck-tough enough.

The auto writers and consumer accolades keep rolling in for Ridgeline

This week the qualified journalist of Road and Track bestow “Top 10” honors on 2018 Honda Ridgeline. A carryover from 2017, 2nd generation Honda Ridgeline, now in its 3rd model year of production, comes to a growing truck segment with several unique features proprietary to Honda.

Ridgeline is the only unibody constructed pickup truck in North America — Ridgeline is primarily front wheel drive, or, select drive-mode all-wheel-drive — Ridgeline features the largest (by volume)cab in the segment — offering the only lockable truck-bed trunk in the auto industry. Read what I like about Honda Ridgeline.

2018 Honda Ridgeline comes to market with a beginning MSRP of $29,630 (front-wheel-drive, standard trim. This V6 powered midsize truck averages 19 city/26 highway and can tow up to 5,000 lbs when optioned with AWD.

 

 

As Tesla Fanatics tout battery electric, the Auto Industry embraces hybrid electrification

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Honda Clarity Fuel Cell captures market interest in 2017.

 

Comming off of the first week in January, the 2017 automotive market sales report is dropped on my virtual desk. No surprise found here: The majority of cars and light trucks sold in yet another bullish auto market remain gasoline-fueled, internal combustion engine powered. Yet 2017 marked a turning point in auto-industry wide promotion and integration of electrification, most of it hybrid.

Stamp your feet and cry as you will Tesla fans, battery electric will not go mainstream anytime soon. There’s a reason or two for that, the least being public acceptance. Less than 2% of new cars and trucks sold in North America for the model year 2017 were electrified — the majority, by far, was mild gasoline/electric hybrid powered.

Here’s how Honda, Hyundai, Volvo and other makers look at the future of Auto-electrification. Acura Division takes hybrid electrification mainstream with MDX.

Last November, Honda’s chairman reiterated the Japanese automakers intent to electrify no less than 70% of worldwide auto production by the model year 2030. I’d previously experienced all three variants of Honda Clarity. The first being the 3rd generation Honda Clarity FCV, ( fuel cell vehicle) followed by a dealership loaned 2018 Clarity BEV. ( battery electric)

And finally, the car that Honda’s Steve Centers tells me will be the best seller in the Clarity platform, the 2018 Clarity PHEV. ( plug-in hybrid electric vehicle)

Center’s logic follows market trends driven by product availability and the public’s ongoing concern with reliance on a still-expanding public charging infrastructure, and between charge cycle range anxiety. Although Clarity PHEV does present an extended real-world electric-only drive range of 40+ miles, one can drive indefinitely on the gasoline-fueled Atkins cycle 4-cylinder engine co-generator.

The up trim Clarity 5-door premium sedan comes to market at a price slightly higher than a well-equipped Honda Accord. Such is the case with Hyundai Ionic, Chevrolet Volt, and other electrified vehicles. The majority of auto buyers fear the implications of public-grid or home charged vehicle — they don’t wish to bother. 

Yes, Honda’s best selling compact car goes electric for 2019

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Shades of Civic Hybrid

As reported last week on Torque News: Honda Insight is reborn for 2019 in its 3rd generation as an up trim Honda Civic 5-passenger sedan; or is it a hatchback? Honda’s not saying prior to the media reveal of Honda Insight in Detroit on January 15. look for coverage of N.A.I.A.S. ( North American International Auto Show.

 

What’s new for Acura in 2019 and beyond

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2019 Acura RDX optimizes “Precision Crafted Performance”

In a recent Torque News article titled “5 improvements Acura owners want in the near future,” I discussed the current state of Honda’s premium car Division, and what will be required in the near future to elevate Acura to its rightful position in the premium car and light truck segment.

Setting the record straight: In speaking with Acura owners, while the majority praise the mark for producing an overall outstanding vehicle, many point to Acura’s outdated tech-side as sub-par, needing work, and glitchy at times. Or, more specifically, the navigation voice-command needs some work. Fit and finish are at times inconsistent. And unfortunately, for a very few, the initially problematic ZF 9-speed automatic transmission remains prone to intermittent glitches, and in worse case scenario, failure! It does happen.

Today Acura MDX and RDX remain best sellers in their respective SUV segments. Affordable, premium, and fun to drive, Acura remains the go-to brand for consumers looking for understated elegance, precision, and sport-like drive and ride dynamics. When looking to pricepoint, Acura holds the advantage in the SUV and midsize premium sedan segment. What does the future look like for Honda’s premium brand?

