Review: Honda Civic Type R (2015 – 2017)
Engaging, enjoyable and exciting. Seriously fast thanks to 310PS turbocharged engine. Superb grip and handling.
Tough and uncompromising nature may make it too extreme for some. Looks are bordering on the 'boy racer' side.
Honda Civic Type R (2015 – 2017): At A Glance
- Insurance Group 33
- On average it achieves 91% of the official MPG figure
If you wanted to come out on top in a game of hot hatch Top Trumps - the Civic Type R would be your winning card. It boasts 310PS, a top speed of 167mph, peak torque of 400Nm and a 0-62mph time of just 5.7 seconds.
Those numbers aren’t just for winning card games though – this is one of the most engaging, enjoyable and exciting cars on sale. That does come with a caveat though - it's far from cheap and possibly a little too hardcore for some.
Unlike old versions of the Civic Type R, the new model has a turbocharger, though Honda has still seen fit to install its VTEC variable valve timing system. The result is, frankly, a bit mad. The 0-62mph sprint figure doesn’t really do the Type R’s performance justice - on the road it picks up speed like a genuine sports car, rather than a beefed up family hatch.
It’s seriously exciting to drive. The steering is precise, sharp and well-weighted, the gear change is satisfyingly slick and there is a huge amount of front end grip. That is thanks, in part, to a mechanical limited-slip differential that does its very best to keep the car pointed the right way when accelerating out of bends.
The suspension is very firm though. In fact the whole driving experience feels extreme - the Type R is tough and uncompromising. The seats have hard bolsters that are great for holding you in place, but aren’t great for three hours on the motorway, while the clutch is heavy in traffic and the engine is loud.
The bodywork is hardly subtle either which will be either very appealing or massively off-putting. Still, under all those muscular plastic addenda there is a Civic, so there’s a big, usefully shaped boot and two wide-opening rear doors. The back seats are good for adults and it’s easy to fold them down to free up a bit more load space.
Officially the 2.0-litre petrol engine in Civic Type R is capable of 38.7mpg, with emissions of 170g/km. For most, those figures probably don’t matter compared to excitement and performance. A Volkswagen Golf R is similarly priced and easier to live with plus there's the Ford Focus RS, but for those who want a genuinely thrilling, exciting hot hatch, the Civic Type R is fantastic.
What does a Honda Civic Type R (2015 – 2017) cost?
Honda Civic Type R (2015 – 2017): What's It Like Inside?
- Boot space is 498–1214 litres
In the cabin, the most obvious differences between the regular Civic and the Type R are the various red bits. The steering wheel, dashboard and seats are all embellished with red details, plus there is red stitching in the artificial suede upholstery. There is also a set of aluminium pedals and an aluminium gear knob, the latter of which gets alarmingly hot in bright sunshine.
The layout is unusual, with a split-level instrument binnacle. The bottom part features the rev counter and the top part has a digital speedometer, which takes a little time to get used to. But material quality is very good, with sturdy plastics used throughout. Overall though it doesn’t feel as plush as German rivals like the Volkswagen Golf R.
The Civic Type R gets some excellent bucket seats as standard. They’re very supportive and surprisingly comfortable, but they have very hard side supports that can prove tricky when getting in and out, especially for those with stiff, sore backs. No such issues in the back row, though – it’s spacious enough for adults.
The boot is a good size and shape – this is a Civic after all. The only downside is that Honda’s ‘magic’ seats are slightly less useful in the Type R, with no flip up function for loading tall items. Still, they can be easily folded, increasing load space from 498 litres to 1427 litres, measured to the roofline.
There’s a seven-inch touchscreen system with DAB radio, Bluetooth connectivity and a rear parking camera. Other standard gear includes climate control, 19-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights and a city emergency braking system. The higher GT trim level adds auto lights, auto wipers and navigation, along with extra safety technology.
Civic Type R models come with 19-inch alloy wheels, City-Brake Active System, two rear Isofix mounting points, sports seats with artificial suede fabric, alloy pedals and gear knob, shift indicator light, adaptive dampers linked to +R mode button, climate control, cruise control, electric windows, 7-inch touchscreen, USB input, Bluetooth, DAB radio, reversing camera, LED headlights and LED running lights.
GT trim adds forward collision warning, traffic sign recognition, lane departure warning, blind spot warning, auto-dipping headlights, dual-zone climate control, auto lights, auto wipers, front and rear parking sensors, electrically folding door mirrors, navigation and an upgraded audio system.
Child seats that fit a Honda Civic Type R (2015 – 2017)Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.
What's the Honda Civic Type R (2015 – 2017) like to drive?
- Readers report Real MPG to be between 31–39 mpg
The Civic Type R uses a 2.0-litre VTEC engine, but for the first time ever it has a turbocharger. As a result it has a slightly lower redline than the old Type R at 7000rpm - but the advantage is a wide spread of torque, with 400Nm available from as low as 2500rpm. That makes for on-road pace that puts some sports cars to shame – the Type R is a seriously quick machine.
The power delivery is intoxicating, with a surge of acceleration accompanied by a chirping turbo and a purposeful exhaust note. Gear changes are slick and satisfying, plus there is an added element of theatre when pushing hard thanks to F1-style LED rev counter lights on the instrument binnacle.
The Type R has a +R button that makes the instruments glow red, sharpens the throttle response and stiffens the suspension. Unless you tend to drive on marble this is better left switched off, since the suspension is already firm enough in normal mode, transmitting road imperfections into the cabin with a noticeable thud.
Thankfully there is just enough compliance in the suspension to keep comfort levels acceptable for UK roads. Through corners the Type R feels composed and capable even at very high speeds, thanks in part to a limited-slip differential and a system that maximises the amount of rubber in contact with the road through tight turns.
The steering is precise and immediate, providing enough feedback and accuracy to inspire real confidence. Factor in the huge torque output, tremendous brakes and responsive throttle and the Type R feels like a serious, focussed machine. The downside to its uncompromised nature is that it could prove hard to live with every day.
Around town the clutch is heavy, so traffic jams are hard work, while on the motorway the loud exhaust note just becomes a droning, wearisome irritation. The supportive bucket seats are a problem too, since they aren’t much good for picking up ageing parents - the side bolsters are rigid and hard to climb over.
Running costs are average for a hot hatch. The official economy is 38.7mpg and Honda tends to do fairly well in Real MPG, so expect something close in real world driving. Emissions are 170g/km, placing the Type R in band H for VED. That might be high for a family hatchback, but it isn’t at all bad for a car with this level of performance.
|2.0 i-VTEC||39 mpg||5.7 s||170 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Honda Civic Type R (2015 – 2017)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
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