Honda has a recent history of ignoring fans who’ve been begging for performance models, but that’s about to change when the new Civic Type R arrives in the U.S. But exactly when is that?
The bad news is, it’s not soon.
After announcing at the New York Auto Show that the new Type R would in fact come to the U.S., American Honda Motor Co. Executive Vice President John Mendel confirmed during a round-table discussion that it won’t be a 2016 model.
Will it be a 2017? “It could be an ’18 by the time it gets here,” admitted Mendel, though he said he hopes not.
“You can’t say we never listen. We almost never listen,” joked Mendel.
SEE ALSO: 2016 Honda Civic First Look
Rumors have suggested that the US-spec Civic Type R could be different car from the European one. That seems unlikely, especially as Honda has confirmed the European-market Civic 5-door hatchback (the basis for the Type R) is already headed to our shores.
We put that question to Mendel and asked if the model that eventually makes its way to US shores will be significantly different from the European one. “No,” he said. “You’re looking at the same concept that the Civic Type R has always been.”
“As you go to global development processes, the differences from market to market in terms of crash and requirements start to converge,” said Mendel. “So you don’t have a vehicle developed for one market that doesn’t meet the standards of another market. As you are able to commonize all those things around the world, and a US-led development for this vehicle (the 2016 Honda Civic), we kind of spec’d through the higher standards.”
Pricing isn’t something Mendel was willing to discuss yet but he indicated that a major factor will have to do with the British Pound vs U.S. Dollar exchange rate at the time, with the new Type R being manufactured in the UK.
“I’d hope we could sell a couple thousand a month,” he said, promising not to put a cap on sales.
Another Turbocharged Honda
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But before the new Type R finally arrives Honda will offer a different turbocharged Civic to U.S. customers. On sale later this year the 10th generation Civic sedan will launch first and will come with a new 1.5-liter turbocharged VTEC engine. “It will be in the higher trims, at least initially,” said Mendel with base models receiving a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter four-cylinder.
Lighter than the outgoing car, Mendel said it’s one of the fastest refreshes the automaker has ever made, a particularly impressive feat considering it’s also one of the most complex.
He wouldn’t comment on how much of a diet the new car has undergone, but did tout its sportiness and a return to what Honda fans remember, while also commenting that when it comes to the interior, “you’re going to be blown away.”
In response to demand, Mendel says Honda is, “taking the Civic back in a direction more towards where it started.”
“It’s what you guys have been asking for,” he said.
Are More Performance Hondas Coming?
After the launch of the new Civic, Honda will put the focus on practical machines, with the debut of a new Odyssey and Ridgeline. Mendel cautions that one product doesn’t signify a shift at Honda but did say that, “I’d like to think that the announcement of Type R would beget a trend…”
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