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Honda launches new Type R, Jazz Sport models in SA

2018-02-02 14:00

Sean Parker

Image: Supplied

Durban - The new Honda Civic Type R is not as hardcore as the last one, and that’s a good thing.

There’s more space, mercifully Honda has fitted wider, more comfortable seats and there are three different driving modes. 

On the launch this week, I tested out the car’s comfort mode (there’s also sport and +R) along the South Coast in Kwa-Zulu Natal and it soaked up bumps wonderfully. It’s the mode you’ll choose on your daily commute and it makes the Type R so much easier to live with.

It’s available exclusively with a six-speed manual gearbox. 

More on the other driving modes later, but let’s look at the 2.0-litre turbocharged engine (identical to the previous Type R), it produces 228kW (at 6500 r/min) and 400Nm. And it loves to rev. I mean isn’t that why we love Honda engines? The torque curve is like the top of Table Mountain, the 400Nm is maintained between 2500 and 4500 r/min.

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Honda says the engine control software has been adapted to improve throttle response and tractability. 0-100km/h is a claimed 5.8 seconds and top speed a lofty 272km/h. 

Dezzi Raceway was the amphitheatre for me to try out the new +R mode. The automaker says this most ferocious mode is a track-biased setting, and changes torque mapping for more oomph at lower engine speeds. 

The six-speed manual is deliciously slick and the boost from the V-Tec kicks in at lower revs to make the urge feel more linear. Turbo lag is evident, but it’s part of the character. Dezzi Raceway is a very technical circuit with dips and crests that the Type R handles with aplomb.

The steering weighs up perfectly for sharp changes that don’t require a massive tug from my hands. I took it easy on my first few laps, getting to know the extremities of the car and track. The Brembo brakes feel strong with good pedal feel and don't show any signs of fade towards the end of my stint. 

It's clear the Honda engineers were keen to make sure the Type R lost none of its hardcoreness. In +R mode the car feel like it has a different persona and I think that's important. 

Honda says the vehicle stability control and traction control can also be switched off completely in ‘+R’ mode. 

On the dash, changes in instrument illumination confirm a new drive mode selection, with ‘+R’ boasting an intense red illumination scheme. Drive mode selection is via a switch behind the gear lever.

On the suspension side it employs an all-new rear suspension with a multi-link design with Type R-specific upper, lower and trailing arms, designed to enhance high-speed stability while also benefiting ride comfort. Stability under braking has been improved significantly, while body roll has been reduced, too says Honda.

In summary

At R627 900, this model is around R12 000 more expensive than the previous generation. And even though it has polarising styling, with a wing that generates actual downforce it will turn heads wherever it's seen. 

Is it still a genuine Type R? You bet and it's great that automakers still have the balls to build cars like these. 

Jazz Sport

The new Jazz Sport now sits on top of the range benefiting from more power and some really cool styling features inspired by the Type R Honda says. 

Priced at R310 000, the same as the outgoing Dynamic derivative, the 1.5-litre engine produces a sprightly 97kW/155Nm, it's mated to a CVT 'gearbox'. Paddles are available when the time arises to drive it in manual mode. 

It certainly looks edgier, with a front splitter, 16" wheels in black and side skirts chunkier than Kim Kardashian's derriere. 

Performance figures are quoted at 9.8 seconds for the 0-100km/h dash. 

It's a well-made practical car with good build quality that now has niceties like a leather steering wheel. Good car, still a winner offering good value. 

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