The British-built slingshot from Swindon embodies the edginess of youth with the practicality of a family hatchback. School-runs, family shopping and rellies-round-trips can be undertaken or endured, but come the weekend and you head for your favourite bit of winding road and the Type R rewards you in spades.
This fourth generation of the popular hatchback introduced in 1997 is lighter, faster, more technically advanced, surefooted, saving on emissions and fuel, and turns heads like few others.
Striking bright colour schemes with personalisation options to further refine it, dual rear wings and sweeping shovel nose with bulging wheelarches immediately mark out its character in the car park.
Honda engineers love their job and it shows in the powertrain of the Type R GT. The American-made engine is light, powerful and very refined with mechanical and software refinements which give it tremendous punch from low revs all the way to its 7,000rpm redline.
The power just pours out from the moment you put your foot down, tip-toe on the clutch pedal and neatly shift through the six ratios.
I found the suspension firm, even hard at times, but in keeping with the sporting nature of the car and it meant there was almost no body roll or pitching on bends or under load.
There is a tendency to understeer at speed on some curves but easing off the throttle pulls it all back. I thought it could be improved if there was a 4WD transmission, but that would probably dilute some of the fun to be had behind the wheel on winding roads.
Heating and ventilation is very good throughout, oddments space reasonably good and the boot is big.
Access is very good through the four doors and the seats are comfortable with the front pair having deep side bolsters to help locate occupants.
The Honda Type R GT is a car you would probably like to be seen in, but looking out is a difficult proposition. To front and sides its very good, with really powerful headlights and good wash and wipe system, but those twin rear wings, high tail and narrow back window combine to make reversing very difficult.
When you look ahead the horizon quickly approaches and the performance is so abundant that the overdrive fifth and sixth ratios mean the engine is running very economically when cruising and we saw almost 40mpg overall.
So the Honda Civic Type R GT is economical, enjoyable and everything you could want in a family car with Peter Pan appeal.
|Honda Civic Turbo Type R GT 5-dr||Price: £32,300|
|Insurance Group: 33E||Mechanical: 310ps 4cyl 2.0 turbo-petrol, 6sp|
|Max Speed: 168mph||0-62mph: 5.7 sec|
|Combined MPG: 37mpg||C02 emissions: 170 gkm|
|Bik rating: 31%||Sizes: L 4,39m, W1.88m, H 1.47m|
|Boot: 475 to 1404 litres||Warranty: 3 yrs/ 90,000 miles|
|For: Performance, practicality, handling, room|
|Against: Rear visibility, firm ride, not all-wheel-drive