Tuesday, February 27, 2018

First Drive: Honda Civic Type R


There are two schools of thought surrounding the Civic Type R. On one hand, there are those who believe it’s the pinnacle of Honda’s engineering achievement—a technical tour-de-force built with the very best that carmaker could offer. On the other, there are the skeptics who think it can’t be better than an all-wheel drive sports sedan with a bright blue paint job. Heading into this track experience, I belonged squarely to the latter. But an afternoon at the Clark International Speedway was enough to sway my convictions—the hype is most definitely real.

Admittedly, I don’t find the Honda Civic Type R to be a pretty machine. With all those protrusions, vents, and wings, it looks menacing and aggressive, but messy and complicated at the same time. However, after knowing that everything here serves a purpose makes me appreciate all the meticulous attention to detail. Aerodynamics play a big part of its looks: the hood scoop feed cool air into the engine bay; the vent by the front fog light channel air into the engine, over the brakes, and past the wheels; the front skirt integrates winglets and so do the extended side skirts; and vortex generators at the trailing edge of the roof direct airflow over the large rear wing—so tall that it doesn’t block the view out back.



Inside, the Type R takes the Civic’s pedestrian-looking cockpit and gives it a heavy dose of sport. In this case, “R” could also mean “red” since that color is present from the steering wheel, to the dashboard, and even the seats. The front seats are super supportive, designed race-ready by Honda. It eats up a chunk of the rear passenger space, but since this is a Civic Type R, it shouldn’t matter. It’s easy to goose yourself because of the high side bolstering, but at least once you’re in, you’re in. Front and center is a digital gauge cluster akin to the regular Civic’s. It shows the same sort of practical information such as audio, navigation, and fuel consumption figures—perfect for normal daily driving, but it also shows more fun data such as turbo boost pressure, brake and throttle input, G-forces, and even a lap timer.

Shifting it into gear reminds me just how good Honda’s manual transmissions can be and the Civic Type R’s 6-speed box is an absolute joy. The aluminum shift knob feels good in hand, the clutch is light and easy to modulate, and the throws from one gear to another are short and precise. It even has automatic rev matching making me feel like a racing god when it’s actually the car doing all the work.



With 306 horsepower and 400 Nm of torque from a 2.0-liter turbocharged VTEC engine, it pulls quickly and smoothly all the way up to its 7,000 rpm redline. With a low-inertia turbocharger and an electric waste gate, turbo lag is imperceptible. The note is appropriately burly, too. While it sounds perfectly civilized on public roads, let it rip and sings a deep, throaty song. The trick lies in its odd-looking three-pipe center exhaust, where the middle is actually a resonator that amplifies or reduces the exhaust note depending on the amount of throttle applied.

For a front-wheel drive car, it feels quick, precise, and stable. It delivers attainable performance that’s easy to master. There’s no torque steer thanks to its unique dual-axis front strut suspension and scrubbing speed is easy with its massive, fade-free 4-piston Brembo brakes. Through corners, it’s always pointable and accurate, and out of corners, the limited slip differential sorts out wheelspin as well. Even for novice track drivers such as myself, it’s easy to place the Civic Type R where I visualized it going.



The Civic Type R has three drive modes that manage the steering force, suspension (adaptive dampers), throttle response, and even the sharpness of the rev matching. The car always defaults to Sport mode, but also offers Comfort mode for more relaxed driving, as well as +R for track use. Honda says this should provide drivers a range of flexibility—making it an equally good track day weapon as it is a grocery getter. However, since there wasn’t any chance to sample how the 30-series, 20-inch tires would behave on our pockmarked roads, it’s best to reserve judgement at a later time.

Overall, if I were to use an analogy to compare the Civic Type R to its chief competitor, I would look at it this way: if lapping a circuit was like driving a nail down a piece of wood, its rival would be a sledgehammer. It would always bludgeon its way through. It’ll get the job done, but it’s raw, brutal, and tiring. It’s ancient and inefficient. On the other hand, the Civic Type R is more of a pneumatic nail gun. One small click and it’ll drive the nail through each and every time. No fuss, no hassle. It definitely feels like the modern-day track hero who will always get things done effortlessly.



Twenty years is a long time to suffer from blue balls. And after counting the years with all my fingers and toes, I was ready to give up, give up the dream of savoring a Honda Civic Type R in a local setting. Thankfully, when I was just about to run out of digits, I’ve finally gotten my release. I drove Honda’s legendary track weapon and it was every bit as good as I imagined it to be.

Thanks to the overwhelming response of car enthusiasts to the Civic Type R, Honda Cars Philippines President and General Manager Noriyuki Takakura has confirmed that they are in the process of bringing in another batch of the Civic Type R within the year. Exact timing and pricing will be announced at a later date. 







