The Honda Civic Type R is finally available in the United States for the first time ever. The company wanted to launch its hottest Civic in the exact configuration that has earned it tons of respect in overseas markets like Europe and Japan — and executives say that’s only the beginning.
Honda is looking at ways to expand the Type R lineup in every direction in the coming years. Notably, the Japanese brand might introduce a more hardcore version of the hot hatch that packs a bigger punch under the hood. Precisely what that means is anyone’s guess, because it’s unclear how many more horses engineers can squeeze out of the engine. The stock Type R (pictured) currently relies on a 2.0-liter turbo four that sends 306 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque to the front wheels.
The Type R could also compete at the other end of the hot hatch spectrum, according to industry trade journal Automotive News. A second possible offshoot is a toned-down model that would broaden the car’s target audience considerably. Hideki Matsumoto, the Civic’s chief engineer, told the publication that a more basic Type R would be “focused more on the grand touring aspect” of the hot hatch segment. It would likely arrive with fewer driving aids, less standard features, and a more affordable base price.
The third option on the table is one that enthusiasts have been clamoring for since the new Type R began making headlines. Honda remains open to the idea of building an all-wheel drive Type R. Sending power to the back as well as to the front wheels would completely change how the hot rod of the Civic family drives. Rivals like the Volkswagen Golf R , the Subaru WRX STI, and the Ford Focus RS — which is getting discontinued after the 2018 model year — already offer all-wheel drive.
Honda says launching new variants of the Civic Type R is a way to keep enthusiasts interested in the model. With that in mind, don’t expect to see any of the offshoots in the coming months. They’ll begin to arrive when the initial “whoa!” effect of a U.S.-spec Type R begins to wear off, which is likely at least a year away.