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Old 02-05-2008, 04:43 AM   #1
AVANTI R5
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Default Evo Tests The Honda Civic Type R

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Itís a familiar tale. Japanese manufacturer builds a corking driversí car and tells the UK it canít have it. Enter the specialist importer who, with lower overheads and a more intuitive feel for the enthusiast market, decides to bring a few in to gauge demand. It happened with Skylines, Evos, STIs and FTOs, and now for the second time itís happening with a Type-R Honda.
Once again Iain Litchfield is at the forefront, having identified the four-door Civic Type-R as a hero in waiting. It might be based on a bigger, saloon bodyshell, but as weíre about to discover, this Civic is about as hardcore as it gets. The Type-R hatch thatís on sale in Britain got a lukewarm response, so is this the car weíve been craving?

Finished in dazzling Championship White, itís certainly an arresting sight. Sitting low on its distinctive 18in seven-spoke alloys and track-biased Bridgestone Potenza RE070s, and wearing an array of aggressive aerodynamic addenda, the JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) CTR exudes a true sense of purpose. The simple purity of an all-white colour scheme somehow intensifies the focus on its dynamic credentials, lifting it from humble four-door to Phwoarr-door like no blue or silver paintwork ever could.

Itís a sinewy machine, the four-door Civic Type R. Thereís muscle all right, but its lean frame and steely hardware imply power and agility rather than shout about it. Itís an honest looking car, too, with none of the gimmickry that already looks a bit try-hard on the UK Civic Type-R hatchback.

Inside is more dramatic, with an analogue tachometer supplemented by an LCD display showing speed and an array of shift lights. Itís a weird design but it works well in practice, although it does emphasise how far back you sit in the car. Renault Espace drivers will certainly feel at home here. The seats are very supportive and particularly comfortable, and the relationship between the steering wheel and gearlever Ė topped as ever with a cool titanium knob Ė is more natural than the Vito van-like item in the UK CTR.

Powered by a 222bhp version of the familiar K20A i-VTEC in-line four-cylinder engine, the JDM Civic Type-R is both more powerful and more tractable than either the Integra or the UK Civic, and revs to a spectacular 8400rpm. The gearing has been tweaked slightly, with gears 1-3 shortened by 4 per cent to improve acceleration, while gears 4-6 have been raised by 1 per cent to take full advantage of the more accessible torque, which now hits a peak of 158lb ft at 6100rpm.

The saloon bodyshell has been made lighter yet more rigid, with extensive use of aluminium, and adhesive bonding instead of welds. As a result the much bigger íshell tips the scales just 1.8kg heavier than the Integraís, yet is 50 per cent more rigid.

Once on the move this sense of rigidity is all- pervading. Thereís no sneeze-factor in the steering, no slouch in the suspension or slop in the brake pedal, and certainly no squidge in the Bridgestone RE070sí sidewalls. Consequently your slightest twitch is translated into immediate response. Itís an uncompromising car with a firm, physical ride, yet the damping is well controlled and it copes well with mid-corner bumps.

Traction is excellent thanks to the standard helical limited-slip differential, and thereís only the slightest hint of wheelspin on a dry road, even over the sharp-edged crests along our test route in south Wales. The brakes also deliver, with a firm pedal and powerful, linear response, but then they should be good, with 320mm front rotors and 282mm rears, gripped by Brembo callipers.

Throw the CTR into a tight corner and it turns-in without hesitation, slicing to the apex without a hint of understeer. Indeed once you learn just how much speed you can carry it will drift its way through, front and rear working as one, with no unseemly scrabbling or torque steer.

Like all VTEC-powered Hondas, the JDM CTR delivers its best above 6000rpm, but thereís useful lugging power from 3500rpm. Of course it feels limp compared with the fireworks that kick-in on the angry side of the VTEC threshold Ė a point which is marked by the first of the shift lights glowing in the binnacle Ė but that schizophrenic delivery has always been a highlight of a Type-R model.

If youíre used to the lusty swell of a turbocharged engine or the effortless muscle of a big-capacity motor, the amount of effort you need to invest in making the CTR fly may feel like hard work, but the rewards are significant and unforgettable, and completely appropriate in this hard-edged, angry sports saloon.

Fortunately, and in true Type-R fashion, the engine is sensationally responsive and beautifully smooth, even at 8400rpm. It helps that the six-speed gearbox has one of the fastest, sweetest and most precise shifts around, and you soon find yourself wringing the CTRís neck at every opportunity. Hearing that engine note harden and feeling the acceleration intensify is an addiction youíll want to feed.

According to reports in Japan, the CTR is capable of 150mph and will hit 60mph in less than 6sec. It certainly feels rapid when fully lit. Perhaps more impressive is that in back-to-back tests it lapped the Tsukuba race track 1sec quicker than the DC5 Integra, while at the longer Suzuka circuit it pulled a massive 4sec gap. Itíll be fascinating to find out what itíll do at Bedford.

