There’s no way the Type R will go all-wheel drive. But a more powerful track-hardened Civic? Sure, why not.
Despite dealership markups getting out of hand for the popular Civic Type R, Honda priced its Nurburgring-stomping bad boy reasonably, doing its best to undercut the Volkswagen Golf R and Ford Focus RS by a few thousand dollars. Honda used no price-cutting trickery to pull this off, however. It didn't need to because inherently, the Civic Type R is cheaper than the competition due to the fact that it’s only offered as a front-wheel drive vehicle while its competitors use more expensive all-wheel drive drivetrains.
That may soon change. Speaking with Australia’s Car Advice, Yuji Matsumochi, assistant project leader for the 10th-generation Civic powertrain, claimed that a hotter version of the Civic was in the cards. Thing is, he made sure to mention that a horsepower bump for the Type R was not going to happen, which would do little good anyway since front-wheel drive machines are not the best candidates for putting down large amounts of horsepower effectively. Instead, Matsumochi says that Honda would to improve the Civic’s cornering ability by converting it to all-wheel drive and then adding more power. Problematically, that would toy with the Type R’s recipe by adding weight to the package, which is a big no-no for Honda engineers.
“Adding the all-wheel-drive means more weight or assistance or something. The important thing to us is the power-to-weight ratio. So, however, big power, more weight,” said Matsumochi. “My opinion is that, of course, every strategy, every year by year, we make a program. However, at this situation we don’t have a more muscled vehicle than this Type R.” Honda’s alternative? Well, as Matsumochi put it, another Civic that’s “not a Type R” could make it to production with more horsepower to counter the weight added by an all-wheel drive system. Ample amounts of ambiguity in Honda’s plan means that we have no idea what goals the automaker will outline for such a car.
However, it would be a boon to fans and Honda’s damaged Japanese sports car reputation, although don’t expect it to be cheap if and when it comes to dealerships. “Not a Type R is a possibility for the big power [with all-wheel-drive], this is a possibility for the future. But not for a Type R,” said Matsumochi. “We have many, many types of powertrains, so Honda can make many types of powertrain: petrol, diesel, turbocharged, hybrid, electric vehicles, fuel-cell. So, we can make possible many platforms for powertrains in the current models, or future models.” Matsumochi kept his lips sealed after that, but his words are more than enough to get our imaginations going, thinking about the possibilities.