David Lin­klater.

South Waikato News - - Motoring -

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

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