Autocar Honda Civic Type-R

Discussion in 'News Feeds' started by Autocar, Friday 5th Jun, 2015.

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    Honda's new Civic Type-R is powered by a 306bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged four cylinder engine​
    Probably the most capable front-wheel-drive car in production today, with only limited edition specials getting close It’s Honda’s take on how to do a hot hatchback, after quite a sabbatical for the Type-R brand. This Civic Type-R has been a long time coming.Now it’s here, it’s not short of mechanical promise. Some 306 promises, in fact, making it one of the most powerful hatches around. Although, unlike the Volkswagen Golf R and upcoming 3rd Generation Ford Focus RS, Honda has tasked the Civic with deploying its poke through only the front wheels via a mechanical limited-slip differential.To aid that, Honda has fitted dual-axis strut front suspension; as Ford, Renault and Vauxhall already have, to reduce the torque steer effects – by 55%, Honda says - of putting 295lb ft through the front wheels.That torque comes courtesy of a turbocharged 2.0-litre engine - the first Honda powerplant to get both VTEC variable valve timing and a turbo. And, more significantly, it’s the first Type-R engine not to be a naturally aspirated motor that revs to the stratosphere. Here it revs to only 7000rpm, making its power peak at 6500rpm and peak torque from 2500rpm. It's a very different proposition from its predecessors.Elsewhere? The rear suspension is by a torsion beam (not necessarily a bad thing), steering is electrically assisted and there are adaptive dampers.Those dampers can be placed into either of two modes - stiffer if you push a ‘+R’ button on the dash. Honda is making quite a big song and dance about the Civic’s speed around some German race track or other. The +R mode is optimised for there, so as well as stiffening the dampers, it firms up the steering, increases throttle response and reduces the intrusion of the stability control system. And – woo - the dials turn red.Honda says all of the addenda on the five-door Civic’s body are present for aerodynamic or heat dissipating purpose; they’re not for aesthetics. I should hope not. Subtle and graceful it ain’t.Inside, things are more as you’d expect, with exceptional seats and a mostly decent driving position, although the steering wheel too easily obscures the speedometer - a potential issue in a car with 306bhp and sporting intent. And there’s a pleasing, aluminium gearknob for the six-speed manual gearbox; there’s no auto option.That’s fine, especially when you consider how good the control weights are. The throttle and brake pedals could be closer to ease heel-and-toeing and the gearshift could use a little less notch, but I’m picking here. Mostly, the Civic is an easy car to get along with.So is its engine response, which makes for easy brisk progress, although there’s obvious turbo lag at lower revs. Which isn’t very Honda Type-R at all.It doesn’t get any more traditional as you work the engine. It’s fast, no question. By gum it is. Honda claims 0-62mph in 5.7sec, and it’s hard to make a front-driver accelerate a great deal quicker than that.It’s extremely punchy through the mid-range, too, but it gets boomier towards the limit. Our test car only had 1200 miles on it, but Autocar’s long-term Renaultsport Megane felt freer-revving at the same mileage. There's no denying the speed, though. This is an exceptionally capable car.Ditto when it comes to the ride and handling. At least, the handling. A fuller judgement of the ride will have to come when we drive it on roads bumpier than the cricket wicket-smooth asphalt of our test route this time. But there’s no doubt that the Type-R grips fairly heroically and its limited-slip differential keeps the front end under tight control when you ask for big power demands. There’s some throttle adjustability here, too.However, the steering, consistent and accurate though it is, is less satisfying. It’s less engaging than the Renault’s feelsome rack, although it feels to me that less torque steer gets through in the Honda. I’d want a back-to-back test to be sure, though. That’s a compromise you have to make in a really powerful front-driver; there are muted tugs at the rim here.Should you buy one? You could well want to, you know. Because as well as the stuff that road testers and keen drivers get excited about, the boring bits like its pricing and fuel economy are pretty persuasive.And yes, even if it’s arguably not as compelling a proposition as, say, a Volkswagen Golf R or a Renault Megane RS 275 Trophy, it is probably the most capable series front-wheel-drive car in production. And there’s quite a lot to be said for that.Honda Civic Type-R GTPrice £32,195; Engine 4 cyls, 1996cc, turbo, petrol; Power 306bhp at 6500rpm; Torque 295lb ft at 2500rpm; Gearbox 6-spd manual; Kerb weight 1382kg; Top speed 167mph; 0-62mph 5.7sec; Economy 38.7mpg (combined); CO2/tax band 170g/km, 30%

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