Come on Honda - Take on the Mazda Miata and Subaru BRZ with the Sports EV Concept
One could argue that the sports car market is slowly deteriorating, leaving us with nothing but slightly faded memories of our illustrious past in which we would dream of owning cars like the Nissan 350Z, Honda S2000, Toyota Supra, or Nissan Skyline. But, those days might as well be gone as the Nissan Z line is in danger of becoming a badge for the SUV, the Skyline (for intents and purposes in the sports car market) is dead, Honda has remained quiet about an S2000 successor, and it seems like every day another SUV is born, and even taking the name of once awesome cars (think of the abortion on wheels known as the Eclipse Cross, for example.) With the EV evolution slowing taking shape, however, we can find new hope in a future where sports cars may once again reign supreme or, at the very least, maintain a firm hold in a market that we hold so near and dear to our hearts.
Regardless of your taste in sports cars, or ideal price point, you can’t deny the fact that the offerings for sports cars seem to be dwindling unless you’re willing to pay out the ass for something like the Nissan GT-R, or Mercedes-AMG GT, for example. Even the Nissan 370Z has been practically untouched for the last decade, leaving it as a poor choice even if you could afford one. But, we still have cars like the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ twins, and Mazda recently hit us with the new MX-5 Miata. BMW and Toyota are about to bring a new Z4 and Supra to the market within the next year, so you could say things are starting to look better, but we’re still missing something. I’m talking about, of course, the Honda S2000. And, while Honda hasn’t said a word about a successor, we could have already seen a glimmer of hope in the 2017 Honda Sports EV Concept. The question is, does Honda have the balls to step back into the compact sports car market? Let’s talk some more about it!
No More Ludicrous Prices: 2018 Honda Civic Type R Goes On Sale
The Honda Civic Type R was finally launched in the United States in 2017 (for the first time in 20 years) and caused lots of chaos at dealerships, which had to cope with incredible demand for very low supply. The first run was preordered in a matter of hours, and many dealers tried to speculate and used all sorts of tricks to up the sticker. Some of those who preordered a Type R tried to resell their orders at higher prices too, sometimes well in excess of $70,000. But it looks like all these shenanigans may finally be over, as the 2018-model-year Civic Type R went on sale in the United States.
The beefed-up hatchback retails from $34,100, excluding the $890 destination charge and other costs. Definitely much better than the $50,000 sticker some dealerships were asking, or the $80,000+ some nut jobs were trying to score by selling their preorders. The only bad news here is that demand is so high that there may still be a long waiting line at dealerships, but the ordering and delivery process should become easier in a couple of months. On a related note, the Type R turbocharged engine is now also available as a crate engine for amateur and professional race team through the company’s motorsport division.
You Can Have the Honda Civic Type R Crate Engine For $6.5K
For years, Honda enthusiasts in the United States watched with envy as Europe and Asia had access to the awesome, beefed-up Civic Type R. Launched in 1997, the Type R remained a forbidden fruit for U.S. gearheads for decades. Two decades to be more specific, as the high-performance Civic didn’t cross the pond to North America until 2017. And, needless to say, it created the utmost hype, with backed-up preorders and crazy price speculation over to-be-delivered cars. With the hatchback finally on its way to customers, Honda has more good news for Type R fans: the turbocharged 2.0-liter powerplant is now available as a crate engine.
The big announcement was made at the 2017 SEMA Show, where Honda confirmed that enthusiasts would be able to purchase the Type R engine through Honda Performance Development’s Honda Racing Line program. The crate engine is rated at the same 306 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque as the one in the road car. The turbocharged four-banger is priced at $6,519.87, but here is a catch: it’s only available for "verified, closed-course racing applications," which means it can’t be used in road-going models.
Continue reading for the full story.
Between 2016 and 2020 the list of supercars will include the Ford GT, the Mercedes-AMG Project One, the Aston Man Valkyrie, and at least one new car from Ferrari. But what are sports cars fans with smaller wallets supposed to do? We have some great cars like the Miata and BMW is bringing a Z4 replacement soon, but so many great cars don’t exist anymore. Especially in the “affordable” range.
So we started talking in the office about what sports cars we want to see revived, and we settled on a pair of classic sports cars and one car that is officially dead, but not out of showrooms yet. The Porsche 944, Honda S2000, and the Dodge Viper are all in our dream garage of dead cars we want to return. Keep reading to find out why!
What Makes A Civic Type R?
The entry of the 2017 Honda Civic Type R into the U.S. market is big news – both for Honda fans and the hot hatch segment. The new Type R will only add fuel to the already large flame burning between the Ford Focus RS, Volkswagen Golf R, and Subaru WRX STI. Needless to say, Honda had to bring its A-game. Turning the 10th-generation Civic into competitive hot hatch wouldn’t be an easy task, but the Type R had to perform as good or better to be taken seriously. Well, thanks to time behind the Type R’s wheel, both on the track and bombing down mountain roads, it’s clear Honda has built a worthy rival for its global counterparts.
