An all-new Honda Civic landed in Ireland earlier in 2017 but Honda hasn’t made us wait long for the hot version. The fifth generation of the Honda Civic Type R packs 320hp and is available to order now in Ireland. Honda’s Type R label for performance models is legendary and 2017 marks the 25th anniversary since the debut of the first Honda bearing this badge.
The new Civic Type R car has already broken the record for fastest front wheel drive hatchback around the Nurburgring with a time of 7 minutes and 48.3 seconds, 7 seconds faster than the previous generation. But how will it handle Irish tarmac? I’ve been driving the new Honda Civic Type R at the Irish launch to find out.
The styling of the new Honda Civic Type R is a talking point. Just like the previous generation, the new Civic Type R is not subtle and harks back to a time when hot hatches had big wings and larger than life air scoops. The new Civic Type R’s other distinguishing feature is the centre mounted triple exhaust at the back. The motorsport inspired features all have a purpose including brake cooling vents, aerodynamic rear wing and a lightweight aluminium vented bonnet. The car is available in six colours including Championship White, Rallye Red and the exclusive Sonic Grey Pearl.
Inside the standard interior of the Honda Civic has been suitably ‘souped up’ with red to get your pulse racing. The basic ergonomics are the same and quality is good, with the alcantara trim a welcome addition. You slot into red bucket seats that are comfortable and supportive. And low, oh so low.
The Honda Civic Type R is five door only and comes with generous passenger space and a 414 litre boot.
Under the bonnet there is the same 2.0-litre VTEC Turbo as in the previous generation. Torque is the same at 400Nm but power is up from 310hp to 320hp. 0 to 100kmh is achieved in 5.8 seconds, going onto a top speed of 272kmh. CO2 emissions of 176g/km put the Civic Type R in tax band E with motor tax of €750 per year, while it can return a claimed 36.7mpg on a combined cycle.
On the road
The new Honda Civic Type R is lighter and more rigid, with a lower centre of gravity. An advanced Dual-Axis Strut Front Suspension system reduces torque steer and enhances on-the-limit cornering and steering feel. At the rear, the Type R’s new multi-link suspension enhances ride comfort as well as high speed stability. Dual-Pinion Variable-Ratio Electric Power Steering is new to the Type R, using a similar system as featured on the standard Civic, but optimising the variable ratio to deliver a more direct and secure feel at high speed.
The Honda Civic Type R’s standard six speed manual gearbox has a rev matching function for smoother shifts. There’s also a helical limited slip differential for greater traction during hard cornering. The front wheels are equipped with a high performance Brembo brake package, developed specifically for the car. The new Civic Type R brings three driving modes: Comfort, Sport, and R+ for more track focused driving. Each selection tailors the adaptive dampers, steering force, gear shift feeling and throttle response.
The new Honda Civic Type R may look immature, but from behind the steering wheel it’s matured with improved ride comfort that will make it an easy car to live with on a daily basis. Yet put the foot to the floor and the Civic Type R takes off like a hooligan trying to escape a robbery at the corner shop. The steering has extra weight in it and the car moves through corners at speed with ultimate precision and immense grip for a front wheel drive hatch. I look forward to spending more time with the car in 2018 to fully explore the Type R’s new character.
Like the rest of the Civic range, the new Honda Civic Type R features the Honda SENSING suite of safety technologies including Collision Mitigation Braking System, Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning, Road Departure Mitigation, Lane Keeping Assist System, Adaptive Cruise Control, Traffic Sign Recognition, Intelligent Speed Assistance and Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control.
Buyers can add a GT Pack for an extra €2,200. This pack adds carbon fibre effect sport garnish with red trim, Blind Spot Information including Cross Traffic Monitor, dual-zone climate control, auto-dimming rear view mirror, Honda CONNECT with Garmin Navigation, wireless charging pad, 542-watt 12-speaker audio system and LED front fog lights.
The Honda Civic Type R retails in Ireland at €51,750, while the GT Pack is an extra €2,200.
You will also find the Volkswagen Golf R and the Ford Focus RS occupying the space around the same price range as the new Honda Civic Type R, though both of those models are all wheel drive.
The Honda Civic Type R is a ‘look at me’ hot hatchback and is not shy about its performance credentials. If the interior of this car does not get your pulse racing, I don’t know what will. Aside from being a ‘practical’ five door hatchback, the Honda Civic Type R is a front wheel drive wild animal with sophisticated engineering and the heart of a rev-happy, 2.0-litre VTEC Turbo. Honda knows how to play the hot hatch game and the new Honda Civic Type R is a serious contender against the competition.