Return of the R


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Story by J.G. Pasterjak • Photos as credited

Reports of the impending mediocrity of the new Honda Civic Type R hit the digital infosphere almost as soon as official pictures of this turbocharged, multi-spoilered hot hatch were released.

FWD. Fail!”

“Only 306 hp? LOLZ!”

“Looks like a Transformer had sex with the Pep Boys. Kill yourself!”

The thing is, while these cutting-edge automotive critics had hot takes aplenty, none had actually, you know, driven the car. And even once official reviews started breaking on the web at midnight following the last day of the press launch they were decidedly… mixed.

Criticisms of the Type R from these self-identified automotive enthusiast journalists included the fact that the rear seat was a two-place with a divider instead of a three-person bench that blanking panels on the dash were used in lieu of the buttons found in other Civic models the rear wing vibrated slightly when the hatch was closed and the steering wheel-mounted volume controls were awkward.

Please take this short break while we scream into a pillow.

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Let’s start with a little of what the Type R is: It’s a 306-horsepower, four-door-plus-a-hatchback Civic that got around the Nürburgring faster than any other production front-wheel-drive car in recorded history. Far from being a Civic with a body kit, the Type R uses a 2.0-liter intercooled, turbocharged and direct-injected engine that comes from an entirely different engine family than the rest of the Civic lineup.

While the body preparation is not as radical as that seen on the Integra Type R–which employed tricks such as a reinforced body shell and thinner glass–the Civic Type R does employ specific additional use of body adhesives to increase chassis stiffness over regular Civic hatchbacks. The Type R also receives equipment that increases the user experience without unnecessarily increasing mass.

So many of the reviews we’ve read though disparage the Civic Type R for what it isn’t. They moan and bellyache about the lack of features like heated power seats which they feel should be present in a “premium” automobile. Or they’ll point out the lack of a sunroof.

We hope these people are never again allowed to wear an SA-rated helmet in anger.

With the exception of the styling–which we’ll address in a minute–the Civic Type R is a largely unimpeachable high-performance front-drive automobile. Specs and market positioning encourage a direct comparison to the Focus RS and Golf R, and despite the Civic’s lack of all-wheel drive, it compares more than favorably.

First, the lack of AWD also means the lack of several hundred pounds of mechanical equipment. The Civic Type R weighs in at a touch more than 3100 pounds dripping wet with all mats, cargo covers and tools in place. That’s a few hundred pounds less than its market competitors, and we like that math.

Second, the Civic Type R’s ergonomics and human factors are exceptional–especially in comparison to the Focus RS, which not all of our staff find comfortable or pleasing. The Civic is easy to enter or exit–even with a helmet on–and the interior is airy and reminiscent of Hondas of yore, back in the days before side-impact crash standards raised window and dash heights to claustrophobic levels.

The seats are as close to perfect for a wide variety of body types as any we’ve seen. Why do you need power adjustment if they work fine without being adjusted?

Yes, the styling is–to put it mildly–controversial. There’s a lot going on visually both inside and especially outside the Civic Type R. Anyone raised on a steady diet of Macross anime will instantly recognize the creases, angles, points, protrusions, scallops and edged swoops of the Type R’s many, many (many) visual complications.

We’re not saying that’s an entirely bad thing, mind you. We’ll reassure you that it looks better–and better proportioned–in the flesh than it does in photos, but there’s still a lot of information for your eyes to take in.

All that detailing is, however, largely functional. Splitters, ducts, foils and channels direct air to where it can do the most good (or at least do the least bad), and were designed primarily by the performance department and not the marketing department. (We’re sure the marketing department didn’t complain much, though.)

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But for those of you who discount the car for being “too ugly,” we kindly request you get over yourself, let go of your clutched pearls, and join us on track. The Civic Type R is sheer delight for destroying apexes. There’s also no familiarization time needed: just jump in it and go fast.

Three preset modes are available from the stability and traction control selector switch. Comfort and Sport are fairly self explanatory: Comfort is comfortable, while Sport firms the dampers, provides more steering resistance, and delivers a slightly more aggressive throttle actuation curve.

The most track-focused mode, which Honda calls +R, disables or seriously diminishes the electronic nannies, firms the chassis and steering even further, and provides extremely aggressive and impeccably timed throttle blips when downshifting the six-speed box.

In +R mode, computer stability intervention is nearly transparent on track. In an autocross situation, where weight must be occasionally transferred in a more dramatic and unnatural fashion, there’s still perceptible intervention, but Honda does provide for an “all-off” configuration as well.

On a faster road course, we’d probably opt for the +R mode. The system is so good that we wouldn’t expect the all-off setting to deliver an advantage. It’s a system that works with the driver, not against him or her.

Chassis-wise, the Type R impresses, especially in transitions. Like all front-drive cars, understeer is as available via throttle application, but it’s benign and can be used to easily and precisely adjust the line of the car during cornering without undue penalty on momentum.

In fast transitions, the Civic Type R really shines, though. With the tendency for modern cars to get more and more top-heavy as additional structure and safety gear are added above the belt-line, so many cars suffer from nervous moments as they pass through the neutral point from hard cornering in one direction to hard cornering in the other. The chassis wants a moment to stabilize as it passes through that neutral point, lest all that high-placed mass develop some momentum and just force the car offline as cornering loads build.

