By Patrick James on 2017-02-24 - The author has been a motoring writer for more than 16 years. Formerly motoring editor at the Coventry Telegraph, he now produces motoring copy, on new car launches and road tests on a freelance basis.
Honda Civic Type R
2.0 i-VTEC GT
THE R stands for Racing and the H, obviously for Honda, but the red background also signifies hot, red hot.
The Type R is no ordinary hot hatch, featuring as it does, its most full fat, extreme high performance engine in its history.
It was the return of an old friend last year when the Type R returned after being mothballed for years.
Yes it's a Civic, that shape has been around for a while now and still looks good with its sleek, aerodynamic styling which makes it more slippery through the air when the throttle is floored.
The firecracker Type R adds a whole hosts of sporting extras with large spoiler, the aforementioned red badge, eye-catching 19-inch alloy wheels and large red brake calipers.
The GT Pack adds red highlights to the front and rear, splitters at the rear end, where, just in case you hadn't already twigged, the double twin exhaust pipes provide further clues to the blistering performance on offer.
And what performance. The Euro 6 compliant 306bhp VTEC turbo-charged engine powers the car to 60mph in just 5.7 seconds, real sports car territory, and on to a top speed, where permitted, of 167mph. Switch to ‘+R' mode mode for an even more thrilling drive.
This increases the response of various chassis and drivetrain systems.
Add to this an advanced new suspension system and a limited slip differential, plus a delightfully sporty and slick six-speed gearbox and you have a thrilling combination.
The exhaust is also tuned to deliver a delightfully raspy sound under hard acceleration.
No wonder Honda bill it as a 'race car for the road'. It red lines at 7,000rpm and with peak torque, or pulling power at 400Nm at 2,500rpm.
In spite of such performance it achieves CO2 emissions of 170g/km and reasonable fuel consumption of a claimed 38.7mpg.
The uprated suspension and limited slip differential, which sends traction to the appropriate front wheel to avoid wheel spin are critical on a car of this nature. It's wonderful to have all that power on tap, but if the wheels spin or the suspension wallows, you will end up getting nowhere when putting the throttle down.
It is blisteringly quick, but the handling is exceptional. Don't expect a comfortable ride. The stiff suspension however means it corners for fun and can handle any bends and twists a high speed circuit can offer.
Otherwise, as a day-to-day vehicle, it is fairly docile, if not the most comfortable of rides.
There are two versions with different trim and it was the more expensive GT version tested here which offers a raft of styling, convenience and safety features
The interior, or cockpit might be a better description, mirrors the sporting appearance of the exterior. Front occupants are gripped in high-backed sports seats, trimmed in suede-effect black fabric with red double stitching while the rear seat backs split 60/40 to increase boot space.
The flat-bottomed multi-function sports steering wheel has red double stitching on the black leather, while red ambient lighting adds a further touch of class.
The centrepiece is the intelligent multi function display with integrated Garmin satellite navigation and a premium eight-speaker, 320-watt stereo system upgrade.
The Honda Connect infotainment system is standard and runs Android, employs the familiar ‘pinch, swipe and tap‘ functionality of a smartphone to access its features and apps.
With the GT Pack you gain front and rear parking sensors, dusk sensing headlamps, rain sensing automatic wipers, electric fold door mirrors and Adaptive Cruise Control.
In addition there is automatic dual zone climate control air conditioning, Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning, High-Beam Support System, Blind Spot Information, Cross Traffic Monitor and Traffic Sign Recognition System.
Performance-oriented software features the likes of a digital lap timer and even a g-force meter.
A powerful beast like this needs to be safe and the Civic earns a five-star Euro NCAP rating thanks to high performance Brembo brakes, driver, passenger, side and side curtain airbags, restraint systems (including whiplash lessening front headrests) and active electronic safety systems traction and stability systems.
A fantastic sporting drive is the Type R's forte. It doesn't look half bad either and its fraction of the price of some famous name hot performers.
Honda Civic Type R 2.0 i-VTEC GT
Mechanical: 304bhp, 1,996cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox
Max Speed: 167mph
0-62mph: 5.7 seconds
Combined MPG: 38.7
Insurance Group: 33
C02 emissions: 170g/km
Bik rating: 31%
Warranty: 3yrs/90,000 miles
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