The hot hatch market has just got a whole lot more interesting with the arrival of Honda’s Civic Type R. This all-new Type R packs a punch, with an impressive 310hp and 400 Nm of torque produced from its 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine. There’s nothing subtle about its appearance which shouts about its performance potential. It might be a bit laree for some, nevertheless the deep spoiler and rear wing and diffuser are functional, aiding the car’s aerodynamics and handling. It sits low on 19” alloy wheels wrapped in Continental Contisport tyres that were specifically designed for the car. Up front the immense Brembo callipers with 350mm drilled and ventilated front discs ensure this Civic has superb stopping power.
The interior is more refined than its exterior. The driver and front seat passenger are seated in a pair of high back sports bucket seats that offer excellent support and comfort. We would however prefer if the driver’s seat could be lowered more as you sit slightly too high for our liking. On the move the first thing that’s apparent is the Type R’s chassis, it’s stiff but not uncomfortable. However, if you select +R mode the car’s suspension stiffens by 30 per cent, the electronic power steering assistance is reduced and the throttle response is sharpened. The result is race car-like handling and performance, it’s probably too stiff in +R mode for the road and best kept for use on track. It’s here where the Civic Type R will excel, with track days in mind it comes with a laptimer, G-Force meter and shift lights integrated into the instrument cluster. Our test car was brand new with just 80 kilometres on the odometer, we therefore resisted the urge to put the Type R against the stopwatch and see how it fairs out to some of the competition. Once the car is fully run-in and the weather improves we will take to the track and see just how fast it really is. The short-shift six-speed manual transmission and strong power delivery throughout the rev range were one of the highlights for us.
The largest hurdle however for this hot hatch may be its price, our GT model is priced at €50,950 which is a fair degree more expensive than the Seat Leon Cupra R and Volkswagen Golf R. Another eagerly awaited hot hatch on its way is Ford’s Focus RS, due to arrive in a few weeks with pricing estimated to commence in the early 50’s. We look forward to taking the Civic TYPE R out on track this Spring to see how it compares to its competitors against the clock.
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