Driven: 2019 Honda Civic Type R Does What No Other Hot Hatch Can

Pushed: 2019 Honda Civic Kind R Does What No Different Sizzling Hatch Can

The Honda Civic Type R is a legend on the planet of sizzling hatches and has been a staple the phase for the reason that late 1990s.

A short historical past

Honda first launched the ‘Kind R’ nameplate on the Civic with the EK-generation launched in 1997. It was an on the spot success, however it was solely the beginning. In 2001 Honda launched its subsequent Civic Kind R, this time primarily based round because the seventh technology automotive and dubbed the EP3. Outfitted with a high-revving, 2.0-liter Okay20 VTEC engine, many think about it to be the best Kind R mannequin the Japanese marque has ever produced.

In 2006 got here the FD2 Civic Kind R for the Japanese market and the FN2 Civic Kind R for worldwide markets. The FN2 was lackluster and didn’t dwell as much as the hype of the EP3 and arrived at a time when Honda had seemingly misplaced its mojo and was changing into delicate. Few had been unhappy when manufacturing ceased in 2011.

As the new hatch phase heated up through the mid-2010s, a brand new Civic Kind R was launched: the FK2. It was distinctive as, for the primary time, it got here outfitted with a turbocharged 2.0-liter and, regardless that it was short-lived, it met (and exceeded) most expectations.

An actual head-turner

That brings us to the present day and the fifth-generation, FK8 Civic Kind R. Sure, the automotive has been round for 3 years now and within the U.S., recently received a facelift for 2020. However when Honda Australia supplied us the possibility to drive a 2019 mannequin for per week, we merely couldn’t say no.

One take a look at the FK8 mannequin and it’s clear that it means enterprise, no matter whether or not or not you just like the boy-racer styling. Personally, I’m fairly a fan of how the automotive appears, significantly from the entrance due to the huge stance, fake carbon fiber splitter and aggressive headlights.

The rear finish is barely much less interesting, as the form of the Civic hatchback stays somewhat odd and slapping a large rear wing on it makes it much more questionable. Nonetheless, if you would like a sizzling hatch that makes a press release on the street, the Kind R is it. No VW Golf GTI, Hyundai i30 N, or Renault Megane R.S. can match it for street presence.

Learn Additionally: 2021 Honda Civic Type R Limited Edition Sets FWD Lap Record At Suzuka

Sliding into the motive force’s seat and the automotive’s driver-focused nature turns into apparent. Honda has put in good bucket seats up entrance which might be each superbly supportive but stay compliant and cozy on lengthy journeys. Taller drivers like myself can even be happy to know the seats regulate down very low. There is no such thing as a different sizzling hatch available on the market with a greater driving place.

With the exclusion of some pretend carbon fiber trim and crimson accents, the cabin of the Kind R is basically the identical as lesser Civic variants. Which means it has the identical steering wheel, albeit wrapped in black and crimson leather-based, the identical digital instrument cluster and the identical 7.0-inch infotainment system. For me, the leather-based on the steering wheel was too exhausting (I’m positive the Alcantara wheel of the 2021MY is significantly better) and the infotainment system could be very sluggish. Nonetheless, you overlook about all that if you begin driving.

The very first thing you’re feeling when beginning up the automotive is the gearbox. Oh, that pretty six-speed. Honda (in addition to Porsche), have lengthy supplied the best handbook transmissions available on the market and the gearbox of the FK8 Civic Kind R is likely one of the finest on the market. For starters, there’s a steel shift knob with a tactile really feel. Subsequent, there’s a remarkably brief throw between the gears in addition to an ideal sense of engagement if you make a shift. Mixed with a perfectly-weighted clutch pedal, shifting within the Honda is an actual pleasure.

An engine (nearly) as nice as Honda’s legendary N/A four-cylinders

Honda’s determination to ditch its high-revving naturally-aspirated VTEC engines for a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder was controversial, to say the least. It pumps out 306 hp (228 kW) and 295 lb-ft (400 Nm) of torque and as spectacular as if figures are, they solely inform a part of the story.

So many small-displacement turbocharged engines available on the market run out of puff at 6,000 rpm. Not the Kind R’s. In actual fact, the redline sits at 7,000 rpm and regardless that peak torque is discovered between 2,500 rpm and 4,500 rpm, the two.0-liter likes to be revved and feels simply as intoxicating as wringing out a Okay20 to over 8,000 rpm.

