New Civic Type-R is the only non-electrified car in Honda’s lineup
Lead engineer Hideki Kakinuma tells Autocar “without Type R, there is no Honda” as rival firms cut go-faster models
Honda’s Type R models will continue into the electrified age, giving the firm’s hot hatchbacks and other driver’s cars a future despite the demise of internal combustion engines.
However, Hideki Kakinuma, lead engineer for Honda’s Type R project, told Autocar: “Without Type R, there is no Honda.”
Speaking after the launch of the most recent incarnation of the iconic Honda Civic Type R, he said: “Honda strongly believes that driving pleasure is the core essence of private mobility, personal mobility.” However, Kakinuma admitted that in the face of “carbon neutrality and emissions regulations that are very stringent, it’s very difficult to think about such a sports model in these boundaries”.
He added: “But for Honda, they are only new hurdles, new challenges to provide our customers the joy of driving. Yes, we will definitely be keen to bring further Type Rs.”
This will be welcome news for fans of the hot hatch and means Honda joins Volkswagen in keeping hold of its sporting models. The German car maker recently confirmed to Autocar its plan to continue with GTI and R badging.
In what form the next Type R arrives – the latest is the only non-electrified model in Honda UK’s range – remains unknown. But the possibility that there will be another Type R without battery-electric power or hybrid assistance is “not zero”, according to Kakinuma.
He said: “Carbon neutrality doesn’t have to be focused on the powertrain itself. It can have the possibility of achieving it even though you are driving a car with an ICE. So I would not reject the possibility that the next Type R can be ICE. However, given the current circumstances, this is very unlikely.”
Kakinuma added: “But the Type R itself does not depend on the powertrain. It’s a certain philosophy, a principle of the joy of driving, and that involves a lot of aspects… If this excitement can be provided with a certain powertrain that is carbon neutral or somewhat electrified – or a completely different technology – this will also be justifiably a Type R.”
Regulations will limit the supply of Honda hot hatches
Average fuel economy regulations will severely limit the number of new Civic Type Rs that can be imported to the UK to the “hundreds, not thousands”, confirmed Rebecca Adamson, Honda UK’s head of cars.
Even though all Hondas apart from the Civic Type R are at least part-electrified and several new Honda BEVs are coming, the Civic’s 34.5mpg and 186g/km consumption and emissions figures will mean supply of the hot hatch will be very limited.
It follows a sad trend for Honda: in 2004, 5424 Type Rs were sold in the UK, and the last time it sold more than 1000 was in 2016. In 2021, just 376 were sold.