Honda Civic Type-R: A road warrior that’s fit for the kiddies

Hottest Civic has fairytale split personality

2017 Honda Civic Type R (FK8)

Make: Honda

Model: Civic Type R

Year: 2018

Fuel: Petrol

Date Reviewed: March 28, 2018

Wed, Apr 4, 2018, 07:15


Hello children. Are you all sitting comfortably? Well, then I’ll begin. This is a story about that nice Mr Vin Diesel. You know, the baldy chap with the huge muscles from the Fast & Furious films that your daddy likes so much and your mummy rolls her eyes at. No, the other baldy chap with the huge muscles. No, the other one . . . look, it doesn’t matter. Sit still and listen.

Here comes that nice Mr Diesel now. He’s a very fast driver, isn’t he? He’s driven lots of very expensive, very quick cars in his films, the one your daddy keeps saying he’s going to replace the family car with, one day, when he’s finished paying for school uniforms and endless boxes of Rice Krispies.

But look, children, Mr Diesel is going to buy a new car, and he wants something that his children can fit in too, but it still has to be quick and fast and a bit loud and scary if it’s to meet the needs of the homogenous masculine urges that all men feel. Bless them.

Look, he’s talking to the nice sales person who didn’t think at all that a Hollywood action hero was going to come in through the doors looking to buy a car. I’m not sure that setting off a massive explosion in the car park was necessary, but weren’t the colours pretty, children?

The sales person, who’s backing away slowly and beckoning for back-up, is telling Mr Diesel that the ideal car if he wants to go very, very fast but still wants to be able to drive his own kiddies to school and back is a Honda Civic Type-R. Mr Diesel doesn’t seem convinced. Doesn’t he look cross, children?

But the salesperson says that the Civic is all-new underneath, and that it has new multi-link rear suspension, not the rotten old twist-beam of the last Civic Type-R. Mr Diesel says he’ll give it a try, but he needs 24 hours to crack the case. Not sure what that bit means, children.

Here he comes now, and my isn’t he fast? And my isn’t he loud? Look at those three exhaust pipes sticking out from the back of the car, children? Don’t they look like little trumpets? Pardon? Sorry children, I seem to have gone a little deaf in that ear. I’m sure it will pass.

2017 Civic Type R
2017 Civic Type R

What’s that Johnny? Yes, you’re right, it does look like a 22nd century fighter jet, with all those wings, and aerodynamic flicks, and carbon-fibre bits and bobs – the sort of killer-robot-controlled thing that will rain death and destruction down on humanity when our android overlords . . . well, maybe that’s a story for another day. What’s that your daddy says, Johnny? It looks like someone crashed it into a branch of Halford’s while covered in superglue? Silly Daddy . . .

Mr Diesel looks very pleased. Even though he’s rippling with extra muscles, he says it’s very roomy and comfortable inside, and that the red Type-R bucket seats are some of the best he’s ever seen. No, I don’t know why anyone would want to sit in a bucket either, children. He says that there’s room in the back seats for other people to sit, and that the boot is very, very big indeed and has plenty of space for spare white t-shirts and sunglasses.

Sharp handling

Oh dear. He doesn’t seem very happy with the touchscreen, children. He says that its fiddly and confusing and he wants to smash it with his big, baldy head. I don’t think that’s a very good idea, do you?

What’s that Mr Diesel? The engine is very good, is it? 320hp, you say, from 2.0-litres with a turbocharger the size of a small tank? And how fast will it get to 100km/h? 5.7-seconds, my that is fast, isn’t it? And the gearshift feels like pulling back the bolt on a sniper rifle? Well, I’m sure I wouldn’t know, Mr Diesel . . .

Look, there he goes now children. I think he’s absolutely revelling in the sharp handling and the brilliantly-weighted steering, don’t you? I bet he thinks “wow, this is one of the most exciting, and energising hot hatches available at the moment”. Yes, I do think so, don’t you Johnny? What’s what Johnny? The Focus RS is faster and the VW Golf R is better looking? Go and sit at the back of the class, Johnny, and think about what you’ve done.

Honda Civic TypeR N
Honda Civic TypeR N

Mr Diesel seems to think that the Civic has both of those cars beaten, children. He says that the Civic’s chassis, thanks to its adjustable dampers, can be as hard-edged and grippy as that of the Focus, but – when he pushes the little button to put it in comfort mode – that it’s as comfy and usable day-to-day as the Golf. In fact, and Johnny you’ll want to tell your daddy this, he says that on a tight, twisting, bumpy Irish mountain road the Civic Type-R feels like a demented Exocet, with huge power and unstoppable acceleration. But then he can put it in comfort mode again, get back on the motorway, and drive it all day if he feels like it.

Well, isn’t that interesting, children? A big Hollywood star, like Vin Diesel, who’s so used to high-octane action and exploding buildings, thinks that the little Civic Type-R is fast and furious enough for him? But that under the bodykit it’s still totally practical, usable, and not even all that thirsty? Well, I never. The action star and the family car.

What’s that Johnny? Your dad says €50,000 is a lot to spend on a hot Japanese hatchback? Well, yes, I expect it is, but think of it this way Johnny – if a few more people showed a bit more imagination and excitement when buying a new car, we could all enjoy seeing cars like these on our roads a bit more. Better that than another horde of faceless German premium saloons, eh Johnny? Or am I just talking fairytales?

NB: We’d probably better point out that, as far as we know, the actor Vin Diesel doesn’t drive nor endorse driving a Civic and has no affiliation with Honda and that this was all just a bit of fun.

The lowdown: Honda Civic Type-R

Price: €53,950 as tested. Civic Type-R range starts from €51,750.

Power: 320hp.

Torque: 400Nm.

0-100kmh: 5.7sec.

Top speed: 272kmh.

Claimed economy: 36.6mpg (7.7 litres/100km).

CO2 emissions: 176g/km.

Motor tax: €750.

Verdict: Action star and family car all in one. Invigorating.

Our rating: 4/5