I was filming some video late in the day when an impressively preserved Honda CRX drove up and a guy jumped out and asked if he could take some pictures of the car. After talking about the Type R for a bit, he mentioned that he’d seen a social media post about the drive event and had hopped in his car and driven an hour and a half to come see the new Type R. Yep, an hour and a half to see a car that very well could have been long gone by the time he arrived. I was stunned.
It’s that kind of enthusiasm that speaks to the reverence the Type R name has developed despite never being sold in the U.S. (or Canada, for that matter) until now. After spending the better part of a day driving it on a track as well as public roads in the Canadian countryside, it’s clear that many of the qualities we like about the regular Civic remain — they’ve just been turned up to 11.
It starts on the outside, where new aggressive styling cues go way beyond what any other Civic offers, even the new Si. Many of the changes are functional: Winglets direct air around the wheel openings, the hood vent cools the engine and reduces lift, roof-mounted vortex generators channel air to the massive rear wing and that wing generates downforce at higher speeds. The resulting look might be a little much for some shoppers, but it recalls previous Type Rs.
The turbocharged four-cylinder carries over from the prior Type R. The engine makes 306 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 295 pounds-feet of torque from 2,500 to 4,500 rpm. It works exclusively with a six-speed manual transmission that sends power to the front wheels through a limited-slip differential. Estimated gas mileage is 22/28 mpg city/highway.