• James May Just Did the Best Video Review of the Honda Civic Type R That We’ve Ever Seen

And you don’t need to put on hold everything for half a day to view it all

Honda may not be building too many exciting cars at the moment but when the Japanese do get up and slap a ’Type R’ badge onto something, we stop and listen. This is the case with the latest Civic Type R, introduced in 2017, that puts out 306 horsepower, features a social media-friendly body kit, and is a monstrously fast FWD hatchback. Don’t believe me? Maybe you will believe if James May says it.

The FK8 Civic Type R based on the tenth-generation Civic is by far the most insane-looking Civic Type R of the lot and a lot of people out there have been harsh with the car for that very reason. Many say it’s more show than go while you may hear others joking that it was designed so that it will put tuning companies out of business. But this isn’t a car that can only bark and not bite as records on a number of world-renown race tracks will attest. But, for us, the reason why we like this Civic Type R so much is that we can, finally, taste it for ourselves as it’s the first Civic to be sold in the U.S. Let’s hope this is the start of a tradition and not just a one-off opportunity.

James May should do reviews like this on a daily basis

Nowadays, we spend at least 50% of our days glued to a screen, be it that of a tablet, a smartphone, a laptop or a desktop of sorts. As such, we tend to want to try and do anything via those screens and, with the internet being as broad as it is, you can genuinely almost do anything by just reaching for your phone. That’s why an easy first step when gathering information on a new car is simply going on YouTube and just searching for video reviews of the car you’re interested in.

As it happens, most in-depth reviews that include impressions on the car’s looks, interior, performance, handling, and running costs among others are quite long and you may not have 15 to 20 minutes available to sit back and watch someone take you on a tour of the car. This is no longer a problem, however, at least not if you’re in the market for the 2017 Honda Civic Type R because James May - yes, that James May - just released an all-encompassing review of the blisteringly quick hot hatchback. How long is it, you wonder? Well, it’s not five minutes in length, nor is it four, nor three, it’s just 144 seconds long or two minutes and 24 seconds.

James May Just Did the Best Video Review of the Honda Civic Type R That We've Ever Seen High Resolution Exterior
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As per usual with a May video on DriveTribe, the first thing you’ll have to guess is Captain Slow’s opening line. Will it be "Hi, players"? Or what about the even more casual "Yo, players"? You could also be thinking of the laid-back "Hey, brothers and sisters," that May has used in the past but you’d be wrong because this time May kicks things off by greeting us with "Hi, kids!" One could argue that ’kids’ aren’t the only one ones interested in the new Type R but, by and large, you’ve got to be a kid at least on the inside to appreciate this thing.

One thing that hasn’t changed is the initial setting as May is seen next to a grey Type R parked in that same semi-derelict underground parking lot where a probably pristine Aston Martin partially hidden under a white tarp is used as background decoration. Luckily, this is a thorough test so May isn’t about to spend all of those 144 seconds in the tight confines of the parking lot. After all, a car that lapped the Nordschleife in 7:43.80, a time that was only beaten recently by a souped-up version of the Renault Megane RS deserves to be taken out for a spin.

This is exactly what May does and his conclusion leaves no room for interpretation. The Type R is, in May’s own words, "fast". Believe it or not, that’s what we think too after driving the Type R around the Ridge Motorsports Park and then driving it some more on the open road. May then goes on to discuss the car’s styling and offer a bit of his very own insider’s knowledge.

FWD Nurburging Lap Time Records
Lap Time Horsepower Torque (lb-ft) Curb weight (lbs) power-to-weight (hp:lbs)
2019 Renault Megane RS Trophy-R 07:40.1 292 295 2815 0.10:1
2017 Honda Civic Type R 07:43.8 306 295 3150 0.097:1
2016 Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport S 07:49.2 310 280 2998 0.10:1
2014 Honda Civic Type R 07:50.6 306 295 2910 0.105:1
2014 Ranault Megane R.S. 275 Trophy-R 07:54.4 271 266 2859 0.09:1
2014 Seat Leon Cupra 07:58.4 276 258 3075 0.089:1

You may remember the handy trick of testing an exhaust tip’s diameter by sticking your fist inside; This is a lot like it but it involves your head. May details that the difference between a "spoiler" and a "wing" is in their sizes. I won’t give away any other spoilers so you can enjoy it. However, what I can tell you is that May is quite fond of the Type R’s cabin and we tend to agree with the former Top Gear host and current Grand Tour host. Having said this, May is no fan of the infotainment system and not because he likes archaic analog cars (although he does), but because the system is sluggish and already feels dated.

