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Honda’s 2017 Civic Type R is coming to U.S., and it will be worth the wait

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The wait for Honda's hottest Civic is almost over. This is the production version of the long-awaited Type R, which will go on sale this spring.

For car fans in the United States, the Honda Civic Type R has always been a tantalizing price of forbidden fruit. This sportiest of Civics has never been imported to the States, but that’s about to change.

After many teases, promises, and one concept car, Honda unveiled the first Civic Type R to be sold in North America at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show. The Type R will go on sale in the U.S. this spring and, on paper at least, it looks like it will be worth the wait.

The production model looks virtually identical to the Civic Type R concept unveiled a few months back at the 2016 Paris Motor Show. That means it’s decked out in scoops, spoilers, gaping air intakes, and puffed-up wheel arches. It’s also got a neat-looking center-exit exhaust with three tailpipes the size of cannons. Honda says the Type R body is more rigid than the Civic hatchback it’s based on (thanks to added structural adhesive) and 15 pounds lighter as well.

The heart of the Civic Type R is a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine. It produces 306 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, which is almost exactly identical to the output of the previous-generation Type R. That power is sent to the front wheels and, contrary to previous reports, Honda will only offer a six-speed manual transmission. No paddle shifters or CVT here.

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Honda also equipped the Type R with some upgraded hardware to ensure it can go around corners properly. The car sports adaptive suspension, retuned electric power steering, a limited-slip differential, and upgraded brakes with Brembo aluminum 4-pot calipers. Three driver-selectable modes (Comfort, Sport, and +R) adjust the steering, throttle response, stability control, suspension, and the transmission’s rev-matching system, which automatically blips the throttle for smoother shifts.

Honda plans to offer the Civic Type R only in high-level Touring trim. Standard features will include a 7.0-inch touchscreen, navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and a 12-speaker audio system compatible with SiriusXM, HD Radio, and Pandora.

The Civic Type R will be built in Swindon, England, but its engine will be manufactured in Ohio. Honda says U.S. sales will start in “late spring,” with full pricing to be announced closer to that date. The final price will be in the “mid-$30K” range according to the automaker.