I wonder what the younger generations will have. What hot cars will they covet? Not the Ferraris and Lamborghinis and Porsches, but the cars generally available in the market, maybe cars that get handed down from their parents or those that they can buy themselves and the derivations of those. Maybe the Toyota Vios models that are run with such passion at the local Vios Cup races, maybe a car like the Honda Brio, which looks and acts like an econo-hatch but actually has race series’ elsewhere in Asia. What do many of us remember? The Type R.
Yet, the Honda Civic Type R on our cover is very different from those we remember. They were light, tight, highly-tuned, and highly-tunable machines you could set up for almost any use. Yet, it was a Civic, with all the confidence and reliability that comes with the badge and the marque. The current Civic line reminds a lot of us more of the larger, more comfortable Accord than the Civics we remember. Even in relatively standard form, the current Civic is a nice, pleasant, very able drive. The Type R is … a bit more forceful. Yet, it keeps to the legacy. It takes a powerful package and makes it relatively financially affordable. Also, given that this car is officially available in places it didn’t use to be, it may well be much more attainable than ever before. This comes the same year that Honda’s new NSX won the New Engine Award at the International Engine of the Year Awards in Stuttgart. So is this an indication of more fun things to come? As we have said, most winning engines this year are not just efficient, they’re fun. Two more points, the Type R is a manual. That’s a very daring stand to make in this world when automatic transmissions allow more integration of the composer systems that allow better safety control, more potential efficiencies, increased environmental friendliness. You can argue that Honda doesn’t yet have sport-oriented auto transmissions that are as insanely good as those from Porsche and such, and that is what pushed forward the manual. This is particularly bold if you realize that insurance companies probably still consider the Type R buyer as the boy-racer hooligan type. Wonder what they’ll say if we get one? The other point? In both the NSX and the Type R, you can turn off the safety controls (this is probably market-dependent, please take note) so the experience Honda is offering may well be considered more purist than many others.
One thing though, just talking about it makes you want to get in and feel that front-wheel scurry as it pulls you through a corner. The Type R is still front-wheel drive, but remember that this front-wheel drive often out-drove many rear-wheel drives in places where people built, owned, or run their own cars. If not, buy the darn thing straight off the boat.