Honda Civic Type R – just for driving

Honda Civic Type R.

Jeremy Clarkson called it revolting, Richard Hammond called it hideous, so is Honda’s Civic Type R really that bad? It’s certainly eye-catching with its overly large rear spoiler, red seats and on my test car (a GT model costing €42,230 (£36,320) matching red paintwork.

The Type R is a true Honda icon, arguably as much as the NSX, and from its original back in 1997 it has pretty much been the company’s affordable halo model.

Built in Swindon for many years, sadly Honda are leaving the UK despite the undoubted quality that Swindon produced. The plant closes this year but, unlike fellow Japanese car maker Mitsubishi, you’ll still be able to buy right hand drive Hondas.

The latest Type R is priced from €39,904 (£34,320) with three model lines, the Type R, GT and Sport Line. Power comes from a 2.0-litre VTEC Turbo petrol engine that produces 62 mph in 5.8 seconds and carries on to a top speed of 169 mph. It feels quick, very quick! Yet despite this you can still get high 30s mpg in mixed driving if you’re careful with your right foot. Difficult, very difficult! Sharp steering and three drive settings – comfort, sport and insane ie R mode – makes for a very entertaining drive. In comfort mode it’s a, perhaps surprisingly, comfortable and useable machine for the daily commute. It’s practical too with decent interior space and a good boot.

Standard kit is generous with all the usual accoutrements such as auto lights, wipers, climate, auto high beam, heated and powered door mirrors, Alcantara, rear view camera, privacy glass and lots of safety kit. On the performance front there are Brembo brake discs and callipers, adaptive damping, limited slip differential, rev match and stability and handling assist. It all goes to make the superb package that is the Type R.

Then there’s the Marmite question. Its looks are certainly divisive, which is why Honda have introduced a slightly down-tuned version in terms of looks with the Sport Line.

Surely though if you’re wanting a performance machine like the Civic Type R then you want the looks to go with it. The angles, accentuated curves, mad looking spoiler, triple exhaust and overly bright seating is all part of the Type R look.

Even if you wouldn’t want to drive it all the time, I guarantee when you do drive it, you won’t be able to stop grinning.

Facts at a Glance

Model: Honda Civic Type R GT

Engine: 2.0-litre, turbocharged, petrol

Gears: 6-speed manual

Performance: 0-100 kph (62 mph) 5.8 seconds/Maximum Speed 272 kph (169 mph)

Economy: 7.7 l/100km (36.7 mpg) combined WLTP

Emissions: 176 g/km

Model tested was UK-specification and equipment levels and prices may vary in other markets.

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Written by

Mark Slack

If you're a petrol head you're in good hands with Mark Slack, whose expert take on the latest car releases will help you make your next purchase.