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

Civic_Type_R_Redwoods
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.

Civic Type_R in Redwood Trees
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

One _Bad_Ass_Civic
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.

Civic_Type_R _Driver's _Seat
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.

North America Production Civic Type-R Debuts in Los Angeles

2017 Civic Type R (European Version)

According to Honda News, Honda tuner fans were afforded the opportunity to view the 10th generation world-compact-car platformed 2017 Civic Type-R, Sunday at 2017 Auto Con in Los Angeles, California. This marks the U.S. debut of the first Honda to ever dawn the Type-R badge, and the first turbocharged 2.0 liter i-VTEC gasoline engine featured in a factory street legal, out of the box, “hot-hatch.”

Next up is the New York International Auto Show in April, where Honda will showcase Civic Type- R and a trio of Clarity electrified offerings. We’re also confident that Acura will have a strong showing, but as of this posting Acura’s keeping their hand close to the vest. Read my latest Clarity adventure here.

While the AWD, FWD debate continues…

Personally, I like the idea of minimizing dead and moving weight, drive line components, and, drive train related drag through FWD when hitting the race skids. Honda Civic in its modified version continues to perform well in Autocross, off-road rally and G.T. track racing world-wide. At the heart of every Honda Civic race car is a front drive differential. Type-R performance will be impressive.

2017 Civic Type R

In the case of the over-the-top 306 horsepower Type-R, motivation comes from a 2.0 Liter 1-VTEC engine, close throw 6 speed manual transmission, and limited slip front wheel drive. The production offering is very close in specifications to the record setting European version, with an uptick in creature comforts, cab accouterments, and E.P.A. compliant safety features. You may find my latest take on Civic Type-R here, including estimated MSRP and specifications.

As for me, I’m looking forward to some Civic Type-R seat time in late Spring 2017, just around the corner. And look forward to putting Honda’s most powerful production Civic through its paces.

2017 MDX Sport Hybrid SUV: ¬†This week we’ll head north and discover what electrification does to take the #1 selling premium SUV in the U.S. up to the next level in fuel efficient, electric-torque driven performance.

No 2016 Honda Civic Si

 

 

Civic _Comparison
9th generation Civic Si Vs 10th generation Civic Touring.

 

No 2016 Honda Civic Si

On the tails of what is arguably the most successful Civic generational launch in decades, we learn from our friend HondaPro Jason, that as previously predicted, there will be no Civic Si released in any trim level or variant for 2016.

The reason here is one of world-wide production release

As earlier reported by Torque News, the first 2016 Civic to roll off of the assembly line is the all new 10th generation Civic Sedan in normally aspirated and turbocharged engine variants, with 6 speed manual transmission(entry level only) and CVT ( constant variable transmission) available throughout the lineup.

Civic sales up 8.5% for November, 2015

According to Jason Richmond of “HondaPro Jason Show” fame, the Civic Si sedan and coupe will arrive in North America sometime in 2017, along with the built in Surrey, England coupe and high performance Civic Type-R.

I believe that the Civic Type-R and slightly detuned Civic Si is worth the wait. However, if your in the market for a fuel efficient, highly connected and fun to drive civic now, check out the all new turbocharged Civic Touring.