Honda Civic Type-S A Sporty And Sophisticated Civic 5 Door Flagship

Honda Civic Type-S


  • Powered by 2.0 litre 160PS i-VTEC engine
  • 5-speed manual only transmission
  • 130 mph top speed, 0-62mph in 8.5 sec
  • Unique design alloy wheels, mesh grille and rear hatch spoiler bolster appearance
  • Comfort features include climate control and a part-leather interior
  • Exclusive to the UK - built at Honda’s HUM Swindon plant
  • On sale Jan 2003
  • Price £14,995

Enter the Civic Type-S, the new sporting flagship of the Civic 5 door range. It’s fast, it’s fun, but it’s also smooth and refined - high performance engineering allied to practicality and comfort. It’s a car that capitalises on all of the best features of the current Civic 5 door, but adds vitality and flair to create one of the most appealing sports family holdalls on the UK market.

The Type-S Civic will be specific to the UK market. It is the first Civic 5dr to feature the 2.0 litre 160 PS i-VTEC engine, similar to that powering the Stream and CR-V. It’s exclusively partnered by a 5-speed manual gearbox.

So the Type-S is not a "badged" version of an existing Civic, it is a different model with unique mechanical specification. Visually, it 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. Other distinguishing features include front fog lights, mudflaps and "Type-S" tailgate logo.

Fast and frugal

Performance is one of the model’s strong suits with the Type-S combining a 130 mph top speed with 0-62 mph acceleration in 8.5 seconds. 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.

The 2.0 litre DOHC aluminium alloy unit is the first in Honda’s new series of engines badged i-VTEC (i=intelligent). All offer major advances in fuel economy, emissions, noise levels and weight, while at the same time boosting power and torque in all speed ranges.

The new system cleverly combines the company’s long-established and highly renowned VTEC system with VTC - Variable Timing Control - a system able to advance and retard inlet valve opening by altering the inlet camshaft position. A particularly flat torque curve is testimony to its effectiveness; peak torque is 179 Nm at 5,000 rpm, but 90% of the torque is available at 3,200 rpm which equates to 70 mph in top gear.

Accent on Comfort

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.

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.

The relaxing, spacious cabin offers exceptional refinement. The extensive use of noise suppression materials, tasteful 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 offset the model’s slight extra weight. Additionally, the ride benefits from "taller" profile (195/65R15) tyres compared with lesser Civics, while the combination of these tyres and different transmission ratios raises the car’s gearing to a relatively long-legged 21.8 mph 1,000 rpm in fifth gear.

A novel feature of all 3 and 5 door Civics is a fascia-mounted gear lever, the position of which has been optimised to ensure that it feels perfectly natural. This close proximity to the steering wheel makes gear shifting more convenient and safe as well as giving a sporty feel.

The Type-S is available in all standard Civic 5 door colours. This includes Vivid Blue, Aqua Green, Magnetic Blue and Volcano Red - all introduced during mid 2002.

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Published 15 November 2002 Melanie Carter

The information contained this Honda news article may have changed since publication on the 15 November 2002. Our car specifications, reviews, and prices may only apply to the UK market. You may wish to check with the manufacturer or your local Honda dealer, before making a purchasing decision. E.&.O.E. You may NOT reproduce our car news in full or part, in any format without our written permission. © 2019