More versions of the super hot hatch are reportedly coming

It’s exciting times for the hot hatch segment these days. The Ford Focus RS has grabbed headlines, as has the Volkswagen Golf Clubsport S, the Mini Cooper JCW, and the triumvirate of French hot hatches that have made a good living trying to one-up each other. Then there’s the Honda Civic Type R, which has grabbed headlines since Honda announced it was coming to North America for the very first time. And like the gift that keeps on giving; it appears the U.S. is getting more than just one flavor of the Civic Type R as more versions are reportedly in the pipeline.

Before everybody starts throwing fits of excitement, let’s hear it first from the man who actually said it. No less than Hideki Matsumoto, the chief engineer for the entire model range of the Honda Civic, told Automotive News that there is a plan by Honda to “gradually put more variants” of the Civic Type R out into the market as part of a goal to “maintain a more stable sales volume” for the model. Nothing has been confirmed as of the moment, but to hear it come from Matsumoto himself is as good a source as it gets. As for what variants are likely to emerge, the two most likely offsprings would fall on opposite ends of the current 306-horsepower Civic Type R, including a toned-down version and an even more hardcore variant than the current model. More versions are expected to arrive to, which now begs the question, what limits can we expect to put on the Honda Civic Type R?

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

Three words: Oh. My. Goodness.

2017 Honda Civic Type R High Resolution Exterior
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If he says that more variants are on the way, that’s pretty telling of what Honda’s plans are

You know that feeling of waiting for this specific gift to arrive under the Christmas tree, only you had to wait years before finally getting it? Now imagine if, after all that waiting, you learn that there are other versions of that gift that you’ve been so desperate to get. That’s kind of the feeling I had when I heard about Hideki Matsumoto’s comments to Automotive News.

Granted, I will leave some space for interpretation here because even with somebody as plugged into the business of the Honda Civic is as the man who’s the chief engineer of the actual model, Honda itself hasn’t made any announcements on this matter. But even with that space, it’s also worth mentioning Matsumoto’s status within the company. If he says that more variants are on the way, that’s pretty telling of what Honda’s plans are. The trick here is linking those two trains of thought so that optimism remains for these other Civic Type R variants even without an official green light for Honda. Hopefully, an official answer arrives sooner than later because the automotive world is going to lose its collective minds should Honda decide to go down this path.

2017 Honda Civic Type R Exterior High Resolution
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2017 Honda Civic Type R High Resolution Exterior
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2016 Ford Focus RS High Resolution Exterior
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2016 Ford Focus RS High Resolution Exterior
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Suppose that it does, the scenario of seeing a toned-down version of the Civic Type R and a more hardcore version is the most likely to happen. Another possible version could be an all-wheel drive model since a lot of the Civic Type R’s closest competition – the aforementioned Focus RS, the Golf R, and the Subaru WRX – all use this type of configuration. If Honda wants the Civic Type R to be at the epicenter of hot hatch domination, an AWD version is a must. At some point, sedan and coupe versions of the Civic Type R could also be in the works. Honda already has the base variants to make it happen so it would be foolish to count them out if Honda really wants to maximize the full scope of potential that the Civic Type R provides.

Civic Type R Focus RS
Engine 2.0-liter turbocharged i-VTEC four-cylinder 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder
Horsepower 306 HP @ 6,500 RPM 350 HP @ 6,000 RPM
Torque 295 LB-FT @ 7,000 RPM 350 LB-FT @ 3,200 RPM
Transmission 6-Speed Manual 6-Speed Manual
Weight TBA 3,525 Lbs
0 to 62 mph 5.7 seconds 4.6 seconds
Top Speed 169 mph 165 mph

Is it possible though?

2017 Honda Civic Type R High Resolution Exterior
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Having more variants of the same model not only helps keep the name fresh, but it also broadens consumer appeal

It’s easy to imagine all these scenarios without stepping back and seeing whether these plans are even feasible. Fortunately, Honda’s the kind of major automaker that can make it work. It has the resources and the know-how to make this reported plan flourish. Besides, it’s not like other automakers haven’t used the “more variants” strategy for their own benefits. Porsche has done a masterclass with this line of thinking, as have Mercedes-AMG, BMW, and even Chevrolet.

Having more variants of the same model not only helps keep the name fresh, but it also broadens consumer appeal while maintaining strong sales figures for the automaker. It doesn’t always work relative to a company’s goals, but if done right, it could prove to be a golden ticket towards strong sales numbers. The good news for Honda, in this case, is that it finally has the model that can do it.

After all, the industry doesn’t call the Honda Civic Type R the “forbidden fruit” for no reason.

Read our full review on the Honda Civic Type R here.

Source: Automotive News

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