What Is It?
Put simply, the Honda Civic Type R is a high-performance version of Honda’s popular Civic compact car. But it’s really so much more than that. Revealed here in Geneva, the latest Civic Type R is officially the most powerful and fastest front-wheel-drive hatchback ever manufactured.
Let’s start with power. This car makes an amazing 306 horsepower, courtesy of a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine; there’s also 295 lb-ft of torque. And it’s all sent through a 6-speed manual transmission, which helps propel the Civic to 60 miles per hour in under 6 seconds on its way to a top speed of nearly 170 mph. By comparison, the Ford Focus ST offers 252 hp, while the latest Volkswagen GTI touts as much as 220 horses.
But the new Civic Type R isn’t all horsepower. The hatchback-only high performer also offers unique 19-inch wheels, adaptive dampers and a suspension system specially designed to combat torque steer. Honda says there are also some dramatic aerodynamic changes, including a wing, a revised front end and new side skirts, which will help the car remain glued to the track.
The Type R’s only problem? It isn’t coming to America. Since U.S. dealers no longer get the Civic hatchback, this model is reserved for Honda’s foreign customers in Europe, Asia and elsewhere.
Honda hasn’t announced pricing, but we’d expect a significant bump over the European Civic.
When Can You Get It?
Later this year, in Europe
Add It to Your Shopping List Because…
In the hatchback horsepower-escalation war, the Honda Civic Type R might win the ultimate victory. Touting 50 horses more than its closest competitor and similarly impressive torque figures, it’s unlikely that any hot hatch debuting in the near future will offer more muscle than the high-performance Civic. If you want a high-performance hatchback, this one is king of the hill. It’s a shame they won’t sell it in the United States.
Other Cars to Consider
2015 Ford Focus ST — Though the Focus ST only offers 252 hp, it still boasts a highly enjoyable driving experience, impressive acceleration and capable cornering. Plus, it’s sold in the United States.
2015 Subaru WRX STI — Although it’s no longer offered in hatchback form (for now), the STI boasts big power and impressive acceleration. Prices are steep, but it’s the only way to catch the Civic Type R for the money.
2015 Volkswagen GTI — The all-new VW GTI doesn’t have the power of the Civic Type R, but it offers impressive precision. We also like the GTI’s interior a lot more than most rivals, thanks to its high-quality materials and simple setup.
Used BMW M3 — While it’s not a hatchback, the BMW M3 appeals to the same type of shopper who might want the Civic Type R: someone interested in amazing performance at all levels. New car prices are steep, though, so you may have to consider a used model.