Honda’s Civic Type R has been around, in various forms, since 1997, but in 2015 the ‘FK2’ variant – based, as it was, on the ninth-generation of the Japanese family hatchback – marked the biggest step-change in the ‘CTR’ lineage yet, as it shifted from normal aspiration to turbocharging. This saw a huge increase in power and torque from its immediate predecessor, with wild styling to match.
The FK2 Civic Type R was only on sale for two years and there was only one model, so it’s easy enough to comprehend. Power came from a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder VTEC Turbo engine with 310hp and 400Nm. Driving the front wheels through a close-ratio, six-speed manual gearbox and a limited-slip differential, 0-100km/h took just 5.7 seconds and the CTR could go on to a top speed of 270km/h. Honda Ireland sold it in two specifications, the base car and then one called the GT Pack, which added various bits of equipment (like all-round parking sensors, dual-zone climate control, auto lights and wipers and so on) but nothing particularly ground-breaking. Internally, there’s a lot of space onboard the Civic Type R and a good seating position too, but the ergonomics are sometimes haphazard, and the interior finishing feels like it is at a lower level than its contemporary European rivals. There’s also the issue of the styling: some will love the Honda’s overt sportiness but with its huge rear spoiler, pinstriped alloy wheels, quad exhausts, big diffuser and brash lower side skirts, this is not a shy and retiring hot hatch. Nevertheless, it is very good to drive and ferociously quick, so if you can live with the looks and interior, this is a great second-hand hot hatch buy.
There is only one, so it’s a case of getting the lowest-mileage, best cared-for example you can find for the right price.
Honda Civic Type R (FK2)
Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol
Maximum speed: 270km/h
0-100km/h: 5.7 seconds
Fuel consumption: 7.3 litres/100km
• Incredible performance
• Excellent handling and ride balance
• Surprisingly good on fuel when driven gently
• Interior plastics suspect
• Ergonomic issues
• Exterior styling won’t be to all tastes
Honda’s decision to go turbocharged with the FK2 Civic Type R was a masterstroke, as this legendarily superb engineering firm pulled off the switch to forced induction with aplomb. Honda has refined the turbo Civic Type R into an even better machine in the form of the FK8 model (based on the tenth-gen Civic hatch) but that doesn’t mean the FK2 should be overlooked. It’s a super-fast, exciting machine that can function well enough in the day-to-day grind to make it all the car you’d ever need, in many respects.