The Civic Type-R is the ultimate "Racing" inspired hot hatchback – and long may it continue. But early next year there will be a new sports hatch from Honda, the Civic Type-S.
It is aimed at those wanting hard driving thrills, but in a more sophisticated and comfortable 5 door body style. The new flagship will be fast and fun, but also smooth and refined – high performance engineering allied to practicality and comfort. It will be a car that capitalises on all of the best features of the current Civic 5 door, but adding further vitality and flair to create one of the most appealing sports compacts on the UK market.
Visually, the new Swindon star is set apart by custom designed 15 in alloy wheels, Type-R-look mesh grille and headlights, rear hatch spoiler and discrete side rubbing strips. Front fog lights, mudflaps and "Type-S" tailgate logo complete the performance picture.
The Type-S Civic will be specific to the UK market, with unique mechanical specification rather than simply being a "badged" version of an existing Civic. It will be the first Civic 5 door to feature the 2.0 litre 160 PS i-VTEC engine, similar to that powering the CR-V but tuned specifically for the Type-S, and exclusively partnered by a 5-speed manual gearbox.
So equipped, the Type-S combines a 130 mph top speed with 0-62 mph acceleration in 8.5 seconds, placing it well into hot hatch territory. It is delivered in a smooth relaxed manner, with much emphasis placed on mid-range torque to ensure brisk and effortless acceleration in top gear. Excellent efficiency is demonstrated by an EU Combined fuel consumption figure of 37.7 mpg, with CO2 emissions of 178 g/km.
Naturally the Type-S benefits from the enhancements introduced to Civic during the 2002 model year. Latest models feature a matt silver dash centre panel which lends the interior a more fashionable and lighter air. Additionally there is now a smaller diameter, thicker rim steering wheel, silver door handles and black fascia.
Inside, the Type-S features climate control air conditioning, black part leather trim which extends to the steering wheel rim, gear lever knob and gaiter, plus white sports dials and chrome highlights on vents, gearshift surround and handbrake button. Added versatility is provided by the new centre console that makes the most of the dashboard mounted gearlever to offer a very large lidded storage compartment.
The relaxing, spacious cabin offers exceptional refinement. The extensive use of noise suppression materials, careful coordination of colours and textures, large front seats and accommodation increased in all dimensions, combine with a more supple ride to make travel in the Civic a particularly relaxing experience.
As with all Civics, both ride and handling benefit from gas-filled dampers fitted front and rear, with the Type-S gaining a thicker rear anti-roll bar to reduce roll even further as befits the Type brand. Additionally, the ride benefits from "taller" profile (195/65R15) tyres compared with other Civics, while the combination of these tyres and a high final drive raises the car’s gearing to a relatively long-legged 21.8 mph 1,000 rpm in fifth gear. So at 70 mph, the engine barely exceeds 3,200 rpm (at which point 90% of the torque is still available for overtaking).
The Type-S will be available in all standard Civic 5 door colours. These include Vivid Blue Pearlescent, Aqua Green Metallic, Magnetic Blue Metallic and Volcano Red Pearlescent – all introduced during mid 2002.
Sales of the Type-S begin on 1 January 2003 – and the new model will be priced at £14,995.
The Honda stand at the NEC can be located in Hall 5, stand No 5450.Published 11 October 2002