Owing to its lack of a driven rear axle, the FK8-generation Civic Type R is something of an anachronism among 300bhp-plus hot hatches today.

Indeed, there will be those who’ll have expected it to feature all-wheel drive and will instead choose to buy rivals such as the Focus RS or Golf R accordingly.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
Type R is a sheer delight for enthusiast drivers and their bank balances

Those who appreciate a car engineered to delight its driver above all else should overlook the Type R at their peril, though.

Uncompromising but thoroughly exploitable, and with a chassis that takes ownership of an engine capable of delivering thunderous power and considerable reward when wringing it out to the redline, Honda’s latest effort stays true to the very best Type R values.

That it does so at a price that undercuts the opposition serves only to make the case for this eccentric car that much more compelling.

A less track-biased, prettier car with a greater focus on cabin amenities than mechanical matters might have been a bigger seller, but it wouldn’t have been half as compelling. Nor would it be the most exciting hot hatch that can currently be bought from new.

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Which is why the Civic Type R storms to the helm of our top five ahead of the Focus RS, Golf R, AMG A45 and Cupra 300.

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