Oh Honda Civic Type R, how we love thee. Our editor-in-chief Mike Floyd summed our feelings with a simple log-book entry: “Car is rad.” As an Automobile All-Star, it ought to be. Not only does it offer the performance of an uncompromised track-day special, but the big-winged Honda has also served our Southern California-based staff well as a daily driver.
Given our frequent use of the angular hatch, it was getting dirty in a way that only a deep cleaning could rectify. So we took the bewinged Civic out to Jay Leno’s garage in Burbank, California, where it was worked on by the denim-clad comedian and bona fide car buff’s crack detailing team. After a thorough wash, rinse, and treatment inside and out, the Type R took on a like new luster again. Months later, the good smells from the Leno’s Garage-brand detailing solution still linger and the interior has held up well without taking on much more grime.
But the Civic’s spa treatment couldn’t prepare it for the trauma it’d endure thanks to a blown right-front tire on L.A.’s I-110 freeway. Production editor Eleonor Segura was the unlucky driver when it all went down. “I set up a pickup with Honda Roadside Assistance and was stranded at the Target parking lot for at least four hours before a tow truck finally showed up,” she said.
Happily, Honda decided to replace both front tires under warranty, which would have rung up to a hefty $876.95. Not so happily, the next day we were back at the dealer, but this time curiously with both right side tires basically flat. Was it bad luck, bad mounting, bad juju? We never did get a satisfactory answer. This time the bill rang in at $841.05, and not under warranty. Since then, we thankfully haven’t had an issue with the rubber.
Despite packing a high strung, turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four that’s cranked up to 306 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque, our Civic Type R has been fairly thrifty in the fuel consumption department. Over the 10,731 miles we’ve logged so far, we’ve averaged a respectable 22.56 mpg. But the hot hatch’s need for premium fuel means we’ve spent $1,823.11 at the pump. As far as other costs go, we took the Type R in for its scheduled oil change at 6,926 miles, which cost us a reasonable $51.35.
Recently, I had a chance to get the Type R out of L.A. to stretch its rims on a road trip up to Sequoia National Forest. My buddy and I brought plenty of gear to do some camping with, but the hatch easily swallowed it up with room to spare. On the way, I had plenty of time to play with the Type R’s tall gears and generous swath of peak power, which allowed for some incredible freeway pulls. But as the highway miles piled up, the prolonged exposure to the engine’s drone in sixth gear began to wear on me a bit.
As far as amenities go, the Type R’s standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay proved useful for phone connectivity although the touch screen is a bit slower than other units on the market. My only criticism of the interior ergonomics is that I found the positioning of the USB ports and 12-volt outlet beneath the infotainment display and behind the shifter to be inconvenient, since they’re totally out of sight, but it is offset by the cavernous center console which swallowed our water bottles and coffee cups.
This was the longest time I’ve spent in the Type R’s sport seats, which I found supportive when taking advantage of the car’s considerable grip on winding roads. But during our long, hot stint through California’s central valley, the poor breathability of the seats had me longing for the luxury of ventilation.
Despite its massive wing and smattering of scoops, the Honda tends to get lost in L.A.’s car culture mosaic. But outside the big city it was a big hit. I was showered with upturned thumbs and peppered with questions in parking lots, mostly from boy racers itching to know how the Type R compared to their own whips. It was nice to see the Civic get the attention it deserved during our journey.
The Honda proved to be an ideal car for getting up to and back from our mountain campsite, which sat at over 7,000 feet of altitude, with its on road performance augmented by the car’s variable suspension setup. R mode was a blast when the pavement was clear and Comfort softened the ride in situations with rough terrain. The standard Sport mode was good for everything in between. All-Star status, verified.
Even as new arrivals have joined the fleet, the Civic Type R remains a staff favorite for its capabilities as an all-rounder that’s as good for a weekend escape as it is for a canyon run or a trip to the grocery store. We’re looking forward to seeing how many more adventures we can squeeze into the remaining time we have with the hot Honda.
Our 2017 Honda Civic Type R
|MILES TO DATE||12,526|
|PRICE||$34,775 (base/as tested)|
|ENGINE||2.0L turbo DOHC 16-valve I-4/306 hp @ 6,500 rpm, 295 lb-ft @ 2,500-4,000 rpm|
|LAYOUT||4-door, 4-passenger, front-engine, FWD hatchback|
|EPA MILEAGE||22/28 mpg (city/hwy)|
|L x W x H||179.4 x 73.9 x 56.5 in|
|0-60 MPH||5.4 sec|
|TOP SPEED||169 mph|