Find a car review

Make
Model

evo Car of the Year 2017 - Honda Civic Type R - evo Car of the Year best hot hatch

The latest Honda Civic Type R sets new standards for what a hot hatchback is capable of

For some folk Honda’s Civic Type R will be immediately deleted from their hot hatch shopping list for the way it looks. Have we been transported back to the 1990s? With huge spoilers and more scoops than the National Enquirer the Civic goes down very well with the kids, but perhaps less so with a more mature buyer.

While aesthetics are important, to simply dismiss the Type R as a bit of a boy racer is to miss out on one of today’s sublime driving experiences. We don’t give out five star reviews lightly, but the Civic got one and comprehensively dusted SEAT’s Leon Cupra 300 and the Ford Focus RS when we pitched them together in our Supertest in evo 241.

Subscribe to evo magazine

If you're passionate about the world's greatest performance cars, experience the thrill of driving with evo magazine. Try your first 5 issues for £5.

Honda Civic Type R vs Ford Focus RS vs SEAT Leon SC Cupra 300

Despite its looks there’s a civility about the Type R that you wouldn’t expect to find in a machine that looks like it’s just escaped from a track day but its ride is refinement personified, it has plenty of interior space as well as a decent boot, yet it’s still capable of nudging 170mph.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

Hatchback practicality is all well and good but what we’re looking for in this class is something that can really entertain and thrill, and the Civic doles these out by the bucket load. The steering is direct and slack free and it’ll devour apices time after time with its big Continentals finding grip where you might have expected none would be found. There’s very little in the way of wheelspin, putting its 316bhp to good use in all circumstances, even when it’s cold and wet.

The engine’s a real gem too, managing to sound and feel like a gutsy naturally aspirated in-line four with a thrilling top end, but at no time does it corrupt the steering feel which is no mean feat when putting over 300bhp through the front wheels. The brakes are excellent and fade free, the seats are low slung and supportive, the pedals perfectly placed and the gear shift’s incisive and perfectly weighted.

In short, the Civic Type R is everything you could wish for in a hot hatch – it even rides well for goodness sake. A brilliant drivers’ car, yet one that can happily play the family wagon role, too. Look beyond the boy racer image and there’s a wonderfully crafted machine hiding behind those spoilers and scoops. 

Highly commended

Volkswagen Golf R: for its subtle looks, 306bhp engine, cast-iron composure and unflappable poise.

Hyundai i30 N: for being so much better than anyone expected with grip, poise and entertainment in abundance. 

evo cars of the year

Supermini: Peugeot 208 GTi by Peugeot SportHot hatch: Honda Civic Type RSports saloon: Alfa Romeo Giulia VeloceSupersaloon: Alfa Romeo Giulia QuadrifoglioSports car: Lotus Elise Sport 220Coupe: BMW M4 Competition PackSUV: Porsche Macan GTSGT: Bentley Continental GTSupercar: McLaren 720SHypercar: Bugatti ChironCar of the year: McLaren 720S

Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/features/17721/the-best-family-cars-that-are-fun-to-drive
Best cars

Best family cars that are still fun to drive

Saloon, hatchback or SUV, family cars come in all shapes and sizes, and needn’t be a snore to drive. These are some of the team’s favourites.
13 Sep 2019
Visit/abarth/201755/2020-abarth-595-pista-arrives-with-162bhp
Abarth 595

2020 Abarth 595 Pista arrives with 162bhp

The supermini has been given a new Garrett turbocharger, paint options and tweaks inside
13 Sep 2019
Visit/buying-advice/19675/used-car-deals-of-the-week
Features

Best used cars for sale this week

We’ve delved into the classifieds and chosen our favourite cars for sale this week
13 Sep 2019
Visit/features/22872/goodyear-eagle-f1-supersport-the-toughest-test-advertisement-feature
Advertisement Feature

Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperSport (advertisement feature)

We went to Bedford Autodrome to find out what evo readers think of Goodyear’s new Eagle F1 SuperSport Ultra Ultra High Performance tyres
10 Jul 2019