That’s not so with the Civic Type R. It changes direction willingly and aggressively–maybe like no front-drive car in decades. Were someone to evoke the CRX as a frame of reference, we would not say they were entirely without a point.

There’s also a conspicuous lack of torque steer–due in no small part to Honda’s dual-link front suspension design that places the kingpin angle directly inline with the center of the front tires. It’s a clever design that produces some solid geometry and excellent performance.

We weren’t able to run instrumented tests during our initial time with the car, but objective numbers have started appearing in other outlets. Sub-5-second zero-to-60 sprints and mid-13-second quarter-miles times with trap speeds near 110 mph are as real as it gets.

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Questions and connivery still amble about, however. First, because of high demand, some dealers are slapping the first batch of 2017 Civic Type Rs with some heavy stick-it-to-you premiums. Yeah, we understand capitalism and all, but come on, guys: A $20,000 premium on a $33,900 MSRP seems excessive. (By the way, we’re told that each Honda dealer in the U.S. has been promised at least one of the 3000 or so 2017 models that will be brought into the U.S. from the plant in the U.K.)

Second, for our crowd, much of the Civic Type R’s appeal will be made or broken by where it ends up on the competitive spectrum. For SCCA autocross–which seems like the natural habitat of such a creature–we’re guessing it will follow its market competitors the Focus RS and Golf R into the B Street class, where it will battle the aforementioned hot hatches as well as the Honda S2000, BMW 1 Series M and non-Z06 C5 Corvette. Examples of all of these cars have won major events this year, so maybe the Civic will add even more competitive diversity to an already varied class.

In an autocross venue, the Civic Type R does have a couple of inherent advantages it may be able to maximize. It’s one of the lightest cars in that field–especially compared to its hot-hatch competitors–and tall, 20-inch-diameter wheels and a not-overly short gear set combine for a 64 mph top speed in second gear. That means a minimal amount of worry about ever having to upshift to third and the assorted on-course complications that come with such an action.

For general track enthusiasts, though, the Civic Type R will be a willing and fun partner. Split-folding rear seats and a hatch mean exceptional cargo capacity–easily enough for a set of track wheels and tires and tools–and the big 13.8-inch front rotors with four-piston Brembo calipers look like they should mean exceptional brake performance. We saw no signs of fade during repeated journalist lapping sessions, and if car writers can’t kill something, it may very well not be killable.

So we beg our colleagues to judge the Civic Type R on its merits, not by some perceived lack of equipment that the car has no business needing or wanting. You don’t fault a shark for not having wings, because it’s already awesome at sharking, which is the whole point of being a shark. But, yeah, if you want to whine about the lack of seat heaters, go for it. You can tell us all about it if you can catch us by the next corner.

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Comments
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ebonyandivory
ebonyandivory PowerDork
10/24/18 1:27 a.m.

(By the way, we’re told that each Honda dealer in the U.S. has been promised at least one of the 3000 or so 2017 models that will be brought into the U.S. from the plant in the U.K.)

Are the 2017 models cheaper than the 2019’s?laugh

secretariata
secretariata SuperDork
10/24/18 4:56 a.m.
ebonyandivory said:

(By the way, we’re told that each Honda dealer in the U.S. has been promised at least one of the 3000 or so 2017 models that will be brought into the U.S. from the plant in the U.K.)

Are the 2017 models cheaper than the 2019’s?laugh

Of course not. Now they're "vintage"!

Dave M
Dave M New Reader
10/24/18 6:26 a.m.

Great car. Really fast around a track. But.....marked up to an insane price. I don't know why you would but one for the price of a new Corvette or two WRXs unless you really, really love Honda.

poopshovel again
poopshovel again MegaDork
10/24/18 7:39 a.m.

In reply to JG Pasterjak :

Good on you for pointing out the fact that it looks better “in the flesh.” My buddy bought one, and I was really surprised how good it looks in person vs. in photos. I wish I could get over the vato-zone interior :/

Duke
Duke MegaDork
10/24/18 8:13 a.m.
poopshovel again said:

In reply to JG Pasterjak :

Good on you for pointing out the fact that it looks better “in the flesh.” My buddy bought one, and I was really surprised how good it looks in person vs. in photos.

I've seen a couple in real life, and I disagree completely.  They look just as awful in person, at least through these eyes.  It's got the proportions and demeanor of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.  Someone really needs to tell Honda's designers (and Toyota / Nissan designers, too)  "Folks, just stop already.  It was done 6 months ago."  You don't have to drive the car to know that stylistically, this is fairly difficult to forgive:

That's the actual opening in that giant maw.  The back is even worse - are there even openings at all in those stupid fauxhaust vents?

docwyte
docwyte UltraDork
10/24/18 8:19 a.m.

It takes effort to make a car that looks worse than a Pontiac Aztec but Honda definitely succeeded here.  This is, by far, one of the ugliest cars on the road.

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
10/24/18 8:31 a.m.

The looks have grown on me.  IMHO, they look pretty good in black or dark gray or blue and all of the black plastic doesn't stand out so much. A friend bought a new one in 2017.  I don't think she paid more than sticker (not her style to do that).  She likes it a lot.  

RossD
RossD MegaDork
10/24/18 8:32 a.m.

I like how it looks.

Miles Wilson
Miles Wilson Reader Services
10/24/18 8:36 a.m.

