American Honda launched the 2017 Honda Civic Type R in a single, fully equipped variant. Although you don’t see it in emblem form on the back of the car, the 2017 Honda Civic Type R is sold exclusively in Touring trim. The model code, evidenced by NHTSA certification papers filed by American Honda and located by TTAC’s own Bozi Tatarevic, is FK8G7.
But Bozi found an extra Civic Type R in American Honda’s NHTSA filings for 2018. It’s still a Type R, it still uses the K20C1 engine that sends 306 horsepower to the front wheels through a six-speed manual transmission. But this is the FK8G3 Civic Type R, sans Touring.
It was way back in June that Steph Willems told you about Honda’s plans to expand the Civic Type R portfolio. “We’re hoping that by gradually putting out more [variants] that we’ll be able to maintain a more stable sales volume,” said the Type R’s chief engineer, Hideki Matsumoto.
Sporty cars, particularly outlandishly styled examples such as the Civic Type R, are prone to satisfying hyped demand early before petering out. This is why so many cars of this type used to be halo models developed at the end of a generation lifecycle.
Automakers don’t want that anymore. Automakers want Golf Rs that coincide with the entire lifecycle of the regular Golf tenure, for example. Automakers want to see the huge investment pay off. By introducing niche variants for one or two model years, automakers don’t earn the right to be considered performance-oriented manufacturers. An automaker must stick with a plan.
But really, how much long-term demand is there for a $34,775 Honda Civic Type R? And why must a Civic Type R buyer be forced to accept 20-inch Continental SportContact footwear, roof-mounted vortex generators and gigantic rear wing, dual-zone automatic climate control, hugely bolstered front sport seats, and a seven-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and navigation?
If Honda built a 2018 Civic Type R designed for the tuning community that wants to select its own rubber, swap out Honda’s bodykit for its own, install different seats, and upgrade the audio system, that Civic Type R could be much less costly.
TTAC has heard rumors of a base price in the $30,000 range. Even at $30,900, or $31,775 with fees. That would be a $3,000 price cut, but could Honda’s upcoming base Civic Type R be even less costly? With all-season tires, an absent rear wing, bare bones audio, regular Civic seats, and basic HVAC, a $29,995 MSRP ($30,870 with fees) seems plausible.
And eminently marketable.
[Image: Honda, NHTSA; Illustration: The Truth About Cars]