Honda’s hot Civic Type R hatch in hot demand
Demand for the fastest Honda production car in New Zealand has outstripped initial order limits.
It’s been 20 years since Honda last released a Type R hero car and early demand would indicate it’s long overdue.
‘‘We’ve already sold out our first shipment of 30 for New Zealand,’’ said Nadine Bell, the company’s marketing general media told motoring media assembled for a taste of driving the hot hatch at Hampton Downs near Hamilton on Tuesday.
Bell said there had been 30,000 perorders worldwide and the New Zealand cars were not yet in production.
With NZ deliveries not due until September, the car driven on Tuesday was a pre-production vehicle bought in especially for the launch from the company’s factory at Swindon in the UK.
Bell said they had already received 46 pre-orders and those not lucky enough to be in the first 30 would have to wait until December.
‘‘Stock allocation is based on orders . . . I don’t think we will get these cars without an order.’’
It is only the fifth ever Type R released with the first being an NSX in 1992 and followed by the Integra, Accord and the sixth-generation Civic versions. However, this Type R, based on the 10th-generation Civic unveiled in 2016, is the first to be officially launched by the brand in NZ with other versions here being imports.
The latest Type R is something of a looker being over-endowed with body kit that is finished with a big rear wing.
All the bits are there to help it go fast and fast it is, with a top speed of around 274 kilometres per hour and a 0-100kmh time of 5.7 seconds.
There’s a scoop on the bonnet that besides bringing in cooling air is also designed to reduce lift at speed along with a flat underbody. Out back is the car’s significantly sized wing which will surely attract plenty of attention and is aimed at improving handling at the higher speeds not legal on our roads. There are also roof mounted ‘‘nubs’’ said to improve air flow along with vents in various places designed for the same thing along with increasing downforce.
Honda backed up the claims that they all work with news in April that the Type R had smashed the track record around the mighty Nurburgring circuit in Germany for front-wheel-drive production cars. It beat times previously put up by the likes of Volkswagen’s Golf GTI Clubsport S and Renault Sport Megane 275 Trophy-R.
At the heart is a 2-litre DOHC i-Vtec engine producing 228kW of power and 400 newton metres of torque that is mated to a short-throw six-speed manual gearbox (no CVT for this beauty) with rev matching capability that employs automatic throttle blips aimed at producing smoother shifts and power delivery.
After short stints driving it on Hampton Downs there are no reasons to disagree. In fact the short stint behind the wheel was the only downside to car’s unveiling with time too short to fully appreciate what it has to offer. A longer road-test is eagerlyawaited.
When compared to the previous Type R, this latest iteration’s torsional rigidity is increased 38 per cent while there is a 45 per cent gain in bending rigidity and the body weight has been reduced 16 kilograms.
It runs on 20-inch aluminium alloy wheels shod with 245/30R 20 performance tyres while the chassis upgrades include model exclusive spring, damper and bushing settings, a new front suspension set up that lower arms and steering knuckles for improving the cornering limit and reducing torque steer.
If it’s fast, it also needs to stop and that comes via Brembo 4-pot aluminium calipers – 350mm in the front and 305mm in the rear.
Inside, there are high-bolstered sports seats with suede-effect fabric, leatherwrapped steering wheel, sport racing pedals and illuminated visors.
The Type R has the full suite of Honda safety sensing features such lane watch, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise crontrol with low speed following, forward warning sysem and rear multi-angle camera. Inside there is a choice of Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
No surprise that the Type R is the most expensive Civic in the New Zealand range, just under $60,000 at $59,900.
Even though that means the Type R is is $17,000 more than the next Civic in the range, Bell said the price had surprised many pundits.
‘‘Many predicted a price starting with a seven or a six . . . ‘‘
Honda’s new Civic Type R parked alongside an older Type R generation Civic at Hampton Downs.