Dan P ponders what it means to be the best front-drive hot hatch in the world...
The FK8-generation Type R has been the best front-drive hot hatch since its introduction in 2017. It had no right to be. The FK2 wasdecent, but an also-ran. The FN2 before it was worse, and while the EP3 is (deservedly) very fondly remembered, it too was overshadowed by superior alternatives at the time. The FK8 though - the first Type R which could truly call itself a global car - was different. It did everything. Brilliantly.
And there it has remained, at the head of the class, being brilliant. But you don't hold the throne for long in hot hatchdom; there are pretenders everywhere. None is more potent than Renault Sport. The Megane R.S 265/275 seems remarkably distant in 2019, but prior to 2017 the third generation model was all but unassailable. We still talk about the steering as a benchmark now. And the chassis. And the erstwhile Trophy's uncanny ability for making a grey day memorable.
Now, of course, there is a new Trophy; one with 300hp and all-wheel steering and no little sophistication. Renault Sport's ambitions for it are plain, and exemplified by the Nurburgring record it wrestled back from Honda using the stripped-out and absurdly pricey R variant. We're less interested though in western Germany than we are in rural Great Britain. Does the Megane Trophy have what it takes to move the benchmark beyond the FK8? Or is round two of this match-up simply confirmation of Honda's unlikely home run? Dan P has the casting vote. Roll camera.
Had my Civic since June, I’ve covered nearly 5k miles since (yes, 5k miles, a lot of drives for the sake of it) here are the biggest drawbacks.
- Infotainment is diabolical - Sound system is also diabolical - Autowipers are useless - Needs to be more configurable re damping & steering
I was picking a few friends up in my Type R earlier on from this town in the middle of nowhere and I had a good 7 miles worth of pitch black bumpy bendy roads with NSL signs and no cars anywhere, near a village called Abinger Hammer in Surrey and it was a very good drive ruined by 1 thing.
The ride in sport and R+ was absolutely shocking and nigh on unbeatable but comfort mode absorbed nearly all of those bumps on the road and made the drive a lot more fun, however I just couldn’t get on with the steering being in comfort mode and it really let the experience down. I barely drive in comfort as I can never tell the difference in day to day driving so I wasn’t used to how light the steering is. It felt nearly as bad as a modern BMW’s steering. I wish it had a configurable individual mode!
Brilliant car and I don’t doubt the Megane either, probably a very good car but let down by the fact that it wasn’t complete from the first day it rolled out of the factory.
wab172uk31 Aug 2019
Another great Video by Dan.
For me, on looks alone, I'd probably buy the Megane. Though it's not what you'd call a pretty car.
Civic Type R for sure if I was in my late 20's, early 30's. Think they look best in Blue.
moonigan31 Aug 2019
Such fine margins between the two so it really comes down to which one could you live with on a day to day basis and what you are happy to compromise on. For me I'll compromise slightly better drivability for much better looks.
Derek Chevalier31 Aug 2019
I've had mine for just over a year and 24k miles. It's a great all round car, can munch the motorway miles (in Comfort mode) with the family on board yet still be a great drive on the right roads. A couple of grumbles:
1. Wheels are (very) easy to kerb 2. Engine has insufficient cooling for track work (which surprised me given how much noise they made about the 'ring record)
Glenn6331 Aug 2019
Are these ‘fixed’ driving modes something an aftermarket tuner would be able to hack into/modify so they could be used individually ? Seen a few reviews now were most seem to agree with the engine/steering in +R and suspension in comfort would be the perfect road setup.