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Saturday, August 11, 2018





The people's supercar: Honda reveals new British-built  Civic Type R hot hatch that can do 170mph







Just about every report from the Type R's debut painted it as a competent front-wheel-drive performance car when it came to track or otherwise spirited driving, but I wanted to go deeper. I was hopeful that the Civic Type R would succeed as a daily driver, too -- not necessarily a given, because some performance cars are just too rough for everyday use, especially on Michigan's pockmarked roads.

The hot hatch segment got a huge shot in the arm with the introduction of the 2018 Honda Civic Type R. This high powered liftback delivers on the attitude it projects through its aggressive aerodynamic package that is punctuated by a huge rear wing. The Civic Type R puts other pocket rockets like the Subaru WRX STI on notice as Micah Muzio explains to us in this Video Review and Road Test.


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You cannot buy a faster, more powerful Honda than the Civic Type R. From the roots of sensible Civic transportation, a performance tree has blossomed, lovingly nurtured by a mighty 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, a thoroughly reworked suspension, 3-mode adaptive dampers, Continental summer performance tires, and robust 4-piston Brembo brake calipers, the cumulative result of Honda's tuning effort is a quick and sophisticated expression of vehicular bliss offered at a reasonable sum.
For a driving aficionado and ex-S2000 owner like me, the Type R should be a slam-dunk. Except, when I was picking up the car before I even sat in the driver's seat a little kid walked by wearing a Spiderman backpack and screamed "Look mommy, a race car!" To be fair, that kid was both correct and adorable but it made me wonder, is the Type R designed for full-grown adults or preteen Hot Wheel fanatics and Johnny Tran wannabes? More succinctly, am I getting too old to drive something so ludicrously styled?
What do I mean? Well, like layers of frosting on a hatchback cake, the Type R is slathered with faux carbon-fiber front and side splitters, a conspicuous rear diffuser, three exhaust tips for some reason, vortex generators, matte black 20-inch wheels wrapped in low-profile tires housed in wide vented fenders, and, like a cherry on top, a novelty sized wing.
Does the most powerful of Honda's need to look like this? I'm guessing not but the air scoop does help cool the engine and the hood it's mounted to is made of aluminum saving, 11.7 pounds versus the Civic's regular steel hood. The wide fenders are necessary to accommodate a track that's 2.1 inches wider in front and 1.2 inches wider in the rear, vortex generators help guide air to the wing, and the wing does create handy downforce when exploring the Type R's roughly 170 mile-per-hour top speed. So, while it might look ridiculous, there's enough purpose in the Civic Type R's design that you have talking points when your clients ask, "Why did you show up to the meeting in a race car?"
Inside, the racy theme continues with red accents galore and a neat serial plate found on every Type R. But function takes priority. The thick, flat-bottom steering wheel is satisfying to grip and the manually adjustable front seats accommodate shoulder harnesses for serious track duty and are brilliantly supportive without resorting to the super beefy lower torso side bolsters that some performance cars have that impede my arms when I steer.
Thankfully the Type R isn't nearly as abusive as it looks. Employ the comfort drive mode and you'll enjoy reasonable steering efforts, easy throttle response, and a ride that's firm but thoroughly tolerable. As you expect sport mode tightens the suspension and steering, but if you want to drive like a madman or madwoman consider R mode. It's the absolutely right choice if you need to lose Dom Toretto on your way to the spark and firework factory. R mode makes the ride racetrack stiff, heavies up the steering, and alters the automatic rev matching feature for even revvier rev matching.
On that note every Type R comes with a delightfully precise manual transmission. Think of the shifter and clutch pedal as velvet ropes guarding the Type R. If you want to party you got to do the manual dance. Upstream from the transmission is the Type R's engine. If you're curious here's the fuel economy numbers (22 mpg city/28 highway/25 combined).
And moving on, to make sure all that power isn't wasted through the sound of one wheel spinning, there's a limited slip diff. Because two spinning tires are better than one or at least they would be if the Civic Type R didn't hold its revs in a very specific spot and not allow me to do a sweet burnout, which is why I'm going to leave quickly instead of dramatically. This is the thing I was talking about. When I floor it, the revs stay at 3,500 rpm. That's probably good for the drivetrain but it's not so good for smoke burnouts.
As the most powerful production Honda to ever grace North America, the Civic Type R has the moxie to blast from stoplight to stoplight with real purpose but it's important to set expectations. The Type R's sub-six-second 0-60 sprints are quick but choose your battles wisely. All-wheel drive competitors like the Ford Focus RS, VW Golf R, and Subaru WRX STI are notably quicker off the line but are also somewhat more expensive. I've also noticed that if you accelerate to redline, after the upshift, it takes a short beat before full thrust kicks in. It's kind of exhilarating but it sort of makes me miss the high-rev linearity of my old S2000. Nonetheless the Civic Type R is a fine tool for stoplight shenanigans.
And for some drivers that'd be enough, but some of us like to turn. How does the Type R turn? Like this! Huh. Yeah, I just drifted the Type R. I really did too! The Type R's variable ratio steering is slower on center, making it more stable on straights and quicker off-center allowing you to negotiate corners with less steering lock. In R Mode efforts are a little heavy but overall the steering feels wonderful.
But perhaps the best part of the Type R is the brakes. The pedal has essentially zero dead space and just like the steering it feels amazing. Brake. With 13.8-inch front rotors the brakes return consistent powerful deceleration and look, the 4-piston front calipers are already red so you don't have to paint them yourself.
What's remarkable to me is the general lack of torque steer. Apparently, the Type R's unique front suspension reduces steering axis offset and apparently that helps. Look, virtually no torque steer. Not bad for 306 horsepower. And now I should steer, there's a corner. In a track environment the Civic Type R is fast, fun, and exceptionally well sorted. Yeah, understeer is still a thing but it's not nearly as bad as you might expect. If I was looking for a track day car and I felt like driving the front wheels this would be the one.
Applied to a race track the Civic Type R's technical prowess and comparatively light curb weight shine and yet it's equally a home on the streets, supported by an odd measure of practicality. After all, underneath all these pointy bits hides a Civic hatchback with abundant cargo space and spacious rear seats, though I wish there were three instead of two.
For a little less than $35,000 the Honda Civic Type R includes LED headlights and fog lights, smart key access with push button start, dual-zone climate control, and a seven-inch touchscreen offering Apple CarPlay and Android Auto but not a volume knob. The Honda Sensing suite of active safety features found on most Civics is sadly not included on the Type R but you never know what the future might hold.
Despite its competitors’ lures, the Honda Civic Type R is a neat proposition. Spawned from a superb foundation, this little guy is fast, engaging, reasonably-priced, and oddly sensible. It's a glorious be-winged ball of fun. So, what can we learn from the Civic Type R? One lesson is that from simple beginnings greatness can emerge. Perhaps another more important lesson is that if you're going to look ridiculous you better have a good reason.
I think every Civic Type R should be purchased in Championship White -- since they don't offer Phoenix Yellow -- but perhaps that's why I'm not a product planner.

