Honda Civic: i-CTDi meets Type-R

Our Civic faces hot hatch cousin

Okay, so it may not seem like the most obvious of comparisons - a diesel Civic up against the hot hatch Type-R version but when you look at new prices, the two are very similar. The standard Type-R costs £18,295 while going for the better equipped GT model (which is the more popular choice) ups this too £19,275. The Civic i-CTDi EX starts at £19,480.

Of course in terms of performance there's a big difference. The Type-R uses a 2.0-litre V-TEC engine without a turbocharger (unlike many other performance hatchbacks) and needs to be worked hard in order to get the best pace from it. With 200bhp it has 60bhp more than the diesel but the i-CTDi comes back with 75% more pulling power.

This means that the diesel pulls really strongly on the motorway, where the Type-R has to be revved high to keep up - and requires more gearchanges. But 0-62mph times don't lie - 6.6 seconds in the Type R and 8.7 seconds in the i-CTDi.

Frantic or frugal?

The Type-R is an old school hot hatch. It needs to be driven hard to get the best from it, the ride is firm and the steering very direct. It's great on a twisting road when you're in the mood but in everyday driving it feels too uncompromsing. And on motorway journeys the stiff suspension and engine noise make for a frantic experience.

The i-CTDi is far more relaxed, sitting at low revs and with little need to change down in order to gain speed. The ride is also much more forgiving. In terms of looks, as you can see from our pictures, there aren't huge differences between the two models - although you're unlikely to mistake a Type-R for anything else.

But what may win many over is fuel economy. The Type-R averages a respectable 31mpg but it can't compete with the diesel that can achieve 53mpg.

Current mileage: 2441

Average mpg: 38.8