AR­RIVAL 2018 Honda Civic Type R

Chris Walton

Motor Trend - - Garage - Words Mo­tor Trend Edi­tors



We fell in “en­thu­si­ast” love with the 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.’”

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 daily life with the all-con­quer­ing Civic hail­ing from Swin­don, Eng­land, 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-drive cars. Three-way ad­justable solenoid­valve adap­tive dampers round out the chas­sis.

The 2.0-liter turbo-four makes an hon­est 306 hp 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. The EPA says the most pow­er­ful Honda in the U.S. should earn 22/28/25 mpg city/high­way/com­bined.

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 head­lamps, tail­lamps, and foglamps; 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; a 12-speaker, 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

“We were im­pressed in 2018 COTY and BDC and will con­tinue the af­fair wher­ever it may lead.”

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.

Does it fit? The hatch opens wide and the clever east-west cargo cover ac­com­mo­dates flat-pack fur­ni­ture.

There are few cars, even reardrive sports cars that can keep up with the “CTR.”

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