Honda Civic Review: 2007 Model | Civic | Car Buyers Guide

2007 Honda Civic Type R Review

Yeah, it’s taken a while to have our first Irish drive of the Civic Type R, but not because we were sitting here scratching ourselves waiting until we were in the mood to go out and drive one. There simply weren’t any in the country. As we go to print, the car in the photos remains the only Civic Type R in the entire land and dealers are currently getting physical with one another to get themselves to the top of the queue to put the car in their showroom. Why has it taken so long to get here? Demand.

UK buyers are snapping them up at such a rate that it wasn’t even possible for us to go to the UK to drive one – all but a handful had been pulled from the press fleet to satisfy demand and what was left was booked up for months and months. Jeremy Clarkson only just got his mitts on one, for heaven’s sake, so don’t blame us! We tried. Now that I’m sitting in it, the sense of anticipation is such that I’m likely to wet myself as I turn the key and push the starter button. Exactly what is it about this car that’s created such a frenzy? Well, it certainly looks the part. I haven’t seen plastic wheel arch extensions in a long, long while but they work well on the Type R – they suit its techno-mental exterior styling perfectly and make the classy 18” alloys look positively massive, while the black mesh front and rear grille and slightly more pronounced skirting and rear spoiler do their bit to create a visually interesting and attractive overall package.


Inside, the Civic still looks as if one of the designers sneezed while chewing dashboard buttons and I’d like to tell you that with time it becomes less annoying, but it doesn’t. Instead of Honda putting the rev-counter in your eye line next to the distracting digital speedo, you merely get a couple of change-up lights that are so small I wasn’t even aware of them for most of my two days with the car. Meanwhile, the rev-counter sits in its traditional location and can’t be observed peripherally because the red needle is set against glowy red illumination and the trip computer obscures most of the needle anyway.

This is less of an issue in lesser Civics but in the high-revving Type-R it’s just plain irritating. I’m all for style, Honda, but not at the expensive of function. Ignoring the comically haphazard stereo/heater arrangement, there are other problems with the Type R’s cabin. Either the steering wheel doesn’t adjust far enough in terms of rake or the seats are mounted too high, but whatever the reason I never quite found a comfortable driving position.

The seats themselves are slightly too narrow, too, so you have to fold your excess fat in between the bolsters instead of the seats hugging you lovingly like a nice set of Recaros would. The pedal position is also less than ideal, with the brake pedal mounted too low for heel-totoe changes, particularly on the track where more brake force is required. And rear visibility is terrible, with the spoiler blocking out most of the traffic behind you while everything else looks like it’s being reflected through a fairground mirror.

All this can be forgiven, however, if the Type R turns out to be a stonking drive, but our allocated lap-and-a-half of the short circuit of Mondello didn’t give much of an indication of the driving experience, particularly when the instructor was of the impression he was God’s gift to driving and only wanted my lap to be over so he could show me how it was done. Yawn. It wasn’t until the following week that we were able to take the Type R on a proper jaunt and, as it transpires, it was a lot more fun on the road, anyway. On the track, you pretty much accelerate and brake everywhere flat out and in both respects the Type R isn’t especially strong.

Its 201hp doesn’t appear until 7,800 rpm while it’s rather mediocre 193Nm of torque only arrives at 5,600, so while a 0-100km/h time of 6.6 seconds and a top speed of 235km/h are undoubtedly possible, you would have to be absolutely merciless with the revs to achieve those kinds of numbers. Compared to the easy yet savage acceleration of its turbo-charged rivals, the Civic Type R is a lot of work to drive quickly and no less demanding when you’re not trying, too.

Overtaking manoeuvres that need only a twitch of the throttle in a Focus ST or Golf GTi take serious consideration and a couple of gear changes in the Civic and while the low-geared gearbox is slick and the clutch light, it’s still tiresome day-to-day. As for the brakes, while they didn’t feel especially strong on the track they felt less wooden and a lot more powerful on the road, probably because they were cooler and were operating more efficiently.

The track also failed to highlight the Civic’s other significant handling characteristics –its steering and its ride quality. The smooth track surface doesn’t properly convey just how much feedback the Civic’s steering really offers. Driven hard over bumpy, broken surfaces the steering is positively screaming at the driver, relating the location, position, shape, texture and colour of every single stone used to make up the road surface in a way no other hot hatch can manage these days. Without a front differential or a torque-steer-inducing turbo to corrupt the signals, your hands are treated to an orgy of tactile pleasure that you normally don’t achieve without a solid month of committed courting and a couple of bottles of wine. Shame, then, that the suspension is so unyielding that you’re never able to settle into a proper rhythm in the Type R. It crashes into every pothole, bounces over every bump and skips across tricky corners that most of its rivals would just shrug off. Some would argue that that’s entirely the point of the Type R, that it’s a race car for the road and feels rawer and more hard-edged than its softer, more luxurious competitors but on Irish roads I fear it’s just that little bit too hard, that smidge too stiff to exploit fully.

You need a really smooth, open road to really get the most from the Honda Civic Type R and while UK buyers have plenty at their disposal, we’re not so fortunate on our little island. So is the Honda Civic Type R worth the wait, particularly for those looking to put one on their driveway? Sure it is, provided you know what you’re letting yourself in for. The Civic Type R is the last bastion of old-school hot-hatchdom, where the chassis talks to you in a constant stream of chatter and the engine has to be worked like a donkey to make it go. It’s hard, it’s raw and it’s a lot of fun if you know a good road or two, but it is a bit trying day-to-day and the dashboard will never cease to bewilder. You might need to go on a diet to fit into the seats, too, but with the Type R retailing at €37,000 it won’t be as hard to cut out the order-in Chinese dinners as you might think.


Honda Civic Type R

Engine 2.0 litre 4-cylinder, 201hp, 193Nm torque

Transmission 6-speed manual

Acceleration 0-100km/h 6.6 seconds

Top speed 235km/h

Economy 9.1 L/100km

CO2 Emissions 215 g/km

Weight 1,268kg

Boot Capacity 485 litres

Base Price €36,980

Price As Tested €36,980

Compare specs to an alternative car!
€ 38,317 when New

Key Facts

New Price
€ 38,317


First Launched
Engine & Transmission
6 speed manual
Fuel type
Body Type

Running Costs

Tax Band
Average L/100km
Fuel Tank Capacity (L)
Fuel Tank Range (km)
CO2 emmissions (g/km)


Driven Wheels
Engine (L)
Break Horsepower
Top Speed
Acceleration (0-100 km/h)
Fuel Tank Capacity (L)
Engine Position
Front, transversely
Number of Valves

Space & Practicality

Boot capacity (L)
Kerb weight
Tyre Size Front
Wheel Base


Euro NCAP Star Rating


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