What's the used Honda Civic Type R hatchback like?
There’s no denying how successful the hot hatch is as an idea, with its magic formula of moderately sized hatchback and powerful engine producing practical, punchy and affordable cars for keener drivers. Add in all that Honda know-how and it’s no wonder we’ve had a run of mightily prized hot hatches wearing the Civic Type R badge. True, there was a small hiatus after the eighth-generation car while the firm got around the problems of emissions regulations and high-revving engines, but in 2015, after four years, the world finally got the much-promised Type R for the ninth-gen version. This car’s life was ultimately to be quite short, however, as it was replaced by the all-new 10th-generation Civic in 2017.
Short but sweet, though. This was Honda’s first foray into turbocharging for its hot hatch, and the result was a 2.0-litre VTEC four-cylinder engine that produced 306 bhp at 6500rpm. The claim was this was the fastest front-wheel-drive hot hatch around the Nurburgring. It certainly had 50% more power than the previous Civic Type R, along with a substantially re-engineered chassis and a bodykit and wings and spoilers striking enough to excite the schoolboy within every potential purchaser. That front suspension had been designed to help the car cope with the ravages of such power going through just the front wheels alone, and inside was a short and slick six-speed manual gearbox with no automatic option.
Being the range-topping model for the Civic range the Type R was well-equipped. Besides the aggressive bodykit, huge rear spoiler, wide wheel arches and Type R decals, the hot Civic also got Honda's Active City Braking technology, adaptive dampers, cruise control and hill start assist. Inside there was Honda's 7.0in touchscreen infotainment system with multimedia connectivity, a Garmin sat-nav and a DAB radio chucked in, while there is also a rear-view camera and climate control included. The Type R GT models added luxuries such as dual-zone climate control, front and rear parking sensors, auto wipers and lights, and fully electric windows.
On the road, this all translated to a real humdinger of a car. It can sprint from 0 to 62mph in just 5.5 seconds, remarkably quick for a front-wheel drive car. It has more than enough power available at every opportunity and, with the exception of a small amount of turbo lag, thrilling and very pleasing performance. It sounds good, too, and the Type R can easily achieve such speeds that your licence will start quaking in its wallet. In corners it’s phenomenally good, with outstanding grip and composure. It’s tremendous on road and track, even if some of its rivals feel slightly more connected through the steering wheel. The pay-off for this stiffness is a ride that can feel too firm at times, however much it might help you out at high speeds.
Inside is a suitably sporting workplace, with a low-slung driving position, although not as low as some of its rivals offer, or indeed one or two sporty drivers might like, and figure-hugging bucket seats. The dashboard layout is rather fussy, however, as it is in the standard ninth-generation Civic, with fiddly switchgear and some questionable plastic trim. Space up front is reasonable, provided you can get in and out of the car comfortably, which given the high-sided sports seats is debatable. Rear space is limited, though, and strictly for two. At least the boot is a decent size, echoing as it does the standard car.