The 2019 Honda Civic Type R has seating for four passengers, and a rear cargo area with a retractable cover that completely blocks viewing from passersby. (Manufacturer photo)

The 2019 Honda Civic Type R has seating for four passengers, and a rear cargo area with a retractable cover that completely blocks viewing from passersby. (Manufacturer photo)

Practical 2019 Honda Civic Type R compact is stunning

This hot hatchback has an updated audio system and adds Sonic Gray Pearl to its paint color palette.

There’s the Honda Civic. And then there’s the Honda Civic Type R.

The Civic Type R, Honda’s most powerful production car, has an exclusive 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder engine with 306 horsepower, a six-speed manual transmission, zero-to-60 mpg in less than 6 seconds, and the structural characteristics of a racecar. In fact it IS a racecar and has celebrated victory on racetracks throughout the world.

Don’t turn away if you have no interest in racing. If you just love a good car, keep reading.

Yes, the Civic Type R is flamboyant and looks like it’s racing even when cruising leisurely through town. Its presence raises the testosterone levels of other motorists of every gender. The car screams impracticality, but that’s a superficial impression.

The Type R has front-wheel drive, four doors and a rear hatch, and an EPA rating of 22 mpg city, 28 mpg highway, and 25 mpg combined. Regular unleaded fuel isn’t forbidden, but premium is recommended.

The ride is civilized. The clutch and gearshift are so smooth and precise, their operation is child’s play, effortless.

Bright red sport seats match the flamboyant exterior styling of the 2019 Honda Civic Type R. (Manufacturer photo)

Bright red sport seats match the flamboyant exterior styling of the 2019 Honda Civic Type R. (Manufacturer photo)

Wild-looking sport seats up front are heavily bolstered to keep occupants from moving to and fro, and for some people the bolstering might require a little extra effort when entering and exiting. However, once inside those seats, it’s difficult to imagine being any more comfortable in a car.

There are two passenger positions in the back seat, separated by a console with cupholders and a storage space. Leg room and head room are generous and the seatbacks are slightly reclined, with good lumbar support. They are nearly as comfortable as the front seats.

The Civic Type R base price is $37,230 including a $930 destination charge.

For 2019, the Civic Type R gets an updated display audio system with a physical volume knob, and there’s a new color in the paint palette: Sonic Gray Pearl, which was my tester’s color. It’s a gorgeous, lustrous charcoal color, a great option if you think Championship White is too bland and Rallye Red is too cliché. Other color choices are Aegean Blue Metallic, Crystal Black Pearl, and Polished Metal Metallic.

A car with astounding performance ability might typically make a loud roaring sound, but the Civic Type R has a relatively quiet engine. Believing that noise for the sake of noise is dopey, I was OK with the quiet until one episode during my test week. A small group of teen boys were nearby, all gaping at the car. I was looking forward to seeing their happy faces when I started the engine, but it was a letdown (to me) when there wasn’t a loud roar. Hypocrite.

The 2019 Honda Civic Type R has front-wheel drive, a 306-horsepower turbo four cylinder engine, and a six-speed manual transmission. (Manufacturer photo)

The 2019 Honda Civic Type R has front-wheel drive, a 306-horsepower turbo four cylinder engine, and a six-speed manual transmission. (Manufacturer photo)

2019 HONDA CIVIC TYPE R

Base price, including destination charge: $37,320

Price as driven: $37,320

Mary Lowry is an independent automotive writer who lives in Snohomish County. She is a member of the Motor Press Guild, and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturers as a one-week loan for review purposes only. In no way do the manufacturers control the content of the reviews.

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