The new Honda Civic Type R looks fast, but is that enough?There's a new Honda Civic Type R in town and it's breaking speed records at the Ring. Has that made it a compromised ride though?
[NOISE] [MUSIC] It's 2017 and for the third year running, one of the cars I'm looking forward to driving most is a Honda. And when last year that was the rebirth of a legend in the new NSX This year, like it was two years ago, it's the return of the town hooligan. Say hello to the FK8 generation Honda Civic Type R. If it seems like only two years ago since we saw an all new Honda Civic Type R, that's because it was only two years ago that we last saw an all new Honda Civic Type R and yet. Here we are with a new car and a new platform, ready to reclaim any territory that's lost to the competition in the last 24 months. And Honda is not messing around. With a new record at the Nurburgring for front-wheel drive production cars, this thing has serious bragging rights. But, possibly more importantly for our American brothers and sisters This is for the first time ever is a Civic Type R you can go out and buy in the US of A. It's seems odd to us that have had access to the Type R cars for forever that our American cousins have been missing out, and yet all the freedom in the world couldn't buy you a Civic Type R until now. So, what have our American friends been missing? missing out on and what can they look forward to. Well, for starters, there��s a two liter turbo charged v tech engine, good for a bout 316 horsepower in the Euro spec, 295 foot pound of torque, and a 0 to 62 time of 5.8 seconds. All topping out at 169 miles an hour. This year marks the 25th anniversary of Honda type R cars. That "R" is for racing and that's exactly how the first cars were designed, but eventually a broader appreciation for them let to the type R badge being slapped on more road-focused cars. Still always with that performance edge. The first road going type R, the NSX type R, came all the way back in 1992. And it like the type Rs after it have hade that red badge, and optional white paint as an homage to the RA272. Which was the first Japanese car ever to win a Gran Prix, all the way back in the Mexican GP in 1965. Fast forward to today and our car still has that red badge. We've gone with it in blue, though, because, you know, it matches my eyes. No, wait, hang on, it doesn't. Hang on Apparently, it's too late to change the color of the car, but there is one thing you just can't get away from no matter whether it's in blue, red, white, or you wrap it in bubble gum pink. And that's that you can snap any part of this car off and use it as a murder weapon. They tell me it's all functional; that this channels air there and that forces air down here, but frankly, I couldn't care less. When your car spoiler looks like a battering, that's freaking cool considering whether it's sticking you to the road or not. The fact that it's actually is creating down force is really a nice bonus. FK two generations Typar/ and the new FK8. Now, the older car was already pretty aggressive, but the new one just adds so much more on top of it. Most notably on the front, where the bonnet has lost that rounded snub nos finish and now feels more like the front end of an angry saloon rather than a hatch back. Plus, it's lower, longer, wider and stiffer, which aren't just ways to improve a car, they're great ways to improve your love life, too. It's remarkable though, in a world where we're complaining about brands like Lamborghini losing their craziness in their designs. Each generation of Civic Type R has felt less and less mature and more like it's been designed by a hyperactive 12 year old using only a ruler and a sharpie, and in no way is that to be considered a bad thing. The Civic Type R may be a few handfuls of horses short of even the Focus RS, but on the looks front, this thing is off the charts. I don't even care if you like it or not, no one can deny the ferocity on show. For what this thing costs there is nothing on the market today that looks faster. But looking fast just isn't enough, is it? Considering this thing has been built to eat lap time for breakfast. It only seems right to first take it back to the track and see how it handles out there. And that track is the [UNKNOWN] ring with some long straits, hard breaking points, challenging bends, and plenty of opportunity to see how well this front wheel drive weapon, handles itself from the edge. [MUSIC] So, I'm finally Getting a chance to push this thing out on track, because that's really what this car has been designed to do. Yes, it's going to be sold to be people who use it for shopping or their daily commute but still this has been built to live out on the track. And that's why I'm in the R+ mode which includes auto blip on the downshift. That's one of those things for the purists that feels maybe redundant because, of course, your heel and toe is spot on. But for everyone else, it does make those downshifts feel that little bit more exciting. Now the idea of taking a front wheel drive car I went to the track and pushing hard as you can still triggers something in the back of my mind that makes me a bit nervous. I mean, understeer's always preferable to oversteering in an emergency situation, but really neither is preferable. And neither is present whenever there is a hint of it. Bit, and only ever a hint. Just a slight turn in increase corrects it. And although the tires start to protest under the most extreme of pushing in a corner. It still grips. It still holds and it pulls you through. And you can get back on the power straight away to push you up. It's the next exit. [SOUND] And it's only on the screaming, the most extreme breaking from the highest speeds right down to a sharp turning where you feel it's starting to scream. Now, also lift over of steers are minimized. mid corner lift ups does