Honda Civic Type R review (2015-2017) - the hottest front wheel drive hot hatch? - Performance and 0-60 time

Honda's new super-hatch outguns rivals on paper, but edgy +R damping means UK drivers can't exploit its most extreme settings

Evo rating
  • Dynamics, performance, engaging to drive
  • Outlandish styling won’t suit all tastes

The Type-R managed an impressive 0-62mph sprint time of just 5.7 seconds, with the car topping out at 167mph. Clearly the current crop of super hatches are capable of delivering some serious numbers, but the Type-R was right at the top end of front-wheel drive cars. By comparison, the previous Type R managed 6.6 seconds and 146mph.

In practise the Type R’s engine is a mixed bag. For starters, this is a surprisingly uncouth engine. Fire it up with a prod of the red starter button and it emits a purposeful bass-laden hum from the quad exhaust pipes, but in the cabin it’s all four-cylinder thrash and chatter. Accelerate through different rev bands and even under lighter throttle loads the engine makes its presence keenly felt with a rather tuneless blare, sometimes also sending awkward harmonics through the ‘shell at certain crank revolutions. Depending on your prevailing mood this can either be seen as authentic, or irritating.

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This engine is happiest when worked constantly between 5,000-7,000rpm. You’ll cherish those extra revs at times because you can hang onto a gear even past the 6,500rpm power peak and the Type R neither crashes into the limiter or runs out of puff. Aided by change up lights that grow angrier in colour and greater in number as the limit approaches, the Type R in this exact moment is an intense, engrossing experience - and seriously rapid.

At other times the engine can be frustrating. While it may have a higher operating reach than its rivals, it simply doesn’t feel as though it has the same mid-range kick as a Volkswagen-Audi EA888 (used in the Golf R) motor: it’s hardly toothless, but to make the kind of rapid progress the car is capable of it demands that a much broader rev band is used to the full. It also suffers from noticeable turbo lag in the mid range, particularly when coming on and off the throttle, although the audible ‘sneeze’ of the excess boost pressure being released usually raises a smile. The +R mode improves the engine’s response, but due to being tied to the hyperactive damping it’s simply not useable on the road.

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