In response to this Acura-owner want and wish list, I’ve received some very poignant responses. Read that article here.

Moving on to what’s new for Acura in 2019

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2018 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid

The evolution of Acura will continue with the prototype introduction of the all-new RDX compact SUV. This will be the first offering to feature Acura’s Precision Concept Cockpit design. Losing the 2-screen center stack dash layout, 2019 RDX will instead feature a centered floating touchscreen, with a redesigned, and much larger i-MID. I first experienced the Precision Cockpit at the Los Angeles Auto Show in 2016. We’ll be reporting details here on January, 15, from Detroit.

To date, Acura presents a much refreshed 2018 MDX, MDX Sport Hybrid, and, TLX-A-Spec. All feature Acura’s outstanding pentagon diamond precision grill and SH-AWD options. In the case of MDX Sport Hybrid, NSX, and RLX — we discover hybrid electric torque vectoring SH-AWD. (smart handling all-wheel-drive.) Acura’s quest for Precision Performance began with the 2nd generation NSX super-car — an unparalleled performance value for the money.

I look to Acura for great things in 2018 and beyond. I’ve met the design team, engineers, and top management, they’re passionate, dedicated, and have the resources at hand to dominate. Good things take time. In the meantime, I like driving Acura. It’s very cool in its own understated, precision directed elegance, and posh! I tame the streets of Los Angeles in RLX.

Yet another ‘best year ever’ for American Honda Motors

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Honda Clarity Fuel Cell captures market interest in 2017. Photo Attributes American Honda 2017

Today in Honda-Torque News: What can I tell you, Honda Torque News is my day job. I look forward to reporting Honda news and updates. And, on slow news days, I have a bit of fun with it! With Honda’s annual sales report coming to press a day late this year, American Honda Motor Company announces, for the third year running, anew sales record for America’s # 5 auto maker. * as measured by sales volume.

For December, we discover an astounding 60% uptick in Honda Pilot sales, for total sales of 127,279 sold in 2017. Honda points to increased production capacity with Alabama coming on line — Could be! Dealers can’t sell cars without inventory. However, with no shortage of competition in the mid and full size 3-row SUV segment, the comprehensive drive and ride package that is Honda Pilot consistently meets or surpass the needs of a mostly Soccer Mom, multi-tasking, 3+ Kids family market, and, offers something Honda Odyssey doesn’t – all-wheel-drive.

I called the reinvented Honda Pilot a refined SUV bargain in 2015, it still is. When compared to Toyota Highlander, Mazda 9, and Chevy Tahoe, Pilot can’t be beat for value-packed standard featured packaging, V6 engine performance, and class-leading fuel efficiency. Me, I just like driving Pilot.

Honda’s best selling vehicle for 2017 just happens to be a compact 2-row SUV, or a crossover, depending on how you look at it. At any rate, Honda CR-V, the best selling SUV of all time, just beat Honda Accord and Civic for the top sales spot in 2017.

I first reported on the reinvented, up-sized Honda CR-V in 2015. At that time I was astounded by CR-V’s new found handling characteristics, quiet, comfortable cabin, and innovative, fuel efficiency 1.5 Liter turbocharged gasoline engine, and segmented CVT (continuously variable) transmission.

Honda CR-V outsold Toyota RAV4 in 2017 with 377,895 units sold for the year. That’s a lot of Honda CR-V!  Yet there’s more to Honda’s annual sales report hen initially meets the eye. With the market introduction of Honda Clarity PHEV

comes an opportunity. Learn more about Honda’s premier plug-in-electric vehicle here.

Thanks for reading. Your thought provoking comment is always welcomed here. Please comment and share bellow. Cheers!

This week in Honda News Insight and Ridgeline come under the spotlight

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Insight Shades of Civic Hybrid. Photo Attributes American Honda 2017.

This first week of 2018 is a bit slow as to breaking Honda News. Here it is Tuesday, and American Honda has yet to publish year end sales data for the 5th largest U.S. car brand. Japanese owned, but mostly made in Canada, Mexico and the U.S., production related news, will most likely come on Wednesday, with yet another record year for America’s #5 car brand.

Factoid: Honda integrates more U.S. sourced parts into their new car lineup than Fiat Chrysler, GM or Ford. If you drive Accord, Civic or CR-V, your car or light truck is more likely than not, built in North America. Here’s where the news comes in to play: Last month American Honda Motors teased not only the redesigned Acura RDX compact crossover, but a made in Ohio 3rd generation Honda Insight Hybrid. This marks the remake of the first hybrid gasoline/ electric car made available to North American buyers back in 1999, light years ago by automotive design and development standards.

