PONTIAC, Mich. — The Honda Civic Type R is a wonderful machine. While the exterior design is not for everyone, there's no arguing about how well the car drives. We love its sharp steering, slick six-speed manual and nimble chassis, making it one of the best hot hatches of all time. On a sunny afternoon at M1 Concourse, an 11-turn, 1.5-mile road course in Pontiac, I was given a brief opportunity to sample something even hotter: Todd Lamb and Atlanta Speedwerks' No. 84 Honda Civic Type R TCR. The Type R TCR is a fully-prepped, factory-backed spec racer ready to compete in a number of global series. The TCR formula is FIA sanctioned, with races found all over the world, the most notable of which is the World Touring Car Cup, where you'll see Type R TCRs battle against models like the Audi RS3 LMS, Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR and Hyundai Veloster N TCR. Honda HPD even provides support at certain races. You still have to field your own crew, but Honda is there to help. And it's available to anyone with enough cash. For $172,238, you get the car, complete with an XTRAC sequential gearbox, a MoTec ECU, Ohlins dampers, 18x10-inch O.Z. wheels, stainless exhaust, an FT3 100-liter fuel tank and an adjustable differential preload. Other features include a cage, an air-jack system, an OMP seat and harness, and a multi-function quick-release steering wheel. You can purchase set-up tools – a quick-filling fuel system, toe setting equipment, clutch centering tool, footrest assembly, shock pump, set up wheel, front pads changing spacer tool and side impact panels – for $13,298. Spare suspension components, brake discs, a front splitter and wheel spacers are another $21,402. An upgraded ABS system is $12,768, a data and scrutineering logger is $4,664 and homologation documents showing the car meets TCR regulations is $1,344. Final assembly for the car is handled in Italy by J.A.S. Motorsports, but, like the regular Type R, the engines are built in Ohio while bodies-in-white come from England. The front and rear bumpers are both composite, as are the significantly wider front and rear fenders meant to cover the 10-inch wide wheels. The front fenders in particular look massive, but they only add 2.9 inches to the Type R's width. The adjustable rear wing makes the standard car's aero look paltry by comparison, but the whole thing comes together in a purposeful sort of way. I wouldn't go so far as to say it's pretty, but – especially when viewed from the front – it's quite intimidating. The gutted interior means every rock or pebble snaps, pings and reverberates throughout what amounts to a giant metal and composite can. The doors and dash are both black plastic, meaning the only things to really look at inside are the digital display and the smattering of buttons and toggles where the center console used to be. The display itself shows tons of data, from individual wheel speed to steering angle to temperatures for just about everything on the car. You're locked in tight thanks to the six-point harness, but visibility is still pretty good. After all, this is still a Civic. On the track, the Type R TCR drives like a single-minded Civic with all semblance of comfort stripped away, leaving you with a very loud and very fast hot hatch. It still feels like the same basic car, but everything has been dialed to 11. The standard Civic Type R's 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four sends 306 horsepower to the front wheels, but the TCR turns things up a bit thanks to a modified intake, exhaust and a unique engine map. Output is around 340 horsepower, though that can be adjusted to keep parity within the racing class. It's not the most explosive thing I've ever driven in a straight line, but, outside of some wheelslip in the track's tightest corner, the Type R TCR puts the power down with ease. There's a clutch, but you only use it to get rolling in first gear. Beyond that you only need to pull one of the wheel-mounted paddles to shift the six-speed sequential gearbox. Shifts are sharp and aggressive, cracking off with a loud bark from the engine. The steering feel is excellent. It doesn't take much movement from the small wheel to bend the Civic around a corner. There's a slight tug if you get on the power too early, but wind things out and the car points straight and true. The brakes require a bit more pressure than I expected, but when the calipers do clamp, they clamp hard. There's no drama or protesting squeals from the tires, just a bit of a dip in the nose and a little pressure in your chest as the harness holds you down. We only had 10 laps in total and I could have gone for 50 more. It was a riot, but not in the same way as something like a Lamborghini, Ferrari or McLaren. Those cars are brutally quick and could easily outgun the Type R TCR in a straight line. But the raw sensations are what make the Civic Type R TCR so enjoyable. It cuts through the fat and delivers the single most exhilarating experience I've ever had in a front-wheel-drive car, and one of the most enjoyable I've had in any car. Sure, you can buy a sleek, leather-lined mid-engine Italian supercar for roughly the same money, but this is a real racecar prepped to compete in a professional series, complete with spare parts and factory support. Trust us, that's sure not something you get if you spend a quarter million on a Lamborghini, nor will you get the same steady dose of adrenaline handing the keys off to a valet as you will dicing it up with WTCC competitors turning laps in anger. There are cheaper ways to go racing, but considering what the Civic Type R TCR provides, it seems like a bargain to us.
