Honda Civic review - does the Type R’s class translate lower down the range? - Ride and handling

It’s clear the Type R has had a positive effect on the standard Civic’s handling, but a mini Type R this is not

Evo rating
Price
from £18,895
  • Foolproof chassis, impressive drivetrain, plenty of space
  • Not quite as entertaining to drive as a Focus, cheap interior

The way the Civic actually drives is hugely competent but not generally that much fun. That’s not to damn the Civic with faint praise – those seeking thrills will undoubtedly go for the Type R, and anyone trading up from cooking versions of the current Civic will find a great deal to like about the new car.

Among its merits are quick steering (but not to the point of nervousness), strong grip levels and foolproof balance. The ride quality is impressive, although standard cars are on much more conservative wheel sizes than the crazy Type R.

Subscribe to evo magazine

Subscribe today to our exclusive new offer and SAVE 39% on the shop price, get evo for its original cover price of £3.00 an issue, plus get a FREE gift worth £20!

> Click here to read our review of the Honda Civic Type R

The steering is light and transmits very little feel, but on dry, smooth tarmac it’s predictable enough to commit to corners with confidence. Traction is very good – though not hugely troubled by the current engine range – and lifting off the throttle mid-corner tucks the nose in safely but doesn’t call the rear axle into play. This is a stable car, rather than an agile one.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

Honda has finally seen fit to return to fully independent rear suspension, something that disappeared when the eighth-generation model debuted. There are struts up front, as before, but the rear is now multi-link. The reason back then was to maximise boot space; the reason now is to improve the way the car drives. The 1.5-litre models have the option of adaptive dampers.

What is clear is the effect the Type R has had on the standard Civic models. Although it’s not quite as playful as the new Focus, or refined as a Golf, it does have an inherently sophisticated feeling in how it goes down the road, never feeling like the chassis is getting away from you no matter how hard you push. It feels like it’s from the class above, in much the same way the Type R doesn’t feel like a hatchback, rather an extremely well sorted front-wheel-drive performance car.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/honda/civic-type-r/202099/honda-civic-type-r-limited-edition-revealed-amongst-range-wide-updates
Honda Civic Type-R

Honda Civic Type R Limited Edition revealed amongst range-wide updates

Our hopes have been addressed and more, as Honda launches two more Civic Type R versions at the top and tail of the range
20 Feb 2020
Visit/porsche/cayman/202238/porsche-cayman-gts-40-2020-review-a-cut-price-cayman-gt4
Porsche Cayman

Porsche Cayman GTS 4.0 2020 review - a cut-price Cayman GT4? 

The 2020 Porsche Cayman GTS 4.0 regains its flat-six and therefore top-billing in the class. It’s a brilliant package for those whom a GT4 is a bit to…
16 Feb 2020
Visit/aston-martin-valkyrie/17980/aston-martin-valkyrie-1160bhp-hypercar-undergoes-further-testing-at
Aston Martin Valkyrie

Aston Martin Valkyrie: 1160bhp hypercar undergoes further testing at Silverstone

Following its dynamic debut last summer, F1 drivers Max Verstappen and Alex Albon have put the Aston Martin Valkyrie to the test
18 Feb 2020
Visit/hyundai/i30-n-hatchback/201775/hyundai-i30-n-versus-hyundai-i30-tcr
Hyundai i30 N hatchback

Hyundai i30 N versus Hyundai i30 TCR

Can Dickie Meaden beat Steve Sutcliffe in a straight(ish) race? We sent them to the Circuit Nuvolari with a pair of Hyundai i30 Ns to find out.
20 Sep 2019