79 comments:

  1. Subaru WRX STI>Honda Civic Type Ricer

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    1. Sorry, not this time. Consider me amazed as well. Thought the STI would be hard to beat, but stock to stock the Type R is waaaaaay better.

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    2. Why would you get burned choosing a rally-bred AWD car vs. a wrong-wheel drive economy compact car?

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    3. Honda Civic Type R >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Subaru WRX STI BS!

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    4. LOL! Subaru boxer engines are obsolete already. Get on with it! Bring in the Renault Sport Megane RS here and lets see the difference.

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  2. The Lexus IS350 FSport is the better choice in this price range than this Civic Type Ricer. A modified Civic near the 3m mark? Ayala is doing good business.

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    1. It's pretty obvious as with regards to who's just a POSEUR or a REAL CAR GUY.

      The Lexus IS350 F Sport is a sports sedan that has an Automatic Sequential Transmission and not a Manual Tranny befitting a proper track car like the WRX STi and Type R.

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    2. Had an IS350 F-Sport back in 2013-2015. Its a decent sedan but too front heavy in twisty roads and auto shifter nowhere near dct’s. Its a good value car vs comparable euro sedans but not a performance car.

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    3. I agree sir. That's the drawback of the heavy 3.5 V6 engine plus it's turbocharged.

      If you don't mind sir, can you elaborate even just a bit why its sequential tranny is nowhere near dct's? Just for further knowledge. Thanks!

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    4. The IS has a naturally aspirated 3.5 V6, non-turbo charged. Engine sound is good but engine is quite old. The car itself is feature laden, much more than its European competition. Transmission is fine for cruising but I guess not meant for performance driving especially if you need to shift fast between 2nd to 4th gear and back.

      The IS350 is ok but for me, a 3-series or C-Class has better space management. Other than price, I don't think it performs close to say WRX STI, Type R, etc.

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    5. Oh sorry, i was looking at the foreign version. Apparently what we have here is the 3.5 V6 with the ageing 2GR-FE engine similar to my Camry 3.5 V6.

      I agree. If you want to have a track car, you have to look elsewhere. It's more of a comfortable cruiser for distinguished executives who loves cars.

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    6. Exactly :)

      I think the IS is still best in class in terms of power and features for the money. Lexus service is also very good, in my opinion, better than the Euro brands.

      But then, it's not perfect too. Interior space not so efficient, ground clearance of F-sport kinda low, F-sport seat bolsters too stiff, etc. So I guess it depends what your priorities are.

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    7. But the Civic Type R IS the ultimate BEST car OF THE UNIVERSE AND A GOD!

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    8. Nah. Your lexus would eat dust if it goes head to head with Renault Sport Megane RS. Bring it on Nissan!

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    9. I saw a Renault in the Philippines years ago.

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  3. I've heard of overheating issues. Have you encountered any of the sort?

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    1. Good question. I've heard of those reports as well...something like there's not enough cooling going on. During this track day activity, we didn't encounter any problem. Both Type R units did more than 12 laps of the Clark circuit and they proved reliable. Even the brakes didn't fade.

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    2. Thats great to hear. I'm glad they didnt "dump" those early units here in the country or maybe they've addressed the issue. Great article.

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  4. Yes it's a good car with all the electric trickery. But it's still overpriced.

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  5. Subaru WRX STi would've been a better track car if not for the ringland failure issues and the sledgehammer feel. We'll see once the new model rolls out come 2020.

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  6. If the incompetent Gateway Motors is replaced by Ayala and they bring in the Kia Stinger, it will knock the socks off the FWD Civic

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    Replies
    1. And you should be bothering to comment because the Civic Type R WILL stop AND knock the socks off the Kia Stinger in every turn!

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  7. Did any of the mojos present ask the Honda honcho if the front double axis strut suspension acts and functions like a theoretical double wishbone? Some mojos cannot imagine a double wishbone without the double wishbone. What they fail to see is that the double axis is the root pivot or hinge of a double wishbone - you can have single track rod emanante from each of the pivot and it cannot be a functional plain mcpherson strut suspension. no way, too many dimensions of movement and arc. Perhaps to ease those who cannot imagine a theoretical double wishbone, all double wishbone suspensions should be called double axis pivot suspensions. Bravo Honda for not moving but changing the goal posts. With all those ducts and vents, it is Ugly and the grille and lights seeming to cooperate with the vents and strakes make it even uglier. From an engineering point of view, could the type R be an epochal event in the same magnitude as the 1951 Mercedes 300SL - naturally aspirated with desmodronic valve actuation and it had double wishbone suspension in front. My apologies to those who do not understand my comment as I am addressing this to Uly as I know he can understand this for what it is and what I want to know.

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    1. Kid, just like you, Uly is not a mechanical nor automotive engineer. Google-powered instant experts are a dime-a-dozen. Welcome to the Internet by the way.

