THERE are a handful of cars that lift the run-of-the-mill family runabout to new levels - models which inject serious fun - with a capital F - into otherwise quite ordinary motors.
Maybe it started with the Mini Cooper S. Later to be followed up by RS Escorts and a series of Golf GTIs, which, of course, are still going strong.
More recently, a family hatch with the same sporty DNA has hogged the headline - the Honda Civic Type R.
Despite the green pressures and the surge in electrification, the latest recently launched Type R remains faithful to its heritage and is propelled by a highly tuned relatively small - two litre - ICE unit. No electrification, no twin clutch auto box and no four-wheel-drive.
It is, however, much prettier, somewhat larger and more practical for family travel. One aspect that hasn't changed is its dynamic playfulness and stunning pace. In fact, that has been enhanced.
Sadly, the price has risen, by a whopping five-figure amount. And at a shade under Â£50,000, it's now perhaps out of reach for some enthusiasts.
The four-pot, high revving engine puts out a lusty 325bhp through the front wheels which catapult it to 62mph in a shade under six seconds. Though it's certainly not refined by BMW standards, neither is it rough nor obtrusive. More eager and busy, in a good way.
The stubby six-speed manual shift is a joy to use with short throw movements and a slick action coupled to sensible ratios which allow rapid in-gear progress yet relatively relaxed cruising in sixth.
Engine mods including a new turbocharger have resulted in the revs spinning quicker and more freely. The trademark triple exit exhausts are retained.
The ride is firm...and that's in ‘comfort' setting, and hard as Tyson Fury's fist if you shift to ‘sport'. For most UK surfaces, we found comfort setting to be the best place to be. And it still pays to keep a careful eye out for potholes which can catch out the low-profiles.
Steering is tight, precise and informative - as you'd hope for in a performance orientated car like this. Corners and curves are swallowed up in a flick of the wheel as the tyres bite into the Tarmac with little sign of adhesion loss.
Fuel consumption won't be the main selling point to the majority of buyers. Nevertheless, the low 30s are easily attainable even with during hard driving.