The Civic Type R: A Performance Bargain?

The Civic Type R has finally been released and it’s going to be a difficult one to get; Honda’s UK build team are being pushed to their limits at 75 cars per day just from the demand across the world. It doesn’t help that the Type R is going on sale at a starting price of $33,900 here in the US, which will only drive demand further considering we’ve never had a Civic Type R from Honda.

That price also seems like a performance bargain, but is it really?


Well, let’s look at what it’s competing against in the under $40,000 price and performance bracket it sits in. Price-wise, the Fiat 124 Spider Abarth, Focus RS, Golf R, and Subaru WRX STI are all within that range and in the sports car bracket. However, looking at that, the Type R is the only FWD. If we dig down deeper, we can find the Focus ST, the Abarth 500, Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ, Nissan 370Z base model, and the Civic Si, but they aren’t quite marketed the same. Those I just listed are second-tier performance cars, if you will – the performance cars you might end up buying if you can’t get your premium dream cars.


Power-wise, those cars really don’t compete with the Civic Type R making 306hp. That’s a big punch for a FWD and it makes more than the Golf R and STI, never mind those second-tier cars, save for the 370Z at 332hp for its base model. Only the Ford Focus RS beats it in the horsepower market in those premium-tiers. The Type R also beats all but the RS in torque too; that’s a rather amazing accomplishment from a car that costs under $40,000. Its closest competitor in price for that tier is the STI at $35,195.


It also brings up another point – you’re getting a car that drives only its front wheels. All the premium-tier cars are all-wheel drive. In 0-60mph, the Civic Type R is not the fastest at just under 6-seconds, but it does have the fastest top speed at 169mph. That’s 4mph faster than the much more powerful RS. However, the additional drivetrain comes at a weight penalty, with the Type R looking like the feather-weight at 3117lb versus the heavyweight of the RS at 3434lb, and both cars have a very similar weight balance of 60 front/40 rear. The Type R is just slightly nose heavier, with a 61.8/38.2 balance from front to rear. That might have to do with having a longer wheelbase, as it measures in at 106.3-inches over the 104.2-inches of the RS and the 104.3-inches of the STI.


Of course, there is a caveat to all this. While the Type R is advertised with a MSRP from Honda, the dealerships here in the US won’t sell it that low – you can bet that. Thanks to that demand from the public, there will be those who will price gouge the hell out of it, and you’ll more than likely end up paying over $40,000 for one, unless you’re a very good haggler. That’s one of the reasons so many hate the dealership model we have here in the US and really want it to be broken. Scion and Tesla have tried (Scion with it’s “No Haggle Pricing” and Tesla trying to sell direct), but neither have fully been successful, especially now that Scion is dead.

To that end, that’s what’s going to end up making it not the bargain that many will be hoping for – at least if they don’t put up a fight before signing the contract. It’s that reason that these buyers might reconsider going to one of the AWDs listed before over the Type R if they are simply shopping for a performance sedan under $40,000 and not looking to getting a legendary model.


Which then brings us to Honda’s other performance Civic, the Si. It’s not unknown that it has been built to shadow the Type R for US customers, and Honda expect to sell more with the Type R bringing hopefuls in but ending up walking out with the lesser model. That’s not to say that the Si is the pity car. On the contrary, it’s a great car out of the box just like the Type R with bits of that car in the Si’s suspension. It’s not as hardcore, it makes about 106hp less, and it doesn’t have the badge, but the Si is just as well balanced with the sedan model and comes in a coupe, too.

Let’s face it, it won’t be long before the Si can fight with the Type R thanks to the aftermarket. Someone, somewhere is going to do a Type R swap in the Si if not a traditional K-series swap because they want to run naturally aspirated. Then again, the aftermarket could do some interesting things to the Type R, too. Yes, the irony isn’t lost on me being the guy who questioned aftermarket tuning on new performance cars and I still think cars are getting better from the OEMs to where it’s only going to be the hardcore that are going to be willing to break their warranties before they lapse. It’s also a Honda, it’s only inevitable that someone is going to modify it.


So, which is going to end up being the performance bargain? The Si with the lack of dealer mark-up (it will be at least the lesser marked up of the two), or the Type R with its unavoidable dealer mark-ups that push it over $40,000?

Justin Banner
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Its an awesome car, but its a shame they had to make it so damn ugly.


