Hot Hatch of the Year 2018: Honda Civic Type R
The Honda Civic Type R is the 2018 Auto Express Hot Hatch of the Year, with the Ford Fiesta ST and Hyundai i30 N commended
However, for a second straight year the Honda Civic Type R takes the crown. That’s thanks in part to the pure front-wheel-drive layout and manual box, which compared with four-wheel-drive, dual-clutch rivals put you at the heart of the action.
Unlike those competitors, the Type R has no tricks up its sleeve such as a drift mode; it simply relies on first-class engineering to deliver its thrills.
Yet while past versions were resolutely hardcore, this model is more versatile, with a broader range of ability than ever. That’s thanks to the clever suspension, featuring adaptive dampers with a comfort mode. This combines to make the Type R more usable and less frenetic when you need it, offering motorway comfort and plush damping on bumpy roads. But the Civic retains its wild side, with touring car-style control and aggression on track.
The front wheels have no trouble delivering the 2.0-litre turbo’s mammoth 316bhp and 400Nm of torque to the road. Get off the line fast thanks to the beautifully set-up limited-slip diff and 0-62mph takes 5.8 seconds, but what makes the Type R our champ again is its detailed feedback.
You can dive into bends carrying incredible speed and the car’s front end bites into the road. The engine’s broad spread of power slingshots you out of corners and down the straights. Snatching gears with the mechanically precise six-speed manual box is addictive, and unlike some turbo engines, the Type R’s motor never tails off.
Any hot hatch has to cover all bases and, divisive styling aside, the Civic is as competent at carrying four people and luggage as it is attacking a B-road or tearing up a track day. The 420-litre load bay is one of the biggest in its class, and the spacious rear can comfortably seat two adults.
Performance and practicality combine in the Type R to deliver a package where there’s barely any compromise. It’s still the king of this class.
Honda Civic Type R GT (£33,525)
The Type R starts at £31,525 in entry-level guise, while this higher-spec GT adds dual-zone climate control, Garmin sat-nav and extra safety kit for £2,000. It’s money well spent, making the Honda easier to live with.
Ford Fiesta ST
Despite the move to a 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine, the Fiesta ST is still a stunning hot hatch. It has lost none of the character that made it a riot from behind the wheel, but has gained an extra degree of usability with improved ride comfort. It’s light, pointy and punchy, which is exactly what a souped-up supermini should be.
Hyundai i30 N
Given that this is Hyundai’s first effort at a proper hot hatch, the i30 N is a real triumph. Go for the Performance option, which comes with a clever diff and extra power (taking the output to 271bhp), and you’ll be able to genuinely cut it with the likes of Volkswagen’s Golf GTI. The car is incredibly affordable as well.
Auto Express New Car Awards 2018
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- 1IntroductionWhat are the best new cars to buy in the UK today? The 2018 New Car Awards have the answer...
- 2Car of the YearThe Auto Express Car of the Year for 2018 is the all-electric Jaguar I-Pace
- 3City Car of the YearThe Volkswagen up! is the 2018 Auto Express City Car of the Year, with the Kia Picanto and Skoda Citigo commended
- 4Supermini of the YearThe Ford Fiesta is the 2018 Auto Express Supermini of the Year, with the MINI 5-door and SEAT Ibiza commended
- 5Convertible of the YearThe MINI Convertible is the 2018 Auto Express Convertible of the Year, with the Audi A3 Cabriolet and Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet commended
- 6Compact Family Car of the YearThe Volkswagen Golf is the 2018 Auto Express Compact Family Car of the Year, with the Mercedes A-Class and Skoda Octavia commended
- 7Family Car of the YearThe Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport is the 2018 Auto Express Family Car of the Year, with the Skoda Superb and Toyota Prius commended
- 8Compact Executive Car of the YearThe Mercedes C-Class is the 2018 Auto Express Compact Executive Car of the Year, with the Alfa Romeo Giulia and Jaguar XE commended
- 9Executive Car of the YearThe BMW 5 Series is the 2018 Auto Express Executive Car of the Year, with the Mercedes E-Class and Volvo S90 commended
- 10Estate Car of the YearThe Skoda Octavia Estate is the 2018 Auto Express Estate Car of the Year, with the BMW 5 Series Touring and Volvo V60 commended
- 11Small SUV of the YearThe Citroen C3 Aircross is the 2018 Auto Express Small SUV of the Year, with the SEAT Arona and Volkswagen T-Roc commended
- 12Mid-size SUV of the YearSkoda is on a roll, and the Karoq is proof that the Czech brand knows exactly what it’s doing in the field of family SUVs.
