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Everyman Driver: 2017 Honda Civic Type R History and Review (VIDEOS)

The all-new 2017 Civic Type R is the fastest, most powerful Honda and the first-ever Honda Type R model to be sold in America. Globally, it is the fifth generation of the legendary Civic Type R, whose history dates to its 1997 launch as a hatchback model in Japan (see history below).

The move to one global platform for all models in the 10th-generation Civic lineup paved the way for the introduction of the Civic Type R on American soil – the final chapter in the most comprehensive and ambitious remake of the Civic in its storied, 44-year history. The Civic Type R joins the Civic Sedan – 2016 North American Car of the Year – the Civic Coupe, Civic Hatchback and Civic Si Coupe and Si Sedan in rounding out the 10th-generation Civic lineup.


The all-new Civic Type R is the second generation of Type R to feature turbocharged power and shares significant elements of its engine design with the 9th-generation Civic Type R sold overseas.  Its 306-horsepower 2.0-liter DOHC direct-injected i-VTEC® turbo powerplant, manufactured exclusively by Honda of America Mfg., Inc. in Anna, Ohio, using domestic and globally sourced parts, is the most powerful production Honda automobile engine made in America (surpassed only by the Acura NSX twin turbocharged 90-degree V6, also made in Anna). The vehicle is manufactured exclusively in Honda’s Swindon, UK plant alongside the standard hatchback model on which it is based.

The ultimate in Civic performance and a direct manifestation of Honda’s racing spirit, experience and heritage, the Type R stands as a banner of Honda’s commitment to creating products that enliven the senses and stir the soul. Moreover, the new Civic Type R has claimed the title as the fastest front-wheel-drive production car in the world, based on setting a record lap time of 7 minutes 43.80 seconds on Germany’s 12.9-mile Nürburgring Nordschleife (north loop) on April 7, 2017.

This new Type R also benefits from the fundamental redesign of the 10th-generation Civic body and chassis, which set its sights on luxury-class European C-segment cars with respect to steering, handling, ride quality and high-speed stability. Improvements to the breed include a 38 percent more rigid body, a new multi-link rear suspension, improved aerodynamics for the best balance of aerodynamic drag and lift, and a sports chassis fine-tuned on the circuits of Suzuka, Takasu and Nürburgring. The result is the ultimate in Civic performance, the very best that Honda can produce in a front-wheel-drive performance car.

In the culture of Honda worldwide, the designation “Type R” (for “Racing”) has a long and proud history. Models that wear the Type R badge date back to the early 1990s and are focused on ultimate performance, often with reduced weight, track-oriented aerodynamics and many other performance enhancements. The designation first appeared on the Japan market Honda-branded NSX Type R in 1992, then later on the Japan market Honda-branded Integra Type R in 1995. Then in 1997, the Integra Type R came to America, wearing the Acura nameplate.

The first Civic to sport the Type R badge was the 1997 Civic Type R, offered exclusively in Japan. Through the years, the Civic Type R, with its ever-ascending power, handling and performance, has developed a global reputation for ultimate front-wheel drive performance. Now two decades and multiple model generations later, the fifth iteration of the Type R is at last coming to the United States as the 2017 Honda Civic Type R.

High points for Civic Type R models over the model years and Civic generations include:

6th Generation Civic – 1996 to 2000


Built in Japan on the 6th-generation Civic platform, the very first Civic Type R was offered exclusively in 3-door hatchback body style in Japan in 1997. The Type R was a formidable track car, and was lightened by the omission of interior sound deadening. It featured red seats and a leather-wrapped MOMO steering wheel. The hand-ported DOHC VTEC® 1.6-liter normally aspirated engine developed 182 horsepower at 8,200 rpm – a remarkable output for an engine of its size – and featured a close-ratio 6-speed manual transmission and a helical limited-slip differential.

7th Generation Civic – 2001 to 2005


A new second iteration of the Civic Type R arrived early in the new century, based on the 7th-generation Civic platform. Manufactured exclusively in Swindon, England, the three-door hatchback was sold in the European Domestic Market (EDM) and in Japan. Powered by a 2.0-liter DOHC i-VTEC® normally aspirated 4-cylinder engine, it was rated at 200 horsepower in EDM trim and 212 horsepower with an engine manufactured in Japan exclusively for the Japan market. Further boosting performance, the Japanese market car featured a helical limited-slip differential and shorter gearing.

8th Generation Civic – 2006 to 2011


The next version of the Civic Type R mirrored the 8th generation Civic on which it was based, which meant that the Type R’s configuration varied substantially, based on the market in which it was sold. For instance, in Japan it was offered exclusively as a 4-door sedan with a normally aspirated 2.0-liter DOHC i-VTEC® engine that developed 222 horsepower at a lofty 8,200 rpm. However, the European-market Civic Type R continued to be offered as a 3-door hatchback, with an output of 198 horsepower at 7,800 rpm. True to tradition, both versions were exclusively offered with a 6-speed manual transmission and a helical limited-slip differential.

9th Generation Civic – 2012 to 2015


The fourth iteration of the Type R was based on the 9th generation Civic, and was offered exclusively as a 5-door hatchback. For the first time, the Civic Type R was powered by a direct-injected turbocharged engine, a 2.0-liter DOHC VTEC in-line four that developed 306 horsepower at 6500 rpm. True to Type R form, the sole transmission was a 6-speed manual gearbox, paired with a limited-slip differential to help maintain maximum grip.

10th Generation Civic – 2016 to Present


Based on the 10th generation Civic 5-door Hatchback, the fifth version of the Civic Type R at last makes its debut in America. This all-new Civic Type R continues the legacy of the Type R as an exciting, front-wheel-drive high-performance hatchback and is the ultimate expression of the genre. It is also the most extreme Type R ever built, with track-ready performance providing the most rewarding driving experience in the segment.

Everything about the Civic Type R was designed to create the optimum performance driving experience, from the performance-tuned 2.0-liter DOHC i-VTEC® turbocharged engine that develops 306 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 295 lb.-ft. of torque from 2,500-4,500 rpm, to the 6-speed manual transmission and helical limited-slip differential. The Civic Type R chassis builds on the major upgrades undertaken for the 10th-generation Civic redesign with a model-exclusive steering system, an Adaptive Damper System; aluminum front lower arms and steering knuckles for improved at-the-limit cornering; and dual-pinion, variable-ratio steering. The 2017 Civic Type R is designed to reward the driver in all driving conditions, on the track and on the street, and features three driving modes: COMFORT, SPORT (default) and +R.

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