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March 19, 2018

Review: 2018 Honda Civic Type R

This isn’t the most powerful car I’ve ever driven and it’s not the most expensive either. Yet, when I received word that the Honda Civic Type R would be available for a five-day test drive, it came with a set of instructions as detailed and as specific as a dad sending off her daughter to the prom. But like any juvenile-minded motoring hack, I didn’t pay attention. All I remember was staring at this hot, sought-after girl in a Championship White dress at my doorstep. What did I do? Ride her all night long.

Okay, I promise to end the sexual innuendos there. Moving on, since a lot of things have been said about how the Civic Type R drove magically on the race track, this review’s going to have none of that. What I’m more concerned about is: how does it feel to live with the first Honda locally to wear a red badge?

Perfectly fine, to be honest.

See, the first impression anyone would have, including myself, is how the Civic Type R would probably fly given all those wings, protrusions, and what not. Even if I didn’t find myself starting at the huge rear wing, my eyes couldn’t avoid looking at the vortex generators (those 6 stegosaurus-like roof fins), or the extended fenders, or the protruding carbon fiber aero kit. However, it takes just a few meters to realize that it drives like a Civic, like a regular motherf*cking Civic. Sure, it’s a bit stiffer but given this thing is riding on 30-series, 20-inch tires? Man, this Honda voodoo magic suspension is something else; even my SUV rides like a popsicle in comparison.

In its default “Sport” mode, there’s already a generous amount of suspension travel (for a hot hatch) that it manages to calm even the worst of EDSA’s tantrums. Of course, because of the ultra-low-profile tires, sharper ruts do make their presence felt (and honestly, I did have to literally crawl through some out of fear of damaging the wheels or tires), but it’s quelled even before it reaches the driver’s seat. Oh, and if the girlfriend, wife, or mother-in-law throws a bigger tantrum because of the ride, there’s even a “Comfort” mode that makes things even more pliant. How pliant? Think Civic RS. I kid you not.

While the ride comfort is surprisingly good, there’s one caveat about driving the Civic Type R on regular roads: the ground clearance. Driving Serial No. 00000, this particular unit cannot be sold and is destined to be kept by Honda Cars Philippines as a display piece for their motor show or probably museum. This is where their exacting care instructions come in. A day before being handed over the keys, the car’s handler, Honda’s company driver, aptly named Mr. Bato, had to make sure that this car won’t encounter any sharply-angled parking ramps. He had to enforce the full letter of the test drive agreement and I signed off that any damage to the carbon fiber aero kit will be met with EJK (Nagasgas ang Type R, wag tularan). What’s the ground clearance you ask? Actually, it’s at a respectable 120 millimeters (almost the same as the Subaru WRX STI), but since Honda measures this as the lowest point of any METAL part, this doesn’t include the protruding body kit. Putting a tape measure against the front chin reveals the unmistakable truth: 113 millimeters. In short, take caution when encountering ramps or BGC’s notorious speed bumps.

The cabin is yet another surprisingly livable aspect of the Civic Type R. It’s equal dose of racing car and practical hatchback. The racing part is supplied by those bloody magnificent bolsters with cushion bolsters so thick they can double as armrests (they can also give you a wedgy if you don’t get in the right way too). The rounded alloy gear knob is also a great touch as is the smaller diameter, three-spoke steering wheel. Strip the Type R badges away and what you end up is the same basic Civic dashboard. And with that, it gets top marks on ergonomics and usability. The gauges, switches, stalks—they all look nice and operate even nicer. Space is good in all fronts, though it must be said that the front buckets don’t do favors to the rear legroom—they’re habitable but definitely smaller than the regular Civic’s. The interior is also more or less solidly put together too, with just minor rattles that come out on heavier bumps. If I were to nitpick, I’d say the touchscreen infotainment system desperately needs an upgrade (no physical controls and its laggy) and visibility is a mixed bag: it’s all good at the front, but it could be better towards the back (thankfully, a back-up camera is there for tackling tight parking maneuvers).

Despite its Taylor Swift man-eater reputation, this car is no harder to live with than say, the girl next door, maybe like Emma Watson. She’s the strong and independent type, but man, she can weave magic faster than you can say “Expecto Patronum.” Like how this spell protects against Dementors by summoning happy memories, I couldn’t help but weep for joy at just how good this car is. Show it a great piece of road and it transforms from a great everyday hot hatch into a full-fledged hardcore track star.

Despite looking every bit as the next Fast and the Furious car, throw any of that roleplay into the trash: you don’t have to shift gears every second. The generous torque of the turbocharged 2.0-liter engine means less shifting and less revving. Even on Baguio’s twisty Kennon Road, I didn’t find the need to row through the gearbox as much. Just floor the accelerator and it’s enough to rocket the car past slower traffic. Rev matching also comes in to make you feel like a character from Initial D with a turbo whoosh at every downshift serving as your soundtrack. Okay, it’s not actually perfect. The gearbox action, I find, is short, but for some reason, sixth gear is hard to nail right.

