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First drive: Honda Civic Type R – on sale now



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Honda had its work cut out when it began work on the new Civic Type R. The original sold 35,000 units and spawned a generation of hot hatch imitators. Its combination of style, performance and affordability gained cult status among younger motoring enthusiasts.

The new Civic Type R, which featured as a concept at the Geneva motor show in 2006, keeps the original’s naturally aspirating 2.0-litre i-VTEC engine but aims to offer a more refined ride.

The difference lies in the power band, which is now more accessible and kicks in at 5,400rpm. The engine, which gives a satisfying, throaty sound, is mated to a six-speed manual gearbox that allows for precise and quick gear changes, making the Civic Type R a pleasure to drive.

Bendy B-roads can be negotiated confidently and, unlike its predecessor, the car is also a pleasure to drive around town.

“Customers are not just looking for performance from a hot hatch but also better levels of equipment, comfort and reliability,” says Shaun Wootton, manager leasing and contract hire at Honda UK.

Since going on sale on March 1, Honda has sold 1,340, with 800 of these being pre-orders. “Our target is to sell 5,000 Civic Type Rs this year,” says Steve Kirk, spokesperson for Honda UK. “We had very meagre targets for the old Type R, which turned out to be a great success for us. We hope the new one does as well.”

Price: £17,600, GT £18,600
Engine: 2.0 i-VTEC: 198bhp
Performance: 0-62mph 6.6sec; top speed 146mph
Transmission: Six-speed manual
Efficiency: 31mpg, 215g/km CO2 CAP RV 3yr/30k: £8,850 (51%), GT £9,457 (48%)
Rivals: VW Golf GTI, Seat Leon Cupra, Focus ST, Volvo C30 T5 Sport
Strengths: Edgy and comfortable
Weaknesses: Poor rear vision
Opportunity: Exciting yet comfortable
Threat: Rivals that give more bhp
USP: Low price, great performance

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