In reply to shuttlepilot :

Are you still having trouble with the links? Everything should be functional now.

DeadSkunk
DeadSkunk PowerDork
10/24/18 8:48 a.m.

I think they're so Berkleying ugly that I checked tosee if the drive train was available in the plainer body. It's not. Even my wife asked "What's that ugly thing?" when I pulled up behind one at a stoplight. Automotive styling generally stinks lately, and I'm not accepting that it's due to all the regulations.

dculberson
dculberson UltimaDork
10/24/18 8:59 a.m.

I like them. I also like that they look different. People love to complain that everything looks the same then when something stands out complain that it’s ugly. Obnoxious is perfect for this car. 

93EXCivic
93EXCivic MegaDork
10/24/18 9:04 a.m.

I don't think it is ugly. Certainly not compared to the crap from Nissan.

 

It is the first Honda that has interested me since the S2000 and first Civic since the breadvan Si.

Adrian_Thompson
Adrian_Thompson MegaDork
10/24/18 11:15 a.m.

Has anyone bought one and backdated the bodywork where possible to a lower spec to de-uglyfy it?  This would look so so so much better with regular from and rear bumpers and no wing, even if you went in and added back a real splitter ,dive planes and maybe rear fake venture. 

mtn
mtn MegaDork
10/24/18 11:36 a.m.

I like it. Appeals to the 13 year old boy in me. The 28 year old adult hates the interior, but overall I like it.

xflowgolf
xflowgolf Dork
10/24/18 1:03 p.m.
Duke said:
stylistically, this is fairly difficult to forgive:

That's the actual opening in that giant maw.  The back is even worse - are there even openings at all in those stupid fauxhaust vents?

Agreed.  That opening you highlighted is actually the opening for the horn fwiw. I loved cars like the Integra Type R, and now in my 30's this car could/should be in the wheelhouse of things I could buy.  The faux venting implements and styling exaggerations on this car are atrocious to my eyes.  At least the front has a small percentage of those side vents devoted to function as you noted above even it's only for the horn.  

The rear?  nada.  Just a giant plastic egregious fake insert next to the reflector.  Why is this design element there at all?! Ugh. 

To be fair, there's plenty of functional venting on the nose as described here:  https://jalopnik.com/you-ll-never-guess-why-the-2018-honda-civic-type-r-has-1796080537 ...but that's still no excuse for the giant black geometric design elements with fake grill plastic stampings front and rear.  

BS99
BS99
10/24/18 2:53 p.m.

In reply to ebonyandivory :

Mine was delivered last April at the MSRP.  I don't think you'd have much trouble finding a dealer that will do the same.  Honda has apparently told dealers to be flexible too; 3 - 5,000 Type Rs are a drop in the Civic bucket.

BS99
BS99 New Reader
10/24/18 2:55 p.m.

In reply to Duke :

And that actual opening (in yellow) is actually...for the horn.

BS99
BS99 New Reader
10/24/18 2:56 p.m.

In reply to docwyte :

I have one, and I pretty much agree.  Living with it!

Snrub
Snrub HalfDork
10/24/18 3:26 p.m.

Lots of cars have giant faux air holes to make the car go faster. If it works for the Toyota Avalon, it definitely works for a R.

At first I thought it was really ugly. I thought the same thing about the Aztec when it came out. In both cases, the uglier cars get, the less offensive it becomes. The funny thing is I think a lot of elements are actually looking pretty good on modern cars, it's mainly the basking shark motif that I don't like.

It sounds like they drive really nicely and it's a practical package. In this day and age, enthusiast vehicles are losing the war, so anything that fights the good fight is a win.

Duke
Duke MegaDork
10/24/18 3:26 p.m.

I am not faulting the performance or driving dynamics of the new car - I've never driven one.  But my mental image of this:

...just burns up and bubbles away like a stalled movie frame when I think about the new R.

Snrub
Snrub HalfDork
10/24/18 3:28 p.m.

Ewww, clean lines, balanced proportion, low hoodline, what were they thinking? ;)

Duke
Duke MegaDork
10/24/18 3:30 p.m.
Snrub said:

Lots of cars have giant faux air holes to make the car go faster.

But those are not holes!  If they were actual holes - even functionless holes - I wouldn't be making this stink about them.  They are flat, blank areas that they tried to make look like holes because they couldn't get the proportions right, so they just tried to make it look... Exciting?  Jazzy?  Racercar?  Tacticool?  I don't even know what.

poopshovel again
poopshovel again MegaDork
10/24/18 3:38 p.m.

The “flair” bugs me a lot less than the general shape. The non-R’s might as well be a prius to my eye. If it had a FoRS body/interior I might forsake my “Never again, Honda” oath and grab one in white.

srbvmax
srbvmax
10/24/18 3:54 p.m.

Everyone who is complaining about the looks can get over it. The car wasn't built to win a beauty pageant.

To the guy who wrote the article: "...we’re guessing it will follow its market competitors the Focus RS and Golf R into the B Street class, where it will battle the aforementioned hot hatches as well as the Honda S2000, BMW 1 Series M and non-Z06 C5 Corvette. Examples of all of these cars have won major events this year, so maybe the Civic will add even more competitive diversity to an already varied class."

Have you checked any SCCA results from this year? The car was classed into DS in March and the Type R won DS and DSL at Nationals last month.  

