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Review: Honda Civic Type R

Review: Honda Civic Type R


Honda has updated its class-leading hot hatch – is it still top of the class?

Honda Civic Type R

Honda has updated its class-leading hot hatch – is it still top of the class?

In this review we cover:

What is it?

This generation of Civic Type R has been on sale for about three years now, and in that time it has rarely seen its place as best in class at risk. However, with the standard Civic getting a mid-life refresh, Honda has given its hot hatch a little tweak too.

The changes are minor, because if ain’t broke, don’t fix it. We’ve been behind the wheel on road and track to see if the recipe is as intoxicating as it ever was.

honda civic type r

What’s new?

The changes aren’t extensive but they are quite important. For a start, the GT model has been joined by a couple of other trims in the form of the less lairy Sport Line and the Limited Edition, a hardcore variant that’s already sold out.

Across the range, changes include improved suspension, two-piece floating brake discs and new pads, subtle styling tweaks and an Alcantara steering wheel.

Honda Civic through the ages

What’s under the bonnet?

It’s the same engine as before, but that’s no bad thing because it’s a ferocious unit. It’s a turbocharged 2.0-litre engine that makes 316bhp and 400Nm of torque, all sent to the front wheels through a snappy six-speed manual transmission.

It has a top speed of 169mph and a 0-60mph time of 5.6 seconds – and it feels every bit as fast as those numbers suggest. It’s a muscular engine with quite an old school feel in the way there’s a momentary delay to your inputs below the mid-range before you get a surge of power. 

What’s it like to drive?

In a word, brilliant. On the road it feels planted so you have the confidence to press on in the corners without feeling like you’re being reckless. And in normal driving, the suspension is relaxed enough that you don’t feel like you’ve had to compromise comfort in daily driving duties.

On the track its true character comes to the forefront as it feels ultra agile, without ever feeling like it could get away from you. It makes even the most average of drivers feel like a hero.

honda civic type r

How does it look?

The styling is divisive, but to our eyes it’s great to see its extrovert exterior match its driving character. It’s quirky Japanese design at its very best, evoking images of classic ‘80s rally cars.

If you want subtlety you might be better served by the likes of the Ford Focus ST or Volkswagen Golf GTI, but there’s also the Sport Line version of this Civic, which tones the looks down a little. 

What’s it like inside?

The only criticisms that can really be leveled at the Civic is inside, where things look a bit dated with a few cheap materials used on the dashboard. The infotainment system is regarded to be one of the worst in the business, too.

However, if you’re wanting a hot hatch for weekend fun rather than also needing it for commuting and shopping duties, the important stuff is great. The gear shifter feels light and satisfying to use, while the bucket seats hold you securely in place.

honda civic type r

What’s the spec like?

It’s pricey for a Civic, but when you take into account the mechanical upgrades and equipment on offer it feels like good value. Upgrades include the seats and steering wheel, while smartphone connectivity makes the infotainment system slightly more bearable.

It also gets Honda’s safety equipment, called Honda Sensing, which includes kit such as forward collision warning and adaptive cruise control. Furthermore, you get a blind spot warning, cross traffic monitor, dual-zone climate control, wireless charging and an 11-speaker audio system.


Unsurprisingly, the updated Honda Civic Type R is just as good as it ever was – maybe even slightly better thanks to some choice upgrades. While it’s shame the hardcore limited edition model is no longer available, the standard car is utterly top notch.

If you can look past the poor infotainment system and lairy styling, you get one of the best drivers’ cars in the business.

New Honda Civic Type R