Oppa Gundam Style

It seems most people's opposition to the Type R isn't based on the powertrain, but rather on its looks. They have a point -- it's not exactly easy on the eyes, thanks to its garish wing and massive expanses of black-plastic "vents." My tester's bright red paint doesn't exactly speak to subtlety, either.
Personally, I enjoy the boy-racer looks. It's the first Civic Type R in the US; it damn well better look the part. No, Type Rs of years past haven't been this visually aggressive, but the best part is that when you're driving it, you don't have to look at it. If you prefer to fly under the radar, you might consider the Volkswagen Golf R.
Thankfully, the story changes inside, where the design doesn't stray too far from the standard Civic. There are three major differentiators: the red trim all over the dash, the Type R-specific pieces near the shifter and some very supportive (and, again, very red) seats. While they're comfy as all get-out, I'm let down that Honda didn't find a way to heat them. Not every Type R will end up in California, and while the Civic Type R will be more than capable in the snow with the right tires, your tuchus will stay on the frosty side.
The Civic's interior is well sorted, otherwise. The digital gauge cluster is bright and configurable. The center console has storage space for days, and the hatchback's trunk can swallow several houses' worth of groceries. But do note, while the standard Civic Hatchback seats three across in the rear, the Type R deletes the center position for a fixed pair of plastic cup holders.
A wing so big it makes the albatross jealous.