Joe Gearin
Joe Gearin Associate Publisher
10/24/18 4:12 p.m.

In reply to srbvmax :

This article was first published within the October 2017 issue of Grassroots Motorsports.  This issue was originally on sale in August of 2017---- hence the speculation of the autocross classing.  We post older editorial on this site frequently to give our online audience a chance to read articles that appear in the print version of GRM.  Subscribe to the print version---- and you'll get these articles in a more timely manner. 

And yes....we have checked SCCA results this year---- JG (who wrote the story)  and David actually were at the Solo Nats and have competed there for several years in a row.  

And the Civic Type R is still ugly.  

Snrub
Snrub HalfDork
10/24/18 4:19 p.m.

Duke - note my use of the word "faux" air holes. :)

srbvmax - That's fine, but the form doesn't follow a performance function. It might be a bit limited by the regular Civic it builds upon, but there's no reason it couldn't look better.

srbvmax
srbvmax New Reader
10/24/18 4:47 p.m.

In reply to Joe Gearin :

Seems strange this wouldn't be updated with current information since it says published 10-24-18, but that just me. Like you saying the Type R is still ugly. Nothing is going to appeal to everyone. And as the article states, judge the vehicle on its merits.

Datsun310Guy
Datsun310Guy UltimaDork
10/24/18 5:54 p.m.

I rented one from Turo.  I was in love but she is out of my league.  I agree why not spend your money on a wiser choice but those little Japanese cars have been calling my name for a long time......I only had 24 hours to enjoy her company.  

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
10/24/18 5:55 p.m.

I can't get past the looks. Or the markup.

Nick Comstock
Nick Comstock MegaDork
10/24/18 6:13 p.m.

Everyone is arguing about the looks when the drivetrain layout makes the entire car irrelevant. 

FWD = FAIL!!! devildevildevil

Knurled.
Knurled. MegaDork
10/24/18 7:12 p.m.
srbvmax said:

Everyone who is complaining about the looks can get over it. The car wasn't built to win a beauty pageant.

 

Funny, that is exactly what everyone is saying.

 

It does look a bit like a real life Homermobile.  A whole lot of WTF just sort of stuck on.  Not sure if worse or not as bad as the latest Prius.

 

(I clicked this thread thinking it was about a Volvo.  In the R forum on swedespeed, some kiddie winkies post every now and then talking about the "Type R" that they bought and man, they just get dogpiled.  So I guess this is the reverse?)

Knurled.
Knurled. MegaDork
10/24/18 7:33 p.m.
Nick Comstock said:

Everyone is arguing about the looks when the drivetrain layout makes the entire car irrelevant. 

FWD = FAIL!!! devildevildevil

If you can't drive a FWD car fast, that just means you enter corners like a wimp cheeky

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VsfL4Qil2AQ

 

(the bit the you see from outside at 0:30 happens in-car at about the 4:45 mark, to get a proper sense of the speed)

 

Having a wheelbase shorter than a bus helps, too.

shuttlepilot
shuttlepilot Reader
10/24/18 9:51 p.m.

In reply to Miles Wilson :

It's working now. I'll delete my post to clean up the thread.

Adrian_Thompson
Adrian_Thompson MegaDork
10/25/18 9:20 a.m.
Nick Comstock said:

Everyone is arguing about the looks when the drivetrain layout makes the entire car irrelevant. 

FWD = FAIL!!! devildevildevil

Yes I noticed the smilies, but come on man.  If you think FWD = Fail, you're not paying attention.  Tell me this looks like fail

 

MadScientistMatt
MadScientistMatt PowerDork
10/25/18 9:37 a.m.

You don’t fault a shark for not having wings, because it’s already awesome at sharking, which is the whole point of being a shark.

That's definitely one of the most Pasterjack lines I've ever read, and sums things up pretty well... but something did occur to me after re-reading that article a few times. If you put wings on a shark, isn't this what you get? laugh It may not be quite as good at sharking, though.

I kind of like the looks, in a Gundam Wing sort of way. It's rather absurd, over the top, and distinctly Japanese, but seems to fit the car's role. Even if those scoops at the bottom ought to be turned into larger funnels for the brake ducts.

accordionfolder
accordionfolder Dork
10/25/18 10:02 a.m.
Nick Comstock said:

Everyone is arguing about the looks when the drivetrain layout makes the entire car irrelevant. 

FWD = FAIL!!! devildevildevil

https://youtu.be/BtkGMUY-4hs?t=84

Eh. 

aircooled
aircooled MegaDork
10/25/18 10:30 a.m.
srbvmax said:

Everyone who is complaining about the looks can get over it. The car wasn't built to win a beauty pageant..  

The design aspects that are seen as so ridiculous certainly aren't there for the performance improvement, so yes, they clearly thought that would increase it's "beauty".

This car has lots of silly vents, but they are functional, so your statement is far more relevant to it:

 

xflowgolf
xflowgolf Dork
10/25/18 10:40 a.m.
aircooled said:

The design aspects that are seen as so ridiculous certainly aren't there for the performance improvement, so yes, they clearly thought that would increase it's "beauty".

This car has lots of silly vents, but they are functional, so your statement is far more relevant to it:

Exactly!  It'd be one thing if the base model had fake vent plug covers with stamped mesh grills, but then the real R had open air tracts with functional cooling and aero improvements.  

