To many, the new Type R is obnoxiously styled and too over the top, but is that really a bad thing? I thought about it before I put down the deposit for hours on end, batting my own mind wondering if I was making the right decision.
Is it too over the top? Honestly, yes it probably is, but is it a negative? Hell no! Ninety-nine per cent of consumer vehicles these days are going for a more conservative look appealing to a much older audience.
Take VW, for example, with the latest Golf R. Going from what was the MK5 R32 and MK6 R, which both feature somewhat aggressive styling from factory, to the now more mature and conservative MK7.5 Golf R. Yes, most cars you can take and add on fancy lips and spoilers to 'beef up' the look of the car, but what’s the point of spending almost $60,000 on a car to only have to spend more to get it to look the way you want it? For me, the Type R was the answer.
Every curve, lip, spoiler and diffuser is functional in aiding the car to achieve optimal downforce around the track and on the road. They’re not just pieces of plastic stuck on to look cool. The big spoiler that everyone sees as being 'ricer' is one of the main factors why the car was able to achieve the time it did around the Nürburgring, and what an incredible time it was for a front-wheel-drive hot hatch! All these factors came into play when I decided to buy the car, as well as Honda's well-known reliability with its motors, and I have not been disappointed.
It’s ready for the track. After navigating the dash controls and changing settings on the speedo cluster, I found all the options I needed to take it to the track. G-force sensors, shift lights, pedal pressure for acceleration and braking, and boost gauges are some of the awesome features you get when you buy this monster.
Let’s talk about the seats! My god, the seats. I don’t know what not to say about them. First things first, they look amazing! The red suede coupled with red seatbelts are something else. I love them and they’re insanely comfortable for racing seats. I’ve sat in the Focus RS and honestly prefer the ones in the Honda a lot more. No, you don’t get heated seats, but who cares right? They’re not going to be cold in the morning and don’t burn your bum in the afternoon sun.
There’s very little I can say that disappoints me about the car. I guess maybe that it’s easy to break traction because of the front-wheel drive? Especially coming from a car that is AWD and now into this, sometimes it can be disappointing, but aside from that honestly it’s actually quite a clever FWD car. There is pretty much no torque steer whatsoever and understeer is almost non-existent. You’ll find the rear of the car wanting to step out before the front decides to cross onto the outside of the lane. In fact, my MK6 Golf R understeers more than the Honda.
The engine itself obviously can always be quicker, but that’s with any car I guess. When is it ever enough power? It was the smartest thing Honda ever did entering the turbo hatch category, because that’s truly what appeals to consumers who are looking for performance hatches. You get a lovely intake whistle and blow of 'whoosh' when you accelerate and let off the throttle. It is truly exciting to hear that sound.
The handling is second to none. I have been in. and driven. a few cars in my life. and I can safely say that none can compare to what the Honda has to offer. It’s truly incredible for its price tag. I mean, it did win Performance Car of the Year surpassing vehicles with price tags of three times what this car is worth. The transmission is tight and the short-shifter is on point. You get a subtle but pleasing clunk when you shift into gear.
Thus far it has been extremely reliable, although it is still young. In terms of practicality it’s as simple as this: you can carry boxes and shopping extremely easily while also having your family with you. Yes, it only has four seats, which sometimes is difficult, but honestly it doesn’t make all that much difference. At the end of the day, it wasn’t built to be a family car, but it an be used as one for those you want a bit of 'oomph' for a low price tag.
All in all, I can’t really find a single thing that makes this car not worth buying. If you're looking for performance, comfort and the ultimate street car ready for the track, then the Honda is the optimal choice. You don’t need any fancy AWD to race around the track and achieve incredible lap times – without needing to modify the car in any way.
Well done Honda, you’re finally doing something right, keep it up!
Oh, and please make a two-door version!