The best look concept we’ve seen from Honda in years

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When you go to an event like the Paris Auto Show, you expect some crazy exotic or some new luxury car to steal the spotlight, but at the 2016 Paris Auto Show, it was a Honda that was in the limelight. Specifically, it was this Honda Civic Type R Concept, which serves as a preview of the upcoming production model. This concept is all about looks, but it’s widely believed that there’s an uprated 2.0-liter, turbocharged, VTEC hidden away under the hood – the same engine that will eventually make it into the road-going Type R. And, that engine could produce upward of 350 horsepower.

It’s hard to believe that a concept car from Honda is getting such a following, but Honda has finally tapped back into the hot hatch market in a big way with the new Civic Hatchback. Mainly because the new Civic Hatch is built on a global platform, which means we’ll finally get it, and the Type R all of us tuners have been dying to have, here in the U.S. With the aggressive styling seen on this concept from the gnarly front bumper all the way back to that meticulously designed spoiler, this concept proves that Honda is finally listening to its fan base again.

So, with that said, let’s dive on into the best Civic we’ve seen from Honda in a long time and go over the details that make this Type R concept one of the coolest cars to roll into the Paris Auto Show.

Updated 11/21/2016: We added a series of new images taken during the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show, where the Type R made a brief appearance next to the Civic SI.

Continue reading to learn more about the Honda Civic Type R Concept.


2016 Honda Civic Type R Concept High Resolution Exterior
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2016 Honda Civic Type R Concept High Resolution Exterior
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2016 Honda Civic Type R Concept High Resolution Exterior
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Using the Civic Hatchback as a canvass, Honda put significant effort into building a Type R Concept that would absolutely wow and shock anyone who looks at it. And, they did a damn good job. First off, Honda started by throwing a scoop on that already muscular hood. Whether it is functional or not remains to be seen, but we’re pretty sure it will be functional on the road-going model that will debut in the coming months. Down below, the upper grille is graced by the traditional red Honda logo to go with a Type R badge to one side. The headlights look to be the same as the road-going hatchback, but down below, everything is different. There’s now a small front spoiler with winglets on each side to help create downforce on the front end. Above that, the hatchbacks aggressive bumper can be made out, but on the Type R Concept, those air intakes are a bit larger, with an extra set of vertically oriented flow-through vents on the outer edge. These should function as channels that will force air toward the front brakes for additional cooling. The air dam is also much larger, which we suspect will increase airflow to a larger turbo intercooler.

The side profile of the Type R concept really builds on what we’ve already seen on the road-going civic hatchback.

The side profile of the Type R concept really builds on what we’ve already seen on the road-going civic hatchback. The front fenders are much wider and feature vents just ahead of the front doors. This wide fender kit actually blends seamlessly into the side skirts that are much more dramatic than on the road-going hatch. Like the front lip, the skirts are accented with a red pinstripe and feature a small winglet at the rear, just ahead of the rear wheels. The rear quarters aren’t quite as wide as the fronts, but there’s definitely more definition there than seen on the road-going car from which this one is based. The stylish, multi-spoke wheels also feature a red pinstripe, and the calipers are painted bright red as well.

Around back, the Type R Concept has a lot to say, and it says it in an evil way. With the same taillights that we love on the road-going hatch, the color of this car’s vinyl wrap really accentuates the glow of the taillights. The rear hatch is practically unchanged, but it does sport the traditional red Honda emblem and the Type R badging. Then there’s that wild looking spoiler that was designed with form and function in mind. Now, as far as we know, the Type R will be front-wheel drive, so there isn’t a need for excessive downforce back here, but that spoiler will provide some. Down below, there is the same massive vent on each corner while the bumper insert from the road-going hatch has been replaced by a mild diffuser-like element. A red pinstripe graces the bottom of the rear fascia. But, what about those spaced out exhaust outlets with that smaller red pipe in the middle? We don’t know exactly what is going on with that, but rumors suggest that could be performance related in one way or another. Or, it could be a sound tube to really amplify the sound of the turbo blow off valve. This car really is the definition of sexy and Japanese aggression all rolled into one package.

If you want to see how the road-going Type R is coming along, check out our review complete with the latest spy shots here.

Type R Comparison

2016 Honda Civic Type R Concept
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2016 Honda Civic Type R
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In comparison, the new Type R (left) is sleeker and more aggressive than ever. The air intakes and air dam are larger, while the hood has a much better angle.
2016 Honda Civic Type R Concept High Resolution Exterior
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2016 Honda Civic Type R
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The new Type R (left) is way more aggressive in the rear, the taillights are larger, and the diffuser is more aggressive than ever. Plus, the Type R will finally have center exhaust pipes.


2016 Honda Civic Type R Concept High Resolution Exterior
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So far, Honda has kept the interior of the Type R prototype a complete mystery. It hasn’t released any images whatsoever, while the windows are also heavily tinted, so we can’t even get shots of the interior in person. When Honda debuted the new Civic Hatchback, the interior was a pretty big departure from the then-current model. That weird, double-stack instrument cluster was gone, replaced by a single, three-stage unit that is recessed into the dash. As such, the dashboard sits a little lower and also features a little more character. The infotainment display in the center stack sits at a better angle, and the center console got a little wider. The armrest and switch panels on the front doors also sit flat now as opposed to elevating upward in the front.

In the last Type R, there was lots of red accenting on the seats and mild red striping on the dash and door panels

We expect the Type R Concept to preview what we will see in the road-going Type R, but even if we never get a look at the inside, we can at least look at the new road-going hatchback and the previous Type R to get a fair idea of things to come. In typical Type R fashion, the interior will be primarily black with healthy doses of what I like to call Type R red. In the last Type R, there was lots of red accenting on the seats and mild red striping on the dash and door panels. The steering wheel got red inserts around the bottom spoke and a red stripe at 12 O’clock. The instrument cluster also illuminated red, while the infotainment display has red accent lighting as well.

