Type-R Hondas are not among the fastest or the most powerful cars in the world, but the European-dominated “hothatch” sector is about to be shaken up by a new Japanese member with Type-R philosophy, the new Honda Civic Type-R.
Unlike most other Hondas imported into Australia, it does not come from Thailand but from Honda’s UK plant in Swindon, and it looks nothing like its Civic four-door siblings. The look is edgy and the lines are clean, with the bonnet line flowing from the steep sloping front window and a rounded backside adorned with a rear boot fin that may help with the wind dynamics of the vehicle but considerably hampers your rear vision.
Honda’s Type-R philosophy is focused around offering a driving experience similar to that given by racing cars and making the driver part of the machine by giving you high levels of feedback from the vehicle such as sound, steering response and handling. So if you are looking for a car which gives you a smooth ride and softens every bump in the road, this is not the car for you.
Type-R cars are not just known for being fast – they also offer great performance in gear changing, braking, steering and handling and this Civic is no exception. Another goal of Type-Rs is to offer an authentic driving experience, not affected by driving assisting systems or other features such as sound proofing that can diminish the driving involvement. For the very same reason, a Type-R Honda is not generally equipped with luxury equipment, such as sat-nav, hands-free telephones or leather interior, but it is meant to look and feel more like a racing car.
Under the bonnet you will find a 2.0-litre DOHC i-VTEC engine with 148kW of power and 193Nm of torque, though to get any real surge in power out of the engine it has to be revving up past 7,000 r.p.m.
Step inside the Civic Type-R and it’s like stepping into the main control room of a spaceship. The red illuminated dials are strategically placed over the double layered dashboard which sweeps around either side of the steering wheel. The futuristic feel is further accentuated with the red start button, the digital speedometer and the large dial in the centre with tacho on the perimeter and other meaningful info glowing red, in the centre.
The coupe styling does not compromise the cabin space. The interior provides a high degree of flexibility and passenger accommodation. The Civic Type-R features Honda’s “magic seat” system, allowing the rear seats to fold to create a fully flat rear cargo floor. Folding the rear seats flat increases the usable boot space from 485 litres to 1,352 litres.
With all the opposition packing high power and high torque turbo engines, Honda’s naturally aspirated Civic Type-R will win you over with involvement and an 8,000 r.p.m. redline. It’s an appealing package with loads of character – and keenly priced – but may not provide the instant adrenaline rush many are looking for.
Price: $39,990
Engine: 2.0-litre petrol four
Power: 148kW, 193Nm
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Good: Great looks and drive
Bad: Poor rear visibility

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