Parkers overall rating: 3.8 out of 5 3.8

Update 1: Welcome

James tries to go all sensible with a brand-new Honda Civic long-termer – fails miserably...

Honda Civic Type R long-termer at dusk

Having recently turned 26, I thought it'd be a good time to grow up and get a sensible, subtle long-termer for the next few months. Or maybe not, because following on from the conclusion of my Ford Fiesta ST long-term loan, I’m now going to be running another hot-hatch for the next few months. Welcome, everyone to ‘my’ Brilliant Sporty Blue Honda Civic Type R.

Why am I running this car? Well, for me – and indeed many others – it’s the finest hot-hatchback currently on sale, with almost all of this down to how it drives. And that’s great – for a blast down a quiet B-road. But hot hatches are the kind of cars that many owners will drive every day, meaning they can’t just nail the performance part of the brief.

Over the next few weeks and months, I’m going to live with RJ69 OVO and report on what it’s really like to live with Type R. How much it costs to buy, run, service, whether it’s reliable, how practical it is and how the much-maligned Honda infotainment system fairs for the average user.

It won’t all be straight-down-the-line ownerships impressions, however, because I’m keen to see whether the magic of the CTR’s wondrous drive wears off after a few months and how it fairs against other hot-hatchback rivals. I’ll also be pitting it against the facelifted Type R that’s landing in the summer, as well as the track-focused Limited Edition model. Will it really be better than the standard car?

Civic Type R GT spec or not?

All that to come, but first let’s have a look at the spec on ‘my’ Type R. I’ve already highlighted the Brilliant Sporty Blue paintwork and along with the regular or GT spec, it’s pretty much the only decision to make when buying a CTR. The logic with the blue – and don’t judge me here – was purely down to me wanting it to look like the now discontinued Subaru WRX STI. A car that many Type R owners will no doubt have approved of. All I need now is a set of gold wheels…

Honda Civic Type R long-termer – underground car park

Onto the spec, and I’ve gone for the pricier GT version over the regular car. Why? Well, why not, really? It’s only fractionally more expensive in PCP finance payments than the non-GT (we’ll go into more detail on that in a later update) but you get lots of useful extra kit. So, along with the standard-fit rear-view camera, LED headlights, keyless entry and ignition and climate control, GT cars benefit from:

-       Auto-dimming rear view mirror (mega-useful at night)

-       Blindspot monitoring (like an extra pair of eyes on the road)

-       Cross-traffic monitor (will probably seem unnecessary until the one time it saves you from trouble)

-       Premium audio and Garmin sat-nav (keen to see how usable the stereo and sat-nav is)

-       Dual-zone climate control (always handy)

-       Front and rear parking sensors (yes please – the CTR isn’t a small car)

-       Keyfob operated mirrors and windows (auto folding mirrors is a bonus)

-       LED front fog lights (they look smarter, if that counts for anything)

-       Red trim on bodywork (torn by this, does it work with the blue paint? Lawrence says 'yes')

-       Wireless charging (my passengers will be thrilled)

Running in the Type R

My first task is to finish off the running-in procedure that the good folks at Honda UK have already made a big dent in. I picked the car up on just under 450 miles and the user manual says to give it another 150 or so. That means keeping the revs varied (no regular cruise control on the motorway) and below 4,000rpm. After that, it’ll be normal driving for the CTR, so lots of runs on the A1 and a bit of town driving in the capital. Oh she’s in for a treat…

Join me for the next update when I run through my first impressions with the Type R and how much it costs to purchase one new, used and on PCP/PCH finance deals. In the meantime, keep an eye on the Parkers Cars YouTube channel to watch the first of my video diary entries with the Type R. And if you enjoy that, why not head over to our CAR magazine sister channel, where I drive Honda and Team Dynamics 2019 BTCC entrant around the Silverstone International track.

Mileage: 444 miles

Fuel economy (claimed): 36.7mpg