Type R Honda’s new rocket car
IF you’re a hot-hatch driver you probably want a model that is instantly recognisable as a car with lots of muscle under the bonnet.
And I’ve just been driving a super Honda sports car that must be the envy of many boy racers.
The Civic Type R has a striking appearance – from front, side and rear.
And the eye-catching styling is not just about making the car look good, with its aerodynamic features ensuring zero lift and mini-mum drag.
Honda’s designers were developing a car to perform at speed and the Civic Type R has this in abundance.
I didn’t get anywhere its class-leading top speed of 167mph but discovered it stuck to the tarmac while driving at maximum legal limits.
Front spoilers and door spoilers with a piano-black gloss finish highlight the Type R’s wide and low appearance.
The all-round sporting look includes enlarged upper and lower grilles in the front bumper and running along the lower edge of each combination headlamp cluster is an LED daytime running light.
Front and rear wheel arches are widened and there are new 19-inch alloy wheels.
The rear end looks muscular with its huge rear spoiler, a pair of dual-exhausts tailpipes on the flanks of the diffuser with the lamps also featuring distinctive LED light bars.
Boy racers will probably go for the Milano Red colour but the test model was Polished Metal and looked just as menacing.
It’s a car that’s sure to get you noticed – but you have to keep your eye on the speedometer to make sure you’re not attracting attention from speed enforcers.
Inside, I loved the high-backed front sports bucket seats – trimmed in suede-effect black fabric with red double stitching – that were firm and gave excellent support.
The sporty cockpit also features a flat-bottomed steering wheel with red double stitching on the black leather-clad wheel and black gear-lever gaiter matching those on the seats, and the roof lining is trimmed in black fabric.
The intelligent Multi Information Display includes display information and the driver can select all sorts of details – G-meter and brake pressure/accelerator, pedal position, boost pressure, water temperature, oil pressure and oil temperature, lap time and acceleration time to 62mph.
So how does this fourth-generation Civic Type R perform – magnificently.
Under the bonnet is a new direct-injected turbocharged 2-litre VTEC turbo petrol engine that delivers 310PS.
Push the start button, slip it into first gear, hit the accelerator pedal and you will immediately hear a super rasp from the four exhaust pipes.
It can fire you to 62mph in just 5.7 seconds and offers super-quick changes as you move it up and down the six gears with the machined aluminium alloy gear stick.
A number of new advanced suspension systems ensure you don’t get too bumpy a ride in the Type R when driving around town or cruising on the motorway.
But a new +R mode changes the driving experience when required.
Press the button at the right of the steering column and this activates visual changes.
The floating dial surrounds in the instrument binnacle change from glowing white to glowing red.
A +R logo is displayed to the left of the rev indicator and the idling stop system is disabled.
With +R mode selected engine responsiveness is heightened, with torque-mapping changed to a more aggressive and performance-focused setting allowing more of the available torque to be unleashed at lower engine speeds.
The electronic power steering becomes shorter-geared with reduced power assistance to provide a heavier and tighter steering feel.
Basic damping force from the new four-point Adaptive Damper System is increased by 30 per cent making the behaviour of the car firmer and more agile for high-performance handling.
The Type R proved to be super agile in this mode as I pushed it in and out of bends at speed, with blistering mid-range acceleration.
There was plenty of fun factor driving in this front-wheel drive five-door hot hatch.
There are two versions with the Type R priced at £30,000 and coming with a high level of standard equipment.
The test model was a GT version with an extra £2,295 adding such items as Garmin navigation and CD player, parking sensors, dual zone climate control, electrically retractable door mirrors, interior red ambient lighting and driver assistance safety systems which include blind spot information, cross traffic monitor, forward collision and lane departure warnings.
Honda has upped the stakes in the hot-hatch market with its latest stunning Type R models.