A proper daily driver

The Civic Type R relies on a massaged version of the previous generation's 2.0-liter turbocharged I4, good for 306 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. That torque comes on nice and low, so even if you short-shift, decent throttle application results in ample hustle. It always wants to go. And despite sporting exhaust pipes the size of cannons, the noise is only moderate and never overpowers the ears.
That motor is connected to the single best-feeling transmission Honda has built in over a decade. The six-speed manual has some of the crispest shift feel as you snick-snick-snick up and down the gears. The clutch has a very predictable bite point and plenty of feel, unlike the new Civic Si. There's an auto rev-matching feature you can enable for downshifts, and it works great.The Civic Type R's preternatural smoothness applies to its road manners, too. Three-mode adaptive dampers are surprisingly comfortable even in the hottest +R mode, but if that bad boy is slapped into Comfort, it deals with Michigan's craptastic roads with ease, soaking up undulations and bumps without transferring everything to the humans inside. This is doubly impressive when taking into account the Type R's thin-profile, 245/30-20 summer tires. It's impressively balanced.
And then there's the fuel economy. The Type R is EPA-rated at 22 mpg city and 28 mpg highway, and both numbers are staggeringly easy to top if you stay out of the boost. I saw highway economy closer to 32-33 mpg and city economy closer to 25.
The Civic Type R's seats are sublime. 

  • Sales of the new Honda Civic Type R revealed in Geneva begin this summer
  • It is manufactured at Honda’s UK factory in Swindon for markets worldwide
  • It is expected to be priced from just over £30,000 - delivering supercar performance at a family car price
  • The Honda Civic Type R set a time of 7:43.01 at the Germany track
  • That's 3 seconds quicker than the previous record holder, the VW Golf GTI
  • It's just 51 seconds short of the overall fastest lap set by Lamborghini
  • The Lamborghini Performante is £250K more expensive than the Honda, though
The British-built Honda Civic Type R has become the fastest front-wheel drive road car on the planet after setting a new lap record at the legendary Nürburgring circuit.
The 170mph car built at Honda's Swindon factory and dubbed 'the people's supercar' lapped the infamous Nordschleife track in just 7 minutes 43.8 seconds.
It beat the previous record holder - the stripped-down Volkswagen Golf GTi Clubsport S which achieved the feat in 7 minutes and 47.19 seconds – by more than three seconds.

Record breaker is made in Britain: The Swindon-built Honda Civic Type R has taken the title as the fastest front-wheel drive production car on the planet
Record breaker is made in Britain: The Swindon-built Honda Civic Type R has taken the title as the fastest front-wheel drive production car on the planet
The new model slashed seven seconds off the performance of the previous generation Honda Civic Type R, which had held the record for two years. 
Honda said record the lap was time achieved in development car with technical specifications representative of the final production car that was unveiled at this year's Geneva Motor Show.
Honda's hottest hatchback is being manufactured at Honda's UK factory in Swindon for markets worldwide, including Japan and the USA. Sales begin this summer.
It is being built alongside the mainstream 10th generation Honda Civic hatchback at Swindon, which is the global manufacturing hub for the entire Civic range, with 1,000 Type R models being exported to Honda's home country, Japan.
The newly crowned fastest front wheel drive car in the world is also due to arrive in North America this year, marking the first time that any Honda-badged Type R has been officially sold there.
It set a record-breaking time of 7:43.8 at the 13-mile-long  Nürburgring Nordschleife track in Germany
It set a record-breaking time of 7:43.8 at the 13-mile-long  Nürburgring Nordschleife track in Germany
The time bettered the previous FWD road car champion - the VW Golf GTi Clubsport S - by three seconds
The time bettered the previous FWD road car champion - the VW Golf GTi Clubsport S - by three seconds

