:4 Miguel Cortina: Managing Editor, Motor Trend en Espa–ol What a great car! The Type R sends the message that front-wheel-drive cars can be just as fun to drive.ó
In the decade we’ve been running BDC, we’ve invited only 10 front-drive cars to compete. They tend not to do well against reardrive or all-wheel-drive cars that handle better and put down power more authoritatively. No previous front-driver has made a judge wonder, “Could this be our first front-drive winner?”
This little Honda did.
“The Type R is perhaps the best front-drive, factory-delivered car I’ve ever driven on a racetrack,” a grinning Randy Pobst gushed. “It was a thrill. This whole car behaves as if it costs a whole lot more than it does. It’s swinging way above its fighting weight.” Angus Mackenzie declared it “the best frontdrive hot hatch in the world. Period. The powertrain gets the headlines, but it’s the chassis that makes this car special.” Chris Walton said it “feels like a detuned rally car.”
Editor logbooks overflowed with hyperbole for the better-than-miata’s short-throw shifter, the all-day-comfy supportive seat, and the Vtec/turbo engine’s uncanny eagerness to pull hard to redline. Everyone appreciated how unflappable the body is in +R mode and how remarkably supple the ride quality is in Comfort and Sport modes.
The Type R missed a podium finish for two easily remedied reasons. Both Pobst and Jethro Bovingdon wished for at least a whiff of trailing-throttle oversteer—a tool drivers could reach for when the front starts to run a bit wide. A slightly stiffer rear anti-roll bar should do the trick. Second, this car, like several Type Rs that Pobst has lapped, pegged its temperature gauge. A Honda rep intimated that the digital gauge may be overly conservative. Indeed, the power never faltered, no coolant was disgorged, and lifting for two corners unpegged the gauge. Oh, and not everyone was crazy about the engine note.
Ed Loh summed up the Type R: “That all this performance comes from a 2.0-liter turbo powering only the front wheels—and that there are four seat belts and a huge trunk—represents a greater feat of engineering than the ZR1.”
RACE-RED-Y Grippy red “suede- effect” seat fabric and firm bolsters provide excellent support and comfort. Harness slots are provided for those who want more support.