Type R is all grown up
A new Honda Civic Type R is upon us. heads to Germany to find out if it can live up to its predecessor’s impressive reputation.
This is the new Honda Civic Type R – it has huge shoes to fill and marks a change in tactic by Honda. You see, normally when a new Civic is built, the Type R team can’t get started until the car is finished and on dealer forecourts, but this time the standard car and hot version have been built in tandem.
The last Civic Type R was made in pretty low numbers and had a reputation for being rapid and unforgiving. For this version, Honda wanted it to be more approachable, so the ride has been softened off and an extra ‘comfort’ driving mode introduced alongside the standard ‘sport’ and performance-focused +R.
There’s a whole host of new tech too, such as clever engine cooling, improved aerodynamics and revised suspension. And the fuel tank has been moved so you sit lower in the car than before, which is fantastic news. The Civic Type R’s styling is sure to divide opinion. The brutal, angular design of the standard car is amplified by the hot version’s functional aerodynamics – the front splitter, vortex generators on the roof and that prominent rear wing are certainly eyecatching. The latest Civic is longer and wider than previously, and thanks to a repositioned fuel tank, one of the biggest complaints of its predecessor has been addressed – the driving position. Under every objective measure, the new Civic Type R is better than the old one. In fact, it’s come on leaps and bounds, feeling much more grown up and serious about the job of going silly-fast. On the road, the standard sport setting is enough, but +R mode transforms the Type R into a hyper-alert hot hatch and it’s hard to resist its sense of urgency. On track it’s ludicrously capable thanks also to the 10mm wider and stickier tyres, but it never feels intimidating. This arguably makes it slightly less fun, but there’s no doubt it covers ground much more quickly and with little fuss. The Honda Civic Type R Type R hits the nail on the head. It starts at £30,995, with the high-spec GT trim costing £2,000 extra. This puts it in direct competition with the Ford Focus RS, which is hugely appealing thanks to a clever rear-biased all-wheeldrive system, subtler styling and 345bhp, though there’s slightly less kit as standard. Most impressive is the Honda Sensing safety system, which comes as standard.