Ford Focus RS, Mitsubishi EVO, Subaru STi. All gone. The era of strong-tempered compacts seemed to be dying out. But here comes Toyota with the GR Corolla. And Honda, which stacks up again with the Type R. This not only makes it possible to transcend the Civic, but also to complicate the bill.
Let’s tackle the question that you are probably already asking yourself. Yes, this Honda is an anachronism certainly unsuited – like many vehicles of its caliber – to driving on the road. Even contained, the expression of an exacerbated sportsmanship is no longer a very buoyant theme. Why give birth to such vehicles? For the picture. The Japanese manufacturer seizes the opportunity here to spice it up, much more than breaking sales records.
This exceptional model also allows engineers and engine manufacturers to realize their wildest fantasies while offering the company a commercial outlet for their exploits in motorsport (mainly Formula 1 and Indy Car).
Designed from a Civic hatchback, this new flagship has not skimped on resources. The rigidity of the chassis has been reinforced, the mechanics sharpened and the ground connections sophisticated. Apart from the aerodynamic appendages and a sportier treatment of the interior (you like red, don’t you?), this very typical Civic would go almost unnoticed. The same could not be said of its predecessor.
Alert, this Type R seems screwed on the road and drives with a certain jubilation. Both lively and fiery, this wasabi-covered compact barely alters the comfort-efficiency trade-off that prevails over other Civics, provided the road surface is smooth as a pool table. The tires do not have the profile to resist potholes and surf on crevices. This then condemns us to adopt the “comfort” mode. We reserve the Sport and +R modes for roads worthy of the name and circuits. Otherwise, the firmness of the suspensions (so stiff in town that you could almost count the cobblestones) ends up convincing the driver to moderate his enthusiasm.
And enthusiasm, there is under the hood. This one houses a supercharged 2L that spits out 315 horsepower and is not lacking in heart to work. Its practically as generous torque, however, requires getting the power “in the towers”, listening to the vocalizations of the four-cylinder. A feature that does not prevent you from enjoying driving this car even if you don’t whip it like a thoroughbred every day. Luckily, since consumption is rising quickly. On the other hand, this extroverted Civic does not choke with indignation if one adopts a quiet driving.
Very lively, this engine is here well served by a six-speed gearbox whose silky control responds immediately to the slightest request. So much the better, since it is the only transmission offered. The absence of an automatic transmission is not the only factor limiting its distribution. Anxious to control its weight and limit its complexity, this vitaminized Honda drives only its front wheels…
This mode of training certainly has its limits, but Honda persists, successfully, in pushing them further. From a purely technical point of view, this mastery (this stubbornness, some would say) of the “everything up front” clearly demonstrates the know-how of the brand. On the other hand, this choice takes the opposite path to that of the competition (see the “Competition” screen), which favors all-wheel drive. The Civic Type R, for its part, hardly leaves any clues as to the location of its drive wheels, especially in dry weather.
The grip is simply phenomenal and the Type R immediately gives you confidence. Maybe even a little too much for less experienced hands. This Honda strives to do well, if you drive it intelligently.
A badly calculated trajectory, a curve entry too fast, too sudden acceleration in support at the exit of a bend and the Type R is no longer this car that we thought was going like on rails, but rather in the rails. ..
All the more so on cold, wet pavement, as was the case during this test. In this environment, a slight torque effect is felt, but there is nothing staggering about it. Especially since the torque metering device allows the front axle to withstand the most brutal accelerations. The important thing to remember is that it does not affect the course holding in any way. In fact, it is in tight curves that this Civic appears more vulnerable. That said, his training style isn’t the only contributing factor. The larger dimensions of this second version also work against it in this area.
With its energetic braking and a power-to-weight ratio bordering on indecency, the Type R accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in less than 6 seconds. Lots of character, therefore, the skill of an acrobat and a less compact, less divisive and more consensual profile. No one will complain about it. Manga fashion, of which she was once a fan, only appealed to children…
Honda Civic Type R
Suggested retail price
More consensual style
Exquisite manual gearbox
We love less
The limits of traction reached
Limited range of use (motor)
Price demanded by dealers
You really have to have the desire and the ability to drive it sportily. Otherwise, it is better to give up.
- L4 DOHC 2.0L turbocharged
- 315 horsepower at 6500 rpm
- 310 lb-ft of torque between 2600 and 4000 rpm
- Weight: 1446 kg
- Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 5.8s
- Top speed: 273 km/h
- Standard: 6-speed manual
- Optional: none
- Drive mode: traction
Tank capacity, gasoline recommended
- Wheelbase: 2735mm
- Length: 4595.5mm
- Height: 1406.5mm
- Width: 1890 mm (exterior mirrors included)
The story begins 20 years earlier
For us it is the second, but for the rest of the world it is already the sixth generation. The Civic Type R first appeared in 1997. In Canada, the first vehicle to pin this prestigious label to its bodywork was the Integra (our photo), marketed by Acura, Honda’s luxury subsidiary. Introduced in 1997, the Integra Type R was hailed by critics as “the most exhilarating front-wheel-drive sports car ever produced”.
The first outing of the Civic Type R in Canada (2017) did not go unnoticed with its body swollen with growths and its high-pitched spoiler. We have heard reflections – sometimes derogatory – on his passage. Honda too. This explains why this new version adopts more consensual forms in order to reach a wider clientele. Part of it had expressed, in clinical tests, that despite its dynamic qualities, this Civic was visually too “did you see me”. However, no offense to those who mocked her in her early days, she still won a nice success of esteem. Over 25,000 copies sold in North America.
Share your experience
The Press will soon publish the test of the following vehicles: Audi Q4 e-tron, Honda CR-V, Kia Niro, Mercedes EQB, Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, Nissan Ariya, Toyota GR Corolla and Vinfast VF8. If you own one of these vehicles or are considering purchasing one, we would love to hear from you.