I know I touched on this subject before in the past at some point, but seeing as how the car has been green lit very similarly to the initial concepts, it doesn’t hurt to revisit this. Sure, cars rarely change dramatically from their concept stages, and I wasn’t expecting the Civic Type-Riceboy to go from Gran Turismo Edit B pocket rocket to a sleek sophisticated sleeper, but we all can wish, right?
Anyway, upon seeing the updated photos of the release model, the first thought that popped into my head was the immediate comparison to the Homer Simpson car that tanked his half-brother’s original fortune, that’s how clown-y it looked, with its giant spoiler that I’m sure will be described as “aggressive” and face that looks like a smashed down Stormtrooper helmet.
And that’s just the superficial details that aren’t to the standard that I once held the vaunted Civic Type-R when I was still 19.
Mechanically, it’s definitely the strongest Civic, and one of the strongest Hondas in general off the factory line in history, but there too, it seems to have lost all the cool shit that made Hondas back in the late 90s. An alleged 306 horsepower is advertised, but it’s coming from a turbocharged 2.0 liter with a redline of “just” 6,500 rpm.
What I always thought was cool and admirable in the past was that Honda was a maker that didn’t use turbos, and scratched and clawed for every single horsie out of their lightweight and smaller motors using superior engineering and technological advances. The old Integra Type-R managed to squeeze an alleged 210 horses out of a 1.8 liter inline four at the redline of 8,500 rpm, and then there were the old S2000s that somehow managed to churn out 240 horsepower out of a 2.0 liter I4 at 9,000 rpm. VTEC wasn’t so much of a meme back then as much as it was a pretty amazing advance in engineering that stretched the imaginations of power into reality.
Sure, times changes and technology advances. And I’d wager that this Civic Type-R would be as long lasting and reliable as every cheapskate uncle’s 1998 Civic EX that is still on the road to this day, but way, way faster. But I can’t help but feel like Honda has kind of left what methodologies and engineering that put them on the map and brought them to the dance. By slapping on a turbo and spinning motors to 6,500 rpm, the Civic Type-R is now sparsely different than a turbocharged Mazdaspeed, or a Focus RS, but without the AWD, or the competitive price tag.
And as much as the aforementioned article touts the Civic Type-R to be a “middle finger to Ferraris, Lamborghinis and other unobtainable exotics,” at an estimated $34,000 for a Honda Civic, they’re also positioning themselves as a middle finger to those who will be priced out of the car that was ironically once the standard in affordable, reliable and decent looking.
I guess this is yet another one of those “welp, must be growing up” things, that I’m not salivating at the sight of this car. Sure, I think it’s cool that a Civic Type-R has finally made it stateside, but it’s also like 20 years too late for me to really care. Not to mention the fact that today’s idea of aesthetics have made it look like a Homer Simpson car. Easy pass on this, as a viable option for a future car.