Honda Civic Type-S A Sporty And Sophisticated Civic 5 Door Flagship - Big on The inside, Small Outside | Part Two

Big on the inside, small outside

As the latest member of the family, the Type-S has many features in common with the rest of the Civic range. The current 5 door is slightly shorter, slightly wider and significantly taller than its predecessor. Yet despite the reduction in overall length, it offers substantially more spacious interior accommodation, reflecting the model’s bold, designed from the inside-out concept.

An extended wheelbase that in effect ‘pushes’ the wheels further out towards the body extremities for shorter front and rear overhangs is just part of the story. Also playing their role are the new compact toe control link MacPherson strut front suspension, a high-mounted steering rack and compact engine bay which achieves a ‘short nose’ design, to free up more space for occupants and luggage.

At the rear a more compact reactive link double wishbone suspension combined with clever underfloor packaging - including a resin fuel tank moulded to fill the space available - has achieved a flat cabin floor without any central tunnel.

The result is a range of interior dimensions that surpass competitor models – and even compares favourably with many cars from the upper medium (D-sector) category.

The Civic is more versatile than most in the Compact sector. A wide opening tailgate gives access to a generous load capacity of 370 litres (VDA) which can be increased to 732 litres (VDA) via the 60:40 split double folding rear seat.

Class Leading Safety

A primary design objective was the accomplishment of class-leading crash safety. The Civic has already proved itself with a Euro-NCAP 4-star rating in the frontal and side impact tests, additionally it has earned the highest scoring three star rating in the pedestrian safety test. This combination score makes the Civic the top performer in the C-segment for overall safety.

Top Quality

One of the most tangible indications of the new Civic’s enhanced quality are the extremely close tolerances accomplished with the body panels, achieved in large part through new and advanced manufacturing techniques. In most cases the gaps have been halved, in some cases reduced almost to zero, greatly improving the fit and finish appearance. Attention to detail is apparent everywhere, including the interior where flush surfaces and reduced gaps for superior fit and finish, plus a higher grade of materials impart an air of high quality.

Local Manufacture

The current Honda Civic, which succeeds six previous generations with cumulative sales totalling 13.5 million, is manufactured in two, three, four and five door variants, in a dozen plants round the globe. Honda’s Swindon manufacturing plant builds all of the three and five-door hatchback versions for Europe, including the Type-R and now Type-S. The plant also supplies three door models to Japan and North America.

The Type-S Sub Brand

Enthusiasts will be familiar with Honda’s "Racing" inspired Type-R models. Whether it be Integra, Accord or Civic variant, all three offer the kind of extreme driving experience rarely found in road cars. But it’s fair to say that their uncompromising nature does not suit everyone….

So now there’s a Type-S evolution, where the S denotes a "Sporting" slant. A key feature of all Honda Type models, whether it be R, S or V types, is that they represent an engineering led approach. Each variant has its own distinct personality which could not be achieved with mere equipment addition or changes to the trim or upholstery.

While Type-S is new to Britain, the sub brand is well established in Honda’s global culture. Other incarnations have included the Prelude, which featured the company’s ATTS active torque transfer system, the S2000 on which Honda’s variable gear ratio steering debuted and most recently the Acura RSX, the US version of Honda’s new Integra. In each case, the Type-S version offered something over and above regular production models to mark it out as the elite model.

Published 15 November 2002 Melanie Carter

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