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When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

A red 2023 Honda Civic Type R is shown from the front on a racetrack.

Satisfy Your Need for Speed––On a Budget––With a Honda

Honda is known for reliable, affordable, and smooth-handling cars. Its vehicles have always attracted responsible drivers looking for safe cars at a budget-friendly price. The Honda Civic has been a top seller since its first release over 50 years ago. But thrill-seekers should know Honda has also slipped some speedy models into its lineup through the years. It has managed to make sporty performance and athletic styling affordable.

If you’re already a fan of Honda’s more practical cars and are looking for a fast car to treat yourself, or if you know about some of Honda’s fast cars and want to explore some more, ask your local Honda dealer about this reliable brand’s speed demons. We’ll give you a taste of what it offers and go over some of Honda’s fastest cars of the past and present. Honda proved with these fun rides that heart-pounding speed and track-ready looks don’t have to come at a luxury price.

Civic Type R

You’re probably more than familiar with the Civic. It’s Honda’s bread-and-butter vehicle. It’s reliable, practical, and affordable. But did you know it has a sporty sibling––the Civic Type R? This track-ready car originally launched in 1997 but didn’t reach America until 2017, so used models are still uncommon.

Honda recently released the redesigned 2023 Civic Type R, and it’s a beauty. With a long, low body and flared front and back fenders, it looks as aerodynamic as it is and has classic race car styling. That styling extends to the back, where you’ll find a large rear wing straight from the factory. Beneath the rear diffuser, you’ll find a triple exhaust. The 2023 model is beautifully and efficiently designed and would look right at home next to the best of them on a race track.

The Civic Type R doesn’t just look the part, either. The 2023 model gets an upgraded turbocharged 2.0-liter engine, the most potent engine put under the hood of a Civic to date. Its 315 hp is paired with a six-speed manual transmission that has auto rev-matching to smooth out downshifts for heart-pounding precision. Honda also reports that the car’s cooling has been improved this year, making the new Civic Type R more than ready to be put to the test on the track.

This car can launch from zero to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds and reaches a top speed of 170 mph (of course, we’d never encourage you to prove that speed yourself). In fact, it set a front-wheel drive track record at Suzuka Circuit in Japan. If you have always loved the Civic and want to stay loyal to it, it might be time to check out the Type R.A blue 2020 Honda Civic Type R is shown from the rear at an angle.

Civic Si

The Type R isn’t the only faster version of the Civic. There is also the Civic Si, which looks more like the traditional Civic than the Type R, but it has its own racecar DNA, to be sure. Because this car dates back to 1984, it is easy to find a new or used Civic Si for sale. For 2023, the Civic Si comes in at an attractive starting price that is actually lower than the top-tier Civic Touring trim. If you want a more exciting Civic, you won’t need to pay an outrageous price tag.

The 2023 Civic Si gets a turbocharged 1.5-liter engine that kicks out 200 hp and is paired with a six-speed manual transmission. Track tests show it can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds. The Civic Si is fast and responsive but has driving characteristics that come a bit closer to a regular Civic than the Type R. If you’re looking for more of a chameleon that can disguise itself as a “normal car” until the lights go down in the city and the checkered flags come out, this one can almost pull it off.

The inside of the Civic Si oozes with race track style, including sports seats with added bolstering and red contrast stitching. You’ll find more of that stitching throughout, such as on the doors and steering wheel, so you will get a nice classic race car feel when you’re inside. It also comes with comfort features like a power moonroof and remote trunk release that aren’t available on the Type R.

An orange 2022 Honda Civic SI is shown from the rear at an angle after leaving a Honda dealer.


The Honda S2000 is a car you’ll have to buy pre-owned, but it might be the best of the bunch. Honda produced the car from 2000 to 2009 to celebrate the company’s 50th anniversary. There are currently strong rumors in the car community that Honda is bringing this beauty back in 2024. But for now, if you want one, you’ll be looking at used models.

The S2000 is a two-door soft-top roadster and stands out for being one of Honda’s rare rear-wheel drive models. It’s undeniably alluring and looks more ready to race around the windy canyons of Malibu than to tackle any racetrack. If you want to experience the fresh air in your hair and turn heads, this car will do that for you.

From 2000 to 2003, the S2000 had a 2.0-liter engine putting out 240 hp with an astonishing 9,000 RPM redline. Later models would get an upgraded 2.2-liter engine with more torque but a lower redline. The updated version can travel from zero to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds. Don’t let this car’s beach-chic look fool you: it’s here to play with the big boys. In fact, it reaches a top speed of 150 mph.

The original rendition was beloved, so you’d do well finding a pre-owned S2000. However, if you like your cars new and shiny, you can hope the Internet whispers are true and keep an eye out for a revamped model in 2024.

Three Options for Budget-Friendly Performance

Honda knows it has a reputation for reliable, practical, and responsible vehicles. We respect the brand for it. There’s a reason you can’t toss a stone without hitting a few Civics. But let the record show that Honda has been a significant player in the race car game for a couple of decades now. If you already like its cars’ smooth suspension and reliable steering, you can check out the speedier members of the Honda family with the Civic Type R, the Civic Si, and the S2000.

Between the three options we presented, there’s some nice variety. The Civic Type R is undoubtedly ready for some street-legal racing. Its body is long and low, and it reaches top speeds that will take your breath away. However, if you want something that looks and feels more like the regular Civic, the Civic Si has you covered. It has a nice suspension and precise steering and goes from zero to 60 at a satisfying pace.

Those looking for a combination of Southern California style and Tokyo Drift performance can check out the convertible S2000. You can search far and wide for a used model or pray the whispers about it coming back in 2024 are true. Whichever option you choose, if you’ve been looking to treat yourself to a fast car but don’t have the biggest treat-yourself budget, Honda has you covered with these sporty cars offering race-ready looks and handling at that lovable Honda price point.

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