Tell me whatever you want, and it can even lap the Nordschleife in under 7 minutes. I still would prefer one of the other cars, just because it is so damn ugly. When you look at a Focus RS, Golf, Fiat Abarth and even STi you can identify the cars because of its predecessors. So there's a certain "tradition" and "typical" form in their design. But when i look at the Honda it's just a new car that's fast on the Nordschleife. I don't see or better said "feel" any connection to the models that we fell in love with. Just my 5 cents


I can't help feeling that very few new cars are 'bargains'. That's a years salary for quite a few folk.

300-odd bhp through the front wheels? a Mk2 Focus RS with a bit of fettling will give this thing a headache for half the price - and hold its money if the mods are mainly reversible.

On the other hand, I like it - just wish it was a bit prettier and was called the 'Integra DC7' ;)

Carlos Berrios

Well at least is only $40,000 in the States... Here in PR the price for the new Civic Type R is somewhere $50,000+


Try over $60,000 here in the states with dealer mark-ups.


Same here in Holland.. At least that's still half the price of a new Impreza Sti. Stupid climate taxes.


damn government :(


Thanks Obama!


Que embusterooooooooo

Carlos Berrios

Hahaahhahaha! Bueno espera y veras... :p


6 second seriously Honda
My Audi A6 dose 0 to 62 miles in 5.5 seconds and diesel ...

Christian Clark

Diesel you say? You kept it? hahahahahahahahaahahahahahahaahahhah


I would of considered it if it wasn't riced out of the factory and looked like crap. I wanted the clean lines of the 2007 for example. Also, I can't stand that they removed the CD Player. That's the killer for me since mixed CDs even through the USB feature on Honda's have a 2-3 sec pause between transitions which kills the mix. Yes I can use a phone...but sorry...I have over 500 gigs of phone has like 5 gigs free max. That's a huge inconvenience for a daily car.

Christian Clark

You really haven't moved on to a usb stick or something yet? Buddy, go get you a cheap 16gb, load up music, hit random and never go back.


Interesting to read some of you calling the car ugly. While I agree that it is not the best styled car I have ever seen, it is important to keep in mind the historical significance of this being the first US Civic Type-R, and how it would be received by casual enthusiasts.

The EK9 is one of my all-time favorite cars, but, to the untrained eye and aforementioned casual enthusiast, it is a janky Civic hatchback with some subtle aesthetic differences that certainly did NOT make a visual impact to first-impression buyers.

My guess is, Honda erred on the side of caution, preferring to make a splash versus being overlooked, especially compared to the other cars mentioned. Call it peacocking, if you will.

It is not necessarily what the majority of SH readers would prefer, but it is a fair bet that the aggressive styling will get a second look from the buyers that had not before considered the CTR against the other cars.

Christopher Anderson

Nothing on that car is "erring on the side of caution." Honda's car have gotten steadily uglier after the S2000.


You did not quote enough sir. By my estimation, they took a 'better to ask forgiveness than permission' sort of stance. By that, I mean many of us might call the car ugly, but the aesthetics served their purpose of starting a conversation about the car, and also getting market segment buyers to consider it among the other cars.


Performance bargain huh. For 40k I could get a c6 Z06 with 30k-50k miles.


And no warranty, worse gas mileage, higher maintenance costs (8 quarts of oil, more expensive tires and brake pads), and accusations that you're old.


But you'll have a Corvette and not a Civic...


At that price, probably an abused one, too.


Yea but its still a Honda, to many people (admittedly me included) Its completely insane to pay that kind of money for a Civic, or any car with no real racing pedigree or appeal. As they say, you can always put lipstick on a pig (and in this case give it some redbull too) but its still just a pig.


I would agree except for the fact that Honda isn't trying to sell it at $40k. Dealers are and is why that selling model needs a drastic change. If the dealers would stay at the MSRP this would still be a good bargin.

I would also argue that the Type R does have some racing pedigree in WTCC, BTCC, TCR International, and Super Taikyu. All three of those series have had some sort of Honda backed Type R at some point as well as independent race teams.

Also, again, don't forget the cost of ownership. It's something many people will forget when they try and compare a super premium car like the Corvette versus a premium car like the Civic Type R. Even at that $40k price, you'll still end up paying less at the end of your warranty period over owning a used 'vette that doesn't have a warranty at all. Even taking the warranty out of the equation, you'll end up spending less with the Civic Type R.

