How fast can the 2017 Honda Civic Type R go? Edmunds Senior Writer Carlos Lago finds out by tackling the drag strip at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. As he finds out, a high-output turbocharged engine and front-wheel drive mean you have to work a little harder to find the fastest time.
CARLOS LAGO: That's the brand new Honda Civic Type R. It has 306 horsepower. And if you couldn't tell from the wings and vents on it, it's made to go really fast around racetracks. We're at a dragstrip, though, so we're going to find out how fast it can go in a straight line. Couple of things to consider when doing acceleration runs in the Civic Type R. It's front drive and has a ton of power. It's a turbocharged engine. And all that means it's going to be kind of tricky to launch. It's difficult to get the right amount of throttle engine load in before you take off and accelerate. You run the risk of doing too much, boiling the front wheels, spinning them too much, slowing the car down. Or bogging, being off boost, and not accelerating as hard as you could. So we really have to spend a lot of time finding the right engine speed to launch at and how much throttle to give it afterwards to be in that happy middle ground. The first thing we're going to do is just accelerate in the key up settings and see what happens. I'll be able to feel out how quick I can shift, how much throttle it will accept from the initial launch, from a soft launch, from a conservative launch. And we'll see what it will do in kind of a street setting, which, let's face it, how people are going to be driving this thing. So without further ado, first gear, let's engage it and see what happens. A lot of wheel hop. Powerband gets a little flat just before the indicated 7000 RPM redline. But we're in fifth gear so it's really fast. Wheel hop is really bad in general for durability and for speed because all that energy spent balancing the wheels up and down is energy you can't spend accelerating them. So he might go with a little bit more conservative of a launcher RPM on the next run. It used to be the way you would accelerate non- turbocharged Hondas back, I guess, in the late '90s and early 2000s, is you had had to rev them out. You had to dump them at like 5,000 RPM. You'd spin the tires like crazy. You wouldn't get a lot of axle hop. But in spinning the tires like crazy, it would actually be faster because you keep the engine in the powerful part of its power band. Trying to do the launch in a low engine speed, you would actually lose so much time because those engines were so peaky that you just had to stay in that narrow window of operation. It was a lot of fun but you definitely go through a lot of front tires that way. We can definitely go a lot faster. OK, for run number two, I'm going to put it in Plus R mode. It is a Civic Type R, after all. And I'm going to turn off stability control and traction control completely. It's one of the only two Honda products where you can do that. The other is the NSX. All right, let's give run number two a try. I'm going to try a lower launch RPM and see if it does anything. I might shift a little bit earlier too instead of taking it to redline. And away we go. Too much wheel spin at the launch. So even launching at a 2,500-- going to throttle quickly, I thought it was going to be OK because there was just a little bit of hop. But then as it started getting worse and worse as I stayed in to the power through first gear, it just developed too much spin and I could feel it slow down on the very top of first gear. So I may need to go even lower on the target launch RPM for the next run. Going to try a lower launch RPM and see how that works. 2,000 RPM was too low. That's not making any improvements. All right, we'll try one more but we seem to be stuck right at this level of acceleration. And here we go. Nope. Nope. All right, more RPMs. Let's do it. Getting faster. I have an idea. So I'm going to try slightly -- maybe 21, 2,200 RPM launch and then go from there. Let's give it a try. There we go. There we go. There we go. That's moving. All that work, though, for half a second to 60. Half a tenth is nothing in the grand scheme of things but it's everything when you live your life one quarter mile at a time. So that's how fast the Civic Type R can go. If you want to see more videos like this, keep it tuned right here and be sure to visit edmunds.com.