- 13Large SUV of the YearThe Skoda Kodiaq is the 2018 Auto Express Large SUV of the Year, with the Peugeot 5008 and SsangYong Rexton commended
- 14Small Premium SUV of the YearThe Volvo XC40 is the 2018 Auto Express Small Premium SUV of the Year, with the BMW X1 and MINI Countryman commended
- 15Mid-size Premium SUV of the YearThe BMW X3 is the 2018 Auto Express Premium Mid-size SUV of the Year, with the Jaguar F-Pace and Volvo XC60 commended
- 16Large Premium SUV of the YearThe Land Rover Discovery is the 2018 Auto Express Premium SUV of the Year, with the Porsche Cayenne and Range Rover commended
- 17MPV of the YearThe Citroen Grand C4 SpaceTourer is the 2018 Auto Express MPV of the Year, with the Renault Grand Scenic and SEAT Alhambra commended
- 18Roadster of the YearThe Mazda MX-5 is the 2018 Auto Express Roadster of the Year, with the McLaren 570S Spider and Porsche 718 Boxster commended
- 19Coupe of the YearThe Lexus LC is the 2018 Auto Express Coupe of the Year, with the Audi A5 and Porsche 718 Cayman commended
- 20Hot Hatch of the Year - currently readingThe Honda Civic Type R is the 2018 Auto Express Hot Hatch of the Year, with the Ford Fiesta ST and Hyundai i30 N commended
- 21Performance Car of the YearThe Porsche 911 GT3 is the 2018 Auto Express Performance Car of the Year, with the Aston Martin Vantage and BMW M5 commended
- 22Luxury Car of the YearThe Mercedes S-Class is the 2018 Auto Express Luxury Car of the Year, with the Bentley Continental GT and Porsche Panamera commended
- 23Affordable Electric Car of the YearThe Hyundai Kona Electric is the 2018 Auto Express Affordable Electric Car of the Year, with the Nissan Leaf and Volkswagen e-Golf commended
- 24Premium Electric Car of the YearThe Jaguar I-Pace is the 2018 Auto Express Premium Electric Car of the Year, with the BMW i3 and Tesla Model S commended
- 25Affordable Hybrid Car of the YearThe Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in is the 2018 Auto Express Affordable Hybrid Car of the Year, with the MINI Countryman and Toyota Prius commended
- 26Premium Hybrid Car of the YearThe Volvo XC60 T8 Twin Engine is the 2018 Auto Express Premium Hybrid Car of the Year, with the BMW 530e and Range Rover Plug-in commended
- 27Pick-up of the YearThe Mitsubishi L200 is the 2018 Auto Express Pick-up of the Year, with the Ford Ranger and Mercedes X-Class commended
- 28Van of the YearThe Mercedes Sprinter is the 2018 Auto Express Van of the Year, with the Ford Transit Custom and Volkswagen Crafter commended
- 29Technology AwardThe Nissan Leaf wins the Auto Express 2018 Technology Award for its bi-directional charging
- 30Social Media Campaign of the YearJeep's 'Set your own course' has won the 2018 Social Media Campaign of the Year
- 31Car Advertising Campaign of the YearVolkswagen's 'Born Confident' advert for the new T-Roc has won the 2018 integrated advertising campaign awarC
- 32Driver Power AwardLexus has scooped the 2018 Driver Power Award after taking the customer satisfaction survey by storm once again
- 33Design AwardWe asked you what your favourite car design is for 2018, and the Aston Martin Vantage has taken the crown
- 34Anniversary Awards – Auto Express, evo and OctaneWe celebrate 30 years of Auto Express, 20 years of evo and 15 years of Octane with our special Anniversary Awards