We fell in “enthusiast” love with the Civic Type R in the first moments we drove it in Montreal last year. During its First Test, features editor Christian Seabaugh, who is never at a loss for words, said, “Thinking of clever ways to describe cars pays my bills, so rarely does a car leave me struggling to find words to describe it—yet that’s the situation I found myself in after driving the Honda Civic Type R. I settled for three: ‘Holy s—. Wow. “http://www.motortrend.com/” A short time later, the Civic Type R earned Finalist status in our rigorous and comprehensive 2018 Car of the Year contest where our international bureau chief, Angus MacKenzie, wrote, “This is the most impressive new Honda I’ve driven since the original NSX.” Riding that impressive endorsement, we then pitted the Type R against its closest performance analogues: special edition versions of both the Ford Focus RS and Subaru WRX STI Type RA plus a VW Golf R. Again, the Civic Type R shined brightly, and handily—and unanimously—won that comparison test. With all of those exuberant endorsements, clearly we had to have our own Type R—for a year. Would living with the all-conquering Civic from Swindon, England, where it is built, tarnish its legitimate performance credentials?
In case you aren’t familiar with it yet, the Civic Type R (aka CTR) is built alongside other Civic hatchbacks, but it benefits from additional adhesives in key areas to enhance the unibody’s strength. It also receives specialized Type R -only suspension components: unique rear multilink setup and bushings and dual-axis struts up front that effectively separate the steering from the suspension. This clever and expensive mechanical solution effectively eliminates the power-induced torque-steer effect that often plagues powerful front-wheel-drive cars. Three-way adjustable solenoid-valve adaptive dampers round out the chassis. The turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four makes an honest 306 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque, so there’s a mechanical (helical) limited-slip front differential to maintain traction. And not since the Honda S2000 has there been a manual shifter as tight and “snickety” as the six-speed in the Type R with its aluminum shift knob. The EPA says the most powerful Honda in the U.S. should earn 22/28/25 mpg city/highway/combined. Our average after 2,410 miles of mixed driving is 21.4 mpg with a best tankful of 25.5 mpg.
Currently, Honda doesn’t offer any options on the Civic Type R. It comes in one well-appointed Touring trim level but lacks the Honda Sensing safety suite and LaneWatch that come on the Touring trims of Honda’s other models. Instead, the Type R gets LED headlights, taillights, and fog lights; deeply bolstered racing-style front seats and two rear buckets; push-button start; cruise control; auto up/down front windows; a leather-wrapped steering wheel; voice-compatible navigation; a 7.0-inch high-resolution touchscreen; 12-speaker (including subwoofer) 540-watt audio system with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto/Bluetooth compatibility and SiriusXM; HD radio; 1.5- and 1.0-amp USB ports; and Honda Link with apps, Pandora, and SMS text compatibility. It comes loaded for the fair price of $35,595.
As soon as our 600-mile engine-conditioning period was complete, we took our CTR to the track to measure its performance against the impressive numbers of previous testers. We’re happy to report our Type R got a 0-60 mph time of 5.2 seconds on its way to a 13.6-second, 104.7-mph quarter mile. Its brakes are strong, as well, with repeated stops from 60 mph in just 100 feet. Our Civic Type R averaged 1.00g in lateral acceleration as it put down a competitive 24.5-second figure eight. All of these results land it right in the middle of the three previous Type Rs we’ve tested.
In the coming year, we aim to put down some hot laps at a local track to investigate owners’ forum claims that the Type R is unable to maintain power (due to heat soaking) over more than a handful of laps. We’re told Honda addressed this known malady between 2017 (its launch year) and the 2018 model year. It’s going to be a fun and interesting trip around the sun.
|2018 Honda Civic Type R|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$35,595|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front-engine, FWD, 4-pass, 4-door hatchback|
|ENGINE||2.0L/306-hp/295-lb-ft turbo DOHC 16-valve I-4|
|CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)||3,104 lb (62/38%)|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||179.4 x 73.9 56.5 in|
|0-60 MPH||5.2 sec|
|QUARTER MILE||13.6 sec @ 104.7 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||100 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||1.00 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||24.5 sec @ 0.78 g (avg)|
|REAL MPG, CITY/HWY/COMB||Not yet tested|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON||22/28/25 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY||153/120 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||0.80 lb/mile|
|TOTAL MILEAGE||2,410 mi|
|AVERAGE FUEL ECON||21.4 mpg|
|UNRESOLVED PROBLEM AREAS||None|