Why the 2018 Honda Civic Type R tops the hot hatch pile

Why the 2018 Honda Civic Type R tops the hot hatch pile

In a very competitive world of hot hatches, the Civic Type R manages to edge its way to the top.

Whenever Honda brands something a Type R, you know they mean business. First applied to a Civic in 1997, Type R has been reserved for only the fastest Honda variants.

The latest Civic Type R is arguably one of the best there has ever been. It may not carry the classic charm of the old ones, but it’s still very special. This is a car widely perceived as the best in its class – and that’s up against some of the greats, such as the Ford Focus RS and VW Golf R.

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Under the bonnet, the Civic Type R has a heavily turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine that kicks out a massive 316bhp. 0-60mph takes just 5.8 seconds and the car will reach a top speed of 169mph, meaning it’s no slowcoach by any measure.


Unlike its main rivals the Focus RS and Golf R, the Civic Type R is front-wheel drive only. This of course means we have to address the elephant in the room – torque steer. Usually sending 316bhp through the front wheels would be uncontrollable and annoying above all things - not with the Type R. Honda knew this would be a problem a took measures to avoid it completely in the form of some clever tech. As a result, there is virtually no torque steer whatsoever.  


The manual gearbox is something seemingly slowly being confined to the history books as automatics take over in the name of better performance and efficiency. Even hot hatches, a segment fond of the manual gearbox, are beginning to opt exclusively for autos. The Civic Type R, on the other hand, is the opposite and can only be bought with a good old-fashioned manual, adding more driving involvement and fun to the overall package.


The Civic Type R has never been associated with the words understated, bland or boring - especially on the styling front. Instead it very much likes to shout about its performance. The latest Type R comes with aggressive side skirts, a spoiler, hood scoop and splitter to complete the lairy look. Who wants to drive a hot hatch that blends in anyway?


 While still in pre-production, the Type R demonstrated it’s sporting credentials by taking a trip around the iconic Nurburgring race track in Germany. It ended up completing a lap seven seconds faster than it’s predecessor, setting a new record for front-wheel drive cars. Quite an achievement that just goes to show the new Civic Type R is a performance car (let alone a hot hatch) to be taken very seriously. 

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