Driven: Honda Civic Type R GT Review
After attending the Honda Civic Type R press launch in Slovakia, here is my first drive review of this highly anticipated car.
What is the Honda Civic Type R GT all About?
It has been five 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 from Summer 2015 the red badge will be back, and with a lot of incredible improvements. The Type R will be sold in two 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 start by talking about the looks of the Type R. There are a few big elements that are really eye catching about the car, firstly 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.
The Honda Civic Type R is still powered by a 2.0-litre petrol VTEC engine, complemented by a mono scroll turbocharger to boost both the efficiency and performance of the engine. The car creates 306bhp and 400Nm of torque, this power goes through a 6-speed manual gearbox to the front wheels, which means the car can get from 0-60mph in 5.7 seconds and will do a top speed of 167mph.
What’s it like to drive?
The previous generations of the Civic Type R, the EP3 and FN2 models, had that very high revving 2.0-litre VTEC engine that revved all the way up to 8,250 rpm. The new 2.0-litre engine is limited at 7000 rpm, but considering this is a turbo-powered engine it is still a higher rev limit than most.
Putting the power down in the Honda Civic Type R brings a whole new experience to the car. There is a significant amount of torque available from low down in the rev range, but you can no longer sense that VTEC switch over which was a big feature in the previous generation. 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; I found the noise a bit addictive to be honest.
The car only weighs 1,382kg, so the 306bhp works exceptionally well at pulling the car along. The power delivery feels so eager and responsive, I didn’t find it lacking grunt at any point; the amount of usable power is perfect for this car.
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 also 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 too. All these changes working together provide a very smooth and controlled handling feel and minimise torque steer in ways we have not seen before.
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 stiffened too. All of this together gives you more of a 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.
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 love, is the large red and black bucket seats. Getting into the car you feel as if you are wrapped up in these large supportive seats, which instantly gives you a real race car feel.
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 aluminium on the gear stick and pedals. 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, and when you initiate +R mode the lighting is adjusted 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.
The experience that the Honda Civic Type R provides is one of endless fun. Honda deems the car to be a race car for the road and I couldn’t agree with them more. 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.
The previous generations of the Honda Civic Type R have been exceptionally good cars, and Honda have now absolutely smashed 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.
Honda Civic Type R
- 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 Ep3 Civic Type R JDM.