We always hurt the ones we love: Our Cars, Honda Civic Type R, CAR+ June 2016 | CAR Magazine

We always hurt the ones we love: Our Cars, Honda Civic Type R, CAR+ June 2016

Published: 01 May 2016 Updated: 18 May 2016

I love it. I hate it. I adore it. I despise it. One minute I want to rush back home and lavish Meguiars wax over every inch of the Civic’s nasty plastic bodykit. The next I want to rush home and put the same kind of distance between me and the Civic that we collectively put between us and that wimpy Cooper S last night.

Life is never meh with the Civic Type R. Plonk me in that bucket seat in the middle of nowhere and I can’t get enough of the way it carves up A and B roads. I’ve grown quite fond of the turbo engine and accepting of the lag, stopped getting annoyed at the wayward wet-road torque steer and never get tired of the way the LSD sucks you into the apex of a corner. I’ll even forgive the lack of VTEC shriek because the six-speed manual gearbox is so much more fun than a dual-clutch would have been. The Type R makes a stab at the mundane stuff too. The boot is enormous and the back seats fold completely flat. And there’s huge lazyman punch in sixth from 80mph, making motorway journeys far less arduous than they were in the old R.

But still I’ll confess to occasionally wavering when I’ve got an errand to run and need to pick a car in which to do it. Sometimes I simply can’t be bothered with the Civic and its hard ride, incessant tyre roar, rubbish visibility and full body cast seats that make it impossible to turn around and attend to small children. Sometimes, when I know there’ll be no chance to exploit the Type R’s performance, I take our family’s old A4 wagon instead, and even five minutes down the road, I feel no regret.

The one thing we haven’t yet done is the one thing the Honda was made for. We haven’t yet taken the Type R on track, an oversight we’ll have remedied in time for next month’s report. Something tells me the Type R might score a slight points win over our 130bhp diesel Audi at Silverstone. But first we had to get it ready for a pasting by dealing with the service the car’s display panel said was needed.

Marshall Honda’s promise to get back to me about our Type R’s service indictor’s surprise appearance at only 8500 miles didn’t come with any timescale. Today would be good, I mused to myself. Tomorrow would be fine. Next Monday? That would be okay. But weeks later, with 11k on the clock, and no word from the service department I thought I’d better give them another call.

The service itself was a simple oil change and the service from Marshall on the day, excellent. I sat and waited with the car, was given use of an office and the Civic was returned looking absolutely immaculate. There was nothing else to report, apart from the front tyres, which were down to 2mm as I’d noted last month. The bill came to a reasonable £100. Silverstone, here we come.

Logbook: Honda Civic Type R

Engine 1996cc 16v 4-cyl turbo, 306bhp @ 6500rpm, 295lb ft @ 2500rpm
Transmission 6-speed manual, front-wheel drive 
Stats 5.7sec 0-62mph, 168mph, 170g/km, 38.7mpg 
Price £32,295 
As tested £32,820 
Miles this month 1064 
Total miles 11,408 
Our mpg 29.2 
Official mpg 38.7 
Fuel this month £175.74
Extra costs £100 (service)

Read more from the June 2016 issue of CAR magazine

By Chris Chilton

Contributing editor, ace driver, wit supplier, mischief maker