Megane versus Civic
has happened. And the Civic lost. Disappointing, yes, but not as disappointing as being unable to drive the two back to back! I knew it would be close but I also had a suspicion the Megane would just sneak it; this generation has evolved into one of the hot hatch legends, with fabulous levels of involvement, excitement and ability. What a shame they've not sold in greater numbers.
Should the looks change? Should they not?
But for the Civic to have run it so close is a fantastic achievement; the tests against both the Megane and
have strengthened its position in my mind as one of the very best hot hatches on sale today. With less time behind the wheel this month though, it's been nice to ponder what could be improved for the facelift. Or indeed the next car, given how close the next
I wouldn't change how it looks, actually. If it is indeed all functional, then it makes the aesthetic worthwhile and therefore cooler. I think an F12 Tdf is uglier than a standard F12, but can appreciate that the adornments serve a purpose - it's that sort of logic. The way the Type R grabs attention I really like too, refusing to conform to convention and defiantly doing its own thing. Yes, it's not the prettiest, but who really buys a hot hatch for its staggering beauty?
The car could be significantly improved, however, with a sharper throttle and a better noise. Given the legendary status naturally aspirated Hondas had for response and sound, to find this car so lacking in both is a disappointment. Moreover, while the throttle is improved in the +R mode, the rest of the changes it brings I often don't want; an individual mode would really benefit the car. Finally, while we're on gripes, the infotainment system is severely in need of an update. The nav isn't actually as bad as people make out, but the functionality and graphics are lagging behind its rivals. Granted, it's not the most PH concern, but we don't spend every day hooning around Wales or on a track; on a commute having an old-fashioned media interface is quite irritating.
Engine is great, so why isn't the throttle?
The Civic hasn't been used much recently because of a week in a BMW Z8 (yes, really, more on that to follow soon), shooting a couple of track videos in other cars and spending some weekends away from a car. Crucially though, the Type R still feels special when you get in it, even after 6,000 miles. The way the seat grabs you, the sensation of speed, the superb brakes; once the initial sheen (or perhaps shock, if we're discussing looks) has worn off, there is real star quality underneath the Civic.
To make amends for a rather ordinary few weeks, the upcoming month promises to be more exciting for the Civic. It's off to the Nurburgring next weekend to see just what a car (supposedly) capable of 7:50 there feels like, plus take in a few of the great roads around the track. Fortunately a slow puncture was repairable, meaning a £20 fix rather than a £200 new tyre, so the car is primed and ready to go. If the summer ever ventures back out again then I'm keen to get out early one weekend morning as well. The car goes back in September after all, which is now beginning to look not that far away.
Car: 2016 Honda Civic Type R GT
Run by: Matt
On fleet since: March 2016
Mileage: 5,892 (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: No doubting it's a great hot hatch, but how could the Type R be better?