Did you see that? No? But you heard it, right? That was a 2018 Honda Civic Type R that just flew -| sorry, drove past you. The Type R is a total departure from the usual standards of a fast car. More than any other front-driving hot hatchback. It is a beast that does what the WRX STI and the Golf GTI can only dream of. Those who have taken a meal on the table of the flashy Honda Civic badge have already made pre-orders somewhere in the 350s. But even with the current surge, we have enough reason to believe that this king will continue conquering more hearts.
Even with the likes of the Hyundai i30N coming for the throne, the Japanese made Type R is bent to throw some pumped up kicks into the game by offering the flashy hot hatch as a more mature vehicle than it has ever been. There is a calmer suspension at the back, and it gets off the mark really quickly. On top of it, the fuel economy is just as low as the depreciation on this fast and frugal 5-door hatch. If you need a car that you can drive your family around in and still get around corners like a swallow that's on steroids, this is the answer.
How are the looks?
The new Type R which is available as a hatch looks fantastic from every angle. It is handsome and bold from many angles and controversial in others. The rear end is tapered to award it some coupe looks, and there is a lot of aero-equipment on display. We are talking ducts, wings, spoilers, scoops and what have you, they direct the air where it's supposed to go; in some ways to keep the car from flying and others to give it enough air to keep it insanely fast. As for the interior, it has seen quite an improvement from the previous generations. A few plastics do remain in the center console, but the blend of red and black is perfect. Bucket seats with a carbon back, textured fabric and good support in addition to an aluminum knob on the gear shift are some of the flashy features.
What powers it?
It produces 306 hp with a capacity of 2.0 liters split between 4 cylinders aided by high flow inductions and a variable geometry turbocharger. If you are good with the ratios, you will manage to get from 0-100 in 5.8 seconds courtesy of a great traction management system in the front differential. The six-speed gearbox which is only available as a manual transmission is one that you will get to love with a little practice.
How does it feel on the road?
Because of the compromise in compression for the sake of the single scroll turbocharger, the new Type R is less of a screamer than the VTECs of the fore. That notwithstanding, it surges hard when in high rev and has a short-throw transmission so fluid and precise that it will easily have you shifting even when you don't need to. The turbocharged petrol engine claims to be less thirsty at an approximate 8.8l per 62 miles. The 400NM of torque is delayed until the revs hit 2500rpm but it will not be a problem to drive in the city.
How's the safety?
The Type R doesn't come with autonomous emergency braking which would really be appreciated. However, it features stability control, six airbags, ABS, AEB, lane departure warning with lane-keep assist and active cruise control.
What is the price and who are the key competitors?
The hottest of the front-wheel-drive hatches has a base price of $34,100 and will be facing off against the Ford Focus ST which goes for $32,265 and the Volkswagen Golf GTI which starts at $33,365.