That's not what's going on here.  They implemented fake vents with absolutely no function purely as a styling element on every performance level, and it's just sad.  I'll take an ugly functional car and admire the quirks (some of my favorite cars are this way), but this isn't ugly because it's functional.  

Saying something isn't here to win a beauty contest would work if the functional vents and aero were ugly.  This is akin to someone putting makeup on to win a beauty pageant, but being really bad at makeup.  

Duke
Duke MegaDork
10/25/18 10:47 a.m.
srbvmax said:

Everyone who is complaining about the looks can get over it. The car wasn't built to win a beauty pageant.

Neither was the DC Integra Type R that I posted.

But it somehow manages to be beautiful, functional, and fast.

And remember, it was designed by the same company.

Nick Comstock
Nick Comstock MegaDork
10/25/18 11:07 a.m.
Adrian_Thompson said:
Nick Comstock said:

Everyone is arguing about the looks when the drivetrain layout makes the entire car irrelevant. 

FWD = FAIL!!! devildevildevil

Yes I noticed the smilies, but come on man.  If you think FWD = Fail, you're not paying attention.  Tell me this looks like fail

 

I'm not going to say that's a fail. But this is more better wink

racerfink
racerfink UltraDork
10/25/18 11:31 a.m.

The only reason the Type R won D Street was the monsoon.

srbvmax
srbvmax New Reader
10/26/18 10:50 a.m.

In reply to racerfink :

Everyone had to race in the same conditions. The driver still made it through the finish with the fastest overall time no? It’s nationals. Winning just means you were the fastest of the people who showed up those two days. 

Adrian_Thompson
Adrian_Thompson MegaDork
10/26/18 11:35 a.m.

So I just saw one on the way home last night in black.  That helps, it hides all the silly grills and such to a certain extent.  I wouldn't call it better looking in person, possibly just less comical.

Dave M
Dave M New Reader
10/26/18 3:31 p.m.

Taste is subjective, of course, but all new Hondas look ugly to me, in particular the Civic, but also the Accord and Ridgeline.  The additional "functional" elements on the Type R only make the problem worse. 

Having said that, Honda is not unique in this problem...it seems like every Japanese manufacturer outside of Mazda is excited about Voltron/Gundam/Samurai ugliness. 

Knurled.
Knurled. MegaDork
10/26/18 6:20 p.m.
Adrian_Thompson said:
Nick Comstock said:

Everyone is arguing about the looks when the drivetrain layout makes the entire car irrelevant. 

FWD = FAIL!!! devildevildevil

Yes I noticed the smilies, but come on man.  If you think FWD = Fail, you're not paying attention.  Tell me this looks like fail

 

They re-engineered the F2 Kit Cars into Super 1600 (read: cut displacement from 2000cc to 1600cc) because the 2 liter nonturbo front-drivers were faster than the "top class" 2 liter turbo AWD cars on tarmac and people were complaining.

 

By that point the AWD cars were much faster per mile than the Group B cars could ever hope to have been.  And of course Toivonen lapped the Estoril course when it was used as a rally stage fast enough to qualify at the Portuguese GP...  So by the transitive property, the Kit Cars were faster than Formula One (from a decade earlier)!

irish44j
irish44j UltimaDork
10/26/18 6:26 p.m.
poopshovel again said:

In reply to JG Pasterjak :

Good on you for pointing out the fact that it looks better “in the flesh.” My buddy bought one, and I was really surprised how good it looks in person vs. in photos. I wish I could get over the vato-zone interior :/

Interesting. I've seen 3 or 4 already around here (people in this area have the money, and always jump on whatever the "new thing" is, it seems), but I don't think it looks good at all in person. Which is odd, because I think the Civic Si looks far better in person than in photos. 

I also see a genuine Integra Type R almost every day on my commute (yep, someone commutes in it), and every time I see it I think how great it is that Honda made one of the great FWD performance cars of all time but made its cosmetic differences relatively subtle compared to a regular Integra - at least compared to the "elite" hot hatches these days (VW Golf R excepted, since it's hard to even tell it from a regular GTI at a glance....)

irish44j
irish44j UltimaDork
10/26/18 6:35 p.m.
srbvmax said:

Everyone who is complaining about the looks can get over it. The car wasn't built to win a beauty pageant.

 

 

I'm pretty certain that

1) it was designed by a bunch of "car design" people who could have just as easily designed a beautiful car without sacrificing any performance

2) most of these will spend more time at parking lot car shows (i.e. "beauty contest") than at the track.

Knurled.
Knurled. MegaDork
10/26/18 6:37 p.m.

In reply to irish44j :

The funny thing is, either VW sells a lot of R badges, or I see as many Golf Rs as GTIs.  As opposed to the only two Focus RSs that I see versus about five million FoSTs...

captdownshift
captdownshift PowerDork
10/26/18 6:53 p.m.

If we're going to focus on the looks, instead of how it manages to drive better than it's AWD competition, I'll just say that I loathe how it looks in photos, but kinda like how it looks in person. That being said I'd rather have the drivetrain and goodies in the Civic si body, or go veloster N. 

racerfink
racerfink UltraDork
10/26/18 6:53 p.m.

