By Nitish S. Rele

THE RIDE: Four-door, four-passenger 2017 Honda Civic Type R Touring hatchback.

DOWN THE ROAD: It’s the fastest (0 to 60 mph in 5.4 secs) and most powerful Honda. Launched in 1997 in Japan, the Civic Type R is a dream car for heavy pedal-to-the-metal drivers. With a race-bred chassis, the aggressive hatch displays amazing agility, power and response. The credit of course goes to the robust engine with unique aero and cooling capabilities.

TECH & PERFORMANCE: The 2.0-liter DOHC turbocharged inline-4 engine blasts off 306 horsepower @ 6500 rpm and 295 pounds-feet of torque @ 4500 rpm. It is mated to a sprightly 6-speed manual gear box that provides smooth upshifts and quick downshifts. Absorbing noise vibration is the dual-axis front strut and multilink rear suspension with dampers and anti-roll bars. The dual-pinion electric-power steering feels sharp and precise. A brake hold button near the shifter enables the car to stand still up or down a hill till the driver presses on the gas.

LOOK & FEEL: It’s got the look, the daring look we must say, with an air scoop on its aluminum hood merging with horizontal LED headlights and centered red “H” and Type R badges. At the rear, nobody can miss the massive wing spoiler and triple exhaust tips. Get behind the wheel and you realize instantly that this is a race-inspired ride with the rounded aluminum shifter knob and well-bolstered sport seats with red/black suede fabric and double red stitches. The black/red theme resonates throughout the cabin. The center console hosts a Type R serial number plate (our car was No. 932). A Multi-Information Display (i-MID) includes a 7-inch LCD screen that displays readings for phone, audio, trip computer and navigation. Also standard are dual auto a/c, 540-watt audio system with subwoofer, sport pedals and a 60/40 split fold rear seat.

SAFETY FIRST: Dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag, four-wheel antilock brakes with electronic brake distribution and brake assist, Vehicle Stability Assist, traction control, side-impact door beams, front/rear crumple zones, limited slip differential, rearview camera, tire pressure monitoring system and daytime running lights are standard.

OUT THE DOOR: $33,900, plus tax, tag, delivery and destination charges.

BY THE NUMBERS: Tires, 245/30ZR21; wheelbase, 106.3 inches; length, 179.4 inches; weight, 3,117 pounds; fuel capacity, 12.4 gallons; city, 22 mpg; highway, 28 mpg; Web site, www.honda.com

WHY DIG IT: It’s agile, quick, athletic and lively, fun to rev and delivers a punch or two. Just what you would expect of a race car. The only snag, if you can call it that, is finding one at your dealership for the listed MSRP! Good luck with the search.

Test drive a Honda Civic Type R at Brandon Honda, 9209 E. Adamo Dr. in Tampa. Visit www.brandonhonda.com.