It all starts with the bones of Honda’s 10th-generation Civic, which debuted back in 2015. Even the base car was designed with a stronger structure for added rigidity, knowing in two years’ time, the Type R would need the extra strength. The same is true for the Civic hatchback, which is new for 2017. But Honda didn’t stop there. Engineers added even more structural adhesives to bind the bodywork together. A stiffer yet lighter suspension with adaptive dampers, bigger wheels, and stickier tires were added, too. And of course, Honda dumped that 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder for something with a bit more power – a 2.0-liter turbo-four with 132 more horsepower and 133 pound-feet more torque. Add to that the aggressive yet functional aerodynamic features and heavily bolstered front bucket seats, and the Type R’s pedigree begins to take shape.
Continue reading for more info on the 2017 Honda Civic Type R.
Everyday Life With the 2017 Honda Civic Type R
Honda’s new Civic Type R is a beast on the track. Its 306 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque are more than enough to push this 3,100-pound car toward speeds anyone besides a pro driver should feel comfortable with. My time with at The Ridge Motorsports Park proved that much. Yet, despite the Civic Type R’s race-bred underpinnings, it’s still a Civic hatchback. That means it should be easy to live with, easy to drive slowly, and easy to throw cargo into. So, how’d it do?
Wonderfully. The Civic Type R still offers a pleasant driving experience around down. The light clutch and short-throw shifter are just as enjoyable on the street as on the track. And despite their heavy bolstering, Honda’s front bucket seats are comfortable to get into and easy to get out of. They remain supportive over a long drive, too. The rear seats aren’t touched in the Type R transformation, so they remain spacious for the Civic’s class, yet do lack a center armrest and air vents.
But the value really arrives when it’s time to haul stuff. The Civic boasts a class-leading 25.7 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second- row seat. Fold the 60/40-bench flat, and the Civic Hatch has 46.2 cubic feet of room. The hatchback’s rear opening is wide and tall, allowing for ungainly items like furniture and boxes to easily slide in.
When it comes to storing everyday items like drinks and cell phones, the Civic offers tons of options. The center console is ingeniously designed with a deep container under the armrest. It houses three cup holders – two of which are mounted midway down on a slidable track. The third is way down low, perfect for those Trenta-sized Starbucks drinks. A small storage cubby ahead of the shifter is great for phones and knick-knacks. A cable pass-through lets charging cables run into the lower tier area where Honda locates the USB and 12-volt charge ports. Large door pockets add to the usable (and reachable from behind the wheel) storage space.
On the downside, the Civic Type R rides on 245/30ZR-20 performance wheels and tires. While great on smooth pavement, the 30-series sidewalls offer little cushion from potholes and bumps. This leaves the active dampers with all the work of quelling uneven pavement. Road noise is prevalent, too, imitating mostly from the rear of the interior. Long drives on older pavement might spur on a headache from those sensitive to booming noises. I don’t remember noise being an issue in the 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback EX-L Navi I previously tested, so it’s likely a trade-off for the added lightness and stickier rubber needed to make the Type R perform. In truth, these negligible complaints won’t turn away those eager customers. The Type R isn’t trying to pass as a Cadillac, after all.
Thankfully, the firm ride is about the only trade-off for upgrading to the Type R over the standard Civic Hatchback – at least in terms of everyday livability. The big wing and aggressive aero bits might make it a target for speeding tickets. Just ask one of the journalists at this press event…
Flogging The 2017 Honda Civic Type R
It doesn’t get hotter than the 2017 Honda Civic Type R – at least this month. That comes as no surprise since the Type R is just now making its debut in the U.S. after decades of devouring foreign roads in markets worldwide. This performance variant is based on the 10th-generation Civic, a compact car with a pedigree that needs no explanation. Honda wanted me to give the new Type R a swing, so they flew me to Seattle, Washington for some seat time in those heavily bolstered front buckets on winding mountain roads and through all 16 corners of The Ridge Motorsports Park just north of Olympia.
The Civic Type R arrives amidst a raging fight in the hot hatch segment. The Ford Focus RS and its ridiculous powertrain and Drift Mode square up against the dethroned champion, the Volkswagen Golf R and the rally-bred Subaru WRX STI. What these competitors all have in common are four cylinders being force-fed via turbochargers, six-speed manual transmissions, and AWD. Tit for tat, these compact brawlers are mostly equal – save for the Focus RS’ extra horsepower and the Civic Type R’s lack of AWD. Wait, what? Yep, Honda ditched the idea of a heavy, complex, and parasitic AWD system in favor of a lighter curb weight, a limited slip differential, and its dual-axis front MacPherson struts. The result is a 3,100-pound car that hangs with its toughest competitor despite its 44-horsepower, 55-pound-foot disadvantage.
Continue reading for my on-track driving impressions.