In reply to srbvmax :

Or that you bothered to show up/were sponsored by a tire company with a full tread rain tire available.

irish44j
irish44j UltimaDork
10/26/18 7:21 p.m.
Knurled. said:

In reply to irish44j :

The funny thing is, either VW sells a lot of R badges, or I see as many Golf Rs as GTIs.  As opposed to the only two Focus RSs that I see versus about five million FoSTs...

No clue. I see Golf R's (and older R32s) pretty regularly around here. But there are a TON of GTIs around here. I think every high school kid has one lol. I also see Focus RS's daily, they're not unusual at all in this area. I don't even notice FoSTs any more, they're pretty common on my commuting route. 

In this area, a late-model 3-series is considered a "typical commuting car" it seems lol.

clutchsmoke
clutchsmoke SuperDork
10/26/18 8:09 p.m.

I don't hate the looks of the type r, but I certainly don't love them either. The only cars I really like the looks of I very much can't afford. I'm currently plotting how to get a type r and how to tone down the outside of it a bit. Hopefully you can relatively easily unbolt the rear wing? 

Feedyurhed
Feedyurhed SuperDork
10/26/18 8:30 p.m.

Looks are completely subjective. You either like it or you don't. People have been saying the same thing about STis, Evos and to a lesser degree GT-Rs for years. I could totally rock a Type R and not be bothered about the looks at all. My only complaint is the dealer gouging. Disgusting.  

Snrub
Snrub HalfDork
10/26/18 9:07 p.m.

So discussing the meat of the review, it sounds like Civic Type R is a really fun car with great dynamics. It has solid performance too. I might even been convinced that they got rid of most of the FWD handicap and dynamic annoyances. It sounds like there's little reason to consider the AWD competition. As mentioned an STi isn't an terribly attractive car either. The FoST/RS is okay. GTi is a little better, but they don't scream sporting either.

Performance-wise if we use Lightning lap as the benchmark; the FoRS, CTR, Camaro V6 1LE, STi RA are in a dead heat. Golf R no where near. However, the FoRS was on PS Cup 2 tires, so in reality, it's probably ~3-4-seconds slower. The STi RA is expensive, don't see the point over the regular STi, but it does make the car a good bit faster. Realistically the CTR's Conti 6 tires are better than the Camaro V6 1LE's Goodyear A S 3, but they're the same class. The problem is it's very easy to buy a base camaro, slap the 1LE shocks/springs/swaybar and buy a set of tires and undercut the price of the competition by a  good chunk. That said, the CTR is very practical. Anyone driven some of these options?

R&T did a recent article where they said the CTR was actually more fun than a Camaro SS at a track. I have a hard time believing that. I'm a week and a half into ownership of a 2017 Camaro SS. Around the city, I'm not accustomed to the size yet and I might believe it for that situation. I'm normally a fan of smaller cars. When driven harder in corners, it shrinks and feels much smaller. There's also something very satisfying about RWD dynamics, did the CTR really close that much of the gap?

poopshovel again
poopshovel again MegaDork
10/27/18 5:34 a.m.
irish44j said:
poopshovel again said:

In reply to JG Pasterjak :

Good on you for pointing out the fact that it looks better “in the flesh.” My buddy bought one, and I was really surprised how good it looks in person vs. in photos. I wish I could get over the vato-zone interior :/

Interesting. I've seen 3 or 4 already around here (people in this area have the money, and always jump on whatever the "new thing" is, it seems), but I don't think it looks good at all in person. Which is odd, because I think the Civic Si looks far better in person than in photos. 

I also see a genuine Integra Type R almost every day on my commute (yep, someone commutes in it), and every time I see it I think how great it is that Honda made one of the great FWD performance cars of all time but made its cosmetic differences relatively subtle compared to a regular Integra - at least compared to the "elite" hot hatches these days (VW Golf R excepted, since it's hard to even tell it from a regular GTI at a glance....)

I may have phrased that all wrong - IMHO It’s a lot less ugly in person than it is in pictures. It is still ugly. As are the non-R’s

docwyte
docwyte UltraDork
10/27/18 10:54 a.m.

I could care less about the performance of a vehicle that butt ugly.  I simply won't purchase something I think is fugly and the CTR absolutely qualifies for that.

It's no secret I'm a german car whore, so I love me some Golf R.  How it does on the race track is somewhat irrelevant as it'll be my DD.  I want to know how it performs on the street and the Golf R blows the rest of the hot hatches into the weeds in that respect.  It's just a much nicer, more comfortable place to spend time and it more than gets out of its own way.  I'm planning on getting one in 2020 and really hope they throw the RS3 5 cylinder motor in it.

If I wanna go fast, well, I have a Porsche 996 Turbo for that.

DirtyBird222
DirtyBird222 UberDork
10/28/18 11:47 p.m.
poopshovel again said:

The “flair” bugs me a lot less than the general shape. The non-R’s might as well be a prius to my eye. If it had a FoRS body/interior I might forsake my “Never again, Honda” oath and grab one in white.

So you enjoy the interior styling of a 2000 Ford Taurus Jellybean?

 

No WRX/STI has ever looked "sexy" but you don't see people losing their minds about them like they are about the CTR. Screw it, if the car is ugly but fun and goes like stink that's all that matters. 

Adrian_Thompson
Adrian_Thompson MegaDork
10/29/18 7:33 a.m.

