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Honda Civic Type R (2018 - 2022)

The Type R is lower and wider than the standard Civic which recently celebrated the very successful launch of its 11th generation model.

Starting price:
£46,995

Why we love it:
  • Stronger styling and performance to match with a superb gearbox
  • Deceptively refined on the road
  • Packed with track tech for thrill seekers
Where it could be better:
  • Very little demand for these types of cars (sadly)
  • Some road surface noise due to huge tyres
  • Quite expensive to buy (like most performance hatchbacks
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Introduction

Honda Civic Type R

The days of the true hot hatch may be gradually drawing to a close with a cleaner, greener future on the horizon, so top marks to Honda for launching its new Civic Type R amongst all the uncertainty. 

It comes as the Japanese carmaker celebrates its 25th anniversary of producing iconic high-performance hatchbacks and the Civic has turned half a century too.

The Type R is lower and wider than the standard Civic which recently celebrated the very successful launch of its 11th generation model. And this new Type R is the fastest version to date.

Recent annual sales figures for the Civic Type R are in the single digits as the sector has seen a steep fall in demand and Honda admits that it expects low sales volume that will likely be measured in the hundreds rather than thousands. But there is something rather appealing to that and the uniqueness that comes with owning such a car.

Customers are offered just one trim level which makes the buying process nice and simple with a few optional colour, trim and illumination packs to add extra character to the car if required.

But one thing is guaranteed, with its raspy engine note, dynamic styling and exhilarating handling, this Civic Type R simply cannot be ignored.

Honda Civic Type R

The Honda Civic Type R is a gloriously styled five-door hatchback guaranteed to attract attention thanks to its powerful road presence. 

Featuring a wider track with flared wheel arches, it boasts a muscular stance and there is a new rear spoiler, plus specifically-designed 19-inch alloy wheels, a sloping roofline, black grille, triple exhaust, tinted windows and red brake calipers,

The sporty cockpit layout is more driver focused with all essential controls positioned within easy reach, along with clear, precise readouts. There are snug, body-hugging lightweight sports seats with manual adjustment, an aluminium centre console and polarized gun metal air vent outlets.

The main driver information screen shows traditional readouts when in Comfort or Sport drive modes, but offers a lot of track-based data when switched across to +R mode. There are also new and improved ways to monitor all track driving records via a Honda Log R smartphone app.

Creature comforts are plentiful with the likes of Honda CONNECT with navigation and a nine-inch touchscreen. There is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity, Bluetooth, an eight-speaker sound system, four USB ports (two front and two rear) plus wireless charging.

Front and rear parking sensors, along with a reversing camera, are practical features and the cruise control is easy-to-operate on the fly.

My only slight gripe was the lack of any adjustable lumbar support which could be missed on longer journeys.

On The Road

Honda Civic Type R

Handling & Performance

With an increase in power from the revised VTEC 2.0-litre, four cylinder turbocharged petrol engine, along with lightweight components, the Civic Type R has one of the highest power-to-weight ratios in its class.
The engine kicks out a whopping 329PS of power and 420Nm of torque which results in a 0-62mph sprint time of just 5.4 seconds and maximum speed of 170mph.
A number of clever revisions such as a straight exhaust system and improved air cooling, have resulted in improved performance and efficiency.
And the revised six-speed manual transmission improves the smoothness of the gear shifting – it is in fact one of the best we have experienced to date.
On the road, the new Type R is the complete driver’s car with blistering pace and exceptional control. It’s loud but not raucous and seems to have lost some of the anger beneath the bonnet. You could say it has matured a little, but still has a hooligan nature when called upon.
The suspension does a superb job of smoothing out the most uneven road surfaces, but there is a little tyre rumble noise mainly due to their size.
Drive modes called Comfort, Sport and +R alter the responses significantly and an Individual mode allows you to adjust the engine, steering, suspension, engine sound, rev match and meter to taste.
This is a car you will not tire of driving and when unleashed on a track (as we did at Thruxton) it is wonderfully forgiving when pushed hard.  The +R function alters the suspension and the dampers producing incredible body control through tight bends. It has to be said this front-wheel drive Honda is on a par with many all-wheel drive rivals when it comes to balance and grip.

Honda Civic Type R

Space & Practicality

Despite all its firepower and awesome handling ability, the five-door, four-seat Civic Type R is deceptively spacious with ample room in the back for a couple of adults to sit comfortably. Admittedly taller passengers may find their hair brushing the headlining due to the dynamically-styled sloping roof. 

And it’s worth noting there are only two designated seats in the back with deep cup holders in the centre section where a third occupant would normally be seated.

The Civic Type R is 8mm lower and 90mm wider than the new Civic e:HEV and it is 13mm lower and 15mm wider than the previous generation Type R. It sits fairly low to the ground but is still relatively easy to get in or out. 

And the wheelbase of 2,735mm results in plenty of cabin space along with a boot capacity of 410 litres, increasing to 1,212 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat.

In addition, there is a practical glovebox, front and rear cup holders, door bins with a compartment for water bottles and a central cubby box.

Driver visibility is okay but not brilliant due the B-pillar being positioned a fair way back which impacts on the over-the-shoulder view.

Ownership

Honda Civic Type R

Running Costs

The Honda Civic Type R costs £46,995 but customers can add some extra packs to customise their car. These include the likes of a Carbon Pack that introduces a hand-made, genuine all-carbon rear wing spoiler, carbon centre console panel and matching carbon door sills.

An Illumination Pack Red contains front foot and under seat lighting, door lining illuminations as well as additional cup holders and console lighting to create a sporty red ambient atmosphere. This pack also adds puddle lamps.

Or customers can splash out on a Body Cover to protect the car all year round with a three-layer, breathable material with soft inner fleece lining.

These are just a few of the options available. The only extra cost on our test car was the stunning Racing Blue Pearl paintwork costing £650 taking the final bill to £47,645.

Day-to-day running costs are similar to most high-performance hatchbacks with the Civic Type R delivering a combined 34.4mpg (if driven with reasonable care) and carbon emissions of 186g/km.

This CO2 figure would result in a hefty first-year road tax bill of £945 dropping to the standard rate of £165 after 12 months. However, with its £40k-plus price-tag it falls into the Government’s premium car tax category resulting in an extra charge of £355 for five years starting after year one.

The Civic Type R sits in insurance group 43.

Verdict

Honda Civic Type R

Sadly, the performance hatchback could be viewed as a dying breed and vehicles such as the Civic Type R will become hugely desirable collector models that will be polished off and stored away in pressure controlled units. But for now, we can still drive them and I would suggest making the very most of that time while we can.
And when you take into consideration the wealth of high-end safety features and driver assistance aids, Honda is certainly celebrating the Civic Type R’s 25th anniversary in style.
 

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By Maxine Ashford
Jan 12, 2023

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