Honda Civic Type R 2017 preview
A little bit of guesswork on our behalves, as we're previewing the next generation Honda Civic Type R, though the Japanese company has, as yet, only shown us a concept version of the same - and has released no pricing or technical details at all. Nonetheless, there's a huge amount of hype surrounding the car, as there always is for new Type R Hondas, denoted by their red 'H' badges. The new car has some pretty big shoes to fill, as the outgoing Type R was an animal of a hot hatch. Enthusiasts will be hoping for more of the same, while some will hope the image is calmed down somewhat.
What will its rivals be?
That's an easy one, though the hot hatch sector has burgeoned in recent years and there are almost two different categories within the C-segment. On one side there are restrained looking options with up to 250hp, such as the Ford Focus ST and Volkswagen Golf GTI, and possibly including other more powerful cars like the Opel Astra OPC, Megane RS and SEAT Leon Cupra. All of those employ front-wheel drive. On the other side of the equation are the four-wheel drive super hatches, such as the Ford Focus RS, Volkswagen Golf R and Mercedes-AMG A 45. The Civic Type R, though expected to retain front-wheel drive, is likely to be as powerful and priced on a par with the latter cars and it'll probably appeal more to those that really love driving rather than those that want their hot hatch to double up as a family car.
Any tech info?
None confirmed, as mentioned above, but we can take some clues from the concept version revealed at the Paris Motor Show last year. The rather tacked-on appearance of the old car's aerodynamic package has been considerably refined and now adds muscle to the shape of the five-door Civic in a good and much more cohesive way. The concept's aerodynamic add-ons are all made of carbon fibre too, in a bid to keep weight gain down, so we expect to see some of that carry through to the production model. Intriguingly, the show car featured three centrally-mounted exhaust outlets and Honda let slip that they were all functional, so it clearly has some new engine tricks up its sleeves.
What will the range be like?
Pretty limited as ever, and with pricing expected to be north of €50,000 it'll not be a big seller in Ireland. There's likely to be a single 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol option, a six-speed manual gearbox and perhaps two different trim levels. It's an outside possibility that Honda will offer a dual-clutch automatic transmission too.
We have high hopes for the next generation Civic Type R. Our main gripes with the old one concern its extreme appearance and suspension that is just too firm, even in its 'softest' setting. It looks like Honda has addressed the design of the car so we can only hope it has breathed new live on the chassis too.