From £15,760
Less-powerful Honda Civic Type S blends hot hatch looks derived from the Civic Type R with sensible running costs

Our Verdict

Honda Civic
The ninth generation of Honda’s venerable hatch has moved upmarket, although the styling is divisive

The Honda Civic is an impressive achievement and a worthy rival to the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus, but it isn't quite up to class-leading standards

What is it?

This is a smaller-engined and more affordable version of the funky Honda Civic Type S. It continues Honda’s drive to attract younger buyers.

The entire Honda Civic range is being pepped up and facelifted for 2009. Three-door models – like this Type S – have been made stiffer and tougher-looking, while the five-door has been tuned to offer a softer, more comfortable ride.

Both will appeal to entirely different customers. This 99bhp baby Honda Civic Type S trades shamelessly on the Honda Civic Type R’s hot-hatch kudos.

It even gets the Type R’s grille, interior flourishes and a Type R lookalike body kit.

What’s it like?

With a new 1.4-litre i-VTEC engine under the bonnet, the Honda Civic Type S’s performance is much milder than its racy sibling’s.

Zero to 60mph takes 13 seconds and top speed is just 110mph. But the little i-VTEC motor is smooth enough and spins happily to its 6000rpm peak power point, so working it hard is fun.

All Type S models (the 1.8 petrol and 2.2 diesel are still available) have a 20mm wider rear track and stiffer springs than standard Civics, plus big 17-inch alloys.

This offers more agility on the road, but means that the ride gets crashy over broken surfaces.

The six-speed manual gearbox is a must. Honda has improved its optional i-SHIFT automated manual unit, but the sluggish paddle shifts can’t come close to matching the dual-clutch system you’d find in rivals like the VW Golf or Seat Leon. Save money and do without.

Should I buy one?

The huge advantage of the 1.4-litre Honda Civic Type S is its low running costs. Honda also anticipates a group four insurance rating.

Both these factors will no doubt appeal to young drivers, who will also appreciate the S’s jazzed-up looks. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Just don’t let the badge fool you. The Type S is no performance car.

Will Powell

Honda Civic Type S 1.4 i-VTEC

Price £14,075 0-62mph 13sec Top speed 110mph Economy 47.9mpg CO2 135g/km Kerb weight 1149kg Engine 1339cc, four-cylinder, inline Power 99bhp at 6000rpm Torque 94lb ft at 4800rpm Gearbox 6-spd manual

Join the debate

Comments
21

27 November 2008

Honda have their fingers on the pulse as far as the younger generation are concerned with this one.

There definitely seems to be the swing towards sporty (eugh, hate that word!) looking lower powered cars in the younger generation, mainly down to rising insurance premiums.

Also, I think we are going to see a return to "performance orientated" looking cars in general due to the demise of the 4 x 4, and the drive for more efficient models. The desire to stand out has never been more.

What also interests me is the revision to the standard cars and the revisions to the suspension rates. Hopefully will answer the criticism of a lot of people have had about the current cars crashy ride.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

27 November 2008

TypeR you make a good point about the trend towards sporty looks over performance...But Honda have crossed the line on this one.. £15K for a 99hp petrol?!?! That's daylight robbery.

As Terry Tibbs might say; "Why that's twice the pwice!"

27 November 2008

[quote michael knight]Honda have crossed the line on this one.. £15K for a 99hp petrol?!?! That's daylight robbery.[/quote]

At £15k, definitely. Got a suspicion though that could be incorrect. They current 1.8 model is only £15,530 new, before discounts. Even so it still could be spendy, and begs the question, if Honda UK are serious about finding a younger audience, where is the Jazz Type S?

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

27 November 2008

[quote TegTypeR]I think we are going to see a return to "performance orientated" looking cars[/quote]

The trouble is, another way of putting that is "all show and no go".

27 November 2008

Good that they are going to soften the hard ride on the standard Civic, but to stiffen it for this one?? Have you ever seen a Type R bounce down a normal UK street?? It is comical, most F1 cars ride better over bumps than a Type R.

I also hope that if they intend to go after younguns that they remember to put in either a proper ipod adaptor or just an aux in. They really missed the ball the first time round.

27 November 2008

So - it's a brand new engine to the civic (up from the 83bhp dsi unit) and there's hardly any information on how good it is! The civic is over-priced, though thank God they've softened the suspension for the 5 door. My original 5 door civic (1998) was £11k. Most manufacturers still produce this class of model at £12k upwards. If they chopped £1000-£2000 off the entire civic range they might sell their targets instead of having to close the factory for 2 months. Also - when's the review on the 5 door?

28 November 2008

If this Type-S rides anything like the Type-R I test drove it will be, in my opinion, one of the UK's worst cars. An R's bumpy, fidgety ride combined with this models dire performance is a match made in hell!

28 November 2008

I think all the people who say this is all show no go, is slow, just looks fast etc etc are all just moaning like old people, this car is made for young drivers who cant afford the Type R version due to insurance, fuel etc etc.. costs. Having the looks of a type r is a great Idea, and If i was looking for a new affordable good looking car I would add this to my list even in that werid orange\goldy paint work it looks cool

28 November 2008

I'd love to comment on this car having driven it quite extensively - but since there is a publishing embargo until Monday 1/12/08 I won't. I wonder if Autocar just "forgot" about this? Or does the embargo just apply to everyone else?

28 November 2008

The Civic isn't a bad car but in 1.4 litre form it's badly over-priced - several grand more than the 1.4 versions of other decent cars such as the Skoda Octavia, Hyundai i30 and Kia cee'd.

If they want to keep that factory in Swindon going they need to be selling this car at more like £11 or £12K.

Anyone tempted by the 1.4S Civic should look at the Impreza 1.5R, which is also a couple of thousand cheaper. OK so it's not very fast either, but it's a minor gem with its 4WD, boxer engine and so on.

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