Honda Civic Type R review

Find out more about the Honda Civic Type R in the latest MOTORS Review

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Out of 5


  • - Fantastic to drive
  • - Surprisingly comfortable
  • - Practical


  • - Difficult-to-use touchscreen
  • - Fussy design
  • - Not that well-equipped
Model Review

Few performance cars attract the recognition that 'Type R' does. The nameplate was first used in 1992 on Honda's NSX supercar, and then followed five years later on the Civic.

The Civic is one of the longest-running continuous models on sale, with the Civic now being in its tenth generation. The sixth gen car (EK9) was the first Civic to get this racy Type R treatment, and soon grabbed the attention for its high-revving naturally-aspirated petrol engine. The second-generation was also famed for this, too.

The quirky-looking third-generation car also benefited from said engine, although it was heavy and by no means as involving to drive as the two cars before it.

After quite a spell of absence, the Type R name finally made its way back onto the Civic in 2015 just as that model of Civic was heading out of production. It was hugely powerful and with the outlandish looks to match.

Latest model

Unlike the last-generation Civic, this model was designed to be a Type R from the outset, which really makes a difference to the way it drives, although more on that later.

Honda revealed the Civic Type R at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show and while obviously still a Civic in terms of design, Honda claimed that the model had been built from the ground upwards to be a performance-orientated hot hatch.

The model is powered by a 316bhp 2.0-litre VTEC petrol engine, while the model has a keen focus on aero—as shown through its bold bodykit—with the new performance Civic being tailored towards high-speed driving.

Sales of the Swindon-built hot hatchback started in July 2017, with the Type R coming in a standard guise and a high-spec GT trim.


Value for money

The Type R is pitched as a top-end hot hatch, and it has the prices to match. The Type R costs from £31,525, with the GT model costing an additional £2,000. It’s more than a Hyundai i30 N, although it’s similarly priced to the Renault Sport Megane Trophy and Volkswagen Golf R.

Standard equipment is generous on both models, which helps to justify the price well. Twenty-inch alloy wheels, automatic lights and wipers and LED headlights are all included as standard, while it comes with a superb amount of safety kit as standard including: lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control and traffic sign recognition.

Used Type Rs from past generations can be found for less than £2,000, while you can pick up a tidy example of the last-generation model from around £18,000.

The new Type R is quite a rare and specialist car, which has kept values high. You can pick a six-month-old example up from just over £28,000, and while this a nice chunk off list price, it’s consummate with use and mileage. GT models also don’t seem to be much more than standard models on the used market, either.

Looks and image

If you want a hot hatch to blend in, the Type R is probably not the best for you. Its imposing body kit, huge rear wing, red brake callipers and 20-inch alloy wheels make it look supremely aggressive on the road. You’ll also find a low front splitter, red side sills and red trim on the alloys on the performance-focused exterior, as well as distinctive triple-exit exhausts.

The interior is equally as sporty, coming with red sports seats as standard, red interior trim and a metal gearshifter. The new interior also looks modern with its seven-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone connectivity. The disappointment is that the touchscreen is poor to use. It’s not intuitive and can lag behind heavily, which is a problem shared with many other Honda touchscreens. On the plus side, the interior feels far more upmarket than the last generation car, with plenty of plush materials although it’s not up to the standards of the Volkswagen Golf R.

But importantly, what’s it like to drive?

Well, it’s safe to say that it lives up to the expectations of Type R. While the model doesn’t come with the all-wheel-drive systems of other hot hatches, the front-wheel-drive setup is clever in the way it can provide plenty of grip and traction. Few cars are as capable in the corners as this Civic is, with pin-point sharp handling and effortless levels of grip—this meaning that fast cornering is accurate and done without unnecessary drama. The high-revving 2.0-litre engine is also superb.

One issue with the last car is that it always felt too firm, and was so tailored towards performance that it was almost unusable on a daily basis. Thankfully, Honda has found just the right balance on this Type R, with a firm but not uncomfortable ride, as well as adaptive dampers. You also get a Comfort mode, so should you want to cruise in the Type R, it’s more than up to the job. Sport and fiery R+ modes are still left for those wanting to push their hot hatch to the extreme.

Video review

Space and practicality

While the Type R is a complete hoot on a back road, Honda hasn’t forgotten about the need to make a hot hatch practical and user-friendly.

It feels every inch as practical as the cavernous standard Civic, with an excellent amount of interior storage areas and room in the rear for adults to sit in comfort. Its sloping roofline does mean that taller adults may be short of headroom, though.

The Type R also has a good-sized boot, with 420 litres of luggage space to play with, or an impressive 1,580 litres if you fold the rear seats down. It’s not quite as practical as the standard Civic’s boot and features a rather odd shape. It’s by no means impractical, but it might be something to consider if you regularly carry bulky luggage.

Interestingly, one of the areas where the Type R absolutely excels is safety. The standard safety features it comes with are really impressive – with features such as lane-keep assist, autonomous emergency braking with forward collision warning, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control and traffic sign recognition all coming as standard. Upgrading to GT also adds blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert – to help when reversing out of parking spaces.

While the Type R has never been tested by safety experts Euro NCAP, it’s every bit as safe as the standard car, which scored four stars in safety tests. With Honda’s reputation for building safe cars it’s surprising that the Civic didn’t get the full five stars, and while it scored maximum points in many areas it’s rear passenger chest protection was deemed weak.


Just one engine is offered on the Type R – a turbocharged 2.0-litre unit producing 316bhp. It’s the same engine as before, just with a small dose of extra power. It’s a very lively unit and feels at its best the higher up the rev band you go – as was always the case with past Type R models. Honda claims a 0-60mph time of 5.9 seconds, although it feels faster than that figure suggests. It will keep going all the way to 169mph, while many of its rivals have an electronically-limited top speed of 155mph.

Power is sent to the front wheels via an excellent six-speed manual transmission with rev-matching technology for smoother gearshifts.

Running costs

Unsurprisingly for a performance hatchback, the Type R can be quite a pricey car to run. Honda claims an economy figure of 36.2mpg, which will be achievable when cruising and in real-world driving, although push the Type R and you won’t see anywhere near this figure. CO2 emissions are also quite high at 178g/km.

Insurance premiums won’t be the cheapest, either, with the Civic sitting in group 40, although this is no worse than similarly-powered hot hatches.

Things to look for

Honda has a superb reliability record, with the Japanese manufacturer’s cars being known for their bulletproof nature. There’s no reason to believe the Type R will be any different. The only thing worth mentioning is that because it’s a performance model and will likely be driven hard, it’s important to keep cars well-maintained and regularly serviced.


The hot hatch class is a very competitive one in terms of the number of excellent rivals available, although the Type R is undoubtedly up there with the best.

Key competitors include the Volkswagen Golf R, Ford Focus RS, Hyundai i30 N Performance, Renault Sport Clio and the Seat Leon Cupra – all of which are commendable.


The Type R has quite a loyal purist following, which often keeps values high on used versions. Past Civic Type Rs that aren’t all that old are already appreciating in value, for example.

Used versions of the latest Type R start from around £27,000 for a year-old example with under 10,000 miles on the clock, so there’s discounts to be had on used models, but they’re not as significant as you might expect.


  1. Sublime to drive
  2. Lots of standard kit
  3. Superb safety equipment as standard
  4. Not as hardcore as the last model
  5. More usable every day
  6. Punchy petrol engine is a joy
  7. Surprisingly practical
  8. Expensive running costs
  9. Touchscreen is difficult to use
  10. A fantastic hot hatch that truly stands out for all the right reasons

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