Taking New Turns & Turning Heads : The Honda Civic Type R

Everyone has a way of marking the timeline of their life. Your grandparents may have dated theirs with “Well, when Eisenhower was president…” Some will calculate seasons by who they were romantically involved with. Mothers and fathers measure timelines with dates of pregnancies or children’s birthdays. Growing up in an automotive family, the stories I heard always included memories categorized by the cars that were driven. Cars were always a significant part of the story. Just like this one.
At a time when most of my friends were still in college finding themselves, I found myself in a driveway restarting my life in a sporty red Honda Civic. This was a pivotal point on my timeline. Looking back, this place in my past was one of the most uncertain times of my entire life. As a recently separated single mother, this was literally the key to making this new life work. Staring down the hood, I came to a powerful revelation. I was doing more than taking ownership of a car that day. I was also taking ownership of my life. I held the keys in my hand and took a deep breath as if the oxygen filling my lungs would replace the trepidation inside. The next steps would require a monumental amount of endurance, resiliency, determination and confidence.
It was a fun car to drive and great fit for my personality but it meant so much more to me than that. Owning that Civic was the security I needed to arrive on time to the 55-65 hours a week required to make this new life possible. It provided a place of solace when my two babies were incessantly crying and my arms were too tired to hold or rock them a minute longer. Secure in their car seats, we drove until tiny eyelids could finally be seen blinking in slow motion in the rear view mirror. I’d drive a bit longer to make sure that sleep was certain and then find a spot overlooking a lake or park that had gone quiet for the evening.

At the end of long days like this, inside this car was where I shed tears, sorted through my thoughts and worries, and reassured myself “we really were doing a good job getting there ” (even if I didn’t quite know where “there” was yet). Through every curve, tight corner, and rough patch I got there.
Several years later, I found myself handing over the keys to a new owner. It very much felt like the end of a journey. I was both relieved and sentimental thinking about the feat it was to purchase that car at that point in my life. It was the proof I needed to refute echos of “you’ll never make it on your own. You are going to fail”.  But I hadn’t failed. I had persevered and proven to the world I could.

Seaplane Honda Civic Type R

Years went by without another Honda in my driveway but late this summer, I received an invitation to sit in the driver’s seat of a 2017 Honda Civic Type R as it makes its entrance into the US market. We would arrive by seaplane to stay at the beautiful Alderbrook Resort & Spa, driving the winding roads of Washington State, and have the opportunity to fully test the Civic Type R with a few fast laps on the track at the Ridge Motorsports Park. Beautiful scenery, luxury accommodations, and fast driving who could say no to that?

Yet, I hesitated for 3 days before sending back my reply of acceptance. It wasn’t due to lack of excitement about the invitation. Ties to emotional memories are powerful in that way, friends. Somewhere deep inside hid a small part of myself wondering if the smallness I felt in years past would come rushing back when once again I positioned myself in the drivers seat of another Honda Civic.

This certainly wouldn’t be the same Civic from my past- FAR from it. In a respectful parallel, I was also now far from the young 22-year-old woman who once stood alone trying to regain her confidence. Was I really as strong and confident as I imagined myself to be? Was I trying to prove something to myself? This invitation offered an opportunity to find out. I knew there was definitely a story to be told here. If nothing else I’d have the opportunity to prove my driving skills as the limited production Type R is manufactured in manual-transmission only.

Honda Civic Type R manual transmission

The Honda Civic Type R

The Honda Civic Type R has been sold in Japan, Europe, and Australia for decades now. Enthusiasts in the US have been anxiously awaiting its release here in the states. The mere mention of the front-wheel-drive lap-time record at Nürburgring of 7 minutes 43.8 seconds, delivering 306 horsepower and 296 pounds of torque seemed to be all thats needed to create an inner desire to get behind the wheel.

On the track in the Honda Civic Type R

Taking New Turns and Turning Heads in the Civic Type R

Bell helmets Honda Civic Type RMy drive opportunity during this trip in the Type R offered the full range to experience every capability this car is equipped for. It allowed us driving speeds of 122+ mph on the track at The Ridge Motorsports Park. You’ll never find out how truly capable you are until you position yourself in a place to challenge yourself and your limits. This seemed like the ideal place to test limits.

