The Sporty Civics: From Simmering to Sizzling
Civics have always provided Canadians with well built, reliable and fuel efficient motoring. The fun factor has also been a constant throughout its history. That has never more evident than in the 2018 Civic line up.
The Civic Hatchback: Sport and Sport Touring
Last year marked the long awaited return of the Civic hatchback. No half measures here. The 2018 Civic Hatchback boasts five doors, a roomy passenger cabin, and class leading cargo volume. All Hatches are powered by a 1.5 litre direct injection DOHC turbocharged four. The Sport and Sport Touring max out at 180 hp. This torque rich engine provides lots of power just off idle with excellent mid-punch. Though a six speed manual is standard, a CVT is available across the line. Driving enthusiasts faced with city commutes need not despair. Honda’s CVT has been singled out for its balance of performance, driving pleasure, and fuel efficiency. When traffic does open up, steering wheel mounted paddle shifters are at hand allowing you to gear up or down as you please. Power without control can dial back the fun but Honda has you covered. The Sport Hatches sit on an independent suspension all around, multilink at the rear, are equipped with disc brakes front and rear, and roll on 18” dark aluminum alloy wheels with 235/40 W rated tires. They all work together to provide an industry leading blend of agility, comfort and control.
The Sport Hatches receive some unique styling touches that differentiate it from the regular Civic Sedan: larger cut-outs on the front and rear bumpers, glossy black trim in place of most of the chrome, enhanced lower body cladding (in black) and a dual central exhaust. Inside, you’ll find textured aluminum pedals.
The Sport Touring trim adds a layer of features that includes leather, a power driver’s seat, rear heated seats, a navigation system, rain sensing wipers, LED headlights – more luxury and convenience but with no less sport.
The Civic Si: Coupe and Sedan
Are you looking for a little more spice in your Civic? Consider the Si, available with two or four doors. The Si shares much with Hatchback variants but dials up performance in several key areas. The 1.5 litre four gets additional turbo boost bringing maximum horsepower to 205 and torque to 192. A limited slip differential ensures that extra power will find its way to the ground when accelerating out of corners. Brakes with bigger rotors increase stopping power. The suspension is upgraded with firmer settings for more athletic handling. For the first time the Si is equipped with an Adaptive Damper System (ADS). Switching the ADS from Normal to Sport mode tightens up the suspension further, as well giving the steering added weight and feel. The sole transmission is a short-throw six speed manual.
The Si shares its front end with the Sport/Sport Touring Hatch along with wheel design (in silver tone). Unique to the Si is rear wing spoiler and single centre exhaust.
The Si comes pretty loaded with niceties such as heated front and rear (outboard) seats, a navigation system, and wireless charging, just to name a few, though the emphasis is decidedly on “sport.” The front buckets are cloth and manually adjusted but with heavy bolstering to keep you in place when attacking winding roads.
If you’re looking for an Si with a more aggressive look and feel you’ll be glad to know that a Honda Factory Performance (HFP) version has just recently become available again (though in limited numbers). The HFP Si features a front lower lip spoiler, side skirts, red HFP floor mats, HFP Sport Suspension with enhanced ADS, 19” black alloy wheels with Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires, and special HFP badging.
The Civic Type R
The hottest ticket in the Civic lineup is the Type R. Several generations of Type R Civics have been available in Europe and Asia since the late nineties. Canadians were finally able to welcome the Type R to our shores last summer and it has taken Canada by storm!
The Type R is based on the excellent foundation of the Civic Hatch but turns the temperature way up. Under the hood sits a 2.0 litre turbocharged VTEC four pumping out a whopping 306 horse power and 295 lb-ft of torque. All of this muscle is channeled to the front wheels through a 6 speed manual transmission with rev-match control. The front suspension features a unique dual axis design. Twenty inch aluminum alloy wheels, in piano black with red trim, surround 13.8 and 12 inch discs with Brembo 4-piston calipers up front. The Type R possesses a three mode drive system. The Comfort setting is the most relaxed. Sport mode firms things up but is still suitable for daily driving. Switch to +R and you’re ready for the track.
The Type R’s exterior shares the regular hatch’s exuberant personality and then some! The body is adorned with a variety of performance enhancing modifications including a hood scoop, roof mounted vortex generators, a massive wing spoiler, and a collection of winglet and vents maximizing air flow, cooling, and downforce.
Inside, the driver and front passenger are treated to racing style suede-effect red and black seats. Red accents adorn the interior including red seatbelts for all four passengers. A Type R serial number plate sits behind the aluminum shift knob to remind you that you’re driving something very special (as if you needed a reminder).
The end result? Motor Trend has this to say:
“The Civic Type R’s engine is a little monster, with tons of power, little lag, and a sky-high 7,000 rpm redline.”
“The Type R delivers utterly remarkable performance and handling yet it’s impressively refined to drive. It’s the best front-drive chassis in the world. Period.”