The Honda Civic Type R has only been on sale for a couple of years but it’s already getting a replacement later in 2017. With just 2,500 of the existing model slated for production, it’s pretty exclusive. However, Honda has released 100 Black Edition models as a special ‘run-out’ celebration for the last cars off the production line.
Under the skin, it’s the same 2.0-litre engine as found on the standard car, with the kit levels based on the higher-spec GT version. Differences include a black interior with red accents and red end plates for the rear spoiler.
Looks and image
The Civic Type R is not a car for those who like to blend into the background. Even in the Black Edition’s black paint, the lairy Honda turns heads wherever it goes.
As it’s based on the popular family hatchback, the interior is relatively spacious and feels well put together. The bucket seats are a particular highlight as they’re comfortable, adjustable and figure-hugging.
Space and practicality
One of the most appealing aspects of a hot hatch is that they come with performance without compromising practicality. Therefore, the Type R has all the advantages of any other Civic but with much more poke.
That means a spacious interior with plenty of cubby holes and a big boot – it’s got 475 litres of luggage capacity with the seats up, compared with just 343 in the Golf R, which loses space because of the four-wheel-drive system.
What’s under the bonnet?
The Black Edition keeps the same 2.0-litre petrol engine found in the normal Type R. It also retains Honda’s much-loved variable valve timing technology (VTEC), which coupled with the turbocharger means performance is ferocious at higher revs.
With 306bhp and 400Nm of torque, the Type R certainly has the numbers to back up those wild looks. The power standard for hot hatches now sits at around 300bhp, so the Honda is definitely up there with its rivals.
Behind the wheel
Here’s where – for the most part – the Honda Civic Type R Black Edition excels. The clever front differential means that despite having more than 300bhp, its lack of four-wheel drive is not to its detriment.
In fact, it’s refreshing to have a high-performance hot hatch sticking to the traditional front-wheel-drive layout. There’s little to no torque steer under acceleration, while the sticky tyres help the nose grip even at higher speeds.
The one letdown is the suspension, which is unnecessarily hard. The likes of the soon-to-be-replaced Renaultsport Megane show that high-spec dampers can improve a car’s handling without feeling like it’ll shake itself apart on a poor road. Meanwhile, the Civic has a tendency to unsettle itself on a B-road, which knocks your confidence when really pushing on.
Value for money
For Civic Type R fans, the Black Edition represents great value for money. The run-out special costs no more than the standard GT it’s based on, but with only 100 being made it comes with the prospect of fantastic long-term residuals.
However, at £32,300 it’s mighty close to the utterly fantastic Ford Focus RS, which has a clever rear-biased four-wheel-drive system that makes it an absolute riot to drive. Its styling is also far more subdued, which will appeal to some.
Who would buy one?
Hot hatches are typically targeted at younger buyers, particularly those with families who have always owned sporty cars but now need the practicality. With its extrovert styling, the Type R will potentially appeal to an even younger audience than is typical.
FACTS AT A GLANCE
Model: Honda Civic Type R Black Edition
Engine tested: 2.0-litre petrol
Price as tested: £32,300
Max speed: 168mph
0-60mph: 5.5 seconds