WITH their extreme high performance engines and blistering fire-power Honda's Type R vehicles have gained a cult-like following and the latest Civic certainly lives up to all the hype.
Powered by a 310ps 2.0-litre turbo engine, the Civic Type R is the hottest of hot hatches and takes just 5.7 seconds to blast its way to 62mpg from a standing start and the top speed, where permitted, is a class-leading 168mph.
The car may carry the Civic name, but it looks more suited to a rally circuit thanks to the massive wing, deep front bumper complete with cooling ducts, eye and ear-popping quad exhausts, flared wheel arches, 19-inch alloys with striking red rims plus red brake callipers.
Then, of course, there is lots of Type R badging.
The racy theme continues inside the cabin with two deep bucket seats in red Alcantara with contrast stitching and flashes of red trim adorning the doors, steering wheel, air vents and dashboard.
There's a host of technology to be explored, including Honda's CONNECT infotainment system complete with sat nav, a CD player, a seven-inch touchscreen and eight speakers.
The Type R is also fitted with ambient lighting, parking sensors, a rear parking camera, dual zone climate control, alloy pedals and a rather interesting red +R button that is simply too tempting to resist.
While the car delivers blistering pace and outstanding driving dynamics at all times, the +R mode really cranks up the power.
It increases the responses of various chassis and drivetrain systems for an even more intense experience.
According to Honda, the engine responsiveness is heightened with more aggressive torque-mapping, the steering becomes more responsive. It also becomes more agile for high-performance handling.
The power on offer is electrifying and the slick six-speed manual gearbox is beautifully responsive. In fact, it's difficult not to drive the Type R enthusiastically. It's loud, bumpy, aggressive and very, very fast.
The road-holding is super grippy and the glimpse of a tight bend ahead is guaranteed to put a smile on your face.
But apart from all the guts and gusto, the car has a practical side too. There is ample space for a couple of adults in the back and the boot can hold 498 litres of luggage (increased to 1,427-litres with the rear seats dropped flat.
If driven carefully, the official combined fuel economy is a fairly respectable 38.7mpg with carbon emissions of 170g/km.
Honda has packed the car with safety features, including anti-lock brakes, electronic brakeforce distribution, brake assist, hill start assist, vehicle stability assist, city-brake active system, numerous airbags and some driver assistance systems such as blind spot information, cross traffic monitor, lane departure warning, forward collision warning and high beam support.
One word of caution though - the wheel trims stick out and apparently they can very easily be kerbed, which will prove a pricey mistake.
All in all, the Civic Type R is a sizzling hot hatchback that attracts attention wherever it passes.