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Like the outgoing Civic Type R (pictured), the new model will be built at the Swindon plant in the UK, which is the global hub for the entire Civic range
Like the outgoing Civic Type R (pictured), the new model will be built at the Swindon plant in the UK, which is the global hub for the entire Civic range
What you need to know about the new Civic Type R 
A concept version of Civic Type R was shown at the Paris Motor in September 2016.
The new Type R is powered by a revised, refined and optimised 2.0-litre VTEC turbo petrol engine with an output of 316bhp that develops 400Nm of torque - or pulling power - with a six-speed manual transmission.
Honda said it comfortably beats the performance of the outgoing Honda Civic Type R, which has a top speed of 167mph and accelerates from rest to 62mph in 5.7 seconds.
A Honda spokesman said: 'Following the production model's debut at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, the all-new Honda Civic Type R has set a new benchmark lap time for front-wheel drive cars at the Nürburgring Nordschleife.
'On 3 April 2017, a development car lapped the world-famous circuit in 7 minutes 43.8 seconds.'
The new Civic Type R produced 316bhp front a heavily tuned 2.0-litre turbo engine
The new Civic Type R produced 316bhp front a heavily tuned 2.0-litre turbo engine
The car used in the test wasn't exactly like the models you'll be able to buy in dealerships this summer
The car used in the test wasn't exactly like the models you'll be able to buy in dealerships this summer
The test car had a roll cage fitted. To compensate for the additional weight of the internal cage, Honda removed the rear seats and infotainment system
The test car had a roll cage fitted. To compensate for the additional weight of the internal cage, Honda removed the rear seats and infotainment system
Honda said the record lap time was achieved during the final phase of the model's testing regime. It was achieved on a dry track with 'an optimum ambient temperature' for the best tyre and powertrain performance.
It said the new time represents an improvement of nearly seven seconds compared to the previous Type R model.
'The new Civic Type R was part of the all-new tenth-generation Civic's development programme – the largest in Honda's history – and was engineered to deliver the most rewarding drive in the hot hatch segment, both on road and on the race track,' the spokesman explained.
As well as the powerful engine, Honda said the record was achieved with the help of new lower gear ratios in the six-speed manual transmission to further improve the car's acceleration.
The streamlined aerodynamic package delivers outstanding high-speed stability with a best-in-class balance between lift and drag, it added.
The highly rigid body frame of the all-new Civic Type R is 16kg lighter than the previous model, with a stiffness improvement of 38 per cent.
'This provides significant benefits to steering response and cornering stabilit,' said Honda. 
Stability under braking is improved by new multi-link rear suspension. This reduces the total roll movement of the car, allowing later braking into corners and helping to achieve higher cornering speeds during the lap.
The new Civic Type R will officially be sold in North America for the first time in 2017
The new Civic Type R will officially be sold in North America for the first time in 2017
The crack team of Honda engineers fitted the test car with high-performance road-legal tyres for the test
The crack team of Honda engineers fitted the test car with high-performance road-legal tyres for the test
The new Civic Type R has a more powerful engine but also revised gear ratios to give it some extra low-rev grunt
The new Civic Type R has a more powerful engine but also revised gear ratios to give it some extra low-rev grunt
Ryuichi Kijima, the lead chassis engineer for the Honda Civic Type R, said: 'The cornering speed achieved in the new Type R is higher because the car features a wider track and tyres, a longer wheelbase, new multi-link suspension in the rear and optimised aerodynamics that improves stability.
'For example, drivers typically enter the corner after Metzgesfeld at around 93mph Even at this medium-speed corner, the speed is around 6mph higher due to the new Type R's excellent stability.
'So, with improved cornering performance, we can increase the speed throughout the lap, helping the new Type R to achieve a much quicker lap time.'
Honda said the development car that achieved the lap time was 'technically representative' of production specification.
A full floating roll cage was installed for safety reasons, but its presence did not provide any additional rigidity to the body frame. 
The extra weight of the cage was compensated for by the temporary removal of the infotainment system and rear seats. The car was using road legal track-focused tyres. 
In March the Lamborghini Huracán Performante became the overall fastest road car on the planet when it smashed the lap record set by a production - buy-it-from-a-showroom - car around the infamous Nürburgring Nordschleife route in Germany.
