There’s a global following for Type R models in the Honda world, but the only time we had a factory-authorized one in the US market was actually from sister brand acura. That happened back when Integras were still a breed, and the Integra Type R schooled the world on how to engineer a stellar-handling front-drive sports car. That car has since become a modern legend (not to mix acura metaphors).
The reason the US market has been stiffed on the many Civic Type R models? Never has the US market Civic been a common platform with the Japanese market or EU market editions. Of course, if Honda had really wanted to, it could have developed a Type R for the US Civic. after all, the company develops other models just for the US. But looking at the future glass as half-full, the new Civic platform is now truly global, the critical stage-gate to Type R-ing in the US.
The minute specifications may differ very slightly, but count on the US edition getting all the major basics, like a turbocharged, 2.0L twin-cam inline-four with variable valve timing generating 306hp (228 kW) at 6,500rpm and 295lb-ft (400Nm) of torque at 2,500rpm. The European car is rated at 320PS (239kW), but the EU’s DIN method of measurement is slightly different from the US’ SaE net method. Plus, Europe certifies using 98 RON (octane) fuel, where the US fuel for SaE net certification is 95 RON. Ultimately, the real-world difference is not as great as it seems on paper—plus, when’s the last time you drove a piece of paper?
Interestingly, the Type R will receive three small mufflers and exhaust tips at the rear, the central of which serves to adjust sound as revs rise. The sole transmission will be a six-speed manual with automatic rev-matching, and the body will be in hatchback form.
The Type R’s unique suspension uses its own set of springs, bushings, and dampers, plus aluminum lower control arms and steering knuckles. a true limited-slip front differential doles out power up front, and adaptive electric-assist power steering has a variable ratio.
The Type R will not be subject to the mainstream Honda development strictures placed on other Hondas in the US. It will receive summer 245/30R20 tires, the same rear wing as global markets, red front seats, a Type R badge and serial number, unique graphics in the instrument cluster, plus the three driving modes, which change damping and throttle response between Comfort, Sport, and “+R” settings.
Other top-spec hardware will include Brembo brakes with 13.8-inch front rotors and 12.0-inch rears, 20-inch wheels with a different bolt pattern than other Civics (so these will not be an upgrade possibility for lesser models), unique seats, and additional vents to cool the hotter engine and plumb air to the front brakes. While on the topic of air, that giant rear wing is led by functional vortex generators that tumble more air directly onto the wing, netting more downforce than otherwise possible. No actual downforce figures are available yet, however.
Other standard equipment will include LED headlights, sport seats, a 7.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment, and a 540-watt audio system. all Type Rs will be built at Honda’s Swindon plant in the UK, but engines will be manufactured at Honda of america in Ohio and shipped to the UK.
Honda will produce fewer Civic Type Rs than even the Civic Si, and it will be the highest price Civic in the lineup, but all US dealers will get at least one car by early June, according to company officials. Price will be in the mid-$30,000 range, right in line with chief competitors like the Volkswagen Golf R, Subaru WRX STI, and Ford Focus RS.