Living with the Honda Civic Type R

Living with the Honda Civic Type R
Living with the Honda Civic Type R

Is Honda’s volcanic hatch actually too hot for normal roads?

When you’re driving a Civic Type R, it’s easy to forget how outlandish it looks. The custodian of our long-term car, Stan, is a photographer who often finds himself swapping cars in the course of his work, so he gets plenty of chances to notice its Marmite style. Just as well that he‘s a big fan, as he’s already gone well over the 5000-mile point.

Read more: Seat Leon Cupra R vs Honda Civic Type R head to head

Sometimes that’s the kind of mileage where small annoyances turn into big problems, but not here: for Stan, the Type R is maturing like a fine wine. The initially tight-feeling 2.0-litre turbocharged VTEC engine has begun loosening up. The new responsiveness is good both for speed on the road and for Stan’s rarely-seen wallet, with the car’s early 28mpg figures having improved to 32mpg. Still a little short of the official 36.7mpg average, but decent given the enthusiastic nature of the driving it’s been enjoying, even during everyday driving.

Honda Civic Type R

Stan isn’t expecting supermini mpg from this high-performance hot hatch, but he was surprised to find a note in the Bible-thick owner’s manual advising owners to check the oil level at every petrol fill. That sounds like a retro sort of instruction for a 2018 car, but in the interests of science he did check the oil level and was surprised to find it needed half a litre at 5000 miles.

Still, he’s happy to keep adding the black stuff in exchange for such a rewarding drive. The word he uses is ‘joyful’ and describes a 370-mile from Aintree to Goodwood in the company of a handy driver at the wheel of a £108,780 Maserati GranTurismo MC, powered by a 4.8-litre V8 engine.

Honda Civic Type R interior

If you go by list prices, the £33,520 Type R shouldn’t have stood a chance, but across a twirling network of country roads the Honda had no difficulty keeping up with the Maser thanks to its remarkable traction and pickup, super-predictable handling and easily modulated lift-off oversteer. The Italian exotic had the beating of the Honda on exhaust noise but the Honda turned that trip into an event, which is a very useful attribute for any car.

Honda Civic Type R

Read more:

Living with: the Honda Civic Type R 1

Living with: the Honda Civic Type R 2

Steve Coogan is just the latest celebrity to avoid a driving ban - should the law be tightened?

Even the celebrity lawyer known as Mr Loophole thinks it's time for the law on ‘exceptional hardship’ to be reformed, reports Rob Hastings

We answer the UK’s most common car-related questions

From jump staring a car to online tax, we have the solutions

Navara on the rocks - Exploring Iceland in Nissan's latest pick-up

We take to the land of volcanoes, fjords and the midnight sun to see how the updated Navara measures up