The cargo space in the trunk is also satisfactory and it may even surprise you how wide it is. Overall, the 2017 Honda Civic Type R receives a two thumbs up from May which is probably a good sign as that’s as many thumbs as he can hold up so you can equate that with a five-star rating or something. Now, if you do have 20 minutes to spare then you could watch Doug DeMuro’s review or the one where Chris Harris slides with it virtually all the time but, instead, you should just spend two minutes and 24 seconds watching this and the rest 17 minutes and 36 seconds laughing. Because it’s good for you!

An Improved Civic Type R is On The Way

James May Just Did the Best Video Review of the Honda Civic Type R That We've Ever Seen High Resolution Exterior
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First off, since we’re here, let’s go over the key numbers and facts of the current FK8 Civic Type R. In its American spec, the car’s 2.0-liter, turbocharged inline-four, the same as the one in the FK2, churns out 306 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 295 pound-feet of torque between 2,500 rpm and 4,500 rpm. In Europe, the Type R puts out 316 horsepower. To put things into context, by having 10 less horsepower than the European version, the American FK8 Type R is just as powerful as the FK2 Type R manufactured between 2015 and 2017 at the Swindon plant in the U.K., the same plant that now assembles the FK8 Type R.

Even in American spec the current Civic is the fastest ever with an official top speed of 169 mph, 14 mph faster than the Golf R that boasts with 310 horsepower (in Performance trim) and a 0-to-62 mph time of just 4.9 seconds. The Civic, meanwhile, needs 5.7 seconds to reach 62 mph but it’s faster than the AWD Focus RS and some 400 pounds lighter too. In the U.K., you can get yours for 33,000 pounds while over here, you’ll pay $35,700 and an $895 handling charge. By comparison, the Ford starts at $36,120 and the Golf R at $36,475 but the Civic is FWD.

| | Ford Focus RS | Volkswagen Golf R | Honda Civic Type R |
| Engine | 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder | 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder | 2.0-liter turbocharged i-VTEC four-cylinder |
| Horsepower | 350 HP @ 6,000 RPM | 292 HP @ 5,400 RPM | 306 HP @ 6,500 RPM |
| Torque | 350 LB-FT @ 3,200 RPM | 280 LB-FT @ 1,800 RPM | 295 LB-FT @ 7,000 RPM |
| Transmission | 6-Speed Manual |6-Speed Manual | 6-Speed Manual |
| Weight | 3,525 Lbs | 3,283 Lbs | 3,117 Lbs |
| Fuel economy city/highway/combined | 19/25/22 | 22/31/25 | 22 / 28 / 25 |
| 0 to 60 mph | 4.6 seconds | 5.2 seconds | 5.7 seconds |
| Top Speed | 165 mph | 155 mph | 169 mph |

But this is what’s on the table now, what about the future? We reported back in March that the upcoming Type R might be a hybrid as Kohei Hitomi, the Head of the e Prototype project, stated at the 2019 Geneva Auto Show that "we think it’d be quite easy to achieve Type R performance with a full EV right now, but Type R isn’t just about performance. It’s also about handling, operation, and driveability. We don’t think it’s as simple as replacing that with electric power. That’s not the right direction for Type R." He also said that the next-generation model that will be based on the 11th-gen Civic will sport a brand-new design language. Let’s see if it’ll be a return to a more docile appearance that we last saw in earnest on the EP3.

James May Just Did the Best Video Review of the Honda Civic Type R That We've Ever Seen High Resolution Exterior
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We know Toyota’s been testing updated Civic Type Rs around the Nordschleife for a few months now but they aren’t the new-generation cars Hitomi hinted at as they’re still based on the current chassis. Maybe Honda plans to offer some special versions of the Type R before it finally retires this generation in a few year’s time. We can see from the spy shots and the videos that have littered the web that the updated version features an enlarged front splitter with a protruding lip and some more modifications around the front bumper which is covered in a white camouflage pattern. The rear is also masked but you can’t miss the smaller wing fitted to some test mules. Honda’s plans are, yet, shrouded in mystery so we have to wait and see if both of May’s thumbs will stay up when he’ll get a taste of the updated Type R and, later, of the next-generation model.

Further reading

James May Just Did the Best Video Review of the Honda Civic Type R That We've Ever Seen High Resolution Exterior
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2017 Honda Civic Type R Breaks Record at Silverstone

2017 Honda Civic Type R Breaks Record at Estoril

What Makes The 2017 Civic Type R A Good Daily Driver

2017 Honda Civic Type R Review

What Makes A Civic Type R?

Michael Fira
Michael Fira
Associate Editor and Motorsport Expert - fira@topspeed.com
Mihai Fira started out writing about long-distance racing like the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans. As the years went by, his area of interest grew wider and wider and he ever branched beyond the usual confines of an automotive writer. However, his heart is still close to anything car-related and he's most at home retelling the story of some long-since-forgotten moment from the history of auto racing. He'll also take time to explain why the cars of the '60s and '70s are more fascinating than anything on the road today.  Read full bio
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