The latest Honda Civic has been a wonderful return to form for Honda, who made its bones on smartly designed, efficient and fun-to-drive small cars. Honda’s new Civic Type R takes the latest generation models intrinsic goodness, adds some crazy anime-inspired boy-racer bodywork, and seriously upgrades the powertrain and suspension to match. The CTR, as it’s known among enthusiasts, is a very different sort of Civic, a high-performance hatchback designed to take on the Ford Focus RS, Volkswagen Golf R and Subaru’s venerable WRX STI.
Unlike those cars, however, the Civic Type R is actually still front-wheel drive. With 306 horsepower from its 2.0-liter turbo four, not being AWD sounds like a recipe for torque steer, but Honda’s suspension and driveline engineers have proven to be quite clever. This is one of the finest-handling and most entertaining front-wheel drive cars ever made. Starting at $34,100 before options and delivery, the 2018 Honda Civic Type R isn’t cheap, but it is electrifying.
I don't walk into every car review with big expectations, but for the 2018 Honda Civic Type R, it was inevitable.
For years I have been part of the vocal minority, screaming to the unresponsive heavens in the hopes that Honda would one day bring its highest-performing Civic to the US. And then it arrived, and it proved to be good.
Just about every report from the Type R's debut painted it as a competent front-wheel-drive performance car when it came to track or otherwise spirited driving, but I wanted to go deeper. I was hopeful that the Civic Type R would succeed as a daily driver, too -- not necessarily a given, because some performance cars are just too rough for everyday use, especially on Michigan's pockmarked roads.
The Good The Civic Type R has the cargo space and on-road comfort to function very well as a daily driver, but it's still boatloads of fun.
The Bad It looks like teenagers designed it, and the infotainment system has aged like a wine with a bad cork.
The Bottom Line If you can handle the looks, the Civic Type R will always leave you smiling, no matter the destination.
The parts are found in old and new vehicles from Fiat Chrysler, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mitsubishi and Toyota.
This is not your average auto show debut.
It's a big step forward for Honda's smallest SUV, and it can help educate the public on safety.
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Seriously, don't touch it. Look at all those sharp bits!
An eminently likable sedan, especially when it has 252 horsepower and a manual transmission.
The figure adjustments are so small, you probably won't even notice 'em.
A skilled crew of Honda factory workers from Alabama will build the SUV over three days at Barber Motorsports Park.