Honda’s New Civic Type R Has Three Tailpipes For A Good Reason

With 310 PS (306 HP) and 400 Nm (295 lb-ft) of torque at its disposal, the 2017 Honda Civic Type R has every right to look as aggressive as possible.

Some people, however, might consider its rear end to be a little bit excessive, especially with such a large wing (basically two rear wings if you count the smaller one), and those three exhaust pipes.

Last week, car reviewer Doug DeMuro had quite a few bad things to say about the Type R’s rear end, stating that he doesn’t understand why it was necessary for Honda to fit it with three exhaust pipes. He obviously thought, as others might have, that Honda was “trying too hard”.

In reality, it seems that the triple-exhaust system is actually a fully functional addition that makes complete sense on the Type R, as long as Civic senior product planner, Rob Keough walks you through it that is.

In an interview with Road&Track, Keough stated that “traditionally with these big flow exhaust systems, when you get up into highway speeds, you can get a lot of droning, booming, buzzing – not very comfortable for high speed cruising.”

It’s for this reason that Honda went with three pipes, not wanting to resort to stereo-enhanced engine sounds. The way the system works is that the two outer pipes (the larger ones) come with straight-flow mufflers, whereas the center pipe is a resonator tasked with performing a specific aural trick.

At low speeds, you’ll hear the resonator generating a louder and more aggressive growl “both outside and inside the car,” said Keough. At high speed cruising though, exhaust flowing through the center pipe hits a resonant frequency. As the resonator gets stuffed with air, the resulting backpressure diverts the exhaust to flow exclusively through the larger outboard mufflers, thus reducing cabin noise at highway speeds.

“It basically diminishes the resonator effect at that point, attenuating the sound inside the car,” added Keough. “You still get your big flow through the outboard pipes, but you get a more refined in-cabin experience at high-speed cruising. When it’s not flowing through the center resonator, it’s not generating that extra resonance. So it’s not like you have zero exhaust sound, but you’re not generating this extra sporty sound that comes from the resonator.”

Keough also said that the whole idea behind the 2017 Type R was to have a raw, honest machine, which is why the exhaust system doesn’t feature any fake notes pumping through the stereo.

“We didn’t build in servos or flap valves. This is a very simply designed system where you’re getting the effect without additional moving parts. It’s a very durable, low cost and effective solution.”

As for whether himself or Honda would get frustrated seeing all those people that are likely to fiddle with the car, installing aftermarket parts:

“We kind of anticipate that. We wanted to deliver a high quality, sporty, but refined experience for this customer, but we already know some kids are gonna want more noise. We’re not going to be particularly offended.”

So then maybe, just a little bit offended?


  • Just another Supra fan

    But apparently, the sound hat this car makes is not good enough.

    All that rice for nothing, eh Honda?

  • b_digital

    Queue the racist Honda haters lining up to troll…

    • Status

      Not liking a vulgar and overdressed hi-po civic makes one a racist? Hmm.

    • Matt

      Didn’t you make a ‘racist’ comment about the Corvette’s American engineering?

      • LeStori

        There is no American race to begin with so unless he was talking about a specific ethnic group within the American Ethnic melting pot he could not have made a Racist comment. Maybe in several hundred years there might be a distinctive Ethnic group called American but not today. Of course, considering talking derogatorily about a belief system such as a religion makes you racist then I suppose anything is possible…

        • Status

          If only religion had the genetic and haplogroup backing that race does, then it would be racism. But since you and I can become part of a religion overnight by saying a few magic words, that puts all religions in the category known as ‘brain-filler’.

        • Matt

          You are indeed correct, which is why I put the word racist in commas to highlight I was using the term loosely.

          I was only calling out the hypocrisy of b_digital’s comment, not trying to define the term.

  • Michael Cohen

    This has got to be one of the most loved and hated cars of all time. I mean with all the hater comments I see on here and other websites, you would think it doesn’t have a chance of selling. Yet many Honda dealerships already have rather large waiting lists for these cars.

    • SomeRandomCommenter

      Keyboard warriors usually aren’t the ones buying the cars

      • Infinite1

        Agreed, but they do comment about the car each time there’s an article about it. Make your peace and move on, if you hate it so much, why follow it so closely?

  • Auf Wiedersehen

    Good lord that thing is busy!

    Did Honda recruit Corvette designers for design advice?

  • Craig

    Subaru came out with a limited edition WRX STi for model year 2016 [I believe] that was far more ‘conservative’. It did without that big silly rear spoiler/wing thing and looked better – I think. Honda should offer something similar with the new Type-R and get rid of all of those fake and phony air intake ‘grills’.

    Here’s a photo of the Limited STi.

    • JimmyK

      About the grills I agree with you.The wing now has a reason for being so big,for downforce,but they could have done it better I think about the size.As for the Subaru,I haven’t seen any good looking Impreza since WRX STI 2005.

      • Infinite1

        Agreed. Everyone has different styling preferences, some like the super
        aggressive look while others prefer a more conservative approach.

  • Alban Gojani

    Still ugly af.

  • Xandao


  • Benjamin B.

    I was never a Honda hater per se. I just didn’t care for Hondas. But this new Civic Type R – its engine from Ohio by the way – and the new Acura/Honda NSX are pretty impressive vehicles. I am a fan of the blue oval. I love the AWD Focus RS. It’s sic. 350 HP and 350 FT LBs through a clever all wheel drive system is probably the greatest deal right now. But the front wheel drive Civic Type R still manages to impress. Plus there is virtually no drivetrain loss, which is sic. Civic Type R is what the MKII Focus RS could have evolved into if Ford Performance had not switched to AWD. The Civic Type R should really be compared to a MKII Focus RS. I’m very interested in that comparison.
    Interestingly the engine in the MKIII Focus RS is manufactured in Ohio, same as the Civic Type R’s engine.

    • Matt

      I doubt the Civic Type-R has ‘virtually no drivetrain loss’. I think the reality is that the official quoted horsepower is conservative, as is the case with many performance turbo-charged engines.

      Losses of 2% are virtually impossible.

    • Infinite1

      That’s just Honda underrating their performance cars like the rest of them do but all cars have drive-train loss due to transferring energy between various components. It’s inevitable

  • brn

    Generally, I’m not excited about this vehicle. However, I do want to give Honda some kudos for not wanting the car to be annoying from an audio perspective. I wish others would do the same.

    • Infinite1

      Minus the fake vents, there’s function for most of everything that’s on the car. I like everything else

  • Vassilis

    The last thing that’s wrong with the Type R’s design is the third exhaust pipe.

  • appleimmune

    Now that’s FUGLY! WOW!

  • Six_Tymes

    FAKE air INTAKE grills on a REAR bumper. WTF?! that thing/car is hideous.

  • Blade t

    From the videos I’ve seen ,this r is almost too quiet….

  • gary4205

    Cool idea.

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