Another reading article from this weeks autoexpress...enjoy
Honda Civic Type R
Long Term report
With its space-age looks, our Civic Type R goes boldly wherever we take it. What’s it like to drive every day?
By Ross Pinnock
Civic's sci-fi design is growing on Ross
With the full rev range available, the Type R comes alive, and while it doesn’t have the power of our long-term VW Golf GTI Edition 30, its frenetic delivery and raw pace more than match those of rivals
Scientists haven’t found life on another planet yet, but if aliens turned up tomorrow, chances are they would like the Honda Civic. Its futuristic styling and cabin are sure to appeal to anyone who uses a spaceship to get around!
The Type R version would also be the ideal car for demonstrating the whole hot hatch concept to a visitor from Mars – not least because it has already won an Auto Express shoot-out against its eight major rivals.
But what’s it like to live with on a daily basis? Will the ride comfort get on your nerves? Will the sci-fi looks date? They’re the questions we hope to answer, as we’ve added the Honda to our long-term fleet.
I’ve never been the biggest fan of the new Civic’s styling, but the Type R is growing on me. Its body-coloured wheelarch extensions, mesh grille and smart 18-inch alloys are all good additions.
Since it arrived in May, we have already managed to clock up 3,470 miles. Yet even during the gentle 1,000-mile running in period, the three-door car was winning us over. Despite the engine’s rev-hungry reputation, it proved surprisingly sprightly, even when restricted to our self-imposed 4,000rpm limit.
The firm ride is also much more bearable than I expected, although it does crash into the worst potholes on my daily south London commute.
However, the driving position is compromised, because even
at its lowest setting, the chair feels too high for my lanky six-
foot frame, and the steering wheel obscures the top of the
rev counter. My colleague, road test editor Oliver Marriage, has also highlighted the Honda’s poor-quality headlamps.
With the full rev range available, the Type R comes alive, and while it doesn’t have the power of our long-term VW Golf GTI Edition 30, its frenetic delivery and raw pace more than match those of rivals.
Unfortunately, the slick six-speed manual box doesn’t have the precision of the old car’s, and you need to be positive with the alloy lever, particularly when shifting into third gear. Even so, the well judged ratios are perfectly matched to the VTEC engine. On a sour note, the Honda has already been to the garage once, and is on its way again. Its first visit was the result of a puncture caused by a screw, which had pierced the shoulder of the offside rear tyre.
Its second visit is because of damage to the nearside sill, which was scraped on an urban width restrictor. Fortunately, the metalwork seems to have escaped unscathed, so while damage and miles have ended the Honda’s honeymoon period, the early signs are full of promise.
It’s a hoot to drive, and its frantic 2.0-litre engine also sounds better than any of its hot hatch rivals. If there is a better example of the breed in the galaxy, we’ve yet to find it.