Apparently keen to jump on the “Save the Manuals” bandwagon, Honda has confirmed its forthcoming Civic Type R will be sold exclusively with a six-speed manual transmission.
The update follows a few days of rumours the hottest Civic variant would be offered with an optional continuously variable automatic (CVT), the transmission enthusiasts love to hate.
It appears reports of a CVT option originated in this discussion at the CivicX forum in late December, where a member posted information from a Car magazine article about the Type R. But yesterday, Honda enthusiast site Temple of VTEC contacted Honda USA, and a company spokesperson confirmed there would be no Type R with a CVT, or any automatic transmission.
While we freely admit that a three-pedal transmission is our favourite kind in most cars, going the manual-only route with the Type R would put Honda in a rarefied group of manufacturers peddling high-performance compacts: Both of Ford’s hot Focus variants — RS and ST — are stickshift-only cars, as is the Subaru WRX STI (though the less-potent regular-grade WRX can be had with a CVT).
Honda’s stickshift-only policy will certainly win favour with more ardent row-it-yourselfers, but we wonder if that will hurt the Type R’s success. Competitors like the VW Golf R and Mini John Cooper Works are both offered with automatics, the Golf’s dual-clutch gearbox being the more interesting of the two. Why Honda wouldn’t adapt the eight-speed DCT from the Acura TLX for the Type R is beyond us: dual-clutch autos are a boon for straight-ahead speed thanks to rapid-fire shifting that even the best manual driver can’t match.
Honda showed a prototype version of the Type R late last year in Paris and Las Vegas (SEMA), and the production model is set to be revealed sometime this year.
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