Newly debuted Civic Type R Sport Line isn't destined for the US

The new Sport Line is a less flashy version of the 2020 Civic Type R, differentiated by its smaller wing, downsized wheels and quieter interior, but we won't be seeing it in the US.

Smaller wheels, smaller wing.
Steven Ewing/Roadshow

In addition to the 2021 Limited Edition, Honda debuted a low-wing Sport Line version of the Civic Type R on Wednesday, with a number of tweaks all geared toward refinement and less of an in-your-face demeanor. It sounds like a pretty good package. But we won't be getting it in the US.

"The reality is, in the US, Civic in general as a brand is very youth-focused," Sage Marie, assistant vice president of Honda's North American automotive operations, told us at the Type R Limited Edition's unveiling on Wednesday. "Type R is the ultimate expression of that."

The Sport Line takes a more refined approach to Type R life, with a subdued shade of gray paint and a small decklid spoiler, as well as downsized, 19-inch wheels, less-aggressive tires, more sound-deadening material inside and black seat fabric instead of red.

Marie says the new Limited Edition version of the Type R makes far more sense for US customers. "Given the choice between the highest-performing version and having a more subtle version, we choose the highest-performing version," he said.

Furthermore, production constraints would make it difficult to import two versions of the Type R to the US. "We sell every one of these we can get in its current form. We don't have any ability to move up in terms of volume," Marie said. "Creating the mechanism to add an additional variant when demand is already outstripping supply would be complex and not necessarily needed."

Still, if there's suddenly crazy demand from US customers for the Sport Line version, Honda can try to be flexible. It's certainly not likely to happen, but Marie still says, "Never say never."

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Originally published Feb. 20.