Even at increasing speeds the Type R enters every turn with precision, simultaneously keeping its passengers firmly embraced in its red and black sport seats.

The D-shaped steering wheel, sport pedals and aluminum shifting knob are a consistent reminder of what this car is engineered for. The distinctive design of the Type-R is as functional as it is head turning.
Honda Civic Type R rear view
Side angle of the Honda Civic Type R
It’s so head turning in fact that my drive partner Scotty ( you can read her take on the Type R here) and I were flagged down along our route by a local and his wife, to discuss how he could purchase a Honda Civic Type R of his very own that very day. Obviously, we couldn’t sell him ours but we assured him we’d connect him with someone who could.


We continued the transition from track to road finding the only difficulty was making the mental shift to drive lower local speed limits, shifting gears was always smooth. It was fun to drive fast but it just as comfortable for long drives on the road. Outfitted with comforts of a 7 inch display, 12 speaker sound system, and climate control you’ll find yourself wanting to spend more time in this car. If your day to day life is like mine seeming to always move along at record speeds, well, this car can certainly keep up with that too.

The three drive modes in the sporty Civic Type R (Comfort, Sport, and +R) offer ideal driving dynamics adjusting things like steering and throttle response, transmission, and rev matching which made transitioning from a speedy track drive into a comfortable road trip nothing but smooth sailing.

Honda Civic Type R drive modes

Honda Civic Type R alderbrook resortAs we completed our drive and pulled back into the property at Alderbrook Resort & Spa, I had a few minutes to reflect in my suite before our group would be actually setting sail for an evening dinner cruise on the Hood Canal.

Alderbrook resort and spa

I noted that not once had my concerns of the past hindered my day or drive. My day had been filled with meaningful conversations, new experiences, beautiful scenery, and a feeling of truly being present. Isn’t the ability to appreciate every beautiful person, live fully in the moment, and just find ourselves with the ability to be present the goal we all have for our lives? I’m pretty certain that’s the only KPI that truly matters. Achieving a life we are proud to live. Well done, Honda.
Honda Civic Type R Hood Canal
Although reassessing a journey of where we’ve been and how we got there can make us all feel vulnerable, ultimately it helps us arrive at a place of authenticity. It helps us to reaffirm the confidence in ourselves at every stage of our life. Alderbrook resort and spa room

Many Thanks & Appreciation to Honda
It was an honor to be a guest of Honda experiencing the Type R drive in such a thoughtful and authentic way. As is typical, all accommodations and travel were provided. Additionally all experiences, opinions and storytelling are authentically my own.

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Comments

  1. Beautifully told, Alice. Thank you for sharing your story.

    • Thank you for reading, Jenn. It’s always nice to know that the words we carefully string together and toss into the galaxy of the internet are reaching the readers. Again, THANK YOU!

  2. What an amazing story Alice! I trace my own history with the purchases of different Hondas (I’ve never owned another brand, if you can believe it). My 81 Civic Hatchback that was my first hand-me-down “beater” car, the 93 Civic that I bought with money from my first ever real job, the CR-V my husband and I bought when we decided to start a family. Cars are so much more than just a way to get from point A to point B!! Thank you for sharing your journey <3

    • Absolutely, Maureen! They really do become part of the story. I love how you can trace memories and timelines of your life by the cars you were driving too.

  3. Michelle Hancock says:

    You are so right about cars being in all of our different seasons of lives. I vividly remember my first car then my truck that always without a doubt got hit by others and then I remember my first car that I bought on my own. They are a part of our families especially since some of us spend the most of our days in them!

    • We spend so much of our lives in them that it’s almost as important as the homes we live in. Maybe this becomes more apparent when we become parents but they definitely support our lives in every way. Thanks so much for reading Michelle!

  4. I fell in love with this car when I saw it at the NY Auto Show earlier this year (and spoiler: I’m not really a big Honda fan). Like you, I started out with a Honda Civic. It was my first taste of independence as well!

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