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.

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Kentmotors -

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.

Pic­ture: PA Photo

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