Driven: Honda Civic Type R GT Review
We got our hands on the keys to the Honda Civic Type R GT for one week to test it out to the max, here is what we learnt about the car.
What is the Honda Civic Type R GT all About?
It has been 6 years since we’ve been able to buy a new Honda Civic Type R in the UK, and I’m now pleased to say that it is back, and it is 10 times better than before. The Type R will be sold in 2 models; the standard model and the GT. The GT model has extra features such as automatic lights, parking sensors, and a premium sound system.
Let’s talk about the obvious elephant in the room with the car, the looks. There are a few big elements that are really eye catching about the car, first up is the front-end design, which is hugely aggressive and features a very angular and aerodynamic looking front bumper and grille design. Next, the enormous rear wing, and another is the lower rear diffuser that, in conjunction with the roof spoiler, channels the air. Now don’t think this car is all show and no go, the outer characteristics play a big part in creating negative lift in the car. A huge amount of development has gone into creating aerodynamic gains, meaning that the car is more stable and has more grip at high speeds. And the vents of the wheel arches are there to aid the cooling of the highly tuned engine.
The new Honda Civic Type R is still powered by a 2.0 litre petrol VTEC engine, complemented by a mono-scroll turbo to boost both the efficiency and performance of the engine. The car creates 306 bhp and 400 Nm of torque, this power goes through a 6-speed manual gearbox to the front wheels, which means the car can get from 0-60 mph in a shocking 5.7 seconds and will do a top speed of 167 mph. The car also features a highly effective front differential to make sure all the power makes it down to the road.
What’s it Like to Drive?
You may know that the previous generations of the Honda Civic Type R (the EP3 and FN2 model) had that very high revving 2.0 litre VTEC engine that revved all the way up to 8,250 rpm. Though with the introduction of turbos the new 2.0 litre engine is limited at 7000 rpm. There is still a VTEC change, but it is not as noteworthy as before. However I can’t say I miss it.
When it comes to putting the power down to the road in the Honda Civic Type R brings a whole new experience to the car. You will notice there is a significant amount of torque available from low down in the rev range, and being turbocharged the car now has an electrically operated waste gate which provides lots of noise when dumping boost pressure when you are off the throttle. The release sound adds to the driving experience and you will find yourself making the car dump air just for a cheeky listen to that sound.
The car only weighs 1,382 kg, which is good for a car of this size, so the 306 bhp works exceptionally well at pulling the car along. The power delivery feels super eager and responsive, I didn’t find it lacking grunt at any point and from my perspective the amount of usable power is perfect for this car. In fact in some ways it feels almost too powerful for a front wheel drive car. But I’m not complaining.
The level of grip created from the Type R is class leading. Honda has worked alongside Continental to create a bespoke tyre to maintain optimum grip for the car. The tyres work well for straight line, braking and cornering performance. There are some further innovations that help improve handling on this car, Honda has developed a highly effective limited slip differential, there is now a dual axis front suspension system and the simple development to the drive shafts, which are precisely balanced for rigidity, make a big impact. All these changes working together provide a very smooth and controlled handling feel and minimise torque steer in ways we have not seen before. It is incredible the technology that goes into a modern day hatchback.
The car now comes with a +R mode, which can be turned on and off as you wish. Enabling the +R mode heightens the responsiveness of the car. It does this by adjusting the torque mapping to be more aggressive and performance focused, the steering assistance is lightened slightly and the adaptive dampers are stiffened by around 30%. All of this together gives you a much rawer and sportier feel. Having the ability to switch between both modes makes the car a lot easier and more enjoyable to live with on a daily basis. However it goes without saying that even in the normal driving mode the ride can certainly considered hard, even by enthusiasts.
Working our way inside the Civic the interior of the car is a lot more upmarket and premium looking than previous generations. One of the main features of the car, that I can’t get enough of, is the large red and black bucket seats. To get into the seats you feel as if you need to climb over the seat’s side supports and drop down into the centre of the seat, they are super supportive.
Looking at the dashboard, the car now includes a large touchscreen information system that works exceptionally well. Everywhere you look inside the car there are lots of sporty touches including the red line on the top of the steering wheel to help identify the centre point when racing, and the nice touches of aluminum on the gear stick and pedals too. Despite all of these upgrades, innovations and changes, the car has a playful and exciting feel, similar to the previous Type R models, staying true to its heritage.
The driver’s instruments are very nicely laid out still into a two-tier approach, and when you initiate +R mode the lighting changes to red around the dials which further improves the look. In +R mode you also get additional displays showing you a G-meter, brake pressure, accelerator pedal position, boost pressure, water temperature, oil pressure and oil temperature. These are all very nice, but I can guarantee that you won’t feel like you have time to take your eyes off the road in this car.
The experience that the Honda Civic Type R provides is an extreme fast road car, better than all its other front-wheel drive competitors. The performance of the car is astronomical, and it’s not just all about the straight-line power, it is also about how usable the car is in the corners. The Civic Type R is an absolute thrill whether you’re an amateur driver or a professional. This Type R will get your heart beating and blood pumping in moments.
The previous generations of the Honda Civic Type R have been exceptionally good cars, and Honda have now absolutely destroyed the benchmark with the latest generation of the car. The car is blisteringly fast, highly equipped, very practical and has a very unique look. But more than anything Honda have been very true to the racing heritage of their brand and achieved a brilliant performance car with proper track credentials. The Honda Civic Type R will content you like no other hatch has before.
Honda Civic Type R 2016
- Price: £32,295
- Engine: 2.0-Litre VTEC Turbocharged
- Power: 306bhp
- Torque: 400Nm
- Transmission: 6-Speed Manual
- 0-62mph: 5.7 Seconds
- Top speed: 167mph
- Economy: 38mpg
- CO2: 170g/km
Author: Paul Hadley
Also learn about the Honda Civic EP3 Type R JDM.