It clocked a time of 6:52.01 at the 13-mile circuit, beating the previous lap record held by the near-£1million Porsche 918 Spyder hypercar by a staggering five seconds.
The Lamborghini Performante became the fastest road car on the planet with a time of 6:52.01 earlier this year
The Lamborghini Performante became the fastest road car on the planet with a time of 6:52.01 earlier this year
That means the Lamborghini lapped the 13-mile circuit 51 seconds faster than the Honda Civic Type R
The Lamborghini will be around £250,000 more expensive than the Honda
That means the Lamborghini lapped the 13-mile circuit 51 seconds faster than the Honda Civic Type R. That said, there'll be around a £250,000 price difference between the two modelsThe wraps finally came off Honda’s hottest hatch today as the production version of the British-built Type R ‘people’s supercar’ was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show.
The 170mph-plus hatchback will be manufactured at Honda’s UK factory in Swindon for markets worldwide, including Japan and the USA. Sales begin this summer.
It is built alongside the more mainstream 10th generation Honda Civic hatchback at Swindon, which is the global manufacturing hub for both cars.
The Type-R shares the same ‘fundamentals’ as the new Swindon-built Civic hatchback, but Honda says it has been engineered ‘from the ground up to deliver the most rewarding drive
The Type-R shares the same ‘fundamentals’ as the new Swindon-built Civic hatchback, but Honda says it has been engineered ‘from the ground up to deliver the most rewarding drive
Honda noted: ’The Type R will be exported across Europe and to other markets around the world, including Japan and the US. Its arrival in North America will mark the first time that any Honda-badged Type R has been officially sold there.’
A concept version of Civic Type R was shown at the Paris Motor in September 2016.
Some leaked pictures of the finished Type R were published on car websites ahead of the official launch, raining a little on Honda’s parade.
The new Type R is powered by a revised, refined and ‘optimised’ 2.0-litre VTEC turbo petrol engine with an output of 320 horse power (PS) that develops 400Nm of torque or ‘pulling power’ with a 6-speed manual transmission.
That translates in everyday language into 'it will be very fast'.
Although Honda is being tight-lipped about exact figures, the new Type R is expected to be priced from just over £30,000. 
It is also expected to comfortably beat the performance of the outgoing Honda Civic Type R, which has a top speed of 167mph and accelerates from rest to 62mph in 5.7 seconds.
A Honda spokesman said: ‘The new Type R further refines the sporty dynamics of new Civic hatchback, heightening driving performance.
‘It builds on Honda’s heritage in developing high-performance hatchbacks, and represents the segment’s ultimate expression of dynamic purity.
‘It is engineered to deliver the most rewarding drive in the hot hatch segment.’
New model: Type R ‘people’s supercar’ was unveiled today at the Geneva Motor Show
New model: Type R ‘people’s supercar’ was unveiled today at the Geneva Motor Show
Although the Type R shares the same fundamental’ as the new Swindon-built Civic hatchback, Honda says it has been engineered, from the ground up  for road and  race track performance.
Honda says the 2.0-litre VTEC turbo hear’ of the previous generation Type R has been optimised and refined and now produces a more powerful 320 PS.
It says: ‘Throttle response and driveability have improved thanks to optimised engine control settings.’
The six-speed manual transmission has been improved with a ‘rev-match’ control system to ensure a ‘no compromise’ connection between driver and machine.
The new Type R takes the lighter and more rigid body shell of the new Civic hatchback.
The Type R takes the lighter and more rigid body shell of the new Civic hatchback
The Type R takes the lighter and more rigid body shell of the new Civic hatchback
Compared to the previous generation Type R, the torsional rigidity or stiffness of the chassis is further improved by 38 per cent, which should translate into better and sportier handling.
But while the Type R may be the wild child of the usually more sedate Civic family, it is also being made more user friendly. Honda says: ‘An enhanced selection of driving modes give the car greater usability compared to the previous Type R.'
A new Comfort setting sits alongside agile Sport and track-focused +R modes: ‘Each selection tailors the adaptive dampers, steering force, gear shift feeling and throttle response of the car on demand.’
It also features more refined aerodynamics for high-speed stability. This includes a smoother underbody, front air curtain, a lightweight rear wing and vortex generators at the trailing edge of the roof line.
Honda says: ‘The muscular, aggressive body has a best-in-class balance between lift and drag, contributing to greater high-speed stability’. 



