You get used to being ripped off if you’re a motorist living in the UK. Outrageous fuel taxes, high car prices, parking fines, congestion charges and zero investment in the road network. But to find out that a popular sporting model has been brought to market that’s been hobbled, not living up to it’s full potential, then that’s just disappointing – we’re being ripped off again!
Honda Civic Type R (JDM) Specifications
|Max Power:||[email protected]|
|Max Torque:||158lb [email protected]|
|Top Speed:||160mph (est)|
|0-60mph:||5.5 secs (est)|
The car in question is the Honda Civic Type R. Despite being a new model the engine is basically the same VTEC 2-litre unit from the previous hatch, offering 1bhp more (for 198bhp in total), but the car weighs over 60kg more. So with shorter gearing it manages to keep the 0-62 spring to the same 6.6 seconds, but chassis responses are slightly compromised with the extra weight. In the meantime, the Type R’s competition has been gaining more power (and maybe a few extra kilos too), pushing the performance envelope out of the Type R’s reach.
But it turns out it didn’t have to be like this. Honda have saved the real performer for their own market, leaving us with second best. The Honda Civic Type R we were waiting for is currently on sale in Japan, a hardcore four-door saloon that makes fewer compromises than its European cousin.
Using a higher compression ratio and improved breathing efficiency, the naturally-aspirated K20A 2.0-liter i-VTEC engine has a peak output of 225 bhp at 8,000 rpm and a maximum torque of 158 lb-ft at 6,100 rpm. With max power arriving so far up the rev counter the engine needs working hard to give its best, but then that’s always been the fun of Honda’s engines. Even though they need a damn good thrashing you just know they’re built to take it.
The CTR doesn’t shout about its potential. The saloon body is lean and taut, with none of the flared wheelarches and fake grills that are so common on its rivals. Even the oversized spoiler at the rear has its use, being a functional part of the aerodynamic package. Riding on 18-inch 7-spoke white alloys wrapped in track-spec Bridgestone Potenza RE070s, the CTR looks full of purpose, particularly when painted in Championship White.
Aluminium is used in the construction of the body to keep weight down, helping maximise the benefit of the extra power. Adhesive bonding is also used in place of welds, which makes the body even stiffer, improving chassis response. The steering is sharp, allowing you to aim for the apex of corners with great accuracy, while the limited-slip differential allows incredible traction with minimal wheelspin.
Why don’t we get all of this in the UK? Only Honda can tell us that, but I guess they think there isn’t a big enough market for this hardcore Civic Type R. A softer car will appeal to more drivers, and more appeal means more sales.
So at the moment you’re limited to looking to importers if you want to get your hands on a JDM CTR. Expect to pay in the region of £23k, which is expensive when compared to similarly powered competition but not so bad when you factor in the high-tech nature of its design and construction, the indestructible Honda mechanicals and the exclusivity on offer. Alternatively you can sit and wait to see if Honda UK come to their senses and start selling the proper Civic Type R over here.