Yet here we are, once again returning back to the future — with a Civic sized Insight that Honda tells us will be manufactured in the U.S, rolling down the same production line as Honda CR-V — that plants an idea or two for the future of CR-V. Electrified? Certainly! Read my Torque News take on Honda’s latest and greatest mainstream hybrid car here.

I anticipate an entry trim price point just south of $30,000. What do you think? Will Honda get it right this time — market timing that is, Insight was and remains a great compact hybrid.

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2019 Acura RDX crossover Prototype. Photo attributions Acura Division 2017

Honda’s luxury car Division is scheduled for a new offering or two. That reinvention will begin with the introduction of a ground-up RDX compact crossover redesign for 2019.

As shared at the top of my first week of 2018 rant, 2 weeks earlier, Acura leaked a Pre-Detroit Show reveal of Acura RDX; the one and only compact, CR-V derived crossover in the maker’s North American lineup. I like RDX, in-fact, It’s my favorite personal daily driver. But, it could use a makeover, more specifically on the electronic, connectivity, integrated navigation side of the equation.

In short, RDX electronics don’t work perfectly, something that Acura owners insist on!  Looking to the reveal photo, 2019 RDX comes to market with a futuristic, low drag coefficient look. I see RDX taking on Lexus, it’s that cool!

However, I’m afraid that Acura’s mechanically bulletproof V6 will go the way of 2018 Honda Accord. In its place will most likely sit a high output, fuel efficient 2.0L direct injected, turbocharged 4 cylinder gasoline engine, paired to a segmented CVT or 8-speed duel clutched transmission. Yes there will be an all-wheel-drive offering. Will it be electrified, smart ?

Hang in there Honda fans: We should know more after Acura shares a detail or two in Detroit on January 15, 2018. Read my take on the all new Acura RDX here.

2017 Civic Type-R carves a path through California’s Avenue of the Giants

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2017 Civic Type_R takes on Redwood Country

Compact ultimate performance hatchback meets worlds tallest tree: So it goes. Yet another week in the seat behind the wheel of Honda’s latest and greatest Civic performance hatchback. “Ultimate,” is an interesting word, with vast implications as well as a plethora of applicable meaning. Believe it or not, comparing the mighty coastal Redwoods to Honda’s latest and most powerful Civic manifestation is not that much of a stretch when we look to the unique, segment breaching, performance attributes presented in 2017 Honda Civic Type-R Touring.

Well, at the least, California’s original coast highway provides an exceptional, scenic backdrop for Type-R. The road itself is well maintained, narrow, twisty, and fast enough — keep an eye out for the trailer towing tourists. They’re generally slow driving, and many in number. Last week we took a 1,000 mile, 48 hour road trip to Humboldt County, where Civic Type-R carved a path through the historic Avenue of the Giants.

The Coffee Girl at Starbucks loves the edgy look of 2017 Civic Type-R

True enough, on our recent foray from Eugene, Oregon south to Humboldt County, California, Honda’s top of the performance mark Civic Type-R drew more attention than Mick Jagger at a Rolling Stones concert. Even the hardcore Subaru WRX fans came out for a look — walking away grinning after gaining a few minutes of seat time in Honda’s 306 horsepower, turbocharged, limit slip differential, 6 speed manually shifted FWD wonder car.

The 10th generation Civic world platform Type-R lives up to all the media hype

It’s  rare that I drive a new car offering that meets or exceeds the stated performance attributes, handling prowess, and fuel efficiency touted by the maker. This is the first Civic to ever wear the Type-R badge in the United States. Yes, a European Type-R with a stated 316 horsepower has broken track records in Europe and Asia, but that’s not the 10th generation Civic platform Type-R that became available for the Honda die hard 2 short months ago.

Our leather and cloth trimmed, cream white, and red and black interior 2017 Civic Type-R test mule is manufactured in England; features a manufactured in Alabama Earth Dreams gasoline engine, and is shifted by a very good close throw, 6 speed manual transmission made in Japan. 2017 Civic Type-R is a world car, manufactured by a world-auto-manufacturer. Frankly, it’s club-car track ready right out of the box.

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2017 Honda Civic Type-R takes on the Avenue of the Giants.

For $36,000 and change, Civic Type-R is an exceptional, fun to drive performance bargain that’s very happy on the street, thanks to 3-drive modes, including “comfort,” and what I soon discovered to be a very comfortable racing style bucket seat. Me, I’d like power adjustment, but that’s just me.

