The hot hatchback class must be just about full now the new Honda Civic Type-R has arrived. Based on the imaginative current Civic, this latest ‘R’ has an unenviable fight on its hands to repeat the sales success of the old model; 15 per cent of all old-shape Civics sold in the UK were Type-Rs. It's a car we weren't fully prepared for, and won't forget for a long time.
The specifications sheet of this new one doesn’t make terribly encouraging reading, however. Honda has found just one extra horsepower within the confines of its 2.0-litre VTEC engine in the last six years, instead concentrating on broadening the engine's effective VTEC zone, and its urge outside of that zone. Most controversial of all, though, is Honda's move to dump the Civic's proven independent rear suspension; this new fast Civic has a torsion beam at the back, just like the regular Civic.
What's it like?
Some Type-R fundamentals just don’t change. This is still an engine that will delight enthusiasts with the crispness of its throttle response and the machined purity of its soundtrack. And, to be fair, it now has a better spread of torque over a wider rev range, even if the reduced sensation of the engine coming on cam does spoil the excitement a little.