Honda Civic Type R

CAR (UK) - - Icon Buyer -

PICK ONE hot hatch to do it all and it has to be the EP3 Type R. Fun to drive fast, it has an en­gine and gear­box of delectable me­chan­i­cal pre­ci­sion, plus an un­flus­tered ride, and it can seat five in rel­a­tive com­fort. That it’s so af­ford­able only in­creases the temp­ta­tion: you can pick up a tatty car from £1k, and only the best edge past £6k.

The EP3 Type R was the first Civic Type R to reach Bri­tain, and its MPV-a-like bodyshell was un­usual for the time. The looks have aged well, though, as has the in­te­rior, with its strik­ingly sim­ple lay­out gar­nished with white di­als, alu­minium gear­knob, per­fectly pro­por­tioned three­spoke wheel – and the Re­caro seats that grip you firmly in our highly prized facelift Pre­mium Edi­tion, even if they do perch you a lit­tle too high.

With only 197bhp and 145lb ft to de­ploy, the Type R now feels only mod­estly quick, and you’ll need to work the un­usual but ef­fec­tive dash-mounted gear­lever hard to keep it bub­bling. Those short, tight shifts are as key to the ap­peal as the raw en­ergy of the VTEC en­gine, which feels al­most com­pe­ti­tion-spec el­e­men­tal as it trem­bles and zings to­wards 8000rpm.

There’s no trac­tion con­trol or sta­bil­ity con­trol, so a heavy foot elic­its a light chirrup of wheel­spin from junc­tions, but more im­por­tantly a play­ful wig­gle from the multi-link rear end when you back off quickly mid-bend. It makes the EP3 far more en­gag­ing than its more stub­bornly nose-led – and tor­sion beam-equipped – suc­ces­sor.

Com­bine that ad­justa­bil­ity with brakes that are un­be­liev­ably feel­some and ef­fec­tive, and the speed you can carry into a cor­ner is far higher than first im­pres­sions sug­gest – it’s all about keep­ing the mo­men­tum up in the Type R, and you’ve got all the tools to do just that.

Gearshift is a work of art – the gen­eral in­te­rior de­sign less so

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.