What Car? says...

The best things in life are a perfect fit. Your favourite trainers, for example, are comfy enough to wear for hours, yet reassuringly strong and grippy in challenging situations. And this latest Honda Civic Type R is very much like that go-to pair of trainers.

Indeed, you only need a short stint in the driving seat of this hot hatchback variant of the Honda Civic to discover that it feels just right, with lashings of performance and engagement to help you tackle the best roads.

It's going to need every one of those clever little tweaks, though. Why? Well, during its hiatus from the hot-hatch world, rivals have been hard at work too. And that means this front-wheel-drive-only model must compete with some outrageously quick four-wheel-drive rivals, such as the Mercedes-AMG A45 S.

On top of that, the Type R’s latest price tag makes the Ford Focus ST and Hyundai i30 N look even better value. Then there’s the ever-present VW Golf R – a hot hatch that’s rapid in a straight line and handy in the corners, but also a dream to use every day.

So, in terms of speed, handling and everyday usability, where exactly does the Honda Civic Type R sit in the hot-hatch pecking order? Read on over the next few pages of this review and we’ll tell you everything you need to know.

Whichever car you end up choosing, make sure you check out our free What Car? New Car Deals service before you buy it to find how much you could save off the brochure price. It's a good place to find many of the best new hot hatchback deals.


  • Yes. Thanks to the 324bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged engine that sits up front, the Type R will sprint from 0-62mph in 5.4sec. That's not as fast as the Mercedes-AMG A45 S but compared with its two-wheel-drive rivals, the way it gains pace feels rapid.

  • No, it's only available with front-wheel drive. On a dry day, the amount of grip means that's not an issue, but if you want something that’ll be rapid in all weather conditions, have a look at the Mercedes-AMG A45 S and VW Golf R.

  • As is traditional with the Type R, a slick six-speed manual gearbox is your only option. That’s not a bad thing, because it's one of the best available in any car on sale today, including some truly great sports cars.

  • You’ll struggle to find another hot hatchback that has as much body control and ability through corners as the Civic Type R. In fact, we’d go as far as to say that we reckon it will match the pace at which its four-wheel-drive rivals will attack the same corners.

  • This is a hard one. You see, because the new Type R is limited to just a few hundred UK examples, it’ll probably be very difficult – and expensive – to get your hands on one. On the upside, if you can, that exclusivity will mean very slow depreciation.