Chris Harris Drives the New Civic Type R and a 2001 Type R

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Top Gear’s Chris Harris highlights how the new Honda Civic Type R compares to the last great Type R car from 2001.

The 2017 Honda Civic is the first model year of the hot-selling compact to offer the Type R package in the United States. After generations of hoping, American sport compact fans finally have the ultimate Civic and the market has responded well, with buyers snatching up the turbocharged 306hp hot hatch.

While the Type R is new to the US market, this highest performance Civic has been sold overseas for years, and Top Gear’s Chris Harris put together a video with the newest high performance Honda. However, rather than just doing a basic drive video of the 2017 Type R, Harris first spends some time driving the 2001 Civic Type R – which he regards as the last great Honda to wear that moniker.

Civic Type R old and new

Driving the 2001 EP3 Civic Type R

The Top Gear video begins with a quick introduction to each of the Type R models featured in the video, followed by a segment where Chris Harris is tooling around the English countryside in the 2001 Honda Civic Type R. Of course, Harris loves the EP3, with its high-revving K20A engine producing 200 horsepower and 142lb-ft of torque, its race-ready gearbox and the four-wheel independent suspension setup which he proclaims is the key feature in making this Type R so great.

2001 Civic Type R

He goes so far as to state the modern hot hatchbacks could learn from the 2001 Civic Type R, pointing out that the interior is small and “vaguely disposable” with all of its hard plastic trim. He complains that the interior feels cheap, but that was because all of the cost of the 2001 Civic Type R was tied up in the suspension and the drivetrain.

Unfortunately Honda went away from the independent rear suspension in the next few generations of Civic Type R sold in the U.K., but with the arrival of the 2017 models – that vital suspension setup is back.

Driving the 2017 FK8 Civic Type R

After spending half of the video driving the 2011 Civic Type R and praising it, he jumps into the 2017 version and the next portion of the video begins. Surprisingly, Harris isn’t all praise for the new model.

2017 Civic Type R

He starts off talking about the turbocharged engine, with plenty of power down low and on the top end, but he doesn’t love how the 2017 Type R sounds. He then complains about the inability to pick different suspension and steering settings, although overall, he likes the drive of the hot Honda hatchback.

Finally, he hates on the exterior styling, going so far as to call it absurd and he complains about the inability to changes settings on the fly.

He ends by proclaiming that 2017 Honda Civic Type R is one of the best hot hatches in the segment – even with the many downsides.

"Before I was old enough to walk, my dad was taking me to various types of racing events, from local drag racing to the Daytona 500," says Patrick Rall, a lifetime automotive expert, diehard Dodge fan, and respected auto journalist for over 10 years. "He owned a repair shop and had a variety of performance cars when I was young, but by the time I was 16, he was ready to build me my first drag car – a 1983 Dodge Mirada that ran low 12s. I spent 10 years traveling around the country, racing with my dad by my side. While we live in different areas of the country, my dad still drag races at 80 years old in the car that he built when I was 16 while I race other vehicles, including my 2017 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and my 1972 Dodge Demon 340.

"Although I went to college for accounting, my time in my dad’s shop growing up allowed me the knowledge to spend time working as a mechanic before getting my accounting degree, at which point I worked in the office of a dealership group. While I was working in the accounting world, I continued racing and taking pictures of cars at the track. Over time, I began showing off those pictures online and that led to my writing.

"Ten years ago, I left the accounting world to become a full-time automotive writer and I am living proof that if you love what you do, you will never “work” a day in your life," adds Rall, who has clocked in time as an auto mechanic, longtime drag racer and now automotive journalist who contributes to nearly a dozen popular auto websites dedicated to fellow enthusiasts.

"I love covering the automotive industry and everything involved with the job. I was fortunate to turn my love of the automotive world into a hobby that led to an exciting career, with my past of working as a mechanic and as an accountant in the automotive world provides me with a unique perspective of the industry.

"My experience drag racing for more than 20 years coupled with a newfound interest in road racing over the past decade allows me to push performance cars to their limit, while my role as a horse stable manager gives me vast experience towing and hauling with all of the newest trucks on the market today.

"Being based on Detroit," says Rall, "I never miss the North American International Auto Show, the Woodward Dream Cruise and Roadkill Nights, along with spending plenty of time raising hell on Detroit's Woodward Avenue with the best muscle car crowd in the world.

Rall can be contacted at [email protected]

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