The Type-R suspension and driving attitude is firm, but not painfully stiff. The instant-on torque and track-sticky cornering traction is a bit of a mind blower, considering that Type-R is a front-wheel-drive car. Honda engineering does a commendable job of reducing torque steer. — sure there’s some there, but it’s very manageable.

On start up, Type-R defaults to “sport” mode. Here you’ll find a stiffer steering feel,  a bit more pedal, and reasonably firm suspension.  Going on the track, toggle into “R” drive. It’s pretty extreme, and as my Chiropractor will tell you, a bit taxing on the bones. I like what Honda engineering did with Type-R’s exhaust tone, although the deep baritone growl can get a bit load at times.

Visually, Civic Type-R teeters on Bat Man stunning! However, everything you see on Type-R has a purpose, from its whale-tail hatch fin, down to the best looking 20 inch alloy painted wheels in the compact performance segment — Brembo calipers included.

48 hours, 1,000 miles, still smiling Civic Type-R darn near perfect

Once again, Honda’s latest and greatest Civic Hatchback does not disappoint. Read my latest Torque News article as we journey through the California coast redwoods and beyond.

 

2017 Honda Civic Type-R features euro-touring sport and refinement

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One bad ass Civic

Not often does an auto manufacturer successfully blend track proven high performance and long range touring comfort in an affordable, segment topping high performance hatchback; such is the case with Civic Type-R. For 2017, the first Civic to wear the enviable Type-R mark in the United States is now imported from England.

Several years in the making, the Honda Fan Boy Tuner crowd is excited by the arrival of Honda’s Brembo braked 305 horsepower, 6 speed manual transmission super hatchback. And rightfully so. 2017 Civic Type-R  gives Ford, Subaru, and Volkswagen a run for the money, and will dominate the sub-premium compact performance hatchback segment without the added expense and weight of all-wheel-drive.

The weight to power ratio of 2017 Civic Type-R is epic, but that’s just the beginning of this story.

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305 horsepower 2017 Civic Type_R

Last week I spent a day with Honda on a 2.4 mile racetrack on Washington State’s Puget Sound. Granted, the record holding 2017 Civic Type-R 5-door performance hatchback excelled on the track, with myself and other auto journalists reaching rev-limiting speeds, on a multiple elevation and downturn track that rivals many in Europe and the U.S.. Read my track day account here.

Truly, where 2017 Honda Civic Type-R surprised this rather jaded journalist and other road-hardened press jockeys was on the road. Frankly, I wasn’t anticipating the ride refinement, cabin comfort, hands-free connectivity, and overall quality fit and finish encountered behind the wheel of Honda’s most powerful turbocharged Civic produced to date. After 4.5 hours, and a very twisty 180 miles through the beaches, grasslands and woods of Puget Sound, I was ready to purchase Type-R, or at least beg, steel, or borrow one — it’s that good man.

During Honda’s technical presentation, we learned the finer points of Type-R increased frame rigidity, active dampening suspension, epic cooled Brembo brakes, and the makings of perhaps the most comfortable high bolstered seat in Honda history. The rest is pure Honda touring hatchback, as it should be.

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The best driver’s seat in the segment

On the performance side, Honda employs a race proven VTEC 4-cylinder inner cooled 2.0 Liter dual cam gasoline engine, and arguably the most forgiving 6-speed manual racing class manual transmission in the segment. instant-on, seemingly endless torque is transferred to the pavement via a limited slip front-wheel drive differential.

Yet when behind the wheel, one would be hard pressed to differentiate Civic Type-R handling from the best AWD (all-wheel-drive) rally cars on the track today.

Honda engineering  eliminates torque steer in Type-R, resulting in a very positive straight-on launch off the light — Type-R traction is measurably sticky with ZERO brake fade noted under extreme driving conditions.

Manufactured on Honda’s compact car world platform, this Civic adds a high performance spin to an already very good European hatchback drive and ride experience. Unfortunately, you may never see, or experience one driving down a road near you.

A mere 2500, 2017 Civic Type-R will make landfall this year

With 1200 + Honda car dealerships in the U.S., not all will take delivery of Honda’s rarest offering. We’re informed by Honda P.R. that annual production if indicated by buyer demand, will peak out at 5,000 units per year — that should keep the resale value up a bit.

After spending 7 hours behind the wheel of Civic Type-R, I’m sold. Looking to the MSRP of $33,000 + handling, tax, etc, I believe Civic Type-R to be an exceptional buy and drive value. And with the micro-production numbers, look for the initial run 2017 Civic Type-R to be an instant collectible.