We spent one week testing the new Honda Civic Type R. Here are some of the things we learnt about the car during that time:
What is the New Honda Civic Type R?
The latest model is referred to as the 5th generation Civic, the FK8. It will run from 2017 onwards and is built in Swindon, UK. Last year, the production version of the vehicle was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show and the car was launched in the summer. It uses the K20C1 engine, creating 320PS in the Europe market.
Is the Honda Civic Type R FK8 the Fastest Front Wheel Drive Car?
It certainly is. The new Honda Civic Type R completed a lap time of 7:43.80 on the Nürburgring Nordschleife on 3rd April 2017. This shaved seven seconds off the previous record.
It Has More Power Than The FK2 Type R
The FK8 Civic Type R only has an extra 10PS than the previous FK2 model. After spending time with the car, I learned that 320PS is enough power for a front wheel drive vehicle. In fact, in first and second gear, the car limits the amount of torque that goes to the wheels to make sure it doesn’t spin away too much power.
The power delivery in the car feels very strong – you can feel the turbo boost hammering it along. After this experience, I feel that we have to redefine the FK8 as a super hatch rather than just a hot hatch.
Creative Styling – Bolder Than Ever
Of course, this model is based on the standard Civic hatchback. You don’t have to look too closely to see how much the car has been modified. At the front, there is a winged carbon fibre splitter with red accent line and a new intake on the bonnet. At the side, you will see carbon fibre side skirts, 20-inch piano black alloy wheels with red accents, 245/30 R20 high-performance tyres and enlarged wheel arches. Moving to the rear, there is a carbon fibre diffuser, three tailpipes, two boot spoilers and vortex makers on top of the boot lid.
It’s safe to say the impressive design looks more fighter jet than five-door hatchback. But most people like the styling, even the older generation!
But Why Three Exhaust Pipes?
If you suffer from OCD, the odd number of exhaust pipes might offend you. Personally, I prefer the quad boxes on the rear of the FK2 model. But there is a reason for this tri-pipe set up. Here is Honda’s explanation from Kakinuma-san:
“The three tail pipes each have a function. At low RPM, exhaust gas is streaming out of all three pipes in order to create a very dynamic, ‘roaring’ sound. At mid and high RPM, the middle pipe creates a certain negative pressure, which reduces the booming noise in the cabin. We can amplify the exhaust sound, but by controlling the exhaust flow we can also reduce the noise we want to avoid in certain operational conditions.”
This makes sense really. The only thing I noticed over time, is that the central pipe stays clean, while the outer pipes get dirty. This means that anyone driving behind you will only see one shiny central exhaust pipe, which looks a little weird.
Negative Lift Aero
Honda has stayed true to its previous ethos of creating design elements that are functional. They have given the new Honda Civic Type R real downforce, which isn’t too common in the hot hatch class. So the spoiler, splitters and side skirts all work together to create negative lift and add to the traction, stability and handling of the car.
If you own this model, people may ask if all that aero kit does anything. You can say that it does and reap the benefits whilst on the track.
The Best Interior Yet In a CTR
Honda have come a long way with the interiors of their fast cars. The interior of the new Honda Civic Type R is perfect to my eyes. Sure it is expensive, but the money is well spent on making it faster and improving the inside.
The seats look great and are supportive without being impractical or uncomfortable. I can see them ageing well over time, also.
I soon adapted to the driving position and the car felt like an extension of me. The steering wheel, pedal and gear stick are robust and comfortable to use.
The vehicle includes premium touches such as a large touchscreen infotainment system, virtual drivers’ instruments and sporty red highlights throughout. I love the interior of this car.
What Is It Like Driving the New Honda Civic Type R? (FK8)
If you have driven previous models or similar hot hatches, there is often a compromise with these types of cars. They are fun to drive, but if you get stuck in a traffic jam, then the pleasure soon disappears and they become a hassle. However, Honda has now solved this problem.
The vehicle features three different driving modes: Comfort, Sport and +R. When you start the car, its default mode is Sport. However, if you just want to cruise, the Comfort mode now allows you to do this.
It changes the steering weight, throttle response and dampens the suspension, making the super hatch feel a lot safer and calmer to drive.
When you want to spice things up, the Sport mode is perfect for ordinary commuting. However, if you are on the race track and want to get 100% from your car, the +R mode lets you have it all. It is optimised for speed and enjoyment with no compromises. Having three different personas in one car makes it really enjoyable to use.
New Honda Civic Type R Price 2018
If you want to own one, in the UK you can buy the Honda Civic Type R for £30,995. The GT version costs £32,995.
Type R vs Type R GT: What’s The Difference?
The GT version of the car is the premium rendering of the Honda Civic Type R. Its key features include: auto-dimming rear view mirror, blind spot information, cross traffic monitor, Honda CONNECT with premium audio, dual-zone climate control, front and rear parking sensors, glovebox light, keyfob-operated mirrors and windows, LED front lights, red trim on exterior garnishes and wireless phone charging.
All these accessories add to the ownership experience and are certainly worth the extra money.
New Honda Civic Type R GT Specs
- Engine: 2.0-litre VTEC turbocharged engine
- Gearbox: 6 speed manual
- Power: 320PS
- Torque: 400Nm
- 0-60mph: 5.8 seconds (Non GT is 5.7 seconds)
- Top Speed 169mph
Photography by: Paul Hadley & Jay Sidhu