£30,000 - £32,300 Price range
The Honda Civic Type R is a super quick hot hatch that’s designed to go as fast as possible on the road – one of the main reasons we decided to get it in for a long-term test. It’s a rival to the Volkswagen Golf R, Audi S3 and the SEAT Leon Cupra. F
The Type R’s turbocharged engine is at the heart of the driving experience – it has 306hp and Honda has billed it as a ‘race car for the road’. It’s designed to go around corners incredibly fast, with lots of grip.
On the inside the Type R is full of racy features, such as an alloy gear knob, metal pedals and lights that tell you when to change up a gear. There’s a ‘+R’ button too, to make the suspension firmer and give the car a more agile feel.
It’s available in two versions – the normal Type R or the Type R GT, which adds a Garmin sat-nav, as well as driver assistance systems such as lane departure warning, automatic emergency braking and traffic sign recognition.
Honda’s already been spotted testing an all-new model, expected to go on sale in 2017. See the prototype on-track in our dedicated Honda Civic Type R price, specs and release date article.
The Civic Type R’s interior takes the normal Civic’s practicality and adds some nice sporty touches. The race-style seats hug you tightly for fast cornering, and are 20mm lower than in the normal Civic. Good news though – they’re comfortable on long, boring motorway journeys, too.
There are slivers of carbon fibre on the dash, and the steering wheel is trimmed partly in red leather. Tap the +R button to put the car into its sportiest mode and the rev counter glows red – it’s all designed to put you in a racy mood.
The most important news here is that the Civic Type R is huge fun to drive. Critics like the way it encourages you to drive fast, and the ride isn’t so stiff that you’re discouraged from going around corners fast.
A press of the +R button stiffens up the suspension significantly – some critics say it could make the car ride too firmly for bumpy UK roads – but the accelerator also becomes more responsive.
Front-wheel-drive cars with as much power as the Type R often get wheel spin as you try to accelerate hard out of slow corners. Not so with the Type R – its limited-slip differential does exactly what it’s designed to: help the wheels put all that power down on the road. In the real world, this feels like a magnet pulling the front of the car through corners and hooking you round faster than you thought possible.
The engine is what people will buy the Civic Type R for – and it’s a corker. It’s a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol with 306hp and more low-down torque than all other front-wheel-drive hot hatches such as the Leon Cupra and Renaultsport Megane.
Diehard driving enthusiasts loved the previous type R’s high-revving engine, but the addition of a turbocharger for the new Type R means you now have power from low down in the rev range – no longer do you have to rev beyond 5,000 rpm to get the best from the engine.
In the real world, this means you can swing out of tight corners and there’s immediate acceleration to power you down the next straight – and the Civic always feels incredibly fast on the road.
There’s an eye-catching panel of coloured lights behind the steering wheel that light up to tell you when to change up a gear. The gearshift action is short and snappy, helping add to the ‘race car for the road’ feel.
The Civic Type R costs £29,995 in its standard form, or £32,295 for the Type R GT. The latter adds driver assistance systems such as lane departure warning and blind-spot assist. The latter system is useful because over-the-shoulder visibility from the driver’s low seat isn’t great – the normal shoulder checks you’d make when joining a motorway, for example, take a bit more careful looking than in other cars such as the Golf R.
Purists might mourn the passing of its naturally aspirated (non-turbocharged) engine, but everyone else will love the new Type-R’s ridiculous performance. Its extreme looks might be a little to much for some people, but for the hot (fast) hatchback fans the Type R is aimed at this could well be the launch of the year.
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