What's the used Honda Civic Type R hatchback like?
Chances are you’ll already know what you think about this 2017-2022 Honda Civic Type R. It’s not the kind of car you can sit on the fence about – not at least as far as its styling is concerned. Even the latest 2022-onwards Honda Civic Type R isn't as wild to look at.
But beneath those striking looks, the Civic Type R has more than enough bite to match its bark. It’s powered by a 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine kicking out 316bhp – a figure that would have been unimaginable in a hot hatch of the past, yet one that today pitches the Civic Type R against contemporary cars such as the Ford Focus RS, Volkswagen Golf R and BMW M140i.
There were two versions of this Type R offered. The standard car is pretty well equipped, with adaptive suspension, climate control, LED headlights and a 7.0in touchscreen; however, most of the Civic Type Rs you’ll find for sale in the classifieds are the more generously equipped GT version, with its dual-zone climate control, front and rear parking sensors and upgraded stereo.
For those wanting a slightly more subtle Type R, in 2021 the Sport Line trim joined the range and it's now also present on the used market. It gets a smaller rear wing, less red detailing and more sound deadening. It's less mad and exciting than the regular Type R, but is easier to live with day-to-day.
As you might expect from a car with this much power, the Civic Type R has the sort of grunt you might more readily associate with a full-blown sports car. Put your foot down and the muscle is both immediate and immense, yet the car doesn’t give up its charms early. Hold it in gear and it’ll charge on into the upper reaches of the rev range, before you snick sweetly through the gearbox for the next ratio and repeat the whole joyous process.
There’s a terrific engine note, too, that ranges from a warm throb at lower revs to a racer-esque warble at the top end, and it's delightfully free of the sort of overblown crackles you’ll find on some other hot hatches.
But the Civic Type R isn’t just terrific in a straight line. It gobbles down each corner you throw at it, using the terrific traction bestowed on it by its limited-slip differential to chomp its way through the apex and hurl you out of the other side.
But while there’s some faint tugging through the steering – a corollary of running so much power through the front wheels – the steering’s feel and precision, and the chassis’ balance, also mean the car’s rabidity is combined with a poise that allows you to place it just where you want it.
Inside, the standard Civic’s interior has been jazzed up with flashes of red, making it feel very racy, but the most notable change is the pair of bucket front seats, upholstered in bright red fabric, that provide lots of support and comfort. Like all Civics, the Type R feels solidly built and snug, but the effect is spoiled by an infotainment system that’s slow, awkward to use and dated to look at.
The back seats are a plainer black colour, enlivened by red seatbelts, but they still offer plenty of room for children and adults alike, and more than you’ll find in most hot hatches. The boot, meanwhile, is one of the biggest in the class.
If the styling of this outlandish version of the Civic is too much for you, as we mentioned there is good news in that the car that replaced it, the 2022-onwards Honda Civic Type R, is more subtle to look at. With its thrilling performance and awesome handling, it's also one of the very best of the current crop of hot hatches.
What used Honda Civic Type R hatchback will I get for my budget?
The Civic Type R is a bit of a stunner to look at and to drive so you’ll need to fork out around £25,000 to get yourself behind the wheel of a 2017/2018 model with low to average mileage. Searching for cars for £26,000 and above is where you'll find 2019 examples, while anywhere upwards of £28,000 should show you 2020 cars. Some 2021 and the last 2022 models even stretch beyond £30,000.
Check the value of a used Honda Civic Type R with What Car? Valuations
How much does it cost to run a Honda Civic Type R hatchback?
Hot hatches are by their very nature more expensive to run than their more docile stablemates, and by these standards the Civic Type R’s no more expensive, with fuel consumption figures, as measured under the older official NEDC tests, roughly on a par with its rivals. It’s also pleasing to note that, out in the real world, the Civic Type R actually gets remarkably close to matching those figures – a rare feat in this day and age. In our True MPG test it managed a remarkably good 35.1mpg, which is actually better than its latest official WLTP figure of 33.2mpg.
All Civic Type Rs will have been registered after 1 April 2017 and are subject to the current £180 per year for petrol cars. Just make sure you don’t run the risk of paying the higher-rate tax band if a car that had many options added when new sneaked over the £40,000 list price threshold. At this point you'll pay a supplementary luxury car tax – currently £390 per year – until the car is more than six years old. To find out more about the current road tax costs, click here.
Servicing is required every 12,500 miles or 12 months, and while costs aren’t the cheapest around, neither are they the most expensive. And if you buy a Civic Type R that’s less than eight months old and with less than 8000 miles on the clock, Honda will let you purchase a pre-paid service plan for the following five services.
If you pay for them individually for the initial three years, the first will be £260; the second £330 and the third £310. After that, you can choose between a Honda 12 service at £200 or a Honda 12+ (includes air filter, pollen filter and brake fluid change) for £310. Note, though, that there's an additional £105 for engine valve clearance checking and adjustment applicable to the second, third, Honda 12 and Honda 12+ services.
Which used Honda Civic Type R hatchback should I buy?
There’s just the one engine and only three models to choose from. Of those, we’d go for the GT. Not only does it come with a useful amount of equipment, but almost all the Civic Type Rs for sale on the used market are GT cars, so it’s much easier to find, and prices are barely any higher than for the standard car.
Our favourite Honda Civic Type R: Honda Civic Type R GT
What alternatives should I consider to a used Honda Civic Type R hatchback?
The most obvious rival to the Civic Type R is the Volkswagen Golf R. It’s slightly down on power, but can also boast four-wheel drive, so it has more traction and is easier to drive in tricky conditions. That said, it doesn’t quite have the fluidity or the involvement of the Civic Type R.
A more interesting option if you want four-wheel drive is the Ford Focus RS. Its rear-biased chassis makes it more exciting to drive than the Golf R and it’ll even allow you to set up lurid four-wheel drifts – obviously, that's best practised away from the public road. It’s also devilishly quick, but it is spoiled by a high driving position and a plasticky interior.
For something a little classier, how about the BMW M135i or its successor, the M140i? Both cars are rear-driven, making them very playful to drive, and with their creamy-smooth six-cylinder engines they pack a huge punch. A smart interior and subtle styling mean they’re less overt than the Civic Type R, too.