Don't get me wrong, the chance to own a Corvette is something no one should pass up. Just think about the comparison beyond that when you're looking at a brand new Type R versus a used Corvette. At the end of the day, they don't compare at all.


I'd like someone to do a CRZ with a 1.5t dropped in.. Honeslty, I'd get a WRX or a Golf R over the Type R.. its only FWD and looks like its trying way too hard. IMO I'd offer a coupe version of the R as well.. Also let some of that aero junk be optional accessories. Add some NSX tech to this, all wheel drive and rear steering (even old honda cars had this). Also a lame 0-60.. my s2k does better than this and it has waaaay less tq and HP.. Common honda.


See now that would be a fun car honda. 300hp in that little thing with awd.


I'd like to see the 1.5 Turbo put into a EG or EF Honda.

As far as NSX tech, yeah, they could have done a performance hybrid layout and added another ten-thousand-dollars to the price, too. I also don't think rear steer would be any benefit. The S2000 also weighs less at 2864-pounds (at worst) with 237-horsepower to 3117-pounds with 306-horsepower for the Type R. You also have to remember the driven wheels will have more traction in the S2000 as the weight shifts to the rear wheels on acceleration and more power can be put down over the Type R.

The more interesting comparison between the S2000 and Type R will be on a road course like Willow Springs or Buttonwillow. Both tracks feature spots where horsepower can have an advantage but technical sections where chassis dynamics are key. Hopefully we'll get to see that this year at Super Lap Battle, if someone decided to bring out their brand new Type R for Street or Enthusiast class.


Honda said they didn't want awd, as it would've "broke tradition".

So it's okay to break tradition to make the engine complete and utter garbage, but not okay to break tradition to give this 35k car a real drivetrain.

Now the heads back at Honda are going to be pissed because us americans bitched and whined for performance options, and we got the nsx (overpriced turd) and now this type r (overpriced turd). The heads at honda will say "stupid Americans bitch and moan, then don't buy our cars when we deliver the goods, screw the performance market, set sights for tesla"

Shame, as if this was awd i would've already had one ordered. Rip honda


Dude.. AWD FWD or RWD is a "real" drivetrain so I must not understand what you meant by that. Just because it's not your preference doesn't mean it's wrong. Plus, it's a Civic, they've been FWD forever. Either get over it or put your thinking cap on like Ferrucio Lamborghini and try to build something better. I'll patiently be waiting to see the Jeff v.1 Make it's Nurburgring Debut

But saying that something is garbage just because it doesn't line up with your views? How is any automobile that takes multiple engineering years to make, garbage? What is your definition of garbage? It must mean the opposite of my definition...

RIP Honda?

Did you forget that they're a multi-BILLION dollar company?

Maybe there's a reason you're not the chief operations manager there....


I can tell you that engine isn't "utter garbage". The 1.5 turbo in the Si and the 2.0 turbo in the Type R excellent and the last thing to complain about. Getting the power both of those engines make in a naturally aspirated form, be reliable for hundreds of thousands of miles, and pass emissions just isn't possible. The compression ratio alone would make a lot of heat and a lot of NOx, require a lot of fuel to cool and fuel the top end even in a direct injection system, and have a cam profile that's off putting to someone who wants a street vehicle to drive on a somewhat daily basis.

If we were going to get a NA Type R and get the performance out of it we're getting now, it would have been a performance hybrid like the NSX is now.


Turbo is a cop out, plain and simple. Whether your simpleton internet self thinks it's possible or not is irrelevant.


Bless your heart.


It's one Type R that I'd actually be glad to see stripped and left on bricks out in the Indio desert! The gutted carcass might even look better than the car does from the factory

James M. Gordon

So Honda finally delivers a fantastic performance car for the money and all you people do is complain and parse it into anal comparisons with other cars in the same price range. IMO the CTR is stunning, a thing of beauty, perfectly balanced and will be twisting necks and generating envy everywhere it is seen. Ya'll will be eating your words as this is an instant classic.

