A drive north to Scotland tests our hardcore hatch’s GT credentials

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:

Taking it to the track

Online forum help

First report

Our Verdict

Honda Civic Type-R
Honda's new Civic Type R is powered by a 306bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged four cylinder engine

Probably the most capable front-wheel-drive car in production today, with only limited edition specials getting close

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Comments
8

5 May 2016
and a £1,6000 bill, ouch!

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

5 May 2016
xxxx wrote:

and a £1,6000 bill, ouch!

Most of that was for a track day that munched through tyres and so forth.

5 May 2016
winniethewoo wrote:
xxxx wrote:

and a £1,6000 bill, ouch!

Most of that was for a track day that munched through tyres and so forth.

That was just the front tyres, say £400 which still leaves £1,200 in maintenance for just 11,000 miles and one track day, the actual distance covered is not in the article so might only be 100 miles.

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

5 May 2016
xxxx wrote:
winniethewoo wrote:
xxxx wrote:

and a £1,6000 bill, ouch!

Most of that was for a track day that munched through tyres and so forth.

That was just the front tyres, say £400 which still leaves £1,200 in maintenance for just 11,000 miles and one track day, the actual distance covered is not in the article so might only be 100 miles.

Perhaps you should read the other test reports - its all on here. Its only a click away above - click on taking to the track above the promotion bits - I believe the brakes on a astra vxr (current one) are very expensive - not sure but think the type r use similar. Think discs are £350 each, plus pads. Plus you have the labour cost.

5 May 2016
Fuel would have cost around £1,800. Actually, that 32.9mpg doesn't sound too bad for the performance available.

5 May 2016
Next onto the A 73, then pick up A70 for Edinburgh. A bit further but worth it.

5 May 2016
Not to buy Honda is their service costs - they beat every other manufacturer hands down - not exactly the kind of thing to endear folk into the showroom about. Yes it is the same in Russia = very good friend ditched his beautiful all mod cons and delightful Inspire because he seriously considered selling his wife's 4WD Outlander to pay for the service - VW gained a new Touareg owner

what's life without imagination

11 May 2016
I can understand you burned down all the rubber in 12k miles (300hp fwd bla bla) and also the pads... but front discs?!!
Maradona Loves UK

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