First Drive Review: 2018 Honda Civic Type-R
By motoring journalist, Tim Barnes-Clay. Follow Tim @carwriteups
From its styling to its brain churning performance, the 2018 Honda Civic Type-R is now an out-and-out supercar.
Yes, it’s a hot-hatch, but it is the most desirable one out there – in terms of looks, image and clout.
The latest version I tested in Germany – on road and track – just blows you away. The rear spoiler seems the size of an aeroplane wing – and the car is so hunkered down to the tarmac, you swear it’s sucking up asphalt for breakfast.
The underpinnings of the 2018 Type R are all box fresh. It’s lower, wider and longer – and it sits on a platform that is even stiffer than the departing model. The six-speed bolt action rifle-like manual gearbox is the same as before, but the powerplant’s muscle has been hiked from 310ps to 320ps.
Now, it might seem odd, but the car has been furnished with a comfort button on top of the Sport and +R settings. This is to give you some relief from the stiff suspension and growling alpha-male-esque drive.
But if you’re like me, you’ll want to hoon around all day in testosterone dripping +R mode. Sport is awesome, but +R is the one when you’re either on track or in a ‘racer’ mood. Just be careful of your licence here in the UK, though. Out in Germany I got 258kph (160mph) on the unrestricted sections of autobahn. And on track at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz, near Klettwitz, I was too scared to look at the speedo.
But whether you’re on track or tarmac, the newest Type R astounds with its cornering ability and sheer refusal to become unstuck from the road. It inspires masses of confidence and makes you push yourself to limits you didn’t know you could get to.
So, what does it truly feel like to drive? Well, when diving into a bend, the brakes shave speed off in an instant. The Type R never rolls and under no circumstances does it get disturbed by potholes or changes in the road surface. As I say, it is awesomely reassuring to pilot.
The front wheel drive car’s steering is pin-sharp and by no means feels skittish, so you can tilt the Civic into turns eagerly. The feedback is spot on, so it’s easy to measure the amount of useable traction left on the tyres.
The Type R doesn’t sound as beast-like as you might imagine, but the low rumble is enough to satisfy, and the sweet free-revving feel of the powerplant just tops it all off. Another plus is that manual gearbox. The six cogs are precise and engaging when asked to change up or down – making you feel like a racing driver, whether you’re on track or not.
There’s a ‘normal’ Honda Civic Type R and a GT variety, which costs a couple of grand more. We drove the latter, and reckon the extra money is worth it. You get extras that include: LED front fog lights, an infotainment unit with sat-nav and an upgraded sound system.
Overall, the 2018 Type R is a car that you will relish driving – and never get sick of. I was genuinely gutted to only have two days with the hatchback, and I can’t wait to try the Type R out in Britain.
Pros ‘n’ Cons
- Power √
- Handling √
- Fun-factor √
- Confidence-inspiring √
- Boy-Racer Image X
- Max speed: 169 mph
- 0-62 mph: 5.7 secs
- Combined mpg: 36.7
- Engine layout: 1996cc four-cylinder turbo petrol
- power (PS): 320
- CO2: 176 g/km
- Price: £32,995