Not-so cheap thrills
If you’ve got the stomach for this overpriced Honda Civic then be my guest and go for it,
In the nicest possible way, you need a fairly strong stomach to truly love a Honda Civic Type R.
There’s the exterior, for a start. As you can see it’s as lairy as it ever was – this is the latest iteration in a line of racing Civics dating back to 1997. Even with a tasteful blue exterior, the muscley body kit, fat wheels, and rather “obvious” high
mounted rear spoiler (bolted-on in primitive, brazen style) it’s enough to make your eyes blink to adjust to this radical vision of the usually inoffensive – or at least conventional-looking – Civic.
Honda Civic Type R
Price: £47,645 (as tested, otherwise £46,995)
Engine capacity: 2.0l-petrol 4-cyl, 6-sp manual
Power output (PS): 330
Top speed (mph): 171 0 to 60 (seconds): 5.4
Fuel economy (mpg): 34.4
CO2 emissions (WLTP, g/km): 161
The grippy blood-red one-piece rally seats are trimmed in a lovely sort of faux-suede – but my goodness me are they bright! They’re matched only by the equally sanguinary seat belts and the more subtly red “H” Honda badging, reserved only for the firm’s sportiest products.
And of course, on the move, there’s the relatively unforgiving ride. Even at moderate speeds you get jiggled about a bit. In extremis, you can find yourself involuntarily reminded of exactly what you had for lunch. Honda has helpfully fitted the car with a G-force monitor, so that you know exactly to what extent you and your machine are defying the laws of physics.
But then again, that’s what our senses were designed for, weren’t they? Put your foot down (where safe to do so), and your senses are assailed from every possible direction. Speaking from my own experience with the vehicle, you will run out of nerve long before the Honda runs beyond its capabilities.
It feels like it should be a track toy really, when driven somewhere it can be pushed to its limits and where it won’t look as far out of place as it usually does. Seeing as the Honda was finished in such a nice shade of aquamarine, I took it for a few photos outside Leicester City’s King Power Stadium, which seemed appropriate for a car that has about 330 horsepower at its disposal and will get to 60 mph in a few seconds.
The Type R has the same poise as James Maddison on the ball, and the pace and audacity of Jamie Vardy at his peak. This is all the more remarkable because all of the Honda’s massive power goes through the front wheels only, with not much trace of slippage or old-style torque steer. It will just about do as it’s told by any amateur. Lovely.
Like a top-flight footballer you need concentration, a feel for the game, and the preternaturally sharp reactions needed to make the most of such a machine – as well as somewhere to punt it about, and the public road isn’t usually that suitable. It feels really quite caged in even on open A-roads, and it seems almost cruel to confine it to the speed limits. It burbles and screams, but almost in protest, and not nearly as much as it would like to if properly unleashed.
That said, you can still play at being a touring car race driver, with the ultra-precise aluminium gear stick delivering the quickest of manual shifts, and the engine revving to 7,000 rpm – legacy of its origins in motorcycles and the passion for motor racing.
Obviously, the Civic feels extremely well built, and the company’s reputation for reliability speaks for itself. It’s equipped with the usual suite of driver assistance – cruise control, rear camera for parking, small but effective touchscreen, comprehensive connectivity. The boot is big enough, seats up or down, and in “comfort” mode it’s plenty docile enough to go shopping and not come home with an omelette in the boot.
In a weary world, there’s a lot to be said for cheap thrills – if you’re lucky enough to be able to afford them. At near enough £50,000, the Honda Civic Type R seems a lot for a hot hatch (albeit a quite large one).
If you’ve got the stomach for that kind of wanton expenditure, then be my guest and go for it. Best to do it on an empty stomach, though.
Want your views to be included in The Independent Daily Edition letters page? Email us by tapping here firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your address
BACK TO TOP