We have quite extensively covered the new Honda Civic Type R all the way from its initial concept car, to full reveal, attended the cars launch in Slovakia, hit the track, and completed a full road test in the UK. We like this hot hatchback and so have put together the 5 things we really love about the latest car to wear the Type R badge.
Let’s kick off with the most controversial element of this car… The way it looks. It certainly isn’t for the faint hearted with its ASBO “I won’t do what you tell me” bodywork. Some think it is a bit too in your face, others just don’t like the proportions. Personally I think it looks great and whilst those swollen arches and huge rear wing are a bit “fast and Furious” they are totally functional and inspired by those found on the World Touring Car Civic Type R. For me a hot hatchback is a of rebel in the performance car pecking order and so looking overt comes with the territory.
Next up are these great seats. They are not just good for a hot hatchback, they are amazing full stop. They look the part, the high levels of bolstering keeps you in place, but they are also comfortable on longer journeys.
The drivetrain is a big talking point as not only is this car front wheel drive whilst many competitors are going for all wheel drive, but it is also turbocharged for the first time in Civic Type R history. Yes, you do lose that VTEC screamer element of the experience but in its place is a surge of torque from the turbo that is just as intoxicating. Honda has worked some form of magic here as they have managed to put 306 BHP through the front wheels, but prevent much of that dreaded torque steer. With a 0-62 MPH time of 5.7 seconds and a top speed of 167 MPH, it is clearly no slouch, but better than simply being quick, the whole package is engaging and highly exploitable. The slick 6 speed manual gearbox is a particular highlight.
Push that ominous looking +R button and you will find yet another item on this list. +R mode changes the instruments red, weights up the steering, stiffens the dampers, and alters the throttle mapping. It is said that in this configuration the Honda Civic Type R lapped the Nurburgring in 7 minutes and 50 seconds. The car feels razor sharp, particularly on a challenging track. The immediacy from the throttle pedal and lightning responses to steering input make it a real weapon. In this mode the body corners almost completely flat. You can also feel how the weight shifts around the car in a very communicative way allowing you to use this to your advantage. This Type R is the best handling front wheel drive machine in a generation.
One of the biggest stars of the Civic Type R show has to be the cars brakes. Behind those black spokes you will find a set of large Brembo discs and callipers that provide some serious stopping power. They offer plenty of feel and gives you the reassurance to really push the car. The Type R is lighter than many of its competitors and that in tandem with these Brembo units is a fantastic combination.