Confirmed: Honda Civic Type-R to be Stickshift-Only


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.

2017 Honda Civic Type R First Drive Impressions

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Chris Chase

Chris Chase

As a child, Chris spent much of his time playing with toy cars in his parents’ basement; when his mother would tell him to go play outside, he made car sounds while riding his bicycle or dug roads for his toys in the flower garden. Now he gets to indulge his obsession playing with real cars that make their own cool noises, and gets paid for it.