When discussing the modern Honda Civic Type R we should address the obvious right up front so we can get it out of the way. I’m talking about the looks. If we’re being diplomatic we could say the styling is an acquired taste. Pretty it is not. But woah baby does it have personality! It took 20 years—and five generations—for the Civic Type R to finally come to North America, and the one we got—code FK8—is about as subtle as a flying karate kick to the face. It’s also nothing short of the quickest production front-wheel-drive car ever sold to the public. This 5-door hatchback handily out-drags rear- and all-wheel-drive dedicated performance cars from rival Japanese manufacturers like Subaru’s WRX STi and the Nissan 370Z. It’s even more ruthless on a road course, lapping faster than its 570hp big brother the Acura NSX! And perhaps the homely hind-quarters are Honda’s way of trolling its rivals, adding insult to injury by making unsightly the only angle most of them are going to see a Type R from!
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