Not like a few of its rivals, Honda hasn’t paired the engine with an exhaust that crackles and pops at each alternative. As an alternative, there’s nearly no exhaust sound from the motive force’s seat and only a good induction noise from the engine. Throughout my week with the automotive, I made a decision to drop the rear seats, curious to see if that may permit me to listen to the exhaust be aware extra clearly. It made an enormous distinction. With the rear seats folded flat, you possibly can hear the distinctive whooshing sound of the exhaust. It’s not a throaty sound and extra akin to a fighter jet firing up its engines and on the brink of take off.

Handles prefer it’s on rails

A lot has been written about how the Kind R handles on the twisty stuff and it carried out simply in addition to I’d hoped. The sticky 245/30 Continental tires present glorious entrance finish grip and can help you breeze by way of corners at a good tempo with little or no fuss. Curiously, Honda has engineered in fairly a little bit of lift-off oversteer, which took me abruptly at first, however as I received used to it, solely added to the driving expertise.

In a straight-line, the automotive is a weapon. Funneling over 300 hp by way of the entrance wheels is often a recipe for mountains of torque steer and but, the Civic Kind R doesn’t also have a trace of it due to the automotive’s helical limited-slip differential and distinctive suspension geometry. Whereas there is no such thing as a torque steer, the entrance wheels like to lose traction, no matter whether or not it’s moist or dry. Within the moist and with out even making an attempt, the wheels can begin spinning in third gear. In dry (however chilly) circumstances, you’ll be combating traction points on the high of first and second.

Three driver modes can be found; Consolation, Sport, and +R. Because the hatch options adaptive dampers, it’s plush when pushed in Consolation, absorbing any bumps and imperfections within the street. If you wish to have somewhat extra enjoyable, you possibly can swap it into Sport, tightening the whole lot up and making it that little extra aggressive. After which there’s +R.

When pushed on this mode, the Kind R appears like a caged tiger simply ready to be unleashed. The suspension corporations up, the throttle response is sharpened and the steering will get a lot heavier. It might be an excessive amount of for some on the road, however I discovered it good, primarily switching between Consolation and +R and infrequently utilizing Sport mode. Whereas the suspension is agency in +R, it retains an inherent suppleness and isn’t as jarring because the Renault Megane R.S. 300 Trophy I not too long ago drove.

The total bundle?

For a way nice the present Honda Civic Kind R is, there may be one difficulty that stands out: the dearth of a customizable drive mode. Just about all severe sizzling hatches available on the market permit drivers to configure techniques just like the steering, suspension, engine, and exhaust be aware to their particular person tastes. It’s odd Honda hasn’t performed this and it hasn’t rectified the difficulty with the 2021 mannequin. Ideally, I’d wish to drive the Kind R with the engine in +R mode, the suspension in Consolation, and the steering in Sport.

In Australia, costs for the Honda Civic Kind R begin at AU$51,148 (US$36,329) together with on-road prices, though that determine could improve barely for the 2021 mannequin. That makes it roughly AU$3,000 (US$2,130) dearer than the Megane R.S. 300 Trophy and about AU$13,000 (US$9,233) pricier than a Hyundai i30 N.

Jarring appears apart, this can be a severe little bit of package that requires an skilled driver to get the whole lot out of it on the street. It’s razor-focused and the track-oriented nature of the automotive is obvious from the second you step inside. Regardless of this, the Kind R is simpler to dwell with than its rivals.

How does it compares to the competitors?

I’ve had various wheel time behind the Hyundai i30 N, Renault Megane R.S. 300 Trophy and Honda Civic Kind R over the previous few months. All three have their very own distinctive personalities. At one finish of the spectrum sits the i30 N, a automotive that feels prefer it’s been designed solely for enjoyable and placing a smile on the face of the motive force. On the different finish of the spectrum is the Civic Kind R, a ferocious performer with a severe demeanor and excellent skills. Sitting someplace in the course of the Hyundai and Honda is the Renault, a automotive that’s one half fun-factory and one half track-tuned monster. All three are nice and must be thought of for anybody on the lookout for a potent sizzling hatch.

Picture Credit: Brad Anderson/CarScoops

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