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MotorBar - New Car Reviews
Honda Civic Type R GT 2.0 VTEC

Click to view picture gallery“Hondas latest fifth-gen Type R
  has all the core ingredients you
d
  expect of a Bond car — and it
s
  got a Licence to Thrill!”


HONDA'S RED-BADGED high-performance five-door hatchback has been comprehensively re-engineered from the ground up to deliver the most rewarding driving experience in the hot hatch segment...

By way of saying 'Hi', this latest incarnation of the Type R set a new lap record (for front-wheel drive production cars) at the fearsome Nürburgring Nordschleife circuit in Germany: the 'R' now owns the front-wheel drive category lap record with a time of 7 minutes 43.8 seconds — which effectively also makes it the fastest front-wheel drive car currently on sale.

You only have to look at the Type R to accept that it will run to the 169mph Honda says it will. The styling is both aerodynamic and striking; a nifty confection of angular lines blended with subtle curves that shout 'speed' while maximising high-speed grip and stability, interrupted by finely nuanced wheelarches packed out with 20-inch alloy wheels.

The turboed 2.0-litre
petrol VTEC engine is a
feisty number that pumps
out a wieldy 295lb ft of
torque. Between the
power and torque there’s
enough to punch the
Type R off the line to
62mph in a gleeful 5.8
seconds although even
more impressive is the
ease with which it leaves
62mph behind and
closes on 100mph...”
Further emphasising the road-racer look is a back screen-splitting rear wing underscored by a diffuser and not-just-for-show triple tailpipes that mark the loud-end of a free-flowing exhaust. Vents in the wheelarches and bonnet are also fully functional; specifically fitted to help to keep the turboed 315bhp engine sweet 'n' cool when the pace heats up.

Slotted into the engine bay is a 2.0-litre petrol VTEC engine — it's a feisty powerplant that pumps out a wieldy 295lb ft of torque. Between the power and torque there's enough to punch the Type R off the line to 62mph in a gleeful 5.8 seconds although even more impressive is the ease with which it leaves 62mph behind and closes on 100mph. A six-speed manual 'box with a short, clean throw directs the power to the front wheels.

It really is a great engine; apply even minimal pressure via your right foot and the effervescent 2.0-litre's muscular torque makes itself instantly felt, pulling eagerly from low revs — not that it shows any lack of enthusiasm to being taken to the 8K redline, with no reticence at any point in the power band. Über-usable, the power on call is a perfect partner for the Type R's Nordschleife-conquering chassis.

As an ardent wheelsmith, you likely won't be worrying about economy but nonetheless the Type R is pretty easy on the unleaded — officially 36.7mpg in the Combined Cycle, a hard week's testing saw us record an overall average of 32.8mpg. For the performance on tap, that pretty impressive.

What's even better is that the crisp-changing six-speeder isn't the only man:machine interface for exploiting the power; it's complemented by three different driving modes — Sport, Comfort, and +R — selected instantly by flicking a toggle switch next to the gear lever.

Sport is the default
driving mode every time
you press the engine
Start button.
With ready-to-rumble
throttle response and
steering feel, adaptive
dampers set to a well
tempered rock ’n’ roll
firmness, and the traction
control and Vehicle
Stability Assist all
optimised, Sport delivers
an exhilarating driving
experience with never-
ending bite...”
Sport is the default mode every time you press the engine Start button. With ready-to-rumble throttle response and steering feel, adaptive dampers set to a well tempered rock 'n' roll firmness, and the traction control and Vehicle Stability Assist all optimised, Sport delivers an exhilarating driving experience with never-ending bite. Comfort mode takes the straining-at-the-leash feel down a peg, resetting the dampers to serve up an agreeably flowing ride for when you're feeling in a more gran turismo rather than an adrenaline-laden GT mood.

Like a £100-per-shot snifter of Reme Martin Louis XIII, +R mode is best reserved for special occasions such as trackdays because, like the cognac of kings, it's been fine-tuned by experts — in the Type R's case, Honda's engineers, who've fettled it to deliver an invigorating circuit experience… the Nürburgring awaits!

A stiffer, all-new platform that lowers the Type R's centre of gravity is kitted out with dual axis front struts, a new rear multi-link suspension set-up, new variable-ratio electric power steering, and a new four-corner adaptive damping system that together maximise this latest Type R's handling envelope.

Body roll is virtually non-existent and is accompanied by huge grip levels (to which the lo-pro Continental 245/30 R20 tyres shrink-wrapped around the black-painted 20-inch alloys contribute strongly); the steering is encouragingly communicative, serenely facilitating sharp changes of direction, especially through the twisties, helped by a limited-slip diff to maximise cornering speeds. Overall this new 'R' remains single-mindedly composed and enjoyably nimble. And as you'd expect of a track competent machine, its Brembo brakes (discs and callipers) scrub velocity with ease.

