2017 Honda Civic Type R: Forbidden fruit no more – CNET

This, dear readers, has been a long time coming. The 2017 Honda Civic Type R is finally here. Honda’s been making lightweight, race-ready Type R versions of its cars for about 25 years now, with the Civic first getting the nod in 1997. Those cars have shown up in Japan, Europe, Australia and… basically everywhere but the US of A.

Finally, finally, that’s changing. For the 10th-generation Civic, Honda decided to throw America a bone — a 306-horsepower, turbocharged bone. It’s the fastest Civic ever, the fastest production front-wheel drive car on the planet, the most powerful Honda ever released in the US and it’s really, really good.

Fifth time’s the charm

2017 Honda Civic Type R
If the wing doesn’t tell you, the badge is pretty hard to miss. 

Nick Miotke/Roadshow

R is for racing and so when the humble, sixth-gen Civic received the “Type R” nameplate back in 1997, it seemed like a bit of a curiosity. But as any fan of Japan’s Best Motoring program will tell you, or indeed anyone who’s ever obsessed over Gran Turismo, the Civic Type R has always been something worth respecting. And, for those of us in the US, something worth coveting.

For this 10th-generation Civic, and fifth iteration of the Civic Type R, Honda changed the rules somewhat. The biggest shift? It’s a four-door hatchback. While the eighth-generation Civic Type R was a four-door sedan, the car has traditionally been a two-door hatch. The extra doors will be controversial to some, but the platform is important. That the 10th-generation Civic is largely the same car globally meant Honda could practically clear the necessary regulatory hurdles to bring this thing to the States. And boy are we glad they did.

This new car sports a refined version of the 2.0-liter, turbocharged inline-four motor that drove the previous Type R, too. Yes, it’s turbo’d and so it isn’t quite the screamer of yore, but it still has i-VTEC, so you can at least still make all the Fast & Furious jokes you want.

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