Honda Europe announced yesterday that it will cease sales of its fierce Civic Type R, a victim of the continent’s new Euro 5 emissions regulations, which went into effect at the beginning of this year (must be some seriously stringent rules to cause problems for a Civic!).
The 2.0-liter, 198-horsepower hatchback, which debuted in late 2006, won’t be sold in most of Europe after 2010. Production of the British-built Type R will continue, but the car will be exported to Japan, South Africa, and Australia. At that point, why not put a few on the next boat heading to the U.S., too? Honda could use an infusion of driving fun on this side of the Atlantic.
I know that won’t happen, but I am absolutely itching for something fairly inexpensive that’s also fun, fast, and furious. Honda used to build such cars, but the death of the Type R seems to be another nail in Honda’s performance coffin.
Autocar reports that such a Toyota is indeed on the way!
The new model will honor the late Toyota chief test driver Hiromu Naruse, who recently died (scroll down to the longest paragraph of my section, below jgoods’) in a collision while testing the Lexus LFA at the Nürburgring.
According to the report, Naruse always wanted to see Toyota produce an inexpensive, rear-wheel-drive coupe/hatch that was affordable enough for the masses.
I know, you’ve heard that before, right? The FT-86 concept began the same way, but costs quickly escalated, and current estimates peg it at around the $30K mark. The new inexpensive two-door will slot well below the sexy FT-86 and be based on the GRMN Aigo Hot Hatch concept (above right) from this year’s Tokyo Auto Salon. That concept featured a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine, RWD, and a double-wishbone rear suspension. A production version could come in 2012.
If Toyota can actually pull off two new fun-to-drive RWD cars that are affordably priced, I think people will quickly forget about the demise of Honda’s performance and flock toward Toyota’s new-found passion for fun.
Would you consider buying a new fun-to-drive Toyota?