Honda Civic Type R

GT

Honda Civic Type R, above action
Honda Civic Type R, side static
Honda Civic Type R, front static
Honda Civic Type R, full front action
Honda Civic Type R, front action
Honda Civic Type R, rear action
Honda Civic Type R, rear static
Honda Civic Type R, engine
Honda Civic Type R, seats
Honda Civic Type R, cabin detail
Honda Civic Type R, dashboard
Honda Civic Type R, boot

BOYS of a certain age might once have added a bit of zing to their bedroom walls with a poster of a Lamborghini Countach, oozing speed from every macho Italian pore.

Well, now those boys have grown up into sensible citizens, more likely to think practical hatchback than last century Euro road rocket.

But hang on... they can combine youth and maturity in a single vehicle that will take wife and kids to the school soccer match and - unbelievably, but true - comfortably keep up with that Lambo of fond memory.

Honda's Civic Type R, with a modest 2.0-litres under its distinctive bonnet accelerates as fast and reaches the same top speed as that two-seat Lambo with its mighty 12-cylinder, 4.0-litre engine.

Call it progress or call it simply astonishing after you factor in a fuel consumption that bettered 35mpg over an enthusiastically drive and the sort of solid mechanical build quality that means your Type R will provide a thrill a mile for years to come.

Honda boasts the car is the fastest front wheel-driver to circulate the legendarily demanding Nurburgring circuit in Germany (and that matters in hot hatchdom) but it's the way the car behaves on public roads that astonishes.

You really could let gran take it to the shops and then sink into the deeply contoured driver's seat when she returns and set off for a rather more memorable journey of your own.

Along the way you may have to deal with one or two other motorists who see the Type R's looks as a personal invitation to overtake in stupidly tight situations (three older BMWs the stars here) but you don't need to join in their games.

Sitting smugly behind the Type R's thick rimmed steering wheel you know there's a beast to be unleashed on demand, but only when traffic conditions permit. As they say.

Corners are no reason to stop grinning on your hot Honda drives, with big wheels and sticky tyres on hand to lend an almost surreal poise, while big brakes and a firm pedal induce maximum confidence that you can slow things down quickly.

The car starts in Sport mode, which means firmish suspension and an eagerness to react to the throttle pedal. For a bit of a softer time choose Comfort or, for the proper Silverstone feel, engage +R mode on the switch by the (nicely metal topped) gearlever and feel the steering and springs stiffen.

The Type R comes very well equipped in GT guise, with 20in alloys, LED headlights, rear view camera, satellite navigation and an 11 speaker sound system. There are lots of safety systems on board too, from city braking to forward collision warning and adaptive cruise control.

Demerits? The dashboard is a muddle and the screen menus too complicated for their own good - and you may find the look-at-me bodywork renders the car too racetrack for your tastes.

FAST FACTS

Honda Civic Type R GT

Price: £33,525

Mechanical: 316bhp, 1,996cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 169mph

0-62mph: 5.8 seconds

Combined MPG: 36.7

Insurance Group: 40

C02 emissions: 176g/km

Bik rating: 34%

Warranty: 3yrs/unlimited miles

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