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    2. That's okay, I already understand the Dual Axis suspension. And as an added bonus, The new Civic Type R is the most beautiful car of all time.

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  8. The made in japan mazda3 is superior and better than this civic. It has premium materials, non-disjointed design and it is fun to drive. It also has no battery defects which can be attested by the majority of mazda3 owners which consist of more than 300 members in the mazda car club.

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    Replies
    1. Hmm ... im a mazda owner myself (mx5) but comparing a regular 3 to a type R seems like apples to oranges

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    2. Sarcastic troll that poorly copied my statement in the other thread.

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    3. Poorly copied? LMAO. As if naman your statement is a masterpiece.

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    4. Pathetic Honda riceb0i commenting as if she has this Type-Rice wrong-wheel drive economy compact car. Lulz.

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    5. But the Civic HAS the best Design, the MOST premium materials and the MOST fun to drive! Also it is named the North American Car Of The Year and the Top Gear Car Of The Year!

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  9. Well lets compare then to Golf GT Volkswagen. And what if Ford will bring the Focus RS here in our country(probably not), maybe Honda Civic will come last..

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    Replies
    1. But the Honda Civic IS the KING OF KINGS!

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  10. (*Floors the gas pedal) Ho-hum, boring overpriced, ricey fugly, wrong-wheel drive compact economy car. The stuff of wetdreams of teenagers and those with the mental age of teenagers. Being a Honda fanb0i is the Level 0 in the hierarchy of motoring enthusiasts. Most people with enough sense & education should outgrow it by age 20. (*And, oh, VTEC just kicked in yo!)

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    Replies
    1. As if naman nakasakay ka na. LOL.

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  11. Pangit pa rin even if you rice it out. Kasing chaka nung insecure na Honda fan-ghey dun sa Mazda 3 article. May turbo spool sound daw lahat ng cars na may CVT kahit naturally-aspirated, hahahaha. Engot talaga basta fanb0i ng Honda rice.

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    Replies
    1. Pangit ka rin even if you troll out! I am a fanboy of Honda with a level of INFINITY!

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  12. Looks Amazing, glad you got to drive one Mr. Uly! I wish I had that same opportunity. I've seen videos of these Type R's grinding gears when shifting from first to second gear even when shifting properly. Have you experienced this or is this only an issue for US market? Thanks Mr. Uly!

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    1. On the track it didn’t seem to have any difficulty getting into gear. Hopefully we’ll get to test this on public roads to see how well it performs as a daily driver.

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  13. I saw the one white at the MIAS last year and it looks fine, but the red one in the casa looks ricey.

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  14. But come on, that's Ford Mustang money in there. I would prefer to spend cash on the Mustang than this one. That's one overpriced Honda, just like the Pilot and the Legend.

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    Replies
    1. Except if you got the Legend during Honda's clearance sale. :)

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    2. But I would prefer to spend cash on the Civic Type R and the Can-Am Spyder because the Mustang is an overpriced BS Ford.

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    3. LOL! FORD= FOreveR Dead
      Reliability issues will haunt ford forever. Thats why ford japan and indonesia had closed down.

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  15. Re: Limited Slip Differential (LSD)
    How does the Civic type R compare to that of Lexus ISF350 F-Sport?

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    1. Only a fool would buy this over the Lexus IS350 F Sport, you get the best of both worlds in the Lexus at the same price range. If you really want a car that will put a smile to your face every time, get the MX-5 and you'll save 1m. You won't experience the 300+hp and track capability of the Type Ricer unless you go to the Clark International Speedway. What you'll be left with everyday traffic is a modified Civic that is has an even worse interior quality than the Civic RS.

      I wish they'll offer the Ford Focus RS, a car that really deserves the RS moniker. With the current Ford distributor, it'll have a reasonable pricing than the overpriced Civic Type Ricer.

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    2. The hate on honda is strong with this one. Baka nabully o naagawan ng babae to ng may ari ng sasakyan na Honda kaya ganyan na lang kabitter.

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    3. Until your Focus RS suffers from head gasket failure ๐Ÿ˜… and besides the RS ends production in April.

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    4. Hahahahaha!!! Buuuurrrrnnn ๐Ÿ”ฅ

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    5. Why would you get burned choosing a RWD luxury sports car over a wrong-wheel drive economy compact car?

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    6. First of all, the Lexus IS350 FSport is a Luxury Sports Sedan, not a sports car. This is car more of a cruiser and not a track car since its front heavy due to the 3.5 V6 engine. And oh please to educate your ignorance, a Lexus IS350 FSport doesn't automatically come in RWD as it also has an AWD version.

      The Civic Type R may have a Front Wheel Drive configuration but it's track ready. You buy a vehicle for its intended purpose and not just for the sake of buying it.

