CAR REVIEW | Honda Civic Type R
★★★★★ | Honda Civic Type R GT 2.0 VTEC Turbo.
Honda: The Power of SCREAMS!
What Have We Got
In 1985, I was collecting a magazine called The Car. Issue 40 was about the Lamborghini Countach. It was a dream car. A supercar with performance figures that spoke for themselves. 0-60 in 5 seconds and a top speed of 183mph. It also did 11mpg.
Fast forward 33 years and suddenly I am confronted with a family hatchback that has similar performance figures and wings. This hatchback has 5 doors, will seat the same and carry luggage. This car is the Honda Civic Type R.
A lot has been said about the Civic and you can see why it has won so much admiration. So I decided that I’d turn the tables and write about what this bulging shoulder padded winged road warrior was like to live with as a practical car.
Well, that all went out of the window when I found a suitable route to use the car’s power one night. To say it covers ground quickly is an understatement. This is amplified by an astonishing amount of grip given from the 245/30 20 Continental tyres. In the big scheme of things, the 245 isn’t that wide. What does help is in the thin 30 section side wall. These tyres do no wobble around and quick directional changes are where the Civic Type R excels.
No race-ready road car would be complete if it didn’t have an engine that could deliver. That 320PS arrives at high up the rev range at 6500rpm but it’s the 400Nm of torque are there at the max from 2500-4500. From 1500rpm the engine sings and its ability to spin to its maximum is rapid. This equals a lot of fun and an ability to get to legal speeds and beyond very quickly.
All cars come with traction control and there are times when switching it off can throw some cars into all sorts of shapes like your father dancing at a wedding. The Civic becomes a hoot to drive. It throws in drama to its already dramatic ways but remains safe.
It’s all very much similar to the standard Civic that we tested recently. It’s roomy, has seats and the confusing heater controls.
Where the Type R stands out is in the bucket seats. They aren’t the easiest to get out of but they are far more supportive and comfortable than they look.
Living with it
You need to have a serious talking to yourself before you buy one because you need to ask yourself if you could handle the seduction of its power. It’s an intoxicating frivolity that never tires. You see the hard riding Civic isn’t actually that harsh at all.
There are three settings, comfort, sport and R. ‘R’ as you can imagine is where the magic happens. That said, the magic also happens in comfort mode albeit a little more leisurely. ‘Comfort’ mode is noticeably softer and in the day-to-day running around, more than acceptable.
The Civic’s other settings are firmer in two stages and yet not internal organ jolting. Put it this way, apart from your stomach coming up in your throat when you first try a 0-60 pull away and your brain smashing around the inside of your skull from the G-forces, the ride won’t alter the locations of kidneys or the liver.
Your eyes might fall out of their sockets when you require the assistance of the Brembo brakes but that’s another matter. And I wear glasses so my eyes are never fell far from the sockets!
Is it any good
I say it is. Compared with the Golf R, the Civic isn’t perfect. It’s also not subtle in any way. While the Golf is good and doesn’t shout about its power, the Civic does. And when you are talking £30k plus for a fast hatchback, you want something that makes a statement.
Civic Type R makes a statement.
Fun x 100
Ability to cruise comfortably
Curb loving rims
Small fuel tank
Car – Honda Civic Type R GT 2.0 VTEC Turbo
Cost – £33,525
MPG – 36.7mpg (combined)
Power – 320ps
0-62mph – 5.8 seconds
Top Speed – 169mph
Co2 – 176 (g/km)