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Honda holds off on Civic Type R

Tenth commandment: Honda has only revealed its 10th-generation sedan (left), but the hatch will be based on the same platform and will likely carry a similar exterior design.

Aussie hot hatch fans will have to wait until late 2017 for next-gen Civic Type R

27 Oct 2015


HONDA has confirmed that the long-awaited Civic Type R hot hatch will not be coming to Australia in current-generation guise, with the Japanese car-maker now holding out for the next-generation version instead.

While Honda Australia was yet to officially confirm the current-shape Civic Type R for the local market, it was widely believed that it would eventually be added to the roster to spice up its range.

The news will likely disappoint performance hatch fans that have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of Honda’s answer to the Ford Focus ST and Volkswagen Golf GTI, among other models.

Speaking with GoAuto at Honda’s global research and development facility in Tochigi, Japan, this week, Honda Australia director Stephen Collins said that while it was disappointing there would be a longer wait for Type R, it was the right decision for the market.

“Our plan is we will wait for the 10th generation,” he said. “As we have just announced, we will have the 10th-generation sedan from mid-next year.

“It really made sense to wait for the 10th generation. I know for a fact that people, and I am one of them, would like the Type R as quickly as possible, but it just made more sense to (wait). I can assure you it will be well and truly worth the wait.”

Honda has so far only revealed images of the new-generation Civic sedan, with the hatch that will form the basis of the Type R unlikely to be uncovered until early next year, perhaps at the Geneva motor show.

The all-new sedan will arrive in Australian showrooms in mid-2016, with the hatch to follow shortly after, and while Mr Collins said Honda was “still trying to work out” timing for the next-generation Type R, GoAuto understands it will launch later in 2017.

While the Type R is still a while off, the regular Civic sedan and hatch are set to give Honda a shot in the arm in the competitive small car sector when they arrive next year, according to Mr Collins.

“In fact it’s probably the first time in many, many generations where we have been seriously competitive in sedan and hatch at the same time. I think we have always had one or the other that has had some difficulties, for whatever reason,” he said.

Mr Collins confirmed the new sedan and hatch will have far more in common with each other than the current versions, and that they will both be sourced from Thailand. The existing Civic sedan is built in the South-East Asian kingdom, but the hatch hails from the United Kingdom.

“Both will come out of Thailand, both basically the same car. With the same spec, which we are really happy with,” he said.

Mr Collins added that Honda would likely follow a similar strategy for Civic that it employed for the HR-V and is hoping to be able to price it more competitively than the current version.

“It makes sense and of course sourcing it out of Thailand, hopefully we will get it very cost-efficient which should make us able to price it aggressively.

And I think ultimately what we have done with HR-V, we want to replicate with Civic in the small-car segment,” he said.

“We will spec it well, we will price it aggressively and look to get a good share, particularly of the private market in that small-car segment.”

While the decision to build the Civic on one platform for its 10th generation came from Honda’s Japanese headquarters, Mr Collins said the Australian arm had some say in the process.

“We were involved really from the very start and especially in the Asia-Oceania region, we were one of the leading countries. And I think Australia and a number of other countries really wanted one Civic. So for us it absolutely made sense, so from the very, very start that’s what we sought,” he said.

“Just from a production procurement perspective it makes a lot of sense.” Australian specification is yet to be revealed, but the car-maker has confirmed that Honda’s brand-new 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine will make it Down Under in the Civic, while a naturally aspirated engine will likely power an entry-level variant.

It is unclear if the new-generation Civic Type R will use the same 228kW/400Nm 2.0-litre VTEC turbo unit as the one that just went on sale on Europe, or whether Honda will further develop this powerplant beyond its existing capabilities.

The Type R is the fastest model to wear a Civic badge in the model’s 43-year history and can race from zero to 100km/h in 5.6 seconds.

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