Litchfield is selling the four-door CTR for £22,995 on the road, which includes all import costs, a Thatcham Cat 1 alarm, 12 monthsí tax, number plates and a full three-year warranty. Thatís around £5000 more than the UK Civic Type-R, but such is the gulf between the watered-down experience offered by the hatchback and the full-strength fury of the saloon thereís little sense in making a direct comparison. Perhaps youíd be better looking upon this import-only Civic as a four-door NSX-R, for it possesses much of the supercarís spirit. Read Article
http://www.autospies.com/news/Evo-Te...-Type-R-26190/
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Old 02-05-2008, 08:11 AM   #2
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This is the ONE car that would get me back into a Honda.

Sadly, Honda NA is too busy re-fitting the Euro Accord as the TSX and trying to convince people that it's something special.

Talk about a company without a compass...
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Old 02-05-2008, 08:49 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Spenk View Post


This is the ONE car that would get me back into a Honda.

Sadly, Honda NA is too busy re-fitting the Euro Accord as the TSX and trying to convince people that it's something special.

Talk about a company without a compass...
Ditto on that. I would love a chance to try this particular Type R. You would think that Honda would want to at least give the R a shot in NA. I mean, after all, they are in the business of selling cars....
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Old 02-05-2008, 08:56 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spenk View Post


This is the ONE car that would get me back into a Honda.

Sadly, Honda NA is too busy re-fitting the Euro Accord as the TSX and trying to convince people that it's something special.

Talk about a company without a compass...
I agree and disagree with you. The type r is an awesome car and I would snatch one up in a heart beat. But to say the TSX has Honda losing its compass. Have you driven one? The TSX is one of the best cars for the money in its segment. The TSX is one of the best things that honda has going state side.
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Old 02-05-2008, 09:02 AM   #5
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Yep, I've driven the current TSX. It's an overpriced & underpowered smaller Accord/bigger Civic, nothing more. Handling-wise it reminded me of a narrower four-door version of my '01 Prelude, but without the acceleration.

If I were FWD sedan hunting, I'd make a beeline to the Mazda 6 store.
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Old 02-05-2008, 09:32 AM   #6
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Well find me a car with all the same standard options for the money.....

Are you serious, a mazda 6. OK...... You can have your Ford.

Just priced the 08's

08 Mazda 6 Grandtouring- 27,000 212 hp 18/25

08 TSX- 28,190- 205 hp- 20/28

For the money I think most people would take the Acura. You get alot more for your money. Yes the TSX is a dog.( Not to bad with the 6 spd) But in long term reliablility and resale value the TSX wins hands down. Your six maybe faster but thats about it.

Last edited by Bluestreak2006; 02-05-2008 at 09:56 AM. Reason: edit
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Old 02-05-2008, 09:47 AM   #7
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I'd think about buying a CTR if they brought it over. Unfortunately, insurance on this car would be a nightmare.
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Old 02-05-2008, 10:25 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Bluestreak2006 View Post

Are you serious, a mazda 6. OK...... You can have your Ford.


You have a waterproof argument there. We had no idea Mazda=Ford. Thanks for enlightening us.

And as for your comment that the rebadged Euro Accord is the best thing Honda has going in the US. I hope that, for the sake of Honda, that is not true. But seeing how utterly forgettable the entire line up of this supposedly luxury brand Acura is, you may be right. And that's why Honda needs to stop being so cheap and come up with a dedicated platform for the Acura brand. As it is, Acura is a dirty marketing trick and nothing more.

And finally, one of the main reason that Honda can offer decent level of equipment for their cars is because you have no choice in options. Everything's bundled together. That certainly lowers the cost, but I personally don't like that approach at all.
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Old 02-05-2008, 02:55 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by SoSuMi View Post
Ditto on that. I would love a chance to try this particular Type R. You would think that Honda would want to at least give the R a shot in NA. I mean, after all, they are in the business of selling cars....
I doubt we would see it anytime soon in the states. The price point isn't much higher than the overpriced Mugen Civic and would probably kill it's sales. (considering it is actually faster than a civic si)

EDIT: oops didn't notice it was priced in pounds and not euros. That's about 45k for a civic. umm no chance.
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Old 02-05-2008, 04:09 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by thedaddyb View Post
I doubt we would see it anytime soon in the states. The price point isn't much higher than the overpriced Mugen Civic and would probably kill it's sales. (considering it is actually faster than a civic si)

EDIT: oops didn't notice it was priced in pounds and not euros. That's about 45k for a civic. umm no chance.
The car price conversion is not simply a currency conversion. A base WRX is ~20000 pounds in Britain.
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