2017 Honda Civic Type R – Driven
Performance vehicles are pushing the envelope beyond the imagination these days. Insane horsepower numbers and bleeding-edge technology contribute to ridiculous lap times and sub-four-second sprints to 60 mph. But more often than not, these all-out performance machines – think Chevrolet Corvette, Jaguar F-Type, and Porsche Cayman – are too compromised for daily living and cost a significant chunk of change. But imagine combining the impressive performance of a two-seater coupe with the functionality of a five-door hatchback and a reasonable price. That’s exactly what that hot hatch segment does. And now for the 2017 model year, Honda has launched its all-new Civic Type R. What’s more, Honda is bringing it to America for the first time.
Based on the new 10th-generation Honda Civic, the new Type R adds power, a sophisticated suspension system, and functional aero to the family-friendly Civic hatchback. It’s like having cake and eating it, too. Now, the Civic Type R has some stiff competition. The 350-horsepower Ford Focus RS is the reigning performance king and the Volkswagen Golf R is the grown-up’s idea of a performance-minded hatchback. And if having a hatchback isn’t a priority but hitting the rally circuit is, there’s always the Subaru WRX STI. The Civic Type R sort of carves its own niche in the segment with an outlandish design, heavily bolstered front buckets, and the lowest starting price of the bunch, but mixes it with only 306 horsepower and the lack of all-wheel drive. To find out how the Civic Type R recipe tastes, Honda flew me to Washington State for time on a private racetrack and scenic drives near the Olympic National Forest. Here’s what I found.
Continue reading for the full driven review.
Honda Has Some Pricey Accessories For The Civic Type R In Japan
Every new car owner is faced with the tempting realization that new cars come with their own perks, including personalizing the car and adding whatever accessories are available. That temptation is even more understandable when the new car is the Honda Civic Type R. That’s probably why everybody is freaking out about these new accessories Honda just released for the Type R. The only caveats are that they’re only available in Japan, and more importantly, they cost more than you expect them to.
To put it in perspective, accessory prices in Japan make the prices at Hamilton Honda seem like bargains by comparison. It’s that incredible. Take for example the three-piece, red accent trim that sits just above the front grille and the headlights. That piece costs $293 based on current conversation rates. That’s actually a decent price if you think about it. But would you pay $1,564 for a carbon rear wing with a crimson polyester weave? How about Crystal Black Pearl or Red mirror covers for $137 a piece? While we’re at it, Type-R-branded floor mats have been priced at $577, close to double the price of what Hamilton Honda is asking for the same item. The prices are incredible, but the circumstances of the Japanese market do dictate that they’re priced as such. It’s a good thing that they do a fantastic job of dressing up the Civic Type R because, with the accessories in place, the hot hatch looks dramatically more potent and menacing.
Continue after the jump to read the full story.
Honda Is Preparing An Invasion Of Civic Type R Variants
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.
First Production U.S.-bound Honda Civic Type R Fetches $200,000 In Auction
The first U.S.-spec Honda Civic Type R finally has an owner – and is someone who paid a small fortune to have VIN 001. The hot hatch was auctioned off online at Bring a Trailer, and after eight days of bidding – 22 bids came in for the car – the winning bid turned out to be a cool $200,000, making the Civic Type R the most expensive Honda Civic ever sold at an auction.
The winning price is head and shoulders above the car’s actual price of just $33,900, but there is that distinction that comes with owning the first U.S.-bound Honda Civic Type R in history. Whether that’s worth a cool $200,000 is a question that only the winning bidder can answer. The good news is that the full proceeds from the auction isn’t going anywhere but to a worthy cause. In this case, the beneficiary is the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation, an organization the Japanese automaker has supported for 26 years. Jeff Conrad, Senior VP American Honda Motor Co. said, "We thought it would be fun to offer one lucky customer a shot at owning the first of its kind in America while benefitting the leading nonprofit solely dedicated to finding a cure for childhood brain tumors, the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation.” Does seem like the price could’ve gone a little higher now, doesn’t it?
Continue after the jump to read the full story.
Pops’ Rants: Silly Excuses and Subaru BRZ Baloney Edition
Boy, do I hate summer. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking: sun, beaches, bikinis, smoothies, convertibles, vacation, and all that jazz, but I still hate it. I hate the heat (I know, I should move to Alaska or something) and it’s a boring season as far as cars go, unless you like racing. But, you know what I hate more than a hot, sweaty season? Excuses and bologna. The kind that Subaru and Honda have been trying to feed me recently.
And you know what, I haven’t eaten bologna in a very long time.
But I digress.
Remember how I complained about the Honda Civic Si having gained a turbo engine for nothing a couple of months ago? Well, the Japanese just said that the new Si is as powerful as the old Si because they wanted to give customers a more reliable engine. That’s their second excuse for the Si’s meh performance, the first being that a detuned Type R engine would have made it too expensive for the average Joe. Oh my, so much drama. Someone please bring a couch and give Oprah a phone call!
Continue reading for the full story.