Feature Civic Type R

Published on November 18th, 2016 | by Jonathan Bottomley

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Honda Civic Type R – Forbidden Fruit

No, the ‘R’ doesn’t stand for raucous…..

In fact, I’m really not sure what ‘R’  actually does stand for. But I definitely do know that the current Honda Civic Type R is the best front wheel drive hot hatch you can buy in terms of performance. It doesn’t hold any Nurburgring records, but it’s also not limited in production numbers meaning that anyone can buy one, except, for now, our friends across the pond. The hot hatch world, though, is a world in which four wheel drive is becoming more and more common. The question I need to ask then: can this old timer keep up? Yes. “Really, that simple?” You ask. Yep, that simple. It may only have two driven wheels compared to four in such rivals as the VW Golf R and Ford Focus RS but it can still provide competent levels of performance. 0-62 mph, for example, takes only 5.7 seconds, that’s close to the original NSX’s 0-60 time. A hot hatch almost as quick as a 20 year old supercar. Un-be-lievable!

If looks could kill.

Its party tricks don’t just stop at 0-62 times though, with top speed being a frighteningly quick 167 mph and that’s with all of the drag generated by the huge number of bolt on aerodynamic aids giving it the look of the body armor a stormtrooper might wear. It’s definitely not understated, it isn’t tasteful but it certainly will appeal to the fanboys. Having said said the Civic Type R is actually very capable, and the aero kit is fully functional, very little of it is for looks, except for the slats on the hood, which are clearly fake. All this unnecessary plastic has a negative effect though, rear visibility is simply atrocious thanks to that MASSIVE rear wing taking up the space where the cars behind should be. Also, when people see you in a car that looks like that, they’re going to think that you’re either trying to make up for your lack of manhood or that your just a massive show off. Neither being an ideal prejudice to have thrust upon you.

Will it go around a track fast?

Looking like a show off can be mitigated by taking your Type R to a track. Something you should do if you have any brains. When you do this, all thoughts about whether the prejudice inducing aero kit was necessary will simply fade away due to the sheer, G force generating, mechanical grip created by the extreme levels of downforce. This devilish downforce is what allowed it to set an astonishingly quick ‘ring time of 07:50.63 (quoted by Honda). This scorching time isn’t all thanks to downforce though, the Type R also generates some impressive power and torque figures. 306 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque to be precise. All of this comes from a tiny turbocharged 2.0 liter 4 cylinder engine, so it’s economical too, if you are light of foot. The final bit of good news? It only comes with a 6 speed manual gearbox. “So the Civic Type R is great for lap times?” Yes. “It’s great for purists?” Yep. “It’s great for practicality, with it being a hot hatch?” Well, yeah. With it being front wheel drive it doesn’t need all of the components at the rear that a 4WD hatch does. This translates to more boot and rear seat space. Front wheel drive “I know what’ll catch it out. The power! Surely that leads to stuff like torque steer and understeer, right?” No, the Type R uses this downforce and a clever mechanical limited-slip differential/dual-axis strut combination to transfer the power to the road successfully and of course quash torque steer and understeer. There’s also +R” button that’s claimed to sharpen the Type R for track use.

Can I get one here?

Not this one, but you will be able to buy the 2018 model just announced at the Paris Auto Show, and North Americans will be able to buy this Type R before it hits European markets and as an added bonus it won’t look like a bread bin. It will have more power and super-aggressive looks; a six-speed manual and front-wheel drive will be standard, while its brakes, steering, suspension, and tires will all be upgraded. The prototype sports bright red Brembos, which many are hoping will carry over to the production model. Sadly for some the satin paint won’t make it to the production car.

Should I buy the current one?”

Until the new one is available, I’d say probably not, it’s near enough to £30,000 ($39,000) in the UK, meaning that it’s as expensive as a Ford Focus RS, and it doesn’t even come with a drift button! So, I might seem biased, but if I had £30,000 to spend on a hot hatch, I’d buy a Focus RS.

2016 Honda Civic Type R Specs

VEHICLE TYPE: Front-engine, front-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door hatchback
ESTIMATED BASE PRICE (U.K.): 30,000 GBP
ENGINE TYPE: Turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve inline-4, aluminum block and head, direct fuel injection
Displacement: 1996 cc
POWER: 306 hp @ 6500 rpm
TORQUE:  295 lb-ft @ 2500 rpm
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed manual
Curb weight::  3,050 lb
Zero to 60 mph:  5.7 sec
TOP SPEED:  167 mph
FUEL ECONOMY (EU Figures)  38.7 mpg Combined 
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About the Author

Jonathan Bottomley

Contributing Writer - I have been a petrolhead for not so long now. My love for cars started when the 2015 Top Gear series started; I began by watching it for some entertainment on a Sunday night. Very quickly the car fanatic inside me started to blossom. Part of my love of cars has come from karting and cycling and the mechanical element of both of those things. I am also a huge F1 fan, supporting Red Bull Racing.



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