On the road
It all sounds great, on paper, but how does it work in practice? It’s not often one comes to a new performance car with such recent memories of its predecessor, which in the case of the Type R was one heck of a hot hatch but in daily driver terms only for the slightly masochistic.
Honda’s launch event in Germany gave us the opportunity to test all aspects of the car, from driving through the traffic-choked streets of the city of Dresden, to letting it loose on an unrestricted autobahn, and then the highlight – laps of the challenging Lausitzring road course.
The answer to the vital question is yes – one really can use the new Type R as a daily driver. General comfort has been markedly improved over its predecessor, and there is now even a ‘Comfort’ setting alongside the now default ‘Sport’ and track-special ‘+R’ driving modes, setting dampers, steering, gear shift and throttle response accordingly.
As a result, uneven roads are no longer akin to a session from a sadistic masseur, the chassis smothering the bumps. Cruise along in the car and it’s a quiet, refined environment not far removed from any other Civic.
And then one gets out on the motorway – and in parts of Germany, they are rather different to in the UK. With no speed limit to worry about one can fully experience the Type R’s pace, and boy does it have some…
Said pace comes in much earlier – above 2,500rpm you feel the car dialling up, but in a much more smooth and refined manner compared to its predecessor thanks to improved throttle delivery and slick gear shifts.
I admit I wimped out at an indicated 242km/h, which equates to 150mph, on what was basically a dual carriageway. At such speeds the Type R felt very fast indeed, yet still refined and fully in control. Obviously, such an experience will be irrelevant to anyone who buys a Type R in the UK, but I would suggest membership of a track day club will be an essential option, so as to experience and enjoy the car’s full dynamic abilities.
Because on the track the Type R really comes to life. The German instructors at the Lausitzring had an interesting technique, simply telling us to follow them in their Type R, and then indulging in laps that had us pushing on hard merely to keep up.
And the car soaks it all up – accelerating crisply, braking with confidence, turning in with confidence and maintaining superb grip through the bends. It very quickly becomes a whole lot of fun…
Next page: Costs, summary and specifications