Type R hatch in hot demand
The good news is here’s Honda’s fastest production car in NZ. The bad there’s only one here and that’s not for sale. By Doug Sail.
Demand for the fastest Honda production car in New Zealand has outstripped initial order limits.
It’s been 20 years since Honda last released a Type R hero car and early demand would indicate it’s long overdue.
‘‘We’ve already sold out our first shipment of 30 for New Zealand,’’ said Nadine Bell, the company’s marketing general media told motoring media assembled for a taste of driving the hot hatch at Hampton Downs near Hamilton recently.
Bell said there had been 30,000 per-orders worldwide and the New Zealand cars were not yet in production.
With NZ deliveries not due until September, the car driven at Hampton Downs was a preproduction vehicle bought in especially for the launch from the company’s factory at Swindon in the UK.
Bell said they had already received 46 pre-orders and those not lucky enough to be in the first 30 would have to wait until December.
‘‘Stock allocation is based on orders... I don’t think we will get these cars without an order.’’
It is only the fifth ever Type R released with the first being an NSX in 1992 and followed by the Integra, Accord and the sixthgeneration Civic versions. However, this Type R, based on the 10th-generation Civic unveiled in 2016, is the first to be officially launched by the brand in NZ with other versions here being imports.
The latest Type R is something of a looker being over-endowed with body kit that is finished with a big rear wing.
All the bits are there to help it go fast and fast it is, with a top speed of around 274 kilometres per hour and a 0-100kmh time of 5.7 seconds.
There’s a scoop on the bonnet that besides bringing in cooling air is also designed to reduce lift at speed along with a flat underbody.
Out back is the car’s significantly sized wing which
I’m learning that you can’t be a purist when you drive a plugin hybrid. Electric Vehicle (EV) ‘‘evangelists’’ (that’s the most polite term I can think of) have been telling me that for ages, of course. For many, any plug-in that’s not fully electric is either cheating or regarded as a planetkiller like every other combustion-engine car on the road.
I’ve just covered 1000km in our long-term Toyota Signature Class 2014-vintage Prius PHV and I’m still nowhere near visiting a petrol station for the first time. So I’m good, thanks.
But maximising our pureelectric motoring is indeed the point of having the Prius PHV and that’s the bit I’ve had to come to terms with. Trickle-charging it at home overnight gets just over 20km range into the battery, which is not quite enough to get me to work and back (it’s 26km allup).
To begin with it was tempting to just run the PHV in EV-mode until it went flat, which got me to work and a bit of the way back again before it it turned into a standard Prius. But given that I’m a bit EV-OCD, that proved a recipe for frustration; because the PHV seems to be quite temperaturesensitive in winter.
The car lives in a carport, so it’s covered but still out in the cold. You can have a full charge and be running in EV-mode, but the car still often insists on running the petrol engine generator-style for 2-3km on startup. Batteries do operate best with a little heat in them, so I’m assuming Toyota has calculated this is an efficient way to achieve that.
It certainly doesn’t happen when the car is garaged overnight, which it has been on a number of occasions. When it starts out warm and snuggly, it sticks to EV mode no matter what.
However, it is frustrating to have your plug-in in full-EV mode and still be hearing the hum of an Atkinson Cycle petrol engine in the cabin. If I’m eating up my precious battery power, I expect total silence. So I’ve taken to being a bit more proactive with the EV/ HV button, which allows you to switch between electric and hybrid operation. In the latter, the current state of battery charge is saved until you go back to EV configuration.
For my morning commute I’m generally now keeping it in HV until the car is warmed up. I also opt for HV in motorway running and on big hills, but stick to EV in urban driving whenever possible.
And of course the ultimate in nerdy fun is to try and run out of battery in EV-mode just as I arrive home at night to recharge. Perhaps I’ve said too much.
Who said driving a plug-in isn’t engaging? Getting the most out of my electricity is keeping me very busy behind the wheel. Enjoying the challenge, actually.
Anyway, after 1000km the trip computer tells me we’ve driven 36 per cent of that in EV mode. Of course, the car has been on electric power a lot more than that, because it often runs just on battery even when it’s in the HV setting (like a regular Prius, in other words).
We’ve averaged 3.41 litres overall, which is actually a remarkable figure. Achieved with lots of help from electricity, of course. Another part of this project is keep close tabs on how far individual journeys are for a real car driven by a real person for real purposes (so not your regular road-test thing, then). I’ve logged every single trip in the PHV, whether that’s down to the corner dairy or a trip out of town to the Hampton Downs circuit for a work event (sorry, no hot laps for the leccy car).
Average journey length so far has been 32km. Be nice if the PHV could go that far on battery, but it can’t. However, it does prove that plug-in power is playing a big part in the car’s day-to-day running.
Problems? Last report we had a faulty charging cable. More recently the reversing camera quit, but it turned out to simply be a loose connection. It was a quick fix at the dealership.