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Reader test: Honda Civic Type R

2009-08-24 15:00

Arden Harvey

Having previously owned the magnificent Honda Accord Type S, I expected the much anticipated Civic Type R to be a step up… As it turns out, it was lower on torque, heavier on fuel, lacked 4 doors and I could only get it in red or black.

Salvaging my last attempt to stay young  at heart with the big 3-0 looming and a fantastic deal from the people at Honda, I left with a  2007 demo model with 7 000 km on the clock. Today she’s almost two years old.

The beast

It is almost impossible to drive this car slowly. For the first few weeks I found myself unconsciously challenging bigger saloons between robots!

Needless to say, she corners likes she’s on a track and propels like a fighter jet! This car begs to be revved, but the slightest slip or any miss-timed gear change can result in really unpleasant jerkiness. I’m constantly reminded of the beast lurking beneath the bonnet; edgy and angry!  

I think I expected more finesse and less effort, more cruising and less racing - drive this car for a day and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

On the highway, this car revs so freely that before you’ve even left third gear you are well over the national speed limit, but when it comes to cruising 120km/h in sixth gear, your rev needle is sitting close to a pretty high 4 000 r/min.

This can make for heavier fuel consumption and along with the road noise and high revs makes for some taxing long distance driving. Still it hasn’t stopped me from travelling around the country, most notably a recent trip to Namibia without a hitch!

Lady in Red

Years after the launch of this motor car in SA, it’s still a head turner. Its unique lines and triangular pipes mean you either love it or hate it. Its Alcantara seats are comfortable and provide awesome support! Honda’s lists of standard features are endless in comparison to the "build-a-bear" approach by its competition.

Passenger comfort is null. Whilst it provides impressive leg room and inconspicuous storage space, its bench-like seats do little to counter the ultra hard suspension, but makes up for the missing back doors and adjustable windows by providing a boot that can comfortably hold luggage for four.

In the reliability aspect, Honda has yet to fail me! Even with the reassurance of a five-year/90 000km service plan, I am almost always certain of arriving at my destination. I hate to look back at the experience I had with a well known people’s car that endured 3 blown turbo! I know with my natural (NA) Honda, she's good for 400 000km and more!  

With the arrival of my first child in six months, it looks like me and the Lady in Red will have to have to part company sooner than expected. It has been a sweet affair, a love-hate relationship, but something I’m sure I’ll miss!

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