The Honda Civic Type R is one of those cars that just screams lunacy from pretty much every angle, that spoiler, huge and utterly mad looking, the huge rear diffuser and the tailpipes, completely bonkers.

Hardcore is a word that describes the Type R to a tee, contained within all this wonderful shoutyness is a proper manual gearbox, limited slip differential, super hard suspension and a huge amount of power.

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When thinking about where the Type R sits in the current super hot hatch pecking order you would instantly compare it to rivals such as the Golf R or the Focus RS, I won’t be doing this because the Type R is simply front wheel drive, if you think again and come up with the current crop of front wheel drive super hatchbacks then the list is very short, the Golf GTI is one, so is the Leon Cupra R 290, both are excellent cars in their own right.

The Type R, however, has them well and truly beaten in the power stakes as well as the looks department; if you park a Type R against its standard shopping cart sibling then it just looks even more insane, whereas its rivals only look slightly different from their more standard siblings.

The Visuals

If the Type R were a person it would walk around every day wearing a hockey mask while carrying a chainsaw, just strolling around looking a bit insane whilst being rather menacing.

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At the back you have more huge tailpipes than any car could ever need, these are surrounded by a huge menacing looking diffuser, then the stand out point of the car, that spoiler, it’s huge and I am so glad that Honda decided to go down this route as it looks utterly immense.

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At the sides we get insane looking huge gloss black wheels finished with red stripes, why red you ask, because the car is insane, that’s why. At the front, the madness continues with a deep menacing chin spoiler and more red stripe work just because Honda can.

Add all these parts together and you get possibly one of the most strikingly insane looking factory produced cars to ever hit road, overall great work Honda.

On The Inside

The insanity continues aplomb on the inside as well, you are confronted with a two-tier dash set-up with the usual traditional dial cluster down low, this is topped by a digital dial set-up which gives you information on many things, in fact, you can even change this digital readout to a set of hot hatch dials if you can find them that is.

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The whole set-up is beautifully laid out and focused on the driver, as in this is a proper set-up for a proper driver. The gearchange is perfectly positioned and allows for easy quick changes, the seats again are insane as they are very very red, they are also some of the best seats I have ever experienced fitted to a road car, simply magnificent is a way of describing them.

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In the back you have room for actual adults with legs and such, I believe that the Type R is a car you could own with a family and use it every day, you also get nearly 500 litres of boot space which is great.

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The whole interior feels typically Honda, well made and smartly designed while providing a great driving environment.

The Driving

Let me start with some numbers for you, the Type R has a 2.0 i-VTEC motor producing 310bhp and 296Ib-ft of torque, 0-62mph is achieved in 5.7 seconds while running onto considerable 168mph top speed.

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This insane car will do almost 170mph if you can find enough road, here in 2016 that number is simply staggering. Overall the Type R is a hardcore drive, I’m not going to mince my words, it’s basically always on fire, kind of like a dog that always wants to chase everything regardless of its owners pleas to stop.

The Type R sees a stretch of road and wants to devour it as quickly as possible, quick is one thing it does very well, the suspension is perfectly balanced and gives the driver plenty of confidence while remaining flat and taut through the corners, the six-speed manual gearbox is a joy to use, this is accompanied somehow by a clutch so feather light a small child could use it.

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The thrust from the VTEC motor is formidable, you get the accompanying soundtrack of the whooshing wastegate as you rev it to the limiter, this alongside the traditional VTEC roar encourages you to drive the Type R fast and hard, to help you with this Honda have installed a fantastic set of brakes, full of feel and prowess giving you plenty of feedback and huge stopping power.

The steering is the only moot point for me, the plus side is that its very light making the Type R a breeze in town or heavy traffic but it does lack some of the feel of its nearest rivals.

Verdict

The Honda Civic Type R is insane on the outside and on the inside, peer beneath this lunacy and you will find a properly good drivers car, it is more powerful and more capable than all of its current front wheel drive rivals.

Add to this they fact that you can use it every day and the reliability factor as it’s a Honda meaning that it’s rarely going to if ever go wrong and you get a very good car.

Whilst the looks and the hardcore elements of the Type R may not be for everyone, it’s definitively the best front wheel drive super hot hatch you can but right now.

Technical Specification:

Engine: 4-cylinder 2.0 i-VTEC Turbocharged

Power and Torque: 310bhp, 295ibft

Gearbox: 6-speed manual

Kerb weight: 1,700kg

Top speed: 168mph

0-62mph: 5.7 seconds

Economy: 38.7mpg (combined)

CO2:170g/km

Price: £31,945 (As tested £33,295)

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REVIEW OVERVIEW
The Visuals
On The Inside
The Driving
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Editor, road test reviewer, news & features writer for livetodrive.co.uk Freelance motoring writer for hire. Car guy until the end, creator and owner of livetodrive.co.uk, chosen tribe leader of Live To Drive at Drivetribe.com Tech fan and twitter addicted. Please save the cars! Car fan, BMW E39 owner and fixer and occasional cross country driver.