What are dealers actually asking for (getting?) with these cars?  I see MSRP is a little over $35K.  Also I had a quick look at the C&D Lightning lap.  The Type R was 10.7 secs faster than the Civic SI, that's a geologic age in track terms.  I ASS-u-me that a large part of that is down to the tires, but WOW.  

Magazine article idea.  Hit up the Honda press fleet for a Type R, an SI and possibly even a regular Civic then take them to the track/autocross and try them out.  Then for extra S&G throw them all on the same wheel/tire set up and see how they stack up.

Harvey
Harvey SuperDork
10/29/18 8:10 a.m.

I really like the look of the car. When you make a very noticeable and in your face design like this it's going to be polarizing. To each their own. I might not always like these designs, but at the same time I always hate them if the performance does not back up the aggressive look, but that is not the case here. 

irish44j
irish44j UltimaDork
10/29/18 4:32 p.m.
DirtyBird222 said:
poopshovel again said:

The “flair” bugs me a lot less than the general shape. The non-R’s might as well be a prius to my eye. If it had a FoRS body/interior I might forsake my “Never again, Honda” oath and grab one in white.

So you enjoy the interior styling of a 2000 Ford Taurus Jellybean?

 

No WRX/STI has ever looked "sexy" but you don't see people losing their minds about them like they are about the CTR. Screw it, if the car is ugly but fun and goes like stink that's all that matters.

 

Meh, WRX/STi were bred from/as rally cars to some degree (or at least styled after them), and rally cars aren't meant to look sexy. What the WRX and STi did do is give turbo and AWD cars mass-appeal together (where Audi largely failed) in an affordable package. And plenty of people spent plenty of time losing their minds about the looks of WRX/STI's....pretty much every time a new generation was introduced everyone screamed "horrible looks" and then they all went and bought them because nothing out there could match the all-weather/all-surface performance for the price. They screamed the most when Subaru tried to make a "normal" looking WRX (the '09, which I had) as being boring, even though it was the fastest WRX ever made.....

All that said, no WRX or STi ever made was half as ugly as the CTR....and at least they made up for bad looks with AWD...The CTR may be a great performer, but many better-looking cars are too. 

But a WRX or STi is a "car you can buy anyplace" and Subaru doesn't pretend it's some kind of niche vehicle.

 

===

 

 

irish44j
irish44j UltimaDork
10/29/18 5:10 p.m.
Adrian_Thompson said:

Then for extra S&G throw them all on the same wheel/tire set up and see how they stack up.

I think it's fair to acknowledge that tires make a massive difference. I remember reading C&D saying that the GTI I bought had sub-par braking distances compared to other cars in the class. Well, no surprise - the GTI comes with garbage GARBAGE tires. After a few days of squealing through highway exits and slipping on rainy roads, I changed to a good tire and the car was totally transformed, and it is, by far, the best braking I've ever had in any car - even with the stock pads.. Too many cars these days come withe the "eco" compounds that have garbage grip both for braking, acclerating, and lateral handling.. Maybe fun in a BRZ where you can get the tail out, but not in a powerful car. 

Civic Si comes with Eagle Sport A/S....a pretty average all-season . CTR comes with Contisportcontact6, which is a 240TW and barely off being a track tire. I wonder how many seconds that is worth on lightning lap.

I still think for "performance car" tests head-to-head, they should test all with the same tires. We all know that manufacturers usually just get "whatever's cheapest" to put on their cars that aren't max-performers. My WRX came with meh summers.....SP Sport 01 is weak. 

xflowgolf
xflowgolf Dork
10/30/18 10:27 a.m.

 still think for "performance car" tests head-to-head, they should test all with the same tires. We all know that manufacturers usually just get "whatever's cheapest" to put on their cars that aren't max-performers. My WRX came with meh summers.....SP Sport 01 is weak. 

I'll disagree.  It's more fair to test the cars as they come equipped.  That's what the manufacturers have selected, and it's what you get when you buy one.  As soon as you start opening the slippery slope of "equalizing" through aftermarket parts selection, you're entering a large grey area of unintended consequences.  I'm not discrediting the notion that cars can be held back by their factory equipment, but that's just how the cookie crumbles for out of the box comparison testing. 

Andy Neuman
Andy Neuman Dork
10/30/18 10:47 a.m.

The tire argument is the reason why some performance cars have the option for pilot sport cup tires. That way the manufacture can send it out to be tested with those tires on because it is an available option. 

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise New Reader
10/30/18 11:39 a.m.

Out of curiousity, I have been seeing quite a few of the CTR around.   Are they as stolen as the ITR used to be? Are insurance rates as crazy as it was for the ITR?

Duke
Duke MegaDork
10/30/18 11:54 a.m.
xflowgolf said:

 still think for "performance car" tests head-to-head, they should test all with the same tires. 

I'll disagree.  It's more fair to test the cars as they come equipped.  That's what the manufacturers have selected, and it's what you get when you buy one.  As soon as you start opening the slippery slope of "equalizing" through aftermarket parts selection, you're entering a large grey area of unintended consequences.

Except that even the best tires are going to be on the car for what, 2 years?  3 years?  And any shop in town will put whatever tires you want on the car for $20 each.  They are a wear item that WILL need to be replaced, and in relatively short order, with absolutely nothing but available sizes to limit the owner's selections.

