The Verdict

Honda Civic Type R

If a high-revving hot hatch is your thing, look no further. David Wilkins and our panel try out a rather uncivilised Civic


SPECIFICATIONS

Model: Honda Civic Type R

Price: £18,000

Engine: 2.0-litre petrol

Power: 198bhp at 7,800rpm

Torque: 142lb/ft at 5,600rpm

Performance: 146mph, 0-60mph in 6.6 seconds, 31.0mpg; CO2: 215g/km

Worth considering: Ford Focus ST, Vauxhall Astra VXR, Volkswagen Golf GTI

If you've already read anything at all about Honda's latest Type R, one thing will probably have stuck in your mind about it – while it has generally been well received, the consensus is that this, the sportiest version of the Civic, isn't quite as hard-edged a machine as its predecessor.

This view seems to have become so firmly established that I don't suppose that anything that I our any of our panel of readers say is going to change it. But it's still worth trying to put things into some sort of perspective, because by any standard other than that set by its forerunner, the latest R is still pretty zingy.

A Golf GTI, to take one rival as an example, is a bit more expensive than the Type R, but has an engine that's about the same size and delivers an almost identical power output. The two cars, though, are completely different in character; the GTI provides far more maximum torque, and this is available over a wide range, starting at just 1,800rpm compared with the 5,600rpm required in the Type R. Maximum power is delivered at 5,100rpm in the GTI, but at a giddy 7,800rpm in the Type R.

The reason for this is that the GTI uses a turbocharger to get these results, while the Type R's engine relies on clever valve-gear and, above all, revs; its red line is at 8,000rpm and it gets to about 8,300rpm before the rev limiter kicks in – numbers almost no other affordable car on sale today can match.

This means that the Type R, when you are in the right sort of mood on the right sort of road, can be exhilarating; when those conditions don't apply, the need to work it hard in order to make progress can become a little bit wearing. Still, Honda is to be warmly commended for giving us something different, a comment that applies not just to the engine, but to the car as a whole, which is packed with unusual detailing, from its brightly lit instrument panel, which wouldn't look out of place on the Starship Enterprise, to the funky triangular cut-outs in the rear for the exhaust tail-pipes.

Liam Bresitz, 36

Head of sales, Catworth, Cambridgeshire

Usual car: BMW Z4

The Honda Civic, a "pensioner's" car? Not the Type R, with its sporty styling, flash wheels and huge spoiler. Inside, the theme continues with bucket seats, chrome effect flashes, and no fewer than three dashboard displays to confuse. Driving requires a keen approach to get the best out of the free-revving engine, as acceleration is sluggish at town speeds. Open it up on a country road and there is fun to be had, with great agility on the bends, but at the cost of a firm, unforgiving ride that will be tiresome on long journeys. It's a Honda, so it should be reliable, but some of the finish details, like the plastic fuel filler cap, are poor. It's all a bit of Type R design style over substance.

Richard Vincent-Jones, 31

Police officer, Bedford

Usual car: Renault Megane Sport

I had five test drives of the old Type R but didn't get one. Would this be better? Not really. The car doesn't have any spirit; it's flat through the rev range until you get to the red line, by when the engine is screaming for a gear-change. It has no sense of urgency. The suspension is permanently hard; good for rallying, but for a family trip it's a bit harsh. The seats are designed so that only a certain-sized person can fit in, and there's no space in the boot. The steering wheel is a strange design where your fingers get caught in the rear of the wheel when you turn it. I can't see why they built this car. Maybe they should have called it the Civic almost-a-Type R.

Roman Wyniawskyj, 46, Eugene, 15, Nina, 13

IT test analyst, Bedford

Usual car: BMW 3 series

Exterior styling is discreet, but the rear with its triangular exhaust, grille and spoiler grew on me. The dashboard was a bit wacky; buttons everywhere. I struggled to read some of the dials below the digital speedo. No Bluetooth or MP3 connection as standard; the latter is a must for teenagers. The front seats offered good support; rears offered good legroom but restricted headroom. The boot was spacious. The ride is a little jiggly at low speed, but it holds the road well. Pulling power was strong and the gear-change effortless. The engine was a little noisy, although my son and daughter liked that. Not really a practical family car, but worth a look as a funky offbeat hot hatch.

If you would like to take part in The Verdict, email verdict@independent.co.uk or write to The Verdict, Save & Spend, Independent House, 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS, giving your address, phone number and details of the car, if any, you drive. For most cars, participants must be over 26 and have a clean licence.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
tech
News
The 67P/CG comet as seen from the Philae lander
scienceThe most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
film
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Koenig, creator of popular podcast Serial, which is to be broadcast by the BBC
tvReview: The secret to the programme's success is that it allows its audience to play detective
News
Ruby Wax has previously written about her mental health problems in her book Sane New World
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £60,000

    £25000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

    Recruitment Genius: Care Workers Required - The London Borough of Bromley

    £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This homecare agency is based in Beckenh...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

    £25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

    £25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas