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The perfect hot hatch

1 year ago

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Dan Prosser | Ti co-founder


13 January 2023

A pair of platform shoes would have done it. Or slightly longer fingernails. The last Honda Civic Type R came achingly close to being the perfect hot hatch, but in the end it couldn’t quite reach such lofty heights. And I may never forgive Honda for it.

The FK8 variant wasn’t held back from that rarified place by incompetence, nor by poor execution or sloppy work. What stood between it and perfection were two decisions that were taken at some point in time over in Tokyo; conscious, knowing judgements I so wish had gone the other way. Because Honda decided the 2017 Civic Type R should look like it was sketched in the back of an exercise book during double maths, and it decided not to furnish it with a customisable driving mode. In every other regard, I reckon that car was flawless.

I know there’ll be people out there who like the way it looks, but they must be in the minority. I would have owned one by now were it not for the garish, frightful styling. It’s a pity because they are so brilliant to drive, boasting the best four-cylinder turbo engine and manual gearbox in the business, a just-so driving position, exquisite steering, wonderful handling and – the bit I really wasn’t expecting – the best ride comfort of any car of its type.

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