Christian Clark



Yes it's been hit time and again with the ugly stick. But that is my opinion and I'm 49yrs old this year. Surely it is styled for a generation that like all the add ons and what something of a Rocket Bunny look. The performance sounds great and despite fwd would still be fun. So today Speedhunters have told us the virtues of its performance but how long will it be until we see someone slam and stance one of these counter acting all that good Honda engineering? Could end up seeing a few of this as the ultimate ugly.


Gone are the days of enjoying a performance car from factory.So many just want to slam these cars and put air suspension. I atleast am one that can enjoy a stock car be it honda, subaru, ford,scion, ect...


i think its just a waiting game till next year....


It actually makes me wonder if it will pull the same thing the S2000 did when it first came out. Production was originally supposed to be very limited but demand rose and production numbers increased before ending the chassis line. I wouldn't be surprised to see that happen this time as well. Get the hype up for being a "limited release", increase demand for the car to the general public, then offer it as a regular line (but still in limited numbers).


"The Civic Type R: A Performance Bargain?"
Not at US dealerships!


It really does put yet another black eye on the US dealership model and one more of the many, many reasons that it needs a hard shake up.

John Krzeminski

There's already plenty of pictures online of the car being marked up to $60,000. This is an awesome car but, like others have said, it is very ugly and far from the days where Hondas look simply, clean, and understated.


Badass car! I'm sure it will drive pretty good. And the styling will take the old fools some open-mindedness in order to like it. They are marketing to the new generation, not us old fools!, The old fools that grew up with boxy ass Honda/Acura's, or whatever. Yes, boxy Accords, Preludes, EF Civics, before we started using so called jdm chassis codes and $hit. The drag racers, street racers, all motor guys, turbo guys, jdm guys, whatever whatever. Us, the old fools, that might be having families and possibly, hopefully making better income will not be buying these, instead more luxury oriented, sport or a combination thereof higher end cars. But for some of us, like a good friend of mine recently said, "Here in the states, I've always wanted a real Type R. And today almost at the age of 40, if I can get my hands on one from the factory, I would". That says a lot and I can agree with him. If I have those extra funds, and/or if this was the only car I can purchase and use as a daily and for some fun, I'd do it! After all, it's got 4 doors! I can care less what people think of me. I'd do some upgrades and drive the hell out of it! Enjoy the bitch! As for the the narrow minded peeps, you guys just need to stop comparing. All the fools comparing so much are the same fools that haven't built shit and have nothing to show for...most...


Doesn't matter wether it's a performance bargain because it's a DESIGN DESASTER (like 93.7% of all modern cars...)



Bradley Johnson

Think I'll stick with my FK2, it's no longer hatchback, its a sedan/saloon car almost now. 5 prominent doors instead of discreet rear doors on the FK2. Dealers have already tried to get me signed up for an FK8 but 10hp more is hardly going to be noticeable, nor is the 5 seconds quicker at the ring for anybody on the roads let alone the track.


I think its neat and the lines are interesting but the RS fits me better due to its awd. If i were living elsewhere id opt for the type r. Plus the added no garage factor would have me staying awake all night.


It's a fricking 4 door, practically worthless and ugly to boot. Oh, but it has a few mediocre factory bolt on's and the most important of all an "R" badge.


As an '08 S2000 Club Racer original owner I am totally turned off by what's happening with this Type R! From the reasonable $1,000 over to and outrageous $25,000 over sticker price it takes the appeal of the cars affordability away. The Civic Si at around $25,000 is a bargain. You decide to pay the extra $9,000 to upgrade to the Type R and then are shot down by the dealers overcharging for it? Then on top of that they drop the bomb on the enthusiasts the day the type R gets to dealerships that an AWD version with more power is in the Works? If I was one of those few that had a deposit on the car for months and then heard this... I would be so pissed off! It took over 9 long year for Honda to give the people what we have wanted. They made a complete Shit Show of this car being released. There had to be a better way! In 2008 Honda had the S2000, then the Club Racer, the Civic Si and then the Magen Si, they also had the Acura TL Type S no then in 2009 ... it all came to a screeching halt!! I'm just hoping after it's all said and done and I recover from the kick in the genitals that Honda makes up for it by giving us the type r for years to come and then actually allow the enthusiast to pay the suggested price we are willing to pay for it!


I think the best bargain is a WRX at $26k. $9-$14k cheaper than an STI, Golf R..ect.. TBH, if the Type R was AWD, i would probably buy one (at $35k)