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Honda Civic Type R review - ignore the looks, this is an astounding hot hatch - Honda Civic Type R vs rivals

Aesthetically displeasing perhaps, but the FK8 Civic Type R is magnificent. An honest real-world superhero

Evo rating
Price
from £31,725
  • Doesn’t drive like a hot hatch, but a superbly engineered sports car that happens to be front-wheel drive
  • Engine is hugely effective, but lacks some character. Just look at it…

Honda Civic Type R vs rivals

It might have been one of the most eagerly awaited machines of 2017 but how did Honda’s latest Civic Type R fare when it went up against Ford’s Focus RS and SEAT’s Leon Cupra 300 in our Supertest in issue 241?

The Civic packs 316bhp and 295lb ft of torque and features more wings, vents and scoops than you can shake a stick at but underneath it all there’s a heavily revised chassis with a sophisticated multi-link rear axle and adaptive dampers. And on both road and track it stamped its authority on proceedings with aplomb.

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Weights, dimensions and performance data

The Type R couldn’t match the lissom SEAT on the scales – at 1412kg the Honda’s 65kg heavier than the Cupra – but it undercuts the portly Focus by a significant 150kg. Despite this all three cars have a similar power-to-weight ratio but thanks to its four-wheel drive the Focus blitzed the acceleration test, beating the Civic’s 5.9sec 0-60mph time by a clear second. The Type R did have the legs of the lighter SEAT though, beating the Cupra by 0.3sec.

> Click here to see the Supertest

Where the Type R really scored though was in its braking ability, especially up against the heavier Focus, with the Civic’s 85.1 metre stopping distance from 100mph besting the RS by 15 metres.

Lap time and track driving

While the Civic was a great companion on the road its superiority was further demonstrated at Bedford’s West Circuit where its 1:26.2 lap time was 0.7sec quicker than the RS’s and 1.6sec better than the SEAT’s. 

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A combination of tenacious grip, a punchy power unit and precise steering saw it carry serious speed through the quick corners but its ability to turn-in and resist understeer at the Hanger Hairpin and the Bank Complex was also deeply satisfying. Ultimately it was a dominant performance from the Civic on both road and track.

Supertest data and specs table

Ford Focus RSHonda Civic Type RSEAT Leon Cupra 300
EngineIn-line 4-cyl, 2261cc, turboIn-line 4-cyl, 1996cc, turboIn-line 4-cyl, 1984cc, turbo
Power 345bhp @ 6000rpm316bhp @ 6500rpm296bhp @ 5500rpm
Torque
347lb  @ 2000-4500rpm295lb  @ 2500-4500rpm280lb  @ 1800-5500rpm
TransmissionSix-speed manual, four-wheel drive, torque vectoring rear differentialSix-speed manual, front-wheel drive, limited-slip differentialSix-speed manual, front-wheel drive, electronically controlled LSD
Tyres235/35 R19 front and rear, Michelin Pilot Super Sport245/30 R20 front and rear, Continental SportContact 6235/35 R19 front and rear, Pirelli P Zero
Height/width1472mm/1823mm1434mm/1877mm1423mm/1810mm
Weight1569kg as tested (1547kg claimed)1412kg as tested (1380kg claimed)1347kg as tested (1300kg claimed)
Power-to-weight223bhp/ton using test-car weight (227bhp/ton claimed)227bhp/ton using test-car weight (233bhp/ton claimed)223bhp/ton using test-car weight (231bhp/ton claimed)
0-60mph4.9sec as tested (4.7 to 62 claimed)5.9sec as tested (5.8 to 62 claimed)6.2sec as tested (5.7 to 62 claimed)
Top speed166mph (claimed)169mph (claimed)155mph (limited)
evo mpg22.2 (average over duration of test)26.6 (average over duration of test)27.6 (average over duration of test)
Basic price£32,265£30,995£30,155
PCP monthly price£445 (36 months, £3500 deposit, 9000 miles per annum limit)£491 (36 months, £3500 deposit, 10,000 miles per annum limit)£409 (36 months, £3500 deposit, 10,000 miles per annum limit)
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