Hannah Gordon gets behind the wheel of the much anticipated Honda Civic Type R
What is it? Imagine the cars you see on the Fast and Furious films and you won’t be far off the mark. The Type R is a mental looking machine with outrageous styling, but underneath its showy exterior is a 5-door hatchback with a plentiful boot space.
Who is it aimed at? The performance the Type R offers is extremely fast but with the price, running costs and insurance band this car practically prices itself out of the younger persons market. Instead this car is aimed at the more mature who are possibly entering a mid-life crisis.
Styling? The styling massively splits opinion, almost making this a ‘marmite’ car. Having driven the Type R for a week it certainly turned plenty of heads though. The distinctive wedge shape, side wing vents and the offensive rear spoiler give it a certain ‘boy racer’ look. The rear end is the best looking part of the Type R with the black diffuser and quad exhausts giving a real raspy tone. Honda do confirm that the styling has also been developed to make it extremely aerodynamic.
Under the bonnet? Powered by a 2.0 litre petrol engine this model comes with a turbo, the first time a Civic Type R has been turbocharged so don’t expect the raging rev limiter of old. The engine does produce 310 bhp, does 0-62mph in 5.7 seconds and is an absolute animal when the throttle is nailed. The Type R in fact holds the record for the fastest front wheel drive, 5 seat hatchback around the Nurburgring. The engine is attached to a six-speed manual gearbox which is as sweet as a nut and has shorter gear throws to add to the sporty appeal.
What about inside? A pair of red bucket seats welcome you into the interior and they are very comfortable, although getting out over the high bolster is a slight challenge. The interior is similar to the normal Civic but with sportier touches such as a red and black leather steering wheel, alloy gear knob and alloy pedals. The Type R also comes with a rear parking camera, climate control and DAB radio as standard. The Civic Type R can also be practical as it comes with 5-doors and a generous boot size of 498 litres.
On the road? The Honda Civic Type R is a piece of engineering genius, the front wheel drive has a limited slip differential which gives this car huge amounts of grip. The suspension set up is spot on and includes a new four point Adaptive Damper System which makes normal driving a little more comfortable. The +R button located on the dash increases throttle response, stiffens up suspension and the steering becomes more responsive. The Type R is great fun to drive and feels so well put together, cornering is a blast and country B roads are a great playground for this car.
Safety? As with the standard Civic a five star EuroNCAP scoring and City Brake Active come as standard. For added safety the Driver Assistant Safety Pack which includes Blind Spot Information, Lane Departure Warning, Traffic Sign Recognition and Forward Collision Warning are standard on the slightly more expensive Type R GT.
What are my Options? The standard Honda Civic Type R already comes with plenty of kit, but for an extra £2300 the Type R GT comes with front and rear parking sensors, electric door mirrors, Garmin navigation, auto lights/wipers and the Driver Assistance Safety Pack.
Will it break the bank? ‘Economy’ shouldn’t even be used in this review because on no level is this car economical. Combined MPG is 38.7 and the CO2 is 170 g/km which put it in tax band H (currently £210), to get the best out of this car you are going to want to give it some stick occasionally and this will diminish the economy figures dramatically.
So the Verdict? Honda claim this is a ‘race car for the road’ and I’m certainly not going to disagree. The Type R is a huge amount of fun and I am a big fan of any car that can make any boring journey fun. It may have swerved away from its roots and gone turbocharged but all cars evolve. This Civic Type R is the craziest design and performance packaged hot hatch on the market and would make an ideal addition to anyone’s fleet. Not only is it quick but its also practical, if you turn up in this to pick your kids up from school you will surely be the coolest parent around.
Why you’ll buy one? Driving dynamics; Grip; Practical
Why you won’t? Harsh ride; styling
VW Golf R
Ford Focus RS
Honda Civic Type R
Max speed: 167 mph
0-62 mph: 5.7 seconds
Emissions: 170 g/km
Model price range: from £30,000
No of Doors: 5
Euro NCAP : 5
Fuel type: Petrol
Fuel Economy (combined cycle): 38.7 mpg
Boot Capacity Seats up: 498 litres
Length: 4390 mm
Width: 1878 mm
Height: 1466 mm
22nd October, 2016