Take a let’s say, stock Japanese hatchback. Then, install a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine, producing 320 horsepower. And all of those horses are supposed to make their way to the road, by two little pieces of rubber. If you’d do something like that, this is what you’ll get. I think it’s pretty clear they’ve done a pretty good job. May I introduce you to the Honda Civic Type R from the tenth generation. A car which produces 320 horsepower, which are only sent to the front wheels. And that’s what makes this car a very special hatchback.
A lot of rival roughly have the similar amounts of power, but they distribute the horses over four wheels. Just think of the Volkswagen Golf R, the Ford Focus RS, all of them got four-wheel drive. You could say all those cars choose the easy way out, but Honda isn’t doing that whatsoever. To guide all of that power, they’ve fitted this car with a number of systems.
And they’ve managed that pretty well actually. First of all, they’ve fitted a special front suspension. Comparable with the system in the previous Ford Focus RS, or even the previous Honda Civic Type R. In short; the points on which the wheels steer, and the points where the springs are, are pulled apart. That makes sure both powers are separated in the drivetrain, which cancels out torque steer. That really is remarkable, even though it’s got this amount of power, the steering wheel isn’t going crazy. That’s also because of the mechanical limited slip differential between the front wheels, which helps dividing the power.
Next to the mechanical features, there are electronical features as well. It’s called Active Handling Assist, and it makes sure that when you corner, the inner wheel gets slowed down, which means more movement in the corner. The nose also turns into the inside as well, which improves the dynamics of the car. And, I can’t put it any other way, but we have been driving for about 50 to 60 kilometres, and the handling is phenomenal. New to this Civic is a higher rate of adjustability. In short, there’s a button here with which you can choose three modes. The previous Civic only offered two modes, the Normal-mode and the Crazy-mode. However, now there’s a Comfort-mode as well.
Sport-mode is the standard mode. According to Honda, that’s the perfect balance… between sporty and comfort. In that mode, the steering gets less heavy, the throttle response becomes less harsh, the electronically adjustable dampers become softer, And that makes for a car which is usable as a daily as well. If you want to put it in Sport though, with a nice corner coming up… Shift back, the steering gets more intense, the throttle response gets quicker, there’s always a six speed manual installed, unlike the competition, which usually have automatic gearboxes.
Honda doesn’t. Great job guys, what a brilliant gearbox. What stands out, is that the Civic isn’t uncomfortable. Even in Sport-mode. And that wasn’t exactly the case in the previous one. A very strong improvement is the seating position. In the previous Civic Type R, you were literally above the fuel tank, which made sure the seating was a little off. A little bit annoying. In this however, they’ve improved that. Two generations ago, the biggest attraction in a Type R was the atmospheric engine. By far. The previous generation already came with a turbo engine, and this car isn’t anything different. But it’s one of the good kind. 2.0-litres big and if you accelerate, it’s a little quiet in lower revs, but if you get higher… I have to say, the atmospherical engine had a slightly bigger gift at the end of the revs. You really felt the VTEC kicking in. That’s a little less present now.
It’s nice though. Another feature is this: automatic throttle blipping. The real die-hards will probably think hold on, But, when you’re busy with steering and you’re braking for a corner, if you want to reach the best revs, this is a handy feature. I do notice however, now I’m driving the Civic Type R… I miss something in the steering. And that’s too bad. If I had to point out a downside to this car, it would be the steering, because some rival give you more feedback when driving. For example; the Focus RS. If you corner with that, it’s much clearer. This steering feels quite heavy, especially in Plus R, but we’ll discuss that mode later. It now just feels heavier, and not more sensitive or anything. It isn’t bad though, not at all. It can be improved though. Luckily, there are lots of straights here! It’s very easy to get euphorical over a car like this, but if they wouldn’t have their hardware together, you would’ve heard it as well
See, this is what I mean. Automatic blipping… You steer in… Start searching whilst gripping… What a performance… Awesome. So you can have a lot of fun in Sport-mode, but Honda has also included another mode. Plus R. You flip the switch, your dashboard turns red, and this happens. It really keeps on going… Whoops, rev limiter, and go! That’s when the car is travelling at quite a speed. If you put it in Plus R-mode, the steering gets heavier like I’ve already mentioned. Also, the damping gets harder and the throttle response will be even sharper. It’s a mode which you’d use on a circuit. If you want to go all the way, this is what it looks like. Before you know it, you’re wearing a helmet and you’re getting the most direct feedback from the engine and chassis.
The engine starts reacting to the throttle more sensitive, and the electrical dampers become stiffer. Like I’ve said, the steering becomes heavier, but when you’re driving on a track, that isn’t a bad thing. I still think it’s a little bit senseless and unclear, but you can go at it like a madman in this car. We can say that Honda has got their sporty things together with this Civic. All of the things on here may look polarising, but they all have a use. Every single little aerodynamic thing has a function. These little edges and these points here, make sure the swirls behind the car are as favorable as possible. On the sides as well, let me walk to them… There are some kind of shark fins, like these in front of the rear wheels… They guide the car just around the rear wheelarch, but also make sure the brakes are cooled better. By the way, these tires: Continental Sport Contacts 6, have been developed especially for the Type R. Honda has really done their homework. Let’s move to the rear… We find a diffuser connected to a smooth floor.
That means there are as little swirls as possible, whilst upping to level of downforce at the same time. This diffuser makes sure the air is blown away as quickly as possible, which pushes the car down so much, this car has negative lift. It pushes itself down to the tarmac and it gets heavier the quicker you go. Now that we’re discussing functionality, these three exhaust pipes aren’t just there for fun. The middle one actually is a sort of resonance chamber, which cancels out annoying noises at cruising speed, which means the car will be more comfortable at higher speeds. So that’s that. You don’t have to like the way it looks, but everything that’s on this car, is useful. So there you have it. Honda did the job and made a better hot hatch from a good hot hatch. It still has that typical Type R-personality, but you can now choose if you want that personality all of the time or not. It’s more usable for every day and it’s still a sporty car. Too bad you can’t hitch a caravan behind it, or that it can only seat four. But then again, you can’t have it all, right?
Honda Civic Type-R 2017 In-depth Reviews. Post by:
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