Honda Civic Type R

GT

Honda Civic Type R GT, front, hill climb
Honda Civic Type R GT, front, action, hill climb
Honda Civic Type R GT, front, static, hill climb
Honda Civic Type R GT, side, action, hill climb
Honda Civic Type R, wheels
Honda Civic Type R, interior

IF you believe Christmas is for children and you don't want to grow up I have the answer, buy a Honda Civic Type R GT.

The British-built slingshot from Swindon embodies the edginess of youth with the practicality of a family hatchback.

School-runs, family shopping and rellies-round-trips can be undertaken or endured, but come the weekend and you head for your favourite bit of winding road and the Type R rewards you in spades.

This fourth generation of the popular hatchback introduced in 1997 is lighter, faster, more technically advanced, surefooted, saving on emissions and fuel, and turns heads like few others.

Striking bright colour schemes with personalisation options to further refine it, dual rear wings and sweeping shovel nose with bulging wheelarches immediately mark out its character in the car park.

Honda engineers love their job and it shows in the powertrain of the Type R GT. The American-made engine is light, powerful and very refined with mechanical and software refinements which give it tremendous punch from low revs all the way to its 7,000rpm redline.

The power just pours out from the moment you put your foot down, tip-toe on the clutch pedal and neatly shift through the six ratios.

Changes are light footed, quick and easy, the steering very communicative and direct while the massive brakes haul down speed without effort but a lot of effect.

I found the suspension firm, even hard at times, but in keeping with the sporting nature of the car and it meant there was almost no body roll or pitching on bends or under load.

There is a tendency to understeer at speed on some curves but easing off the throttle pulls it all back. I thought it could be improved if there was a four-wheel-drive transmission, but that would probably dilute some of the fun to be had behind the wheel on winding roads.

The secondary controls are all close to hand, the instruments are spread over three displays and can be a little distracting but the essential dials are directly infront of the driver and are clear.

Heating and ventilation is very good throughout, oddments space reasonably good and the boot is big.

Access is very good through the four doors and the seats are comfortable with the front pair having deep side bolsters to help locate occupants. There is also a useful underfloor compartment in the bootspace, which quickly extends as the rear seatbacks can be gradually dropped to provide a continuous flat floor.

The Honda Type R GT is a car you would probably like to be seen in, but looking out is a difficult proposition. To front and sides its very good, with really powerful headlights and good wash and wipe system, but those twin rear wings, high tail and narrow back window combine to make reversing very difficult.

When you do look ahead the horizon approaches quickly from standstill and the performance is so abundant that the overdrive fifth and sixth ratios mean the engine is running very economically when cruising and we saw close to 40mpg overall after a hard week.

FAST FACTS

Honda Civic Type R GT

Price: £32,300

Mechanical: 306bhp, 1,998cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 168mph

0-62mph: 5.7 seconds

Combined MPG: 37

Insurance Group: 33

C02 emissions: 170g/km

Bik rating: 33%

Warranty: 3yrs/90,000 miles

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