cause a little bit of screaming Little bit of rotation, but not nearly what you could have in a front wheel drive performance car. What's also apparent is that this isn't scary speed. This isn't intimidating ferocity. This is well calculated, well thought out performance. Daily driver We've tried credentials all with the power going through the front wheels, it's a hell of a thing. As fun as track driving is, and it really, really is, even something this capable has to drive well on regular roads to be worth your time, so back out into the real world we go. Now the FK2 generations civic type power which is criticized for being maybe a little too much car for the road. Too much focused on pursuing those [UNKNOWN] lap times and not enough focus on really how people use these cars. And I think I can say every single one of those points have been **** in the FK8. There are now three driving modes. When you start it up Its sport that's the default, it's sharp, it's alert, but theres a notch down from that comfort, the thing is that, softness and security that you get in the comfort mode are a lot of it persists up through the more aggressive driving modes of sports and our plus, where really track focus road cars can be extremely firm and uncomfortable even in their softest driving modes Which the new Civic [UNKNOWN] must have gone in the opposite direction. It's comfortable throughout, and that goes from the suspension all the way through to the seats. It feels like a car I could spend some serious time in. And the suspension is softer, we know that, Honda has told us that. But it's there for performance reasons as well. It allows the car to be much more stable under extremely hard breaking, and I noticed that at the track. Which makes this a better all rounder. It kind of makes me think, though, do I want a car that is super aggressive on the day to day? Well, no. Do I still want the car to be extra fast on the track? Yes. But the compromise between those two is that never at an point does this car Really, really excite me and I know that often that excitement comes from the car being unpredictable, the car doing something I didn't expect or challenging me or scaring me. And there is a paradox as you want the car to be stable, reliable while being quick and that's exactly what this thing is and the I complain about it cuz it's not scaring me. I am the hypocrites in this situation and I know that. But yet there's just something missing from this experience. One thing that has been remedied in the new Civic Type R that would have given it a really, even more aggressive driving style is torque steer. It's very common in high performance front wheel drive cars and you even seen it in the Ford Focus RS. But, it has been completely eliminated, the front suspension setup cancels it out perfectly. So even in this straight line, any kinda rev range has never pulled me one way or the another. And that helps me forget how powerful this car actually is. Because you can gather speed so quickly So effortlessly, and that no point of those red flags thrown up to you to say, "There's something happening here that you should paying attention to." You can just go and go and go, and the car doesn't throw you any curveballs, it doesn't throw you any problems; it just deals with everything you have to give it. Last year on the NSX, its weakest point was the interior but that wasn't a car Cost almost 100,000 pounds. I can forgive the cheaper switch gear in a car that is this affordable, but some things, some design choices, I can't really get on board with. The dials, the main digital dial in the middle is great. The information is bold and clear, and in our plus mode, it glows red and looks fantastic. But either side of it, though, are these little Instrument clusters for the engine temperature and the fuel gauge and they look kind of like what late 70s impression of what 2017 would look like. It does give an overall look, it all ties together really well, but all the individual elements leave me a little bit caught. With our drive time in the Civic Type R coming to an end. There is just enough time to do the one thing you should always try when driving on the German autobahn. Vmax. When you come to Germany to drive on the autobahn it can be filled with as much Frustration as elation. Trying to find a bit that you can actually use when it's not raining, when it's not busy, while there's still daytime. Well you have clear enough stretch. Now we're about to enter another D-restricted bit. Let's see what we can do. 235, 240, 247, Come on, coming up to 260, 265, now we need to back off because were coming into traffic. Two six five Not quite V-maxed it. What's that in miles an hour? 164.6 not bad. And it's so incredibly planted. There was no shimmying, even when I came down on the brakes. Nothing dramatic happened just going I could have possibly been a bit more efficient up through the gears to get there, and all the time I've been talking to you I've been doing 120 miles per hour. So those moments of elation are peppered with frustration cause this car is in your way. You can't quite put your foot down to get to the speed you want to go, but man it feels good when you do it. Especially in something as stable as this. So yes, it's lacking some thrill and excitement and danger, but I just did 265 kilometers an hour without killing myself. It would have have been easy for Honda to create a car that could break that Nurburgring record but was horribly compromised everywhere else. It could've been uncomfortable, unrefined, and an absolute pig to drive without the trained experience of a seasoned racing driver. That's not what this is though. The Honda civic type r, gets to take home the trophy without you the end customer paying the price. This is what having your cake and eating it too looks like. And it looks and tastes amazing. [MUSIC]