GENEVA -- Honda's 306-hp Civic Type R hatchback, which debuted last week at the Geneva auto show, targets rival hot hatches such as the Subaru WRX STI and Volkswagen Golf R.
But it lacks the all-wheel-drive setup those models offer as standard; the Type R is front-wheel drive only. It aims to make up for the difference by coming in just a single trim level that includes goodies such as three driving modes, a limited-slip front differential, adaptive suspension, Brembo brakes and 20-inch wheels without pushing the price past $40,000 as its competitors do when loaded. Starting price is in the "mid-$30k range," according to Honda.
The Type R is intended to plug a conspicuous though small-volume hole in Honda's U.S. lineup last filled by the S2000 roadster in 2009.
When it arrives in U.S. showrooms this spring, its goal is simple: Give dealers, enthusiasts and the brand proof that Honda's thrill-seeking can still outshine its sensibility from time to time.
The Type R's powertrain carries over from the previous model largely unchanged. At the heart is an Ohio-built 2.0-liter turbocharged, direct-injected four-cylinder engine that makes 306 hp and 295 pounds-feet of torque.
Honda will bolt just one transmission to the Type R: a six-speed manual with a rev-matching feature that's a first for the brand.