It would be impossible to begin this update with anything other than the
Focus RS comparison
that 'my' Civic Type R was involved in a couple of weeks ago. The debate on the verdict was, er, passionate shall we say. But it's great that two cars that could be bought for less than some might spend on Ferrari F12 options have such passionate fans. And the Polo GTI, of course...
Anyway, it was a pleasure to find the Civic competitive in a test with such a key rival. When you're with a car day in and day out, its traits (both good and bad) become less noticeable as you acclimatise. To jump directly between each car and compare their respective strengths and weaknesses was revealing. As and when Focus RS customers get the cars, I'd love to know how you guys get on. I would be especially keen to discover which modes are being used most, as the Civic barely ever goes into the '+R' mode; I like the sharper throttle response and the reduced power steering assistance, but the compromise in terms of ride quality simply isn't worth it. The Focus certainly makes better use of its configurability, including a damper switch independent of the driver modes.
The Civic had no chance to bask in its triumph though. Straight from Anglesey, the Type R went to Blyton Park with Dan for a track test with the Megane Cup-S. That story will follow soon, but - spoiler alert - I've been told it was even closer than the RS and Type R encounter.
With more than 4,000 miles now recorded on RK16 RNY, it's nice to be able to state more definitive opinions on what's good (and less so) about the Civic in everyday use. The collision warning system is the most irritating I've ever used, for example, flashing and beeping on several unjustified occasions. It's standard on the GT model but I can't find a way to turn it off. Anyone? While the GT pack brings lots of useful extras like sat-nav and the reversing camera, at the moment the collision warning would put me off upgrading. Seriously. Although apparently 70 per cent of UK buyers are opting for a GT, so what does that say?
More positively, I love the Civic's sense of solidity and toughness. The Type R legend may have been built on frantic hot hatches buzzing to beyond 8,000rpm and sod the rest, but this car feels much more substantial. The doors thunk solidly, the contact points feel expensive and the interior is well built, even if it isn't the most stylish. And the sooner the second display is updated with something that looks like it's from the 21st century, the better. I often leave that screen blacked out. The seat still seems too high as well...
However, slight interior gripes aside, life remains very good with the Type R. It seems to be for those PHers who have a Type R too - this thread from Laura'sOtherHalf is well worth a read, including running in the car on the way to the Nordschleife. Next month I want to experiment with just how many miles per gallon the Civic can achieve, plus it will provide transport for a new two-wheeled acquisition. More on that next time!
Car: 2016 Honda Civic Type R GT
Run by: Matt
On fleet since: March 2016
Mileage: 4,165 (delivered on 625)
List price new: £32,960 (Type R GT at £32,295, plus £525 for Championship White paint and £140 for Elegance Floor Carpets
Last month at a glance: Type R thriller on track twin test!