Road trip: a phrase loaded with potential for exciting adventures, spontaneous diversions and over-indulgence on service station cuisine.
My trek was short on imagination, because I was taking a path up the UK’s motorways from Berkshire to Scotland, but this was the farthest I’d gone in our Civic Type R in one go.
When we ordered our car, we specified GT trim, which includes convenience features, such as automatic lights and wipers, a sat-nav and even one of those old-fangled CD players.
And GT stands for grand touring, yes? Well, I wasn’t expecting limo-like refinement, but would this road-going hot rod be bearable over such a long trek?
It didn’t start well: the sat-nav recognised my destination’s postcode but then proclaimed "cannot calculate route" — a quirk that no amount of menu prodding could resolve.
Just as well I only needed directions at the very end of my journey. Before that, I had miles of motorway on which to assess the Civic.
Some colleagues find the Type R’s firm ride impossibly uncomfortable. Perhaps I’ve grown used to it, but I find it acceptable on motorways — unlike the level of road noise from those fat tyres.
The ride is less fun across broken roads, a fact that was hammered home when I turned off the M74 and onto the A702, an old Roman road.
After a few miles, there’s a section that I suspect hasn’t been resurfaced since Gnaeus Julius Agricola thundered along it in his chariot.
The long stretch of pockmarked highway was a reminder of how the Civic’s crashing race car rigidity can prove invasive, prompting a meandering path around imperfections.
After an overnight stop near the Forth Road Bridge, the destination was Knockhill circuit, where I received useful track-driving tuition from Honda’s own touring car champ, Gordon Shedden.
More on that in the future.
As I left Knockhill to drive home, I was faced with one of those decisions that define road trips: should I head east back to the motorway, or turn west on a B-road?
I chose the latter, and on a dry, smooth and largely traffic-free road under a clear blue sky and with perfect visibility, the Civic was as enjoyable as it has ever been.
I could enjoy the tremendous grip and the fizzing, exploitable mid-range capability of the turbocharged engine.
Hours later, near the end of a drive that got progressively more traffic-clogged and storm-hit the farther I drove, I stopped for fuel. I also topped up the screen wash, but in my jaded state I fumbled the fluid reservoir’s cap into the engine bay.
I can still see it but can’t work out how to reach it without getting the car on a service ramp.
Why Honda doesn’t tether the cap is beyond me, but when I find myself grumbling about such matters, it’s indicative of this car’s impressive capabilities, which are proving rather more rounded than I expected.
However, Young Tom Ryder came to Autocar recently for work experience and arrived bearing a gift.
Tom’s father Jason works at Honda UK’s HQ in Bracknell, and the present was a washer filler cap. I’d been looking at one on eBay for £6.50, so I’ll spend that money treating the Honda to a wash instead.
Mileage 11,995 Price £32,295 Price as tested £32,820 Economy 32.9mpg Faults None Expenses Oil £13.71, front discs and pads, front tyres, oil and filter £1583.05
Read our previous long-term reports: