We have some bad or good news (not sure which): the new Honda Civic Type R isn’t as wild as it looks.
How could it be? Honda went over-the-top with the Type R’s outfit, which comprises enormous flares, outrageous aero and three exhaust pipes. If you’re worried that rear spoiler will obscure your vision, it’s fine: way too tall for that.
It’s desirable for the Type R to advertise in this way, of course. It’s Honda’s new hero model, holder of the lap record for FWD cars around the legendary Nurburgring circuit in Germany (7min 43.3sec) and a very serious piece of machinery.
The 2-litre turbo engine makes a mighty 228kw/400nm, it comes only with a six-speed manual transmission (including revmatching function), there’s R-specific adaptive suspension with unique geometry up front, a limited-slip differential and Brembo brakes.
So it’s appropriate that it wears superhero clothes. It’s just that the initial impression might be more The Tick than Superman.
Once you’ve taken in the exterior visage, you might be expecting a wastegate-whoosh, neck-snapping acceleration and denture-damaging ride at any speed.
Not so. Indeed, one of the most remarkable things about the latest Type R is how Honda has made it work so well as an everyday car. There are three drive modes to choose from, and while Sport is the default you can choose to dial it down even further into Comfort.
The power delivery is linear at low speed and there’s a little turbo lag, which acts as a calming influence without interrupting the flow too much. The manual gearbox is slick and while the ride is still firm, it’s certainly not a deal-breaker for urban driving.
The Type R has variable ratio steering, so it’s slower around the straight-ahead and gets quicker the more you turn. That means the car doesn’t feel fast-carnervous in brisk motorway driving.
There might be three exhaust pipes, but this is not an especially loud or tiresome machine for dayto-day driving. Indeed, that’s one of the jobs of that third, smaller outlet: to reduce the drone at low revs.
Nor is the Type R a stripper. It has all the driver-assistance