THROTTLE WIDE AND SAY R (some text hidden)
By Jonathan Crouch
Introductionword count: 61
The Civic Type R is a hot hatch that only Honda could make. This fifth generation 'FK8'-series model continued with the DNA of a track tearaway but at the same time, also claimed to have a softer side. As before, the car remains defiantly front-driven and frantically fast. It looks the real deal. Let's check it out as a used buy.
Modelsword count: 7
5-door hot hatch [2.0 VTEC petrol turbo]
Historyword count: 273
There have been ten Type R models since the famous badge first appeared back in 1992, half of these based on Honda's Civic family hatch, including the MK4 'FK2' version, introduced in 2015 and on sale for just 18 months because it was launched right at the end of the MK9 model Civic's production life. When the tenth generation Civic range arrived in late-2016 featuring a stiffer, lighter and far more sophisticated platform, the Type R development team saw the opportunity for a big step forward in the development of this ultimate shopping rocket performance version and on paper at least, with this FK8 design, launched in the Summer of 2017, we got exactly that. Not much was new beneath the bonnet - we'd already had a major change there with the introduction of turbocharging for the first time on the previous model. With this FK8 design, there was much the same 2.0-litre VTEC engine but exhaust tweaks liberated a further 10PS, boosting power to 320PS in total, enough to deliver the kind of performance that once upon a time would have been limited to a supercar. The way the previous model drove was a bit supercar-like too - great when you were in the mood but, to be frank, rather wearing when you weren't. This 'FK8' generation model was a little different thanks to an extra 'Comfort' driving mode that made it easier to live with when owners weren't in the mood to give it everything. The better ride from the much more sophisticated multi-link rear suspension also helped here, as did the new variable-ratio steering. This FK8 model sold until late-2022.
What You Getword count: 398
So what was different with this FK8-series model? Well this fifth generation Civic Type R is certainly a much larger thing than its predecessor, 165mm longer and 2mm wider, plus it sits 36mm lower too. What didn't change was its in-your-face styling treatment. Honda called this 'a race car for the road' and you certainly get that feeling the first time you make this model's acquaintance. Inside, the differences over the standard Civic are only slightly more restrained. The high-backed competition-style sports seats with their red belts are the main change. They were the lightest chairs ever to be fitted to a Type R and are the kind of thing buyers had to pay extra for on most rivals, with prominent side bolsters for greater lateral support through the kind of extreme cornering that Honda thinks owners will habitually engage in. You get lovely suede-effect black fabric with red double-stitching and positioning that places you 22mm closer to the floor than was the case with the previous model. Typically for a Type R, the gear knob is fashioned from machined aluminium alloy, which looks nice but feels freezing in winter, while branding your palm with the gearshift chart in the heat of summer. It's beautifully positioned though, falling perfectly to hand, as close to the steering wheel as it could be for easy access to the short shift throw that gives you lovely, quick snikerty changes. Ah yes, the wheel - the other point of Type R cabin differentiation. It's a proper flat-bottomed leather-trimmed affair with a really tactile feel. In the rear, taller folk might feel the effect of that lower roof line once inside - those over six foot will find their hair brushing against the ceiling. In every other regard though, this rear cabin is a vast spacial improvement over what was provided before - as you might expect would be the case given that the wheelbase is 94mm lengthier than the FK2 model. You might expect that this FK8 design's slightly larger size and longer wheelbase would deliver a bigger cargo area. As it is, the 420-litre capacity when loaded to the window line is actually 57-litres less than was offered by the previous model, not helped by a slight ramp in the section of the floor closest to the rear seats, this necessary to accommodate the revised exhaust and more sophisticated rear suspension.
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