Car Reviews Motoring

Honda Civic Type R Review

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Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

FQ’s Editor gets to grips with the latest Civic Type R.

Honda has finally intensified the magnetism of the Type R cast with the Sport Line and the Limited Edition.

Each offers a different angle on the breath-taking GT, further spreading the appeal of the Japanese motor maker’s accolade-acquiring hatchback.

The Limited Edition hunk of metal is the most uncompromising Type R. It’s crafted for the track, with a decluttered cabin and lightweight elements, both of which are responsible for the vehicle’s 47kg weight reduction.

The next addition is the Sport Line, which has been assembled to appeal to motorists who want a less “in-your-face” hot hatch but still crave the performance that is the trademark of Type Rs. The Sport Line bears a low posterior spoiler instead of the accustomed high-level one – and is furnished with 19-inch alloy wheels.

Each version of the upgraded Type R series comes, of course, with front-wheel drive. What’s more, all cars in the extensive Type R troop, including the Type R GT I drove, receive improvements. A more blatant grille, LED running lights, and headlights help give a tidier visual impact. The suspension has also been adjusted for a sharper feel and more “on your toes” handling.

Inside, Honda has reworked the infotainment system and climate controls by introducing physical buttons and dials for optimum usability. Additionally, the driver’s binnacle now has an LCD screen that encompasses virtual gauges and a medley of function figures.

So, what did I think of the up-to-date Type R GT on the move? Well, it blew me away – the model is scrunched so low to the bitumen that you swear it’s swallowing blacktop for breakfast.

The modernised model keeps the same 2.0-litre VTEC petrol turbo lump, and the six-speed manual gearbox has been improved due to a bit of “rev match control” tech. This makes sure the hatch keeps on performing when it comes to behind-the-wheel gratification.

Now, it might seem peculiar, but the scorching Civic has a “Comfort” button as well as “Sport” and “+R” modes. It’s there to give you some let-up from the rigid suspension and heavy-metal-like driving noise.

But whichever setting you use, the trailblazing Type R renders you awestruck with its 0-62mph time of 5.8 seconds. The steering is pin-sharp, and the feedback is just right. This means it’s a piece of pie to evaluate the amount of exploitable traction left on the R’s rubber. The Civic inspires tons of confidence, especially when zooming into a turn. The Jap-hatch never sways, and the brawny brakes are reassuring, trimming down the pace in no time at all.

The Type R’s driving position is bang on, too. And the high-backed sports seats are comfier than they first appear to be. They hold you in place in bends when your grey matter is catching up inside your cranium.

Even though the R is brimming with white-hot might, it’s still a functional hatchback, with five doors and an expansive boot. Load capacity is 420 litres, and packing weighty, wide and long objects is stress-free, thanks to a low sill and a charitable boot opening. All this means you can still buy a hot-hatch, dads. Nice one, or what?

Fast Facts – Honda Civic Type R GT as tested:

  • Max speed: 169 mph
  • 0-62 mph: 5.8 secs
  • Combined mpg: 36.7
  • Engine layout: 1996cc four-cylinder turbo petrol
  • Max. power (PS): 320
  • CO2: 176 g/km
  • Price: £35,670

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