Drop into the driver's seat and you immediately feel an integral part of the Type R. Upholstered in red Alcantara (with mesh over black fabric inserts) with integrated headrests, the low slung and supportive sports seats have deep bolstering that hugs your sides reassuringly during committed driving on the road and keep you planted on a trackday. Needless to say, the driving position is about as good as it gets and visibility is excellent — even the big rear screen-hugging rear spoiler doesn't restrict the driver's view of what's happening behind.

Drop into the drivers
seat and you immediately
feel an integral part
of the Type R.
Upholstered in red
Alcantara (with mesh
over black fabric inserts)
with integrated
headrests, the low slung
and supportive sports
seats have deep
bolstering that hugs your
sides reassuringly
during committed driving
on the road and keeps
you planted on a
trackday...”
You'll also find that the spherical alloy gearknob is perfectly to hand and the alloy pedals also faultlessly sited for your feet. The logically laid-out fascia, enhanced by carbon-fibre inserts and tastefully-done red-themed detailing, is home to a central 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system. The multifunction three-spoke sports wheel feels great in your palms and also benefits from some smart red leather to the lower rim and features individual controls and switches that are easy to identify by feel without looking directly at them.

Viewed through the top arc is a multi-configurable crystal clear digital instrument cluster with a large rev-counter centre stage and, inset, easily-readable digital speed readout. Also appreciated is the button that temporarily shows all the climate settings on the touchscreen with the added bonus that you can them adjust traditionally using the controls below the display.

The kit list is well populated with smart entry and start, dual-zone climate control, wireless smartphone charging, 467w 11-speaker premium hi-fi, reversing camera with front and rear parking sensors, auto-dimming rearview mirror, one-shot power windows, and the infotainment system incorporate a first-class Garmin SatNav with traffic sign recognition. The display is crisp and the spoken directions foolproof, and the system itself dead easy to use — you really don't need to read the handbook!

Plus there's screen-mirroring for your mobile (Apple CarPlay and Android Auto), Internet music streaming, DAB radio, Bluetooth handsfree, electronic parking brake with auto hold, privacy glass, powerfolding heated doors mirrors (on-demand and auto on locking and leaving), drive-off door locking, auto lights and wipes.

Good, too, to find plenty of in-cabin storage: there's a huge, deep and long central storage bin, with black suede trim, between the front seats with a sliding armrest section and a pair of stacking dual-usage cupholders, a large and lit glovebox, slim but deep door bins, and a handy cubby accessible from both sides that runs through the transmission tunnel ahead of the gearlever and provides HDMI and USB connections and includes a 12-volt power outlet.

At 4.5-metres nose to
tail the Type R’s interior
is big on practicality
as well as being one of
the most spacious cabins
in its class — four big
doors make entry and
exit easy and lead to
generous accommodation
for four adults...”
Other standard-fit items include adaptive dampers, LED headlights and fog lights, hill start assist, and a full set of airbags along with a comprehensive suite of safety assists including City Brake Active, Stability and Agile Handling Assist, Collision Mitigation Braking with pedestrian protection, Forward Collision Warning, intelligent adaptive cruise control with cut-in prediction plus intelligent speed limiter, Lane Keeping Assist, Lane Departure Warning, Cross Traffic Monitor, blind spot monitoring, tyre deflation warning, and not forgetting those 20-inch alloy.

At 4.5-metres nose to tail the Type R's interior is big on practicality as well as being one of the most spacious cabins in its class — four big doors make entry and exit easy and lead to generous accommodation for four adults. With their comfortably reclined backrests, well-sited armrests, and ample head, foot and knee room, the rear seats make long trips a pleasure. It's family-friendly too, with Isofix child seat mounting points for the outer back seats and usable door pockets.

The practicality continues in the clean-sided boot which is a decent size — 420 litres when loaded to the window line. Fold down the 60:40-split rear seatbacks (they fold flat and provide a seamless loadbay floor) and this expands to 786 litres; more if you load above the glass line. Access is very good, courtesy of the large tailgate, and there's extra capacity under the floor with a multi-tray arrangement. A very natty compact rollerblind stretches from side to side to effectively keep valuables out of sight.

With its simpatico road-racer core character sitting comfortably alongside its undiluted track-going credentials, the Type R delivers an addictive adrenaline hit every time out — and all for what is, given its performance levels, actually very modest money. ~ MotorBar
.
Honda Civic Type R GT 2.0 VTEC | £33,525
Maximum speed: 169mph | 0-62mph: 5.8 seconds | Test Average: 32.8mpg
Power: 315bhp | Torque: 295lb ft | CO2: 176g/km

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