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Honda Civic

It's never easy saying goodbye, but one of our road testers is so sorry to see our Honda Civic type R depart, he’s taken to desperate measures to prevent it...

  • ENGINE The Type R’s screaming powerplant sounds incredible. You need to use all of the revs available to make the most of its performance, but the reward is a race car soundtrack. Sporty change-up lights help keep you informed of the best point to shift.SPORTY DETAILS When you buy the sportiest car in the line-up, you want it to feel special – and the Type R does. Thanks to its alloy gearlever and pedals, red carpets, bucket seats and bespoke badges, the flagship ticks all the boxes here.
  • RED PAINT Our Civic’s red paintwork is very soft, and after only 12 months the front end is badly stonechipped. Colour choice is limited, but silver and black shades should last better than ours.THIRST Yes, it’s a hot hatch, but fuel consumption of 27.8mpg is surprising for a normally aspirated 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine. With group 34 insurance and steep road tax, it makes for hefty running costs.
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Desperate times call for desperate measures – and the departure of our long-term Honda Civic Type R requires extreme action.

After 12 months, I can’t bear to be parted from it, so I’ll be handcuffing myself to the wheels when the man from Honda comes to collect the keys!

What will I miss? Well, the sharp handling and high-revving engine are the most obvious highlights, but the Honda has hidden depths. The cabin is just one of them. With its space ship styling, the dashboard has a unique layout.

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You don’t get the kind of soft-touch plastics you will find in European rivals, but the switchgear looks great and is solid. The racy red carpets and sports seats also strike just the right note, and give the interior a really special feel.

Admittedly, the driver’s seat is a bit high, but unlike many of my colleagues, I can get comfortable – even if the steering wheel obscures the top of the rev counter.

Spacious
I also love the spacious rear (if only it had a centre seatbelt) and the huge boot. The latter can swallow improbable amounts of my baby-related clutter.

Poor ride comfort and heavy fuel consumption are the biggest bugbears, but you don’t buy a car like this for limousine comfort and a huge touring range, so I can forgive them both.

An oil leak picked up after the first service was less acceptable, but a second visit to Ewell Honda, in Surrey, to have the filter refitted cured the problem. A scuff on the rear wheelarch has been fixed, too. Mobile repairer Shine! (www.taketheweekendoff.com) repainted the damaged wheelarch and also repaired a kerbed alloy.

One thing I didn’t ask it to remedy was the pitting on the rear wheels, caused by brake dust. The rims need regular cleaning as the rear pads use a different material to those at the front, and the resulting dust leaves stubborn marks on the wheel. But it hasn’t put me off – I’ll just chain myself to one of the front alloys instead!

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