Hannah Gordon checks out Honda’s hottest hatch the Civic Type R
What is it? The ‘demonic’ looking hot hatch is back and carrying with it a big haul of awards naming it as the best in its class.
Who is it aimed at? It may have five-doors and a decent size boot but this car is all about power and driver enjoyment whilst pushing it to its limits, it does settle down enough to enable sensible family outings but make sure the kids haven’t just eaten before you plant that right foot and take it into a B road chicane.
What about Styling? We have come to expect some pretty wild styling from the Type R team and the Civic certainly doesn’t disappoint. Exterior styling is wild personified and stretches through every panel of the car, the front carries large black grills and vents with small squinting headlights. The black and red splashes are included on the front and rear diffuser as well as the alloy wheels and side skirts. Large red Brembo brakes hint at the type of performance the Type R is capable of and the offensive rear spoiler is carried over from the previous generation, although the trio of centre exhaust pipes doesn’t look as good as the quad pipes the prior Civic Type R had.
Under the bonnet? Honda have stepped away from the high revving natural aspirated Type R’s of the past and gone for a turbocharged 2.0-litre VTEC petrol engine. This engine produces 320bhp, which has 10bhp more than the previous model and through its front wheels can get from 0-62mph in 5.7 seconds whilst reaching a top speed of 169mph. The engine is teamed with a six-speed manual gearbox that is reassuringly short and notchy which adds to the sporty drama.
What about inside? Two bright red bucket seats welcome you as you open the front doors with the rear seats being an almost boring black bench seat, the seats are comfortable and keep you safely entrapped when cornering at speed. A comfortable seating position is easily achieved and the dash wraps around the driver which gives a nice ergonomic feel, the dash centre console is clean and well structured but the infotainment system is slow at times and can be hard to use as the buttons are touch sensitive, this makes it difficult to use on the move.
The ‘magic rear seats’ of the previous Civic have gone and there are also only two seats in the rear which makes the Civic a four seater only, however there is plenty of room for passengers and a decent size boot at 420 litres.
On the road? If stats are important then the Honda Civic Type R managed the fastest time for a front wheel drive car around the Nurburgring and getting behind the wheel you can really feel its track pedigree. The new Civic is a lot stiffer than the previous model and is built on a completely new chassis and combined with multi link rear suspension and limited slip differential give the Civic incredible handling. The 20” alloys do not help the Civic’s ride on uneven road surfaces but the addition of the comfort mode means that the car is more bearable in every day driving.
What about Safety? As standard the Honda Civic Type R comes with City-brake active system, hill start assist, vehicle stability assistant and agile handling assist. Honda have packaged some safety systems together into the SENSING group which includes collision mitigation and pedestrian protection, lane departure warning and road departure mitigation, traffic sign recognition and adaptive cruise control.
What are my options? There aren’t many options as the Civic comes in two trim levels with the Type R and Type R GT, the GT has the added benefit of premium audio, Garmin navigation, front and rear parking sensors, LED front foglight and wireless charging for certain mobile phones. Metallic paint is an extra at £525
Will it break the bank? If economy is at the forefront when buying a car then the Type R is not for you, it is the most expensive Civic in the range to run but is equal to its competitors. Honda claim that the Type R is capable of a combined MPG of 36.7 and emissions of 176 g/km of CO2, whilst driving it I didn’t manage to get near the claimed 36 MPG. The CO2 rating means the first year tax is £800 and £140 every year after. (March 2018) The Civic does come with Honda’s 3 year/90,000 mile warranty.
So what’s the verdict? It is easy to see why the Honda Civic Type R has won so many awards, Honda have managed to make the car faster and stiffer whilst also making it a better car to live with everyday. The addition of the comfort button allows the car to settle and the throttle response to be less brutal. The Civic is such a fun driving car although the noise expelled is suspiciously quiet for a hot hatch especially as the styling is so in your face but lacks the exhaust growl to go with it.
The infotainment system is a slight let down as it is slow and difficult to navigate and the lack of a fifth seat seems a big oversight but over all the Type R is such a complete package at an affordable price.
Why you’ll buy one? Price, Driving Dynamics
Why you won’t? Thirsty, styling, infotainment system
Honda Civic Type R
Max speed: 169 mph
0-62 mph: 5.7 seconds
Emissions: 176 CO2 g/km
Model price range: from £30,995-£32,995
No of Doors: 5
Euro NCAP : 4
Fuel type: Petrol
Fuel Economy (combined cycle): 36.7 mpg
Boot Capacity Seats up: 420 litres
Length: 4557 mm
Width: 1877 mm
Height: 1434 mm
21st March, 2018