Drivers Car of the Year : Civic Type-R GT – 10/10

Another new Honda launched in 2015 is the Civic Type-R. Now turbocharged for extra efficiency, the new R represents new standards in ultra high performance. On the Nurburgring or just plodding around Kettering, the Civic is just at home.

A truly amazing driving experience…

 

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One of the finest engineered cars encountered – The new Civic Type R GT

 

I have to admit that the Civic is very much a marmite car. Some don’t get the bizarre styling or USS Enterprise dashboard, but for those who do, the British built Civic is a refreshing change from the usual 5dr hatchback set. The best of Anglo Japanese engineering bring an efficient range of cars with a notable high technology approach to everyday motoring – an approach that’s incredibly user friendly.

The Type-R represents a bold move for Honda, certainly in terms of engineering alone. The expected VTEC 2.0 engine remains but in the quest for better driveability and efficiency, the new model features two stage turbocharging, impressive emissions and a staggering 309Ps of power with 400Nm of torque. The end result is a brilliant car that seems to be happy with most of life’s driving environments – its quick Jim, but not as we know it.

You see. the problem with the old Type-R was the crushingly hard ride and rice rocket power delivery. Unless a hard core sports hatch was your kind of thing, the Type R was just a bit overbearing as an everyday smoker. Some huge advances in suspension design along with the 2.0 turbo plant has transformed the new Type-R into a genuine driving experience with scream out loud performance yet still remains easy to live with as a daily commuter should do.

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2.0 16v VTEC plant remains but its now turbocharged to produce 310Ps and has ample low down torque (up to 400Nm) to make urban driving a pleasure. Mid and top end grunt is devastatingly rapid.
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The 19″ alloy wheels cover an impressive 18″ Brembo disc and calliper upgrade – They are certainly on top of the job and progressive too. The chassis is brilliant and communicative – even the ride is decent on good quality roads. “R” mode turns it into a real track monster!

 

Obviously the exterior warns others of the performance potential and those light weight plastic wings feature menacing looking air vents. The tea tray sized rear spoiler and quad canon exhausts look really good without coming over like a wannbe Fast and the Furious film extra or a Tokyo drift clone in a MacDonald’s drive-thru car park. In fact, I reckon the new Type-R looks grown up and sleek and just like the rest of the range… its got some impressive touches and is very well assembled.

Those road roller profile tyres allow you to see the massive Brembo brake upgrade package and the red theme continues on the Honda badge. On the inside you are treated to some faux rally seats up front which are actually quite comfortable once you have overcome the deep bolsters. The usual instrument cluster remains with alterations to the font on the read outs. The computer display also features extra information that includes a G meter, turbo boost, lap timer, 1/4 mile timer and throttle input readings.

The gearshift has been altered to vastly reduce the throw of the titanium topped lever. Once warmed through the gearbox has one of the best and fastest shifts I have encountered and the gearbox even has a slight whine as you go through the ratios – rally style. Despite the HUGE front discs, the brakes work well hot or cold and I failed to induce any kind of fading traits… despite some fast straight line driving on a private stretch of land. The ride despite being sportily firm still gives a really good ride at quicker cruising speeds or on smooth roads.

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Front seats have massive bolsters but very supportive and comfy once inside them.

 

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Subtle changes include a new grippy steering wheel, different font style on instruments and a super snappy titanium gearshift. GT model features dual zone climate, Sat Nav, Auto Wipers and lights amongst an impressive spec.

 

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Rear seats fold flat to the floor to offer over 1400litres of space. Honda’s clever “Magic Seat” cushion is omitted from the Type R… sadly!

 

Its not as loud or raucous as you would imagine either. There is a thrum and burble from the exhaust that does drum in the cabin at certain revs but off the boil the Civic Type-R is very driver and occupant friendly. Push on harder and you are rewarded with razor sharp steering, good adhesion of grip, very little torque steer and utterly spell bounding performance. The limited slip differential copes incredibly well with the available power and yes it will scare the driver should you drive outside the envelope. But once accustomed to the sheer grunt and your confidence grows, the Civic is entertaining and forgiving at the same time – a truly brilliant chassis!

Press the “R” button and your world gets even more exiting. The dampers are firmed up by 30%, the steering gets weightier and the ECU re-maps the throttle for an even snappier response. Not only that but a red mist descends on the instrument lighting – its really impressive but the ride comfort is too over firm and unsettling. Unless you are driving along the worlds largest snooker table think of it as a track day button. Other nice features include an audible turbo dump valve that makes subtle but noticeable whooshes and hisses when making quick progress.

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Extra features on the computer include a boost gauge, quarter mile and lap timers, throttle input dial, brake input display. Its a cacophony of convenience and driver aid – there’s even a G force meter!

 

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From the rear, its as subtle as breaking glass. Check out those canons and the spoiler – Looks better in the metal than a picture could ever try to.

 

Civic virtues of practicality continue with plenty of space, a massive boot, a decent sized glove box, various cubby boxes and holes. The rear seat back folds flat to the floor when life requires some sensibility but the clever magic rear seat is not fitted nor is a rear wiper or a glove box lamp – weight saving or cost cutting? You decide. There’s the horn too… it sounds as aggressive and sporty as a penny whistle – very odd as the new HR-V features a real sporting two tone blare – swap `em over Honda!

Top flight GT models feature dual zone climate, reverse camera, cruise, Garmin sat nav, auto wipers and lights – its well equipped for the £32K asking price. There is also a standard Type R that comes in just under £30K – both models are good value for the blistering performance on offer and its also worth noting that the Type R is currently the fastest and quickest front drive 5dr hatchback money can buy – its brilliant!

AUTOBRITANNIA.NET RATING: 10/10

THE HUMBLE OPINION

Honda finally gets a halo with this incredible new Type-R. Arguably imposing with some fine detail and driving touches its genuinely good fun to drive and when you really wring its neck, it makes you yell for more.

What impresses me more than anything is just how easy to drive it is in most circumstances. A dash up the motorway for example returns damn fine fuel efficiency and there’s ample torque for when you are slogging it out in the City. It doesn’t jerk or beg to be revved like some high performance cars do, it just works straight out of the box.

Room for five and the clutter it remains Civic practical and at the same time you just know its going to be reliable too. But with one dab of the right hand pedal and a push of a button it transforms into a bona fide track car and a genuine drivers weapon of .50 calibre capability.

Truly astonishing performance and chassis and as a driving experience alone I cannot really fault it. A great demonstration of technology assisting driver satisfaction.

Should you Buy?  Oh hell yes!

Model Tested: Honda Civic Type R GT

Produced by: Honda Manufacturing UK Swindon

Price: £32,295 OTR excluding options

Engine: 2.0 VTEC Turbo

Power: 310Ps with 440Nm of torque

Performance: 0 – 62 in 5.7 seconds 167mph max*

Economy: 38.7mpg combined* (32.2mpg on test)

Co2 / VED: 170G/km Band H

WHATS HOT: Obscene performance – Amazing grip and handling – So easy to drive – Well made – Good fuel economy – A superb driver experience – Excellent engineering – Quite refined when cruising – Fine brakes – A textbook demonstration of blending tech with tradition.

WHATS NOT: Unbearable ride in R-Mode – Styling open to debate and opinion – Over bolstered seats require getting used to – Feeble horn – One or two penny pinching deletions of otherwise expected standard features – Rear visibility not good.

For more information on the Type R or Honda range CLICK HERE

 


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