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What was tested?

2017 Honda Civic Type R Touring ($33,900).
Wheelbase: 106.3 in.
Length: 179.4 in. Width: 73.9 in. Height: 56.5 in.
Engine: 2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder (306 hp, 295 lbs.-ft.).
Transmission: Six-speed manual.
Fuel economy: 22 city, 28 highway.

RATINGS

By Derek Price Cargazing.com

Worth the Wait

Style: 9
Performance: 10
Price: 10
Handling: 9
Ride: 6
Comfort: 6
Quality: 8
Overall: 10

After Two Decades, Honda Unleashes its Civic Type R in America

Never in my life have I driven a
car that got more attention than
this one.
It’s a Honda with a sticker
price under $35,000, but you
couldn’t tell that from the enthusiastic reaction it got everywhere
it went during my week behind
the wheel.
The “car guy” crowd goes nuts
every time they see it, even more
so than with the exotic Italian cars
and $300,000 Rolls-Royce I tested.
Why is that? Because it’s a
Civic Type R, a car with an almost
mythical reputation among people who know Japanese performance machines.
For those who don’t know its
history, the Type R name dates
back to the early 1990s as a way
for Honda to denote its highest
performance models, typically
with reduced weight, extra power

and crazy-looking aerodynamic
improvements.
For more than 20 years, the
Civic Type R has only been sold
outside the United States, leaving
its fans here to make do with pictures, video games and occasional
gray-market imports to gawk at.
Now, for the first time, Honda
is making its coveted super-Civic
available to American buyers.
And boy, was it worth the wait.
I’ve driven a lot of fast cars
through the years — including a
number of the Type R’s hot competitors, such as the Ford Focus
RS and Volkswagen Golf R — and
none of them quite match up to
the mind-blowing experience you
get in the Honda.
That’s because the Type R is
about much more than raw
power.
Like all performance compacts, its formula starts with a

ridiculously powerful engine. Its
2.0-liter, four-cylinder, turbocharged powerplant makes 306
horsepower and 295 poundfeet of
torque, both insanely high numbers for a car this light.
What sets the Type R apart,
though, is how it sends all that
power to the pavement.
It uses a six-speed manual
transmission and helical limitedslip differential to route power to
the front wheels, something that’s
usually a recipe for torque steer
— the tendency for the steering
wheel to pull left or right when
you mash the throttle.
Honda’s engineers figured out
how to eliminate that problem
better than any front-wheel-drive
performance car I’ve ever driven,
though. The Type R has a unique
steering system, along with adaptive dampers and monster brakes,
that combine to force you to reca-

librate what you think you know
about driving a fast car.
This car corners so fast, with
so much grip, that it’s hard to
wrap your brain around just what
it can do.
But don’t take my word for it.
Look at the lap records it’s setting.
The Civic Type R is the fastest
front-wheel-drive production car
ever to tackle the storied
Nurburgring racetrack, setting a
record of 7 minutes, 43.8 seconds
on the 12.9-mile historic loop in
Germany earlier this year.
A big reason for that is the
aerodynamic package Honda
designed for the Type R. It’s covered from top to bottom, front to
back, in all kinds of crazy slits and
winglets, all of which Honda
swears are functional, not just for
looks. They’re all designed to dissipate heat, reduce drag or add
downforce.

Why buy it?

It’s an incredible performance
bargain, offering attentiongetting,
supercar-like looks and sensations with a sticker price under
$35,000.

In fact, with a price around
$34,000, I like to joke that it’s a
true bargain at $1 per winglet.
The wild-looking Type R takes
on a surprisingly docile demeanor, though, when you switch its
drive setting into comfort mode.
It changes from a snarling, trackfocused beast to a reasonably
smooth-riding, easy-to-drive
commuter car.
Still, my favorite thing to do
with the Type R was keep it in its
most aggressive setting — +R,
they call it — and enjoy all the
visceral sounds and feelings that
come with its wailing engine and
stupidfast cornering capability.
Assuming you don’t mind its
Fast-and-Furious looks and you
can handle throngs of car geeks
wanting to check it out in parking
lots, it’s the perfect car for people
looking for extreme performance
on a realistic budget.

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