Let’s get something out of the way straight off: The Honda Civic Type R is one of the best cars to be sold new in America in a generation. In a dozen years, it’ll be the stuff of legend. In 30 it’ll be a collector’s item. I know this because I’ve already spent weeks driving our medium-term test vehicle, which will be with us for a total of six months (sadly, we couldn’t convince Honda to let us keep it for a full Four Seasons). Those six months won’t be enough, but hopefully they’ll be enough for us to convince you of these claims.
In fact, those six months are already nearly half over, and this is the first thing we’ve written about the car. What gives? It’s simple. The Type R is so good we haven’t stopped driving it long enough to put finger to keyboard. We’re trying to eke as much out of our time with the car as possible.
We couldn’t nab the car for a full year, so high is the demand for it even among us drive-a-new-(free)-supercar-every-day types. That’s remarkable but also totally predictable if you’ve already spent time in it. Driving the Type R, there’s almost no situation in which you’ll wish you were in a different car. Going to the grocery store? Perfect. Taking the dog to the beach? Perfect. Dinner and a movie? Perfect. Thrashing slow drivers in fast cars at every opportunity? Perfect.
If you’re like me and own a pair of semi-operable eyes, you may be mumbling to yourself something like, “Yeah, yeah, it’s fun to drive. But then you have to get out of it and look at it. I’m not sure my stomach can handle that more than once a week.” And you’re not wrong. Except for the part where you’re totally wrong.
You see, I have a working theory about what happens once you’ve driven the Type R for a week or two: You become infected. It’s a benign infection, except for one small detail: it screws up your brain’s anterior insula, nestled deep in the folds of your cerebral cortex—your brain’s aesthetic perception center. I call this ailment “R-itis.”
When an uninfected person looks at the Type R, they can’t help but see the incongruent angles, pasted-on lumps, and the overall Transformers-meets-Pokemon-meets-WTCC racer look. When the infected gaze upon the Type R, however, the ridiculous wing and all the other gussying-up are still there, but they don’t have the same effect. Instead of perceiving a geometric and aesthetic dramedy, they see beyond the surface to the distilled essence of pure driving fun within, and that, my friends, is beautiful. It makes the Type R beautiful.
Sadly, R-itis isn’t communicable between humans. It can only be contracted directly from a Type R, and requires several weeks to infiltrate and incubate before expressing symptoms.
I’ve been infected for a little more than three weeks now. If there’s a cure, I’m not sure I want it. There are three-plus months left to find out.
Our 2017 Honda Civic Type R
|PRICE||$34,775 (base/as tested)|
|ENGINE||2.0L turbocharged 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|
|STEERING||Electric power assisted|
|TURNING CIRCLE||39.5 ft|
|SUSPENSION, F/R||McPherson Strut/Multi-link|
|BRAKES, F/R||Four-piston disc brakes (vented)/ Two-piston disc brakes (solid)|
|WHEELS, F/R||20-inch, alloy wheels|
|TIRES||Conti SportContact6, Front/Rear 245/30ZR20|
|L X W X H||179.4 x 73.9 x 56.5 in|
|TRACK, F/R||63.0 / 62.7|
|HEADROOM, F/R||39.3/37.4 in|
|LEGROOM, F/R||42.3/35.9 in|
|SHOULDER ROOM, F/R||56.9/55.0 in|
|CARGO CAPACITY||46.25 cu ft (rear seat up/down)|
|WEIGHT DIST F/R||61.8 / 38.2|
|EPA MILEAGE||22/28 mpg (city/hwy)|
|FUEL CAPACITY||12.4 Gallons|
|FUEL RANGE||347 miles (estimated)|
|0-60 MPH||5.4 sec|
|TOP SPEED||168 mph|
|Premium audio w/12 speakers||Sport pedals|
|7-inch display audio w/ Honda Satellite-linked Navigation, Voice Recognition and Multi-view rear camera||20” alloy wheels|
|Bluetooth HandsFreeLink||LED fog lights|
|CarPlay/Android Auto Integration||LED headlights and tailights|
|SiriusXM Satellite Radio||Rear wing spoiler|
|Pandora Internet Radio Interface||Triple outlet sport exhaust|
|Sport seats||Aero kit|
|Leather-wrapped steering wheel||Smart entry|
|Aluminum shift knob||Power door mirrors|
|Front auto up/down windows||Rear wiper|
|Electric parking brake||Capless fuel filler|