Putting non-OE tires on the car doesn't even count as a modification, if you stay in the original size.  It's like choosing your favorite brand of oil or gasoline.  That's very different from "aftermarket parts" like dampers, spring rates, camber sdjusters, etc.

xflowgolf
xflowgolf Dork
10/30/18 12:10 p.m.
Duke said:
 

Putting non-OE tires on the car doesn't even count as a modification, if you stay in the original size.  It's like choosing your favorite brand of oil or gasoline.  That's very different from "aftermarket parts" like dampers, spring rates, camber sdjusters, etc.

Original treadwear? compound? DOT legal? etc.  

They're not testing used cars.  They're testing new ones.  I'd say slapping RE71R's in place of some eco-focused all seasons most definitely acts as a modification even if it's in the original size.  ...and next year it'll be the next hot tire, and at what point in the year do they switch? do they retest the prior cars? it's a constantly moving baseline of compounds and original equipment.  Does this mean certain manufacturer's game the system with a hot tire?  Sure.  It seems kind of silly to mandate a spec tire for comparisons though, on the other end of the spectrum at some point a high end sportscar will have tires which surpass the new spec tire, and they'll be hurt by dropping to the chosen spec tire.  Does that car not actually perform better than tested at that point?  Would the Viper be allowed to run it's own spec ACR Kumho?  etc.  

irish44j
irish44j UltimaDork
10/30/18 4:16 p.m.
xflowgolf said:
Duke said:
 

Putting non-OE tires on the car doesn't even count as a modification, if you stay in the original size.  It's like choosing your favorite brand of oil or gasoline.  That's very different from "aftermarket parts" like dampers, spring rates, camber sdjusters, etc.

Original treadwear? compound? DOT legal? etc.  

They're not testing used cars.  They're testing new ones.  I'd say slapping RE71R's in place of some eco-focused all seasons most definitely acts as a modification even if it's in the original size.  ...and next year it'll be the next hot tire, and at what point in the year do they switch? do they retest the prior cars? it's a constantly moving baseline of compounds and original equipment.  Does this mean certain manufacturer's game the system with a hot tire?  Sure.  It seems kind of silly to mandate a spec tire for comparisons though, on the other end of the spectrum at some point a high end sportscar will have tires which surpass the new spec tire, and they'll be hurt by dropping to the chosen spec tire.  Does that car not actually perform better than tested at that point?  Would the Viper be allowed to run it's own spec ACR Kumho?  etc.  

well, it all comes down to whether the manufacturers care more about winning some magazine test that most customers will never read, or they want to save $100 per car on some cheap closeout tires that will add up to millions of dollars in profits. Look how many cars used to come with the Potenza RE92 - one of, if not THE worst "all-season" tire ever made and probably responsible for thousands of rain/winter accidents as it was in no way suited to anything other than non-performance driving in dry conditions. 

For regular 'ol consumer reports reviews, fine. But for a magizine like GRM, in which we can assume that people reading it are going to use their performance cars for MOTORSPORTS (as is in the title of the magazine), it's dumb to assume anyone is going to keep the crappy stock tires. Hell, my GTI will never see a track and I changed from stock tires within a week of buying the car (because I like not hydroplaning in the rain). To add, when I bought my GTI, the lot was full of '18 models with the same trim, same colors, etc. And among them they had three different brand tires on them, depending on which car you picked (all the same price, model, etc). Manufacturerers are "choosing" whatever they get the best deal on, not "the tire that's best for the car" in most cases outside of true performance cars. Bottom line is that the majority of car buyers don't know a performance tire from some cheap Chinese grand-touring all-season, and will buy the car for other reasons. It's all about profits. Or putting eco tires on a car to eke out an extra 1/4 mpg of fuel economy to meet CAFE, or whatever. Maybe Subaru can't put sticky performance rubber on their cars because they don't have the MPG offsets that Honda has thanks to AWD. IDK...

So I'm not asking for "regular testing" magazines and sites to care about equal tires. But if we're comparing TRACK times for performance-driving readers (or bragging about Nurburgring times, or Lightning Lap times, or whatever), all the cars should be tested with whatever tire someone who goes to the track would put on it (i.e. not some crappy all-season).

 

irish44j
irish44j UltimaDork
10/30/18 4:18 p.m.
mr2s2000elise said:

Out of curiousity, I have been seeing quite a few of the CTR around.   Are they as stolen as the ITR used to be? Are insurance rates as crazy as it was for the ITR?

ITRs were stolen because it was easy to swap the engine into other Hondas and have a  crazy sleeper Civic or Integra GS. I'm betting with modern ECM and security tech, it's not quite as easy of a swap with the CTR engine into something else unless you go megasquirt and other things. Just a guess though. 

Knurled.
Knurled. MegaDork
10/30/18 5:54 p.m.
mr2s2000elise said:

Out of curiousity, I have been seeing quite a few of the CTR around.   Are they as stolen as the ITR used to be? Are insurance rates as crazy as it was for the ITR?

I would think that theft is not going to be much of a problem because the cars are not as ridiculously easy to steal as Hondas were at the time, and the engine is probably nowhere near as swappable into different chassis in the same way a B18 is.

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise New Reader
10/30/18 6:03 p.m.

In reply to irish44j :

Thanks! 

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise New Reader
10/30/18 6:04 p.m.

In reply to Knurled. :

Thank you ! 

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