► Day-to-day with the latest Honda hot hatch

► Most rounded Civic Type R yet
► GT spec brings extra kit

For the last few months, Honda has been taking a Civic Type R to different tracks around the world to demolish the lap record for production front-wheel-drive cars. This week, the Civic Type R took the lap record at the Hungaroring with Jenson Button behind the wheel.
The ex-F1 and current Super GT competitor set a time of 2min 10.19sec around the track where he also took his first F1 win ever, for Honda in 2006. After the lap, Button also gave some feedback on the new Type R – the same one I’m running as a long-termer.
‘The first thing I noticed when I left the pitlane was how neutral the car was,' he said. 'I come from a background that is not front-wheel drive focused, so it was very different for me but because the Type R is so well balanced it was instantly really enjoyable and more natural.
‘The thing that surprised me most is how late you can brake with this car. The manual gearbox works really well, too. Most cars these days don’t come with manual boxes, so it’s nice to have that manual feel. You always feel a lot more connected to the car.’


Month 4 living with a Honda Civic Type R: how does it compare with a GT3?

This month involved a little less Honda than usual and a bit more Porsche 911 GT3
Yet I wasn’t as disappointed by having to jump back into the Type R as you’d expect. Sure, the Honda lacks the Porsche’s fizzing 8000rpm redline or timeless looks, but it’s obscenely planted, with just the right amount of power under that gaping air scoop – and it’s begging to be thrown around.
Its usability inspires confidence, and the looks are starting to grow on us, too.
As tested £32,995 

Engine 1996cc 16v turbo 4-cyl, 316bhp @ 6500rpm, 295lb ft @ 2500rpm 
Transmission 6-speed manual, front-wheel drive  
Performance 5.8sec 0-62mph, 169mph, 176g/km CO2
Miles this month 1040 
Total 5565  
Our mpg 28.65  
Official mpg 36.7  
Fuel this month £219.17  
Extra costs None


Diary update: James Taylor's take on the Honda CTR

Curtis and I swapped cars over the weekend, with him driving my usual Hyundai i30 N long-termer and me borrowing his Civic Type R.
It’s a little while since I’ve been behind the wheel of the Civic, and I’d forgotten just how brilliant it is. I wish my i30 N had the same sense of precision; the Civic’s steering and body control are leagues ahead of the Hyundai's, which itself is a great driver’s car. That shouldn’t come as a surprise, of course, given the Civic’s higher price point and the fact that the base Civic has a more sophisticated chassis than the i30 N’s donor car.
Honda Civic Type R (2018): long-term test review by CAR magazine
For me, what makes the Civic such a satisfying car to drive are its control weights and touch points - there’s plenty of feel through the brake pedal, the clutch and gearshift are perfectly weighted, and the steering rack is geared just-so. All that means you can enjoy the car at almost any speed - it’s almost as much fun to drive slowly as it is quickly, picking the perfect line through a corner and enjoying the instant response from the steering, lack of body roll, and yet supple ride quality. I suspect the Type R’s dampers are quite expensive.
Another plus point: although the Civic is more powerful than the i30 N, it’s much less thirsty.
The Type R’s looks have started to (slightly) grow on me, too, and I think it’s a better-looking car than its FK2 predecessor. It is a shame it has such extreme styling, though. As much as I love driving the Type R, I still can’t get used to people staring, first at the car, and then its driver, everywhere it goes. The Civic’s drivetrain and chassis inside the i30N’s body - maybe that would be the perfect combo.


Month 2 living with a Type R: scratching the surface

One mile-heavy month into life with the Type R and my brain is now fully dialled into manual-gearbox driving. With the rustiness gone I’ve been fully appreciating the crisp but solid, firm yet smooth feel of the Honda’s six-speed ‘box. And on quite a few slip roads, I’ve been making the most of what those gears can extract from the turbocharged petrol engine. 
Blasting the Type R to cruising speed from third is the perfect antidote to miles of A1 (M). After that burst of fun, it’s then easy to drop it into sixth, click on adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assist, and fire up a podcast.
A car that looks this lairy has no right to be this comfortable on the motorway, but that’s a benefit of the Type R being developed at the same time as the rest of the Civic range. But now to find some B-roads, and explore the other end of the spectrum.

