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Gallery: Turbo boost transforms Honda Civic Type-R to make the driving experience fast, fun and free from compromise

16:39 25 June 2015

Honda Civic Type-R gains a turbo to make the driving experience fast, fun and free from compromise.

Honda Civic Type-R gains a turbo to make the driving experience fast, fun and free from compromise.

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Honda has brought back its celebrated hot Civic but this time it’s using a turbo. Matt Joy drives the new Type-R.

What’s new?

The name may be familiar but this Civic Type-R very different from the old. The biggest change is under the bonnet where, for the first time, a hot Honda skips the naturally-aspirated route and goes for the vogue of turbocharging to create a VTEC Turbo. Putting all that power on the road is a new suspension system designed to reduce torque steer – the steering pulling to the side under acceleration – and a mechanical limited slip differential too.

A reactive adaptive damping system is standard and there’s a +R mode that reduces steering assistance, sharpens throttle response and backs off the stability control. Add a wild exterior shaped by the wind tunnel and racing, and you have the potential for the most extreme Civic Type-R ever.

Honda Civic Type-R

Price: Honda Civic Type-R, £29,995

Engine:2.0-litre, 306bhp, four-cylinder turbo petrol

ENGINE: 2.0-litre, 306bhp, four-cylinder turbo petrol

transmission: Six-speed manual driving front wheels

PERFORMANCE: 0-62mph 5.7 seconds; top speed 167mph

MPG: 38.7 combined

C02 emissions: 170g/km

Looks and image

While not to all tastes, it is eye-catching. You can’t miss the huge rear spoiler, big wheels with low-profile tyres and aero-look wheelarches.

There’s nothing lacking in the image department either as the Type-R badge has been absent for four years, making older models cherished.

Space and practicality

The Type-R is based on the spacious and practical Civic five-door, so compromises over the standard car are modest. Front sports seats are very supportive but their bulk reduces rear kneeroom slightly. The boot remains large and well shaped and cabin storage is decent too – it’s still a car that can cope with family life.

Behind the wheel

The new engine dominates the driving experience and turbocharging has transformed the way this Type-R behaves. With a huge slug of torque at low revs you can be lazy with the gearchanges and still make good progress. Its best work is done by 6,000rpm but this is a powerful, flexible engine dishing out big performance.

Even with 306bhp through the front wheels, while you can feel the nose working hard, the steering remains impressively uncorrupted.

In +R mode it feels more aggressive still, potentially too firm for a broken UK B-road but, on a track, it makes for flat and composed cornering. The vehicle dynamic assistance also allows a good degree of slip before nudging you back into line.

Value for money

Checking in under £30,000 for a 167mph top speed is no mean feat in itself, but standard equipment is impressive with all the high-performance kit such as limited slip differential and Brembo brakes, climate and cruise control, Bluetooth, rear parking camera and city brake system standard. The £32,295 GT gets extra safety systems, automatic lights and wipers and an upgraded audio system including sat-nav.

Who would buy one?

For now the Civic Type-R is the pick of the hot-hatch bunch – fast, capable, huge fun and free from compromise. That makes it a car not for the faint-hearted and family buyers will need to be committed, but the pay-off is a sharp hot-hatch that entertains like little else.

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