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Honda Civic Type-R review

2017 - 2022 (change model)
Parkers overall rating: 3.5 out of 53.5
” OTT hot-hatch is an acquired taste “

At a glance

Price new £33,125 - £38,800
Used prices £13,449 - £31,970
Road tax cost £190
Insurance group 38 - 41
Get an insurance quote with Mustard logo
Fuel economy 33.2 - 34 mpg
Range 344 - 354 miles
Miles per pound 4.9 - 5.0
View full specs for a specific version

Available fuel types

Petrol

Pros & cons

PROS
  • A riot to drive
  • Seating position and manual gear change superb
  • Plenty of standard equipment
CONS
  • Not a looker
  • Old-feeling interior
  • Rivals are more sophisticated

Written by Murray Scullion Published: 28 December 2022 Updated: 28 December 2022

Overview

Hot hatches come in many different forms, but the Civic Type R was one of the most old school around. Yup, we’re talking past tense because there’s a new Honda Civic Type R around the corner, which means this one is no longer on sale.

Unlike with the German hyper-hatches, the Swindon-made speedster is front, and not, four-wheel drive, plus the engine is a four-cylinder turbo, and not a five-cylinder howler.

Yet despite this old-school take, it’s still a serious piece of kit. 320hp comes courtesy of a massive turbo which brings with it a 0-62mph time of 5.8 seconds, plus there’s a side dish of raucous noise thrown in for good measure. The rear suspension is an expensive multi-link setup and the tyres were specially developed by continental. There’s even a performance monitor setup to record lap times.

What’s it like inside?

Old. Not in an old-school kind of way, but in a ‘the graphics for the infotainment look like they’re from the early 2000s’ kind of way. It does at least get Apple CarPlay/Android Auto which means you can avoid all using Honda’s own, creaking software.

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Honda Civic Type R interior detail
Honda Civic Type R interior detail

The steering wheel is a superb shape, hewn in Alcantara and is brilliant to use. The buttons on it feel and look cheap however, as does the speedo behind it.

At least the gearbox is a delight to use and the deep, racing seats are comfortable and supportive. 

The rear is virtually unchanged from a regular Civic, which means there’s room for two six-foot adults to get comfortable in. Worth noting there are only seatbelts for four people though.

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Honda Civic Type R boot/load space
Honda Civic Type R boot/load space

The low, wide boot is cavernous. Figures are 420 litres worth of space with the seats up and 786 litre with them folded down.

Comfort

Even when performance is taken into account, the comfort levels of the Type R are pretty poor. This is mostly down to the harsh ride that improves the way it drives, more of which can be read about in the ‘what’s it like to drive section.’

The seats are definitely an acquired taste. If you’ve sat in hot-hatches before and love a stiff pew, you’ll most likely get on with them. You sit very low and the steering wheel and gearchange are perfectly positioned within arm’s reach. They’re very tight and figure hugging and in fact, some might find them too supportive, especially around the hips and shoulders. So it’s definitely worth testing this out before buying.

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Honda Civic Type R rear seats
Honda Civic Type R rear seats

Safety

A full five-star rating from testing bod Euro NCAP in 2017 means the Civic Type R scores highly for safety. 

It has lots of safety systems as standard which include lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, traffic sign recognition and sturdy, predictable and easy to use adaptive cruise control system.

What’s it like to drive?

Rapid. Raucous. Unrestrained. From the moment you plunge into the deep seats and experience just how low the car is, you’ll understand the Type R was made for enjoyment rather than a simple means of getting around.

Slick it into first via the metal gear knob and you’ll hear a solid clonk and feel a short throw gearbox. It’s masterful and makes you feel like a hero every time you change gear thanks to automatic rev-matching that simulates heel and toe downshifting.

The adaptable suspension is controlled via driving modes. You’ll find Comfort, Sport and Race. In comfort, the suspension is set to its softest and the throttle is smoother and less sharp. It’s still pretty taut. Sport is default and turns things up a level, while Race sets the suspension to its hardest setting and the throttle to its most immediate. This harshest mode is probably best left for the track.

Despite all that power going through just the front wheels it never feels wayward or uncontrollable. The clever electronics can brake an inside wheel to make you go round a corner faster and broadly it’s one of the quickest real-world cars as it’s so easy to drive quickly.

What models and trims are available?

There’s the regular Type R, and then there’s the Sport Line. Honda brought this out in 2021 aiming it at people who wanted a car that’s a bit less shouty. The main differences between this and the regular car are a smaller rear wing on the outside and more sound deadening on the inside.

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Honda Civic Type R badge and rear
Honda Civic Type R badge and rear

On the other side of the coin is the mad Type R Limited Edition. This is the most hardcore model and comes with BBS wheels, special tyres and takes away the air con and the stereo. They sold out almost immediately, so if you want one you’ll have to pay through the nose.

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