Being a car enthusiast familiar with how higher power figures will have you win any argument, I had heard all the naysaying before. Honda purists will tell you this is too diluted to be a Type-R while others will cast you as irrelevant for lack of turbo.
It’s true, this car is far from the original Type-Rs. When put to the test it becomes a bucket of understeer. Weighing in at around 1300kg in the Australian spec, this is no surprise either. The VTEC power plant doesn’t redeem the weight of this Civic, but tries to make up for it.
The Civic still feels nimble though, as mainly hard cornering exposes the excess weight. Overall it feels stable and handles well, though the harsh suspension will make cornering on poor roads twitchy. Under normal driving your regular bumps feel like pot-holes, and pot-holes feel like losing a wheel.
Luckily the steering is direct and precise, which provides the confidence of driver control. This precision and control matched with the glorious VTEC engine is where this car hits its stride. The screaming unit urges you to go further, while the precision makes you confident that you can. It is in this sweet spot that you no longer care how fast you are actually going, and nor do you care that this car is overweight and possibly yourself too.
As an everyday car it works, and the Type-R is more accessible to the typical buyer than ever before. Perhaps that is the biggest indicator of what it has become. It is the band you loved that went mainstream. To appeal to a larger audience, it lost some of that magic we all first loved. Let’s just hope one day Honda will create that rare album which pleases the old and new fans.