2017 Honda Civic Type R First Drive: Boy Racer, All Grown Up

– Mirabel, Quebec, Canada

The 2017 Honda Civic Type R recently laid down a 7-minute, 43-second lap at the Nürburgring Nordschleife, making it the quickest front-wheel-drive car to ever run the Green Hell. Don’t get me wrong, that’s damn impressive. But to focus on this one achievement is to miss the point entirely. Yes, the Civic Type R is a very capable car on track. But it’s also comfortable, easy to drive, and far, far more mature than its overly aggressive boy racer exterior would lead you to believe.

It’s also finally coming to the U.S.; the first Type Rs are making their way to showrooms as you read this. With an out-the-door price of $34,775 including destination, the Civic is less expensive than its key competitors, the Ford Focus RS, Subaru WRX STI, and Volkswagen Golf R. But “less expensive” does not mean “cheaper” or “not as good.” On the contrary, the Civic Type R offers a very premium experience.

2017 Honda Civic Type R: First Drive
2017 Honda Civic Type R: First Drive
2017 Honda Civic Type R: First Drive
2017 Honda Civic Type R: First Drive

You can turn the rev-match feature off if you feel like being super pro heel-and-toe guy, but Honda’s system is so smooth and so good, I never had the desire to shift without it.

That’s evident while tossing the Type R along the hilly, tree-lined roads of Quebec, just outside Montreal. Truth be told, I expected a harsh ride and twitchy dynamics, but the Civic instead rewards me with impressive composure – a behind-the-wheel experience that feels more Grand Touring than Gran Turismo.

The star of the show is Honda’s new 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine...