2019 Honda Civic Type R review – leading the hot hatch pack? | What Car?

2019 Honda Civic Type R review – leading the hot hatch pack? | What Car?

The Honda Civic Type R has never been a
shrinking violet. It’s an aggressive, snorting beast whose rivals include
some of the very best hot hatchbacks on sale today. We’re talking cars such as
the Ford Focus RS, Volkswagen Golf R, Hyundai i30 N, and BMWs M140i.
So to compete against that lot then this Type R needs to be very good indeed. But
looking at its spec sheet it’s been given the right tools for the job.
Aggressive bodywork, check, a powerful engine, check, a price tag which won’t
break the bank, and let’s not forget that Type R badge and a pedigree which
stretches all the way back to 1997, and to the launch of the very first Civic
Type R. So is this latest version up to the mark then? In this review we’ll tell
you what it’s like to drive, what it’s like inside, and how easy it is to live
with. And if at the end of it all you’re interested in buying a new car then just
head to whatcar.com and click on our New Car Deals section and find out how we
can save you thousands on your next car. First though, let’s take this Civic Type
R out for a spin. Powering this Civic Type R is a turbocharged 2-litre petrol
engine developing 316 brake horsepower. Now on paper at least that means the
Civic Type R is down on power compared with its rivals from Ford and BMW but
out here on the road it feels every bit as eager and as fast as those cars. This
is an engine which loves to rev and it’s easy to find yourself heading towards
that 7200 rpm redline before changing gear, but when you do you’ll love the way
this manual gearbox feel, and the way the lever seems to fall into the next gear
that’s something that even premium rivals such as the M140i can’t match.
Now true the Civic Type R is front-wheel drive where both of its rivals from
Ford and Volkswagen send their power to all four wheels. But what the Type R does
have is a clever limited slip differential. which does a great job of
distributing power to whichever front wheel can cope with it best and that
makes the Type R really easy to place on the road. There are different driving
modes to try too, comfort mode is best reserved for everyday driving because it
can smooth out the larger bumps and ruts you’ll find on British roads. Sport mode
makes the car firmer but more agile and the most hardcore +R mode is best
left for the smoothest roads or if you plan to take your
Type R on track. All in all then it’s a very deserving package that rewards keen
drivers, in fact our only complaint is that that booming exhaust note could
become a bit of an annoyance on longer motorway trips. You sit low down in this
Civic Type R but that’s exactly how it should be in a car like this. These sleek
sport seats do a great job of holding you in place through the bends, and you
should be able to get comfy quickly thanks to there being plenty of
adjustment both in the seat and in the steering wheel. Now the latest Civic
styling doesn’t make it particularly brilliant to park and there’s lots of
angular parts on this Type R. Thankfully though every Type R comes with a
reversing camera as standard and you can add front and rear parking sensors for a
small cost, but they do come as standard on this GT model. Now this dashboard
is well laid out with lots of buttons grouped conveniently around you, but
things do take a turn for the worse with this infotainment touchscreen it’s slow
to respond, clunky to use, and its menus are infuriatingly laid out. In fact it’s
only saving grace is that Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity come as
standard, meaning you can control your phone from your car. And on this version
we’ve also got a wireless charging mat. Now nobody is going to buy a Civic
Type R solely for its practicality but there’s still a good amount of space
here in the front, even for a larger driver like me. There’s also plenty of
space to store your odds and ends. These door bins can take a small water bottle,
there’s a cup holder here on the centre console, a space underneath the armrest,
and of course a reasonably sized glovebox
as well. You’ll find more legroom in the back of the Civic Type R than you would
in either the Focus RS or BMW M140i. Headroom is less impressive though
because of this sloping roofline, but two six-footers will still be able to sit
one behind the other and be comfortable enough over longer journeys. The Civic
Type R boot is impressive by class standards and you’ll be able to get more
inside than you would in either the Focus RS or the BMW M140i.
There’s plenty of space inside for a couple of suitcases, a large weekly shop, or even a
pram, but if you do need to extend that space even further than you can drop
those rear seats to create a large, flat loading area, ideal if you’re going to be
driving to the shops to do some DIY. The Type R is a
performance car at the end of the day so don’t expect it to be as cheap to run as
other regular Civics. That said it’s official fuel economy is rated at 36.7 MPG
and when we put this car through our TrueMPG tests it returned a
respectable 35MPG. You also get plenty of equipment as standard including those
20-inch alloy wheels, that 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system, and
climate control, but we still think it’s worth upgrading to GT trim – because that
gets you more safety kit including a blind spot monitoring system, and cross
traffic alerts, as well as parking sensors, and sat-nav. Now make no mistake
the Type R is a truly exceptional hot hatchback,
it offers awesome performance yet remains practical and comfortable enough
to use as an everyday car. Now for plenty more on the Civic Type R including our
full online review of both this car and its key rivals head to whatcar.com and
while you’re there click on our New Car Deals section to see how much we can save
you on your next car. But before you do anything, make sure to never miss a video
by clicking subscribe.

About the Author: Michael Flood


  1. The boy racer in me really likes this car, reminds me of the Mitsubishi Evo v Subaru WRX days. Cars are not that bold anymore which is a bit boring.

  2. It's lever, pronounced "leever", not pronounced "levver", you're an English magazine not an American one. Don't bastardise our heritage.

  3. I want to like this but the styling is so bad. It's not growing on me. I saw one in person and it actually looks even more tacky in perwon

  4. 300bhp “beast”…”booming exhaust” lmao! Torque steer tech is way old and not unique so I’m glad he didn’t mention that

  5. Iv lusted after a type R and I’m going to buy one now. I was lucky enough to drive one during the auto show in my town. I was amazed at this car. I floored it from a dig in 40 degrees F on summer tires and it felt AWD. It had 0 torque steer and very little wheel hope, or spin. In almost freezing temps! Even around corners!

  6. This is hardly a fair test…..the poor civic has to lug around this cherubic porker….that'll knock off a second or two in the acceleration test.

  7. These newer civics are an aesthetic mess. It kinda looks okay from the side, but head on is giving me eye strain. It's all over the place! Need a better design concept that draws the eyes in and gives it a stylistic personality at a glance…

    Simple is better – there's way too much going on with the design to even remember what it really looks like once you turn away…

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