£47k For A Honda Civic Type R? That Doesn’t Seem Like Such A Bad Deal
The new ‘FL5’ Civic Type R might sound expensive on the face of it, but it justifies its punchy price tag and then some
A fair few eyebrows were raised when pricing was announced for the new ‘FL5’ Honda Civic Type R. £46,995 seems uncomfortably close to £50,000, and like a pretty obscene figure considering it wasn’t long ago Honda was selling the previous-generation ‘FK8’ Type R for more like £35k.
For your extra £13,000, you’re getting… an extra 9bhp. Under its vented bonnet, the new Type R features an updated version of the old car’s 2.0-litre inline-four, which once again powers the front wheels exclusively via a mechanical limited-slip differential. A look at the car’s general setup doesn’t betray any significant departures between FK8 and FL5.
I can confirm, though, that the new Civic Type R is worth every penny. And that’s if we leave aside for a moment the face it’s sold out for 2024, and the general, inflated state of new-car prices right now. Just based on what the thing is like to drive, the Type R justifies its near-£50k price tag. It’s that good.
As a kick-off, sliding behind the wheel presents you not with a ‘plastic fantastic’ dashboard with a messy design as was the case before. The neat layout of the 10th-generation Civic is beautifully minimalistic, but not in an ‘oh btw we stuck all the climate controls in the screen’ way. You still get knobs and switches for everything, and they’re wonderfully engineered and in the right place. Type R-specific branding and splashes of red - including in this test car red carpet, which might prove a step too far for some - add a sense of sportiness to proceedings.
The inclusion of an extra driving mode in the FK8 was a step in the right direction, but the FL5 takes things further with a fully customisable setup. And so, finally, you can match the softest suspension setting with the rowdiest engine mode, which makes the Type R the ideal tool for attacking a twisty bit of road.
Even set thusly, it’s a full-on thing to drive, with the boisterous delivery of the four-cylinder engine and the still-stiff comfort suspension resulting in the Civic occasionally lighting up one of the front wheels over undulations in the road surface. There’s an even greater level of focus and engagement here than in the last one - it feels more akin to the Limited Edition (whose £39,995 price tag doesn’t seem quite so lofty, now).
Chuck it into a corner at what seems like a decent speed, and the Type R will shrug it off with incredible lateral grip mid-corner, and an absurd amount of traction on the way out. The engine - which features a new turbocharger - is a muscular sort of thing, and it even lets out a pretty good din. That is, if you turn off the fake noise mode Honda has added, which just sounds odd.
The best part is when it comes to shifting cogs. Somehow, the shift from the six-speed manual gearbox is even better than the old car’s, itself one of the best gear changes of any modern car. It feels like you barely need to tickle the lever before it slots into place.
Once you’re done fooling around, you can pull up, get out, and look back without wincing. The FK8 Type R is a visual feast, using the already divisive starting point of the ninth-gen Civic and its over-abundance of lines and creases then dumping all kinds of bonkers aerodynamic addenda on top. This time, the Type R is based on a much more restrained donor car, and the sporty additions aren’t quite so rowdy this time. And yet, the FL5 still manages to look far more serious than every other hot hatch out there.
Speaking of the competition, few of them are particularly cheap these days, either. A VW Golf GTI Clubsport, for example, is now £40,655, and the Type R defecates all over it from a dynamic perspective, making the latter’s premium seem like an absolutely fair price to pay.
I don’t think we can quite call it a bargain, but in the current landscape, it isn’t far off. If you can, buy one. Keep it. And drive the hell out of it.