Honda Civic Type R Hatchback (2015)
Our Rating 4.5 / 5
Video Review: Honda Civic Type R (2015)
"The wait is finally over! Honda is back in F1, and it’s back building performance cars like this; the new Civic Type R could be one of the most extreme hot hatches we’ve ever seen. The naturally aspirated engine has been ditched in favour of a new 2.0-litre turbocharged unit. Power is up to a robust and healthy 306bhp, which is all going through the front wheels, and torque is 295 foot pounds; that’s nearly double what the old car used to make.
Now, with current hot hatches like the VW Golf R and the BMW M135i setting the trend for understated power, it’s nice to see Honda breaking the mould and making a car that really does look like it wants to cause you some serious harm. However this design is not just cosmetic window-dressing. All of these vents, slashes and spoilers bursting from the car have a purpose. They create negative lift at high speed and also increase aerodynamic efficiency too, so it’s clean but it also sucks the car down onto the road.
Now, under the skin to cope with all of that power, this Civic bares little relation to the standard car. It’s got new front suspension. It has a new adaptive damping system, limited slip differential, 19-inch wheels and huge 350mm Brembo brakes. These new bucket seats are great and they are mounted about 20mm lower than they are in the standard Civic to give you a much better driving position on the road.
Honda have been talking a lot about the R+ button, which is a little button down here on the side. If you press it, then the dampers firm up by 30% and they say that’s when this car becomes a real race car for the road.
So we’ve brought the new Civic Type R here to the Slovakia Ring to test it out on track. What can I tell you about that new engine? Well there is a bit of turbo lag lower down the range, but once you get it above 4,000rpm, it absolutely screams towards the 7,000rpm redline.
Two major highlights are definitely the engine and that gearbox. It’s a really slick mechanical shift, a lovely short throw and you can really enjoy devouring the revs and getting through the first three ratios in absolutely rapid fashion. The engine performance is explosive, particularly above 4,000rpm when you do still get that VTEC feeling. The chassis is also seriously talented. There is a huge amount of grip, given the amount of power and torque going through the front wheels.
If we are being a little picky and perhaps a tad harsh on this new Civic Type R, then I’d say it falls slightly in between the current camps of hot hatch greatness. It’s not quite as pure and focused as a Renaultsport Trophy Megane, nor is it quite as cultured or relaxing (some of the time) as a VW Golf R. Having said that, it does strike a nice balance between the two, it’s very well priced and well equipped, and if you like the looks, then you’re on to an absolute winner. So no the new Civic Type R isn’t a disappointment, and yes, it was worth the wait."