Further contributing to this light and eager feel is the car’s behaviour in the corners. It'll happily cock a wheel and understeer is minimal, but never feels too edgy or snappy at road-going speeds. A distinct lack of steering feedback doesn’t exactly inspire confidence, but good braking performance and plenty of lateral grip lead you to just trust the front end and enjoy that engine.
Crucially the stuff that matters still feels great today. Those red Recaros are comfortable and supportive, while the Momo leather steering wheel is simple aesthetically (and devoid of buttons) but great to hold.
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Driving position and pedal placement could be improved - the steering wheel in particular is definitely in need of a telescoping column. Throttle response is fantastic, so pedals better placed for heel and toe downchanges would also lead to a better driving experience.
What we definitely like about control layout is the unusual dash-mounted gear lever. The six speed gearbox ratios and fizzy engine demand plentiful shifts, so it’s nice to have the alloy-topped lever less than a hand-span away from the steering wheel rim. The shift itself is fantastic too - light, short of throw and satisfyingly tactile.
Modern comparisons only serve to accentuate both the EP3’s good and bad points, with refinement being on another level nowadays, but some of the hard-edged fun perhaps lost along the way.
We revisited the EP3 for a reason. A recent celebration of the Civic Type R at Honda HQ saw us take both the car photographed here and a pristine heritage fleet FN2 Type R out for a spin. What stands out from both drives is just how big a set of boots the new car has to fill.
Now turbocharged, and with performance figures on another level to its predecessors, we wonder just how much of the philosophy from previous generation Type Rs will be carried over. Or, just as the EP3 did, will Honda try and do it differently all over again?