Motoring and Property Editor
3:25 PM 13th May 2021
Honda Civic Type R – As Thrilling As Ever!
The Type R version of Honda’s latest Civic has recently had an update and a ‘Rallye Red’ GT variant has just graced my driveway. A full Yorkshire test was in order!
The heart of the Type R has always been its high revving VTEC engine which endows the racy Honda with exhilarating performance, albeit in a slightly frenzied manner. It is somewhat addictive though.
Honda has been fitting a turbo-charged 2.0-litre engine for quite some time now and whilst this may displease the purist, it is probably a sensible decision clearly aimed at improving emissions and economy.
The powerplant does not disappoint and the figures make for impressing reading. How does 400Nm of torque and 320PS sound?
The 0-62mph sprint figure of 5.8 seconds is not only believable but also readily achievable and if you can find a racetrack or German autobahn, you can max out at 169mph.
Even more impressive is the Type R’s mid-range poke, ideal for those rapid overtaking manoeuvres. The six-speed manual gearbox has a precise feel to it and is a pleasure to use, but with so much power available in all gears, it does not need to be unnecessarily stirred unless in the mood.
The throw has been revised, a noticeable improvement.
In the previous generation Type R, engine, road, and wind noise made long periods behind the wheel somewhat tiring. This latest version is undoubtedly more civilised yet loses none of its hard edge.
Road noise can still be an issue at higher motorway speeds, especially on coarser surfaces.
As would be expected, the Type R is set up in the spirit of a race car for the road and the handling is quite thrilling. Safe and controlled, it is quite astounding how quickly the car covers ground. At UK legal speeds, the Type R feels to be just getting into its stride.
Adaptive dampers are now fitted, the softest setting providing a degree of comfort even over the very worst stretches of broken tarmac. Firmer bushes improve rigidity and feel a tad.
On start-up, the Type R defaults to its ‘Sport’ setting. ‘Comfort’ mode works best around town with ‘Type R’ mode probably best left for track days and the like.
Whatever mode you choose to travel in, it is reassuring that Brembo brakes are fitted and they provide huge stopping power. Also helping to keep the car under control are the limited-slip differential and ultra-sticky low-profile tyres. Torque steer, the bane of the powerful front wheel drive car, is almost completely banished, except in extremis – good job Honda.
Behind the wheel, there is much to enjoy. The red suede bucket seats are immensely comfortable and supportive, but not the easiest to get in and out of.
As per more humble Civics, there is plenty of passenger space and a commodious 420-litre boot. Five doors aid practicality and visibility is good despite the rather showy rear wing.
At around £36,400 as tested, you would expect the Type R to be well equipped and broadly speaking it is with cruise and climate control, keyless entry and Honda’s Connect entertainment system.
Fuel consumption may not be of prime concern to Type R owners, but the quoted 36.7mpg figure for the combined cycle looks impressive. I recorded a little under 30mpg over the course of my week behind the wheel, using the performance to the full where conditions allowed.
It is hard not to be seduced by the considerable charms of the Civic Type R. As mad and bad as ever, the usable real world performance will excite and thrill.
Some might prefer the more subtle and relaxed VW Golf R, but on the right road and when you’re in the right mood, there’s no doubting the Type R driver will be having more fun.
*Honda Civic Type R GT
*List price - £36,415
*2.0-litre turbocharged VTEC engine
*Power – 320PS, Torque – 400Nm
*0-62mph in 5.8 seconds
*Top speed 169mph
*Combined fuel economy 36.7mpg
*Emissions – 176g/km CO2
Photographs by Will Larmour