The 2017 Honda Civic Type R lands in the U.S. this week and after 20 years of waiting for it, American enthusiasts can finally feel the fury of Honda’s international hot hatch. But as good as it is out of the box, this car was born into tuner culture and it’s hard to resist fantasizing about modifying it. So I will.
If you’re hoping to treat your Civic Type R as an investment, you’re going to have to leave it as clean and original as possible. And I absolutely see the appeal in preserving a car’s original personality. But I also like to drive, and make things my own, and put my own idiotic twists on things that professional engineers spent years and millions of dollars dialing in.
And just like that, I’m off to the aftermarket!
Despite many readers complaints that I get too hung up on the car’s button blanks, I found the Type R’s greatest shortcoming to be its exhaust note. Or rather, its lack thereof.
That’s a shame because, aesthetically, the OEM exhaust is excellent. I love the center-exit piping and multi-sized muffler tips. Those three chrome horns look like a musical instrument. I also like that Honda resisted weighing it down with electronic baffles or electronically augmented noisemakers. But man, I need a few decibels of extra fury in my VTEC turbo machine.
To that end, I’d plan on spending $2,000 to $3,000 on a high-quality exhaust system, CARB-legal of course, from one of the most elite Honda tuners like Spoon Sports or Mugen.
Hell yeah it needs stickers.
I’d lean into the Type R’s wild robot looks with some “VTEC Turbo” badging for sure. The lower part of the rear doors might be a decent spot for this, but after I’d had my Civic exhausted to the proper level of auditory offensiveness, I’d be heading straight to my local sign shop to get a giant “TURBO” decal printed out to fit on top of the wing.
The Civic Type R’s front seats are freaking sweet, and I’d resist drinking coffee in this car as long as physically possible to minimize the risk of their being stained. But the back bench kind of sucks.
And since this is a four-door, I think that’s a problem worth addressing. As an almost thirtysomething with a steady paycheck and no family, the only reason I’m getting a performance four-door is to freak out my friends. And for that, the rear seats need a little more drama to them.
I’m sure I could get an upholstery shop to recover the rear seats in a red fabric that would match the fronts for something in the $1,000 neighborhood but I’d be curious to price out how hard it would be to add a few chunks of foam bolsters at the same time. Something tells me you’d have to spend a lot to get this done right, but having rear seats that would be exciting to sit in would take the appeal of this car to a whole other level.
Yellow Fog Lights
Fog lights should be yellow, especially on Japanese cars. And especially on white Japanese cars. I am not interested in counter-arguments.
Something, Anything Next To The Traction Control Button
Since so many readers were upset that I find blank buttons annoying, I guess I have to acknowledge that this little piece of plastic could pretty easily be replaced by a custom 3D-printed blocking plate or coin holder, aftermarket light switches, a boost gauge, a switch for the flame-thrower you could drill into the exhaust, or whatever.
Regardless, I think I could take care of this aesthetic pretty easily and I absolutely would.
Loud-Ass Blow-Off Valve
I’m not “counting” this because I’d end up buying it, putting the box it came in on my floor, then hemming and hawing over whether or not to install it for months and years.
A big blow-off valve, which makes that “giggle” steam-release noise you may have heard coming from a turbo’d tuner car, is silly and unnecessary but it’s also somehow awesome. Kind of like the Type R and its ilk in general.
Screw it, let’s order one. Ah, nah, people will make fun of me. (The struggle begins.)
A Japanese ‘Student Driver’ Sticker, An Anime Doll Hanging Off The Back Bumper And Red LEDs Under The Chassis
Or am I?
As I tried to articulate in my first impression writeup, the 2018 Civic Type R is good and fun and will make a lot of people happy the way it comes stock-standard out of the box.
SEMA 2017 is less than half a year away, and I can’t wait until some tuners with more skills and style than I have get their hands on the Type R and help evolve it from friendly and fun to freaking fierce.
(CORRECTION: I originally called this the 2018 Civic Type R, but in fact the car’s launching as a 2017 model. The 2018 will probably be the same, but still. Sorry!)