The new Civic hatchback already has the red built into the instrument cluster and the infotainment display, so that’s pretty much a given for the road-going Type R. Expect to see a flat bottom steering wheel with inserts and the 12 O’clock stripe that are similar to those in the outgoing Type R. The face of the dash should get some red accenting, but I think for the new Type R, we’ll see some red ambient lighting in the pockets of the door trim, along the bottom of the dash, inside the cup holder, and inside that pocket at the front of the center console. The backlighting for all of the controls could also take on red coloration. I expect to see race-inspired seats that will feature heavy red accents and red seatbelts as well. If the past really is a good representation of the future, the interior of the Type R Concept or the road-going Type R definitely won’t disappoint.

We’re keeping our eyes open for interior shots of this concept, so stay tuned for updates.


2016 Honda Civic Type R Drivetrain
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Note: 2016 Honda Civic Type R Shown here.

As far as this concept goes, Honda has said nothing at all about what lurks under the hood. Honda did just spend buckets of money on the 2.0-liter, turbocharged, VTEC that is found in the current Type R, so we’re expecting that to hide under the hood of this concept and the road-going Type R that we’ll see in the coming months. There’s more to it than that, though. Honda wants to reclaim its place as the fastest FWD car on the Nürburgring, so expect the road-going Type R to produce more than the 306 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque found in the current model. Some sources are saying that the road-going model will put out closer to 325 ponies, but here at TopSpeed, we think it will be more than that.

See, Honda has a real hot hatch on its hands for the first time in a long time – and it’s coming to the U.S. That means it’s got stiff competition from cars like the Ford Focus RS. Honda would be smart to tap into that kind of power and bring at least 345 or 350 horsepower out of the production Type R. Granted the Focus RS is rear-wheel drive, but outside of that, the Type R will compete with it on every level. And, who’s to say that Honda won’t really surprise us and go rear-wheel drive? Okay, so that’s really not likely at all, but it could be done, and it would certainly be an interesting thing to see. Either way, we’re really looking forward to learning what motivates this concept and the future, U.S.-bound Type R.

For more information about the road-going variant, check out our review on the road-going model here.


2016 Honda Civic Type R Concept High Resolution Exterior
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All I can say about this concept is wow! Not only does Honda finally have a hatchback worth really having, but this Type R Concept proves we have something to really look forward to here in the U.S. For a while there, it seemed like Honda’s research and development department was full of recruits from nursing homes. This Type R Concept finally proves that Honda has some young blood, or at the very least young thinking, within its R&D department. I know I can’t wait to see the road-going version land here in the U.S., but at least we can look at the pictures of this awesome beast until that happens. Job well done, Honda. I’m officially a fan yet again.

  • Leave it
    • No view of the interior
    • Drivetrain is a mystery
    • What’s with that middle exhaust outlet?
Robert Moore
Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert -
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read full bio
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Press Release

Photo Credit: Honda

Fresh on the heels of the sales launch of the 2017 Civic Hatchback, the next-generation Civic Type R had its global debut in prototype form today at the 2016 Paris auto show. The radical new Civic Type R, with its sporty and sleek hatchback design and track-ready performance, will make its North American debut at the 2016 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, November 1-4, 2016, marking the arrival of the first-ever Honda-badged Type R in the U.S.

The Civic Type R Prototype offers insight into the styling of the next-generation Civic Type R, which will be officially unveiled in 2017, joining the 10th Generation Civic Sedan and Civic Coupe and newly released Civic Hatchback, with the Civic Si variants also launching next year.

2016 Honda Civic Type R Concept High Resolution Exterior
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"We promised the most ambitious, sportiest Civic lineup ever and we’re delivering on that promise with each new Civic," said Jeff Conrad, senior vice president and general manager of the Honda Division of American Honda Motor Co., Inc. "For the first time ever in America, Honda fans and enthusiasts will have access to the ultimate in Civic performance in the form of the new Type R."

Based on the low and wide proportion of the new Civic Hatchback, the Civic Type R Prototype is enhanced by muscular body styling and modifications to aid aerodynamic performance. The exterior is wrapped in a highly reflective, finely-grained brushed aluminum-effect finish, which is unique to the prototype car. At the front, the aggressive fascia is accentuated with a winged carbon fiber splitter and sporty red accent line. Additional slatted ducts add width to the fascia, and diamond-mesh inserts fill the sculpted air intakes.

2016 Honda Civic Type R Concept High Resolution Exterior
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Honda’s iconic red "H" badge, which adorns all Type R models, sits prominently on the front grille at the nose of the car. There is a new intake on the hood, with an air scoop sited centrally in a trapezoidal recess. Smoked lenses for the LED headlights, indicators and side indicator repeater lights reflect the Type R Prototype’s more aggressive character.

Carbon fiber side skirts run the length of the side sills, between 20-inch piano black alloy wheels with red accents and 245-section high-performance tires. A beefy carbon fiber diffuser runs below the wider rear fascia, which frames three fully-functional tailpipes flanked by a pair of directional strakes. The smaller diameter central tailpipe is highlighted in bright metallic red. Model-exclusive vortex generators at the rear edges of the roof point backward toward a visually striking rear wing.

2016 Honda Civic Type R Concept High Resolution Exterior
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The next generation Civic Type R was developed by the joint efforts of Honda R&D teams in Europe and Japan and will be officially unveiled in production form next year. The 2017 Civic Type R will be produced exclusively at the Honda of the UK Manufacturing (HUM) plant in Swindon, the global manufacturing hub for the five-door hatchback.

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