Price £32,995

As tested £32,995 
Engine 1996cc 16v 4-cyl turbo, 316bhp @ 6500rpm, 295lb ft @ 2500rpm
Transmission 6-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Performance 5.8sec 0-62mph,169mph, 176g/km CO2
Miles this month 1742
Total 2208
Our mpg 28.8
Official mpg 36.7
Fuel this month £340.22
Extra costs None


Diary update: the Type R goes to Goodwood 76MM

The annual Goodwood Members Meeting is a celebration of all things vintage, with flowing bodywork, low mechanical grip and the sound of crude naturally-aspirated power providing a rich atmosphere.
If you had to choose a car that’d stick out there then, you’d probably put the turbo-powered Honda Civic Type R near the top of your list – and you’d be right to. It’s engineered to carve through b-roads, it’s full of technology to make your life easier – and with that wing on the back, it looks more like a 1920’s biplane than an automobile.
Nevertheless, with the car packed on Saturday morning, full of clothes that were nowhere near warm enough for what was to come – the Honda and I set off from Stamford.
The journey to Goodwood takes around three and a half hours, but I’m now well aware how easy it is to eat up the miles in the Type R. Tanked up with fuel and prepared with a decent playlist, the journey was relatively simple –  though the weather had other ideas.
Goodwood car parks always seems to turn into a no mans land of stranded classics and hatchbacks, and the appearance of snow now added to the equation, I knew things would be tricky. After getting interesting looks by those in MGs, Healeys and other classics, I parked the Honda somewhere in a field, and guessed I’d need it towed out.
In fact, I made it out, but only by reversing for around 10 minutes along a safe path of metal ramping;  any three point turns would’ve left me on the mud, and likely stranded. I survived then, but perhaps the car’s interior will need a serious valet.
After making a break for it, I probably experienced one of my most unhinged drives with the Type R ever.  With the roads car covered in snow and girt, and the tyres slick with mud, almost every press of the accelerator saw a flicker of the traction light – but even in the most adverse conditions, the Type R was still predictable.
Sure, launching out of Chichester’s numerous roundabouts resulted in several big losses of traction - just enough to put a grin on my face. It may look modern, brash and be highly engineered, but the Civic really feels like a direct, responsive drivers’ car. And isn’t that partly what Goodwood is about?


Bulging with extra air intakes and wild vortex generators, and finished with an enormous OTT spoiler, the Type R isn’t what you’d call discreet. In fact, it looks more like a Transformer – and I like it.

When CAR reviewed the Type R last year, we found it to be the most well-rounded hot hatch in ages. That’s something of a relief, because a good amount of my life is in London, so I’ll be using the performance-minded Honda to shuttle myself between Stamford and Bromley. That’s not the nicest two-and-a-half-hour journey in any car, and takes in driver’s favourites such as the M25, M11 and A1(M). But it looks like the Type R may be better suited to the mundane than many other hot hatches.
Comfort mode – new for this year’s model – softens the suspension, cools the powertrain and lightens the steering, while  adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping – part of the £2000 GT package – give you a helping hand when you need it, too. Throw in four seats for normal-sized humans and a proper boot, and the Type R could actually be rather practical. 
What about the interior? Posh cabins have never been the Civic’s forte and this one is far from the plushest among today’s hot hatches. Its infotainment in particular looks quite basic – but it’s clear most of the £30,995 you pay for this car has gone into performance. Still, credit where it’s due: it has a wireless charging pad for compatible smartphones.
I’m looking forward to doing some serious miles. While Comfort mode will probably be the setting I use when travelling to London and in day-to-day commuting, the Sport and R+ modes are clearly where it comes most to life.
Honda Civic Type R interior: still very Japanese
The six-speed transmission is both mechanical and tactile – making gearchanges incredibly satisfying. Thanks to a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder VTEC engine, the Civic is quick enough, and gets to 62mph in 5.8 seconds.  The car boots up on Sport mode by default, but flicking a switch selects R mode, and with it a more aggressive set-up. The suspension is firmer, the steering heavier, and it’s a setting I’ll no doubt enjoy exploring in the coming months.
The Civic Type R is a car I’m really looking forward to using day to day. On paper it’s the best of both worlds. We’ll be finding out if that’s the case.

Price £32,995

As tested £32,995 
Engine 1996cc 16v 4-cyl turbo, 316bhp @ 6500rpm, 295lb ft @ 2500rpm
Transmission 6-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Performance 5.8sec 0-62mph,169mph, 176g/km CO2
Miles this month 0
Total 466  
Our mpg n/a
Official mpg 36.7mpg
Fuel this month £0
Extra costs None

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