Honda Civic Type R

The Type R version of the Honda Civic is not only the best hot hatch, its chassis makes it one of the best drivers' cars, full stop

Surprised? Don’t be. Not only is the Type R the highest-placed hot hatch here, but it also finishes ahead of the Lamborghini and the Porsche 911 GT3 RS. It’s that good.

There are quicker and more comfortable rivals, yet few can match the Civic Type R’s engaging nature. It’s a car that simply becomes more enjoyable the longer you spend behind wheel.

True, the normally aspirated 2.0-litre VTEC engine produces only 198bhp. But as Honda points out, a great hot hatch isn’t only about statistics. What’s impressive about the unit is the way in which it deploys its power. It’s punchy low down, yet take it above 5,400rpm and it comes alive, before screaming all the way up to the red line.

A snappy gearchange makes it easy to keep the unit at its peak, while the high-pitched engine note adds to the hot hatch experience. It’s fair to say the Civic can be a pretty frantic machine – however, it really excels on A and B-roads, thanks to the superbly responsive steering and communicative chassis. In fact, the Type R is sublime, with great traction, balance and precision.

It lived up to these standards on the test track as well. Although the steering could do with a bit more feedback, the resolute way in which it held a line going into corners was excellent. And with practically no body roll, the Honda always felt stable and reassuring – even when going through the Anglesey circuit’s fastest bends.

What comes across most about the hot Honda is how the major components – engine, suspension, chassis, gearbox, steering – work in such harmony. Add them together, and you’ve got the best of the breed.

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