It’s not an April Fools’ joke. I wouldn’t be writing about it if it was, because screw all those stupid attempts at corporate humor that come in fake press release form. Today at the New York Auto Show, Honda officially announced that America will get the high performance Civic we’ve always wanted — the Type-R.
This is huge news for enthusiasts, especially the ones who grew up on sporting Hondas in the ‘80, ‘90s and 2000s and have felt abandoned in the last decade as Honda chased boring mainstream success like a heroin addict constantly chasing a bigger and better high.
It’s also something we’ve heard rumblings about for a while. After Honda unveiled the new European Civic Type-R, supposedly the fastest front-wheel drive car around the Nürburgring yet, it was reported in Japan that America wouldn’t get that car but its worldwide successor.
That’s exactly what Honda announced today. The next Civic will be global, and the U.S. will get a sedan, coupe, five-door hatch and the Type-R.
This is the first time that’s happened. We’ve gotten our fare share of sporting Hondas over the decades, but never the Type-R.
The Type-R debuted in hatch form on the sixth-generation EK9 Civic in 1997. It featured a 180 horsepower high-revving VTEC motor and various chassis improvements to make it one of the best front-drivers around. It didn’t come to America, leading every Civic tuner in the land to try and imitate or beat its style and performance. (The closest we got was its relative the Acura Integra Type-R.)
With each subsequent generation, the Civic got a Type-R variant even as it diverged into European and JDM versions, but they never made it to our shores. We made do instead with the Civic Si, including a hatch version nobody bought and later a sedan and coupe that faded into irrelevance as its performance was trumped by turbocharged competitors.
With this new global Civic, set to launch in autumn of this year as a 2016 model, Honda will attempt to rectify several of these mistakes. We’ll be getting our first Civic Type-R ever. It will be turbocharged, the first American Civic to do so (not counting your buddy’s mad tyte tuner car), and that engine will be built with pride in America.
Beyond that, Honda didn’t have much to say about this new Civic Type-R. My guess is it will have the same 2.0-liter turbo VTEC as its European cousin putting out 310 horsepower. We don’t know whether the Type-R will come in coupe, hatch or sedan versions, or all three. I would also assume it will stay front-wheel drive, which I’m okay with.
I have believed for a long time that there really is a market for this car in America. You have enough Honda fans who grew up longing for the Type-R and now have some cash that will be eager to pull the trigger on one for real. After all, if Subaru can sell the WRX STI and Ford can sell the Focus RS here, why can’t Honda do the same with a Civic Type-R?
Honda lost an entire generation of enthusiasts as they struggled through recessions and natural disasters and general beigeness. Today in New York, they showed they want to make it up to us.
I say welcome to America, Civic Type-R. We’ve been waiting for you a long time.
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