Honda just keeps fiddling with the Type R's price, and the 2019 model year comes with another small increase. The new total amounts to $37,230, which includes a $930 destination charge. This comes thanks to a $600 increase in MSRP and a $10 increase in the destination fee. It isn't much in the short run, but Honda just keeps notching it up slowly. When the car first went on sale, it cost $34,775. At that price, it felt almost too good to be true. Though we saw constant dealer "market adjustments" and inflated prices as a result of the pent-up demand for the Type R. Honda could've priced the Type R higher than it did in 2017, and perhaps it's figuring that out. Earlier this year, the price was jacked up by $1,000, and now Honda is at it again. We'll point out that Honda did make some considerable changes for 2019 to warrant a price increase. The infotainment system is slightly improved and updated. Honda added a volume knob to the dash, and the steering wheel buttons have also been changed up to make them easier to operate. Larger cup holders are also on tap. Does that warrant a $610 price jump to you? Perhaps, and the Type R is still half a bargain for what you get compared to the other extra hot hatches out there. The Golf R is still substantially more expensive at $41,290, but a base WRX STI comes in barely over the Type R now at $37,480. With the Focus RS having been discontinued after finishing its 2018 model year run, these few are the ones remaining in this hotly contested segment. Even without all-wheel drive, the Type R stands tall, and we'd still consider it a great buy. Maybe you'd consider a Veloster N if you're looking to spend a little less on a hot hatch, but the now slightly more expensive Type R remains a solid proposition for how superb it is to drive.
If the ninth-generation 2012 Civic was considered a sizeable step back, the tenth-generation 2016 Civic represented two giant steps forward for the nameplate and the entire lineup. The mildly facelifted 2019 Civic expands on that progress by introducing a Sport trim for the sedan that offers a six-speed manual transmission. But don't think of the long, lean four-door as a trunked version of the more expensive Sport hatchback with its more powerful turbocharged engine. The sedan, which Honda describes as "entry-level performance," aims at the hearts of budget-conscious and first-time buyers seeking sedan sobriety leavened by a touch of old-fashioned Honda fun.
Cosmetic changes across the lineup for 2019 introduce a gloss black grille, a wider, more sculpted lower bumper, and repositioned Honda Sensing gear to add symmetry to the lower front intakes. The Sport trim goes without the chrome accents around the front fog lights found on the other four trims — LX, EX, EX-L, and Touring. And unlike those other variants, the Sport sedan slots a trapezoidal exhaust finisher into a four-fin, diffuser-like insert. Inside, the instrument binnacle glows with red lighting, the pedals are made of aluminum, it has a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and it features the nicer infotainment system with a 7-inch screen (and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration).
If you recently bought a new or newer Honda CR-V or Civic, you're going to want to listen to this news. Honda is extending the powertrain warranty on more than 1 million cars in the U.S. Specifically, Honda is targeting 2017-2018 CR-Vs and 2016-2018 Civics with the 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine.
Consumer Reports uncovered a memo sent to Honda dealers concerning the news from Honda's manager of auto campaigns and recalls. That memo said that the oil in these engines could be diluted due to software settings or potential hardware failures. A previous report didn't name the Civic's version of the 1.5-liter turbo as a problem yet, but it looks like Honda's internal investigation has found it to suffer from a similar issue as the CR-V's "rising" oil levels.
Honda UK has revealed a pair of modified Civic Type Rs at the annual SMMT Test Day, showcasing two different takes on the popular hot hatch; one is a road-legal example with a wide range of goodies added to it, along with an extra 94hp, and the other draws inspiration from Rally Raid cars, featuring a lift of over 4 inches.
The Honda Civic Type R is an absolute joy to drive on-road, but this rally build looks mouthwateringly good from the limited photos available. Details are scant, but Honda reportedly collaborated with Ralph Hosier Engineering (RHEL) to build the car. Its name is the Honda Civic Type OveRland, and we're totally into it.
Apparently, Honda UK had a hand in this project, which isn't entirely surprising after seeing the other Type R builds they supported. Let us remind you of the Civic Type R pickup and the Type R wagon Honda UK built. This particular build uses the stock Type R powertrain, so it's still powered by the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that makes 306 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. However, the suspension has been lifted a massive four inches, and the track widened considerably. A new bodykit allows room for the big knobby tires sitting at all four corners — it also creates additional cooling vents, and these are actually functional.
Almost exactly two years after the 2017 Honda Civic Type R set a new front-wheel-drive production car record at the Nürburgring Nordschleife, it lost it. The new record holder is the Renault Megane R.S. Trophy-R with a time of 7 minutes 40.1 seconds. That's 3.7 seconds faster than the Civic on the roughly 13-mile racetrack. You can see the record lap, which was set on April 5, above.
As for the record-setting Renault, it's based on the Renault Megane R.S. Trophy and uses the same turbocharged 1.8-liter inline-four making 295 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. Where it differs is in weight savings and improved suspension. Exact details aren't available on the chassis upgrades, but the Trophy-R weighs about 287 pounds less than the regular Trophy model.