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First Drive: 2017 Honda Civic Type R

Time:2018-03-13 20:38Turbochargers information Click:


The Civic Type R’s big rear wing, huge hood cooling ducts and ground-effects winglets are not just for show. (Ron Sessions)

BY Ron Sessions


Friday, September 8, 2017, 9:54 AM

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Honda homies will notice it right away, but for the rest of us it’s important to understand the significance of the 2017 Civic Type R’s Honda badge. Red, it’s the first emblem of its color affixed to a U.S.-spec Honda, a detail previously reserved for Type R models sold in Europe and Japan.

Putting an exclamation point on the much improved and wildly diverse 10th generation Civic lineup, the winged and widened 306-horsepower Type R also represents a return to respectability among car aficionados. An icon for the entirety of Civic Nation, which has suffered through thrifted and decontented versions of its favorite sport compact car, the new Type R rehabilitates, rejuvenates and restores the Civic’s image as a performance leader in its segment.


There’s something very convincing about a double-digit-percentage power increase, in this case 49 percent, to drive home the performance message. With the Type R, the Civic has its groove back.

Think of the Type R as a Civic Si with bite to match its bark


With 306 horsepower, the Civic Type R’s 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbo is Honda’s most powerful engine in the U.S. (Ron Sessions)

Forget for a moment that the Civic Type R’s engine is the most powerful one ever offered in the Civic or any production Honda automobile. Top speed is 170 mph. Aside from the near-exotic Acura NSX sports car, that makes the Type R the fastest vehicle Honda has ever offered in the U.S.

In U.S. tune, and when fed premium fuel, the turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine makes an enthusiastic 306 horsepower. European models slurping 95 octane gas can crank out 315 horsepower. Putting these numbers into perspective, the Type R delivers 153 horsepower/liter and generates 101 horsepower more than the next most powerful Civic, the Si.

Highlights include high-pressure direct fuel injection and i-VTEC intelligent variable valve lift and timing with variable intake and exhaust camshaft phasing. There’s an electric wastegate for flexible boost. The small-diameter, lightweight turbo spools faster to quickly build boost at lower speeds and at smaller throttle openings. It spins up a solid 22.8 psi of turbo boost, significantly more than the 16.5 psi generated in the Civic’s 1.5-liter turbocharged engine. A lightweight forged steel crankshaft and connecting rods and a single-mass flywheel allow the engine to rev with enthusiasm.

What’s so satisfying about the result is how accessible the power is. In stark contrast to a previous Honda performance car, the S2000 roadster, the Type R doesn’t require sky-high revs to deliver scintillating response. Additionally, the low-inertia drivetrain makes throttle response sharper and more predictable when tipping-in, and produces less overrun when lifting for a shift.

Though generous, the power is not head snapping. Rather, the 2.0-liter turbo feels like a larger-displacement engine, thanks to robust midrange response courtesy of 295 lb.-ft. of torque peaking from 2,500 to 4,500 rpm – speed ranges you’ll encounter in everyday driving. The result is a linear performance curve supplying satisfying acceleration even if you find yourself in too tall a gear.

The Type R sounds the part of a performance car, too. Take a gander at the rear end and you’ll count three center-mounted exhaust pipes. The novel arrangement includes high-flow, large-diameter end pipes while the smaller center pipe has a resonator to give some voice to the Civic R’s midrange. So it sounds powerful the minute the 2.0-liter fires up, but it doesn’t boom and didn’t become tiresome during a full day of test-driving.

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