Honda’s hot Civic Type R hatch in hot de­mand

South Waikato News - - Motoring - DOUG SAIL

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 per-or­ders 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 six­th­gen­er­a­tion 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 short­throw 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, leather-wrapped 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.

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