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    7. The whole point is that the Lexus IS350 is more of a sports car than this Type Rice could ever aspire to be. No serious track racer who wasn't absent from his HS Physics class would use a wrong-wheel drive economy car if there are much better options available at a much lower price.

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    8. As i have said the Lexus IS350 FSport ain't a sports car, it's a luxury sports sedan. Learn to distinguish a sport sedan compared to a sports car so you'll fully understand. The Lexus IS350 FSport wasn't built to be a track racer while the Type R was built for that purpose.

      Yeah, there's a better option at a lower price than the Type R but at the expense of ringland failure. Goodluck!

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    9. Read again, you seem to have poor reading comprehension. I said the IS350 xan easily be considered closer to a pedantic definition of a sports car than the Type Rice can ever be. If you still don't get that then you really deserve a Type Rice. There are numerous options other than that straw man Subaru you came up with. Then again, a ricer fool and his money are soon parted.

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    10. But the idiocy of a fool and the hatred towards Honda are now parted forever and ever. I am sticking with the Civic Type R.

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    11. Haha, the autistic troll who can't even drive his own car has escaped his confines and got access to the keyboard again. Lulz.

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    12. I understand there's a lot of newbies/wannabe's here. How am i not surprised if someone calls the Lexus IS350 F Sport as a sports car. A 4 door luxury sport sedan as a sports car? LMAO!

      Solely stating the Lexus IS350 FSport as a RWD when it also has a AWD version? LMAO again!

      At any rate, what are those cheaper options you're mentioning that can beat the Type R on the track aside from you're so called "straw man" Subaru?

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    13. Man, the moron above is as retarded as Richard JoAss Tan. Can't even. People who have poor reading comprehension shouldn't be issued driving licenses. Hanggang magazine racing na lang dapat kayong mga kiddos. Haha.

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    14. Nabuking lang kasi kabobohan nyo. It's okay, i understand you're in a defensive mode. LMAO!

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    15. One thing's for sure, only a riceb0i would choose a pedestrian economy car from a mass-market brand over a luxury car brand with impeccable reputation in terms of reliability, design & build quality.

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    16. A buyer who's in the market for a TRACK CAR will definitely choose the Civic Type R over the Lexus IS350 FSport. Simply because it was built to be raced.

      Otherwise, choose the Lexus IS350 FSport if you just want to look cool, fast and feel the luxury all at the same time.

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    17. A smart buyer looking for a track car would never buy a wrong-wheel drive car unless she was absent from HS Physics class, or a blind fanb0i, or both.

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    18. At this specific price point, the Type R is "currently" the best locally. Sir Uly himself loves the Type R.

      If not for the ringland failures of the Subie EJ25 engine, it would've been a more logical choice.

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    19. More than just the ringland failures. The STI just feels too ancient compared to the Type R. For sure there will be purists who would want to do everything themselves but for the novice track guy, the Type R just makes everything easier.

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    20. Agree. Yeah the Type R ain't perfect but those positive characteristics makes the Type R as a decent alternative. Both the STi and Lan Evo has stiff clutch, making it really hard for novice track drivers.

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    21. You're comparing the old Evo, the Evo X MR has a dual-clutch tranny actuated by paddle shifters behind the steering wheel, what stiff clutch are you talking about. A Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ and 1.3M worth of upgrades (price diff.) would be better than this overpriced wrong wheel drive car.

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    22. LMAO!!! Im comparing the old Evo daw, the Evo X only has the MR variant which has a dual clutch tranny actuated by paddle shifters daw. LMFAO!!!

      FYI, the Evo X has 2 variants available locally during its time. The MR DCT that cost 3.7m and the GSR 6 speed manual tranny that cost 3.2m in which it has a stiff clutch similar to old Lan Evo's.

      Boy, stop lecturing me, you're not in my level. You're a second rate trying hard car guy.

      Delete
    23. That mazda fanboy sure is a stubborn one. Why the hell does he hate the civic with all his heart? May pinaghuhugutan siguro yan malamang...

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    24. True. Sinulot siguro gf nito ng naka Civic o kaya laging talo sa Civic sa mga street race. LOL!

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  16. Hi Uly! Did you notice if local Civic Type R's come with Apple Car Play? I think it's a standard feature in other markets.

    Thanks!

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    1. Apple CarPlay is standard. It's available on the 1.8 E and 1.5 RS Turbo as well.

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    2. OK great! I'm curious because it wasn't on the Honda Pilot.

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  17. I hope Duterte will ban anyone who hates Honda so much because I love Honda.

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    Replies
    1. I hope you were high when you made these comments because you should die

      Delete
  18. Haha, who allowed this autistic troll access to the internet once again??? This sad sack would bombard you with private messages even on FB if you catch his ire commenting on CarGuide posts there. His mother should have aborted him.

    ReplyDelete

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