In mountain roads such as these, the Civic Type R produces tremendous amounts of grip. Point the steering wheel and the entire car obeys without any drama. For sure, there’s all sorts of computer trickery at work to keep me pointed in the right direction, but I’ve always felt like being the one in control, and that’s the way it should be for a driver’s car. Through bumpy surfaces and changing road cambers, it feels planted and solid with no unwanted bounce. Torque steer is almost eliminated, but yes, it can still be provoked if you try hard enough. And because I’m reminded of how low the ground clearance is (I don’t want to be an EJK victim), I had to rely on the massive Brembo brakes to scrub speed before hitting anything that remotely resembles a bump.

When not being driven like a maniac, the VTEC Turbo produces great pulling power. There’s no perceptible lag, but because 100 km/h is achieved at 2,300 rpm on sixth gear, the droning exhaust note gets tiring after 3 hours on the speed-limited expressways. Still, it’s remarkably quiet except for the roar from the tires. It cannot go to Baguio and back in a single tank of gas, but it’s still pretty good at conserving fuel: achieving a high of 15.2 km/L at an average speed of 78 km/h to a low of 6.7 km/L at 15 km/h.

Having to return the keys back to Mr. Bato is probably one of the hardest things I had to do in my life. The five days and more than 600 kilometers with her was just so much fun, so exhilarating that it’s like a drug on four wheels. Who cares if it costs close to three million pesos. Who cares if it’s “wrong wheel drive.” Who cares if it’s for f*ccbois. In the end, the Honda Civic Type R earns my respect as the car to beat when you need a 50/50 road and track car. I’ve been bitten by the Type R spell and quite frankly, I like it.

2018 Honda Civic Type R
Ownership 2018 Honda Civic Type R
Year Introduced 2017
Vehicle Classification Sports Sedan/Hatchback
The Basics
Body Type 5-door Hatchback
Seating 5
Engine / Drive F/F
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 2.0
Aspiration Turbocharged
Fuel Delivery Direct Injection
Layout / # of Cylinders I4
BHP @ rpm 306 @ 6,500
Nm @ rpm 400 @ 2,500-4,500
Fuel / Min. Octane Gasoline / 95~
Transmission 6 MT with Rev Matching
Cruise Control Yes
Fuel Economy @ Ave. Speed 6.7 km/L @ 15 km/h,
15.2 km/L @ 78 km/h
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,557
Width (mm) 1,877
Height (mm) 1,435
Wheelbase (mm) 2,700
Curb Weight (kg) 1,414
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, Dual-Axis Strut, Adaptive Damper
Rear Suspension Independent, Multi-Link, Adaptive Damper
Front Brakes Vented and Cross-Drilled Disc, Brembo
Rear Brakes Disc
Tires Continental SportContact 6 245/30 R 20 Y XL (f & r)
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 6
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes, with EBD
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors No, with Rear Camera
Other Safety Features Hill Start Assist
Exterior Features
Headlights LED
Fog Lamps Yes, Front
Auto Lights Yes
Rain-sensing Wipers Yes
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjust Tilt/Telescopic
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment Manual
Seating Surface Suede/Fabric
Folding Rear Seat Yes, 60/40
On-Board Computer Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes, with Fold
Climate Control Auto, Dual
Audio System Stereo
# of Speakers 6
Steering Controls Yes


  1. Coming straight from the horses mouth: "who cares if it's close to three million pesos. Who cares if it's wrong wheel drive. Who cares if it is for f*ccbois". Hoping someday to be able to hop in inside, as they're usually the lead cars of the Civic group during fun run's and GT's.

    Currently the best choice for a TRACK CAR at that specific price point maybe until Subaru release the all new WRX STi and WRX. I was surprised to know that even the FA20DIT engine of the WRX suffers from Ringland Failure.

  2. Wala itong binatbat sa Mazda3 with G vectoring control. In a straight line Civic will barely win but on curving roads Mazda3 will cream the ass out of these f*ccbois

    1. Wala daw binatbat sa Mazda3. Proof, Sir?

      Honda's Civic Type R hot hatch has snatched back the fastest front-wheel drive crown at the infamous Nurburgring Nordschleife after clocking a lap time of 7:43.80 – 5.41 seconds faster than the previous Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport S title holder.

      The lap record makes the new Civic Type R faster than the BMW M4 (7:52), Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano (7:47), Pagani Zonda S (7:44) and almost as quick as the Porsche Cayman GT4 (7:42).

    2. May record ba yang “Mazda3 with G vectoring control” sa green hell? Can you provide us with lap times, please.

    3. An obvious honda troll posing as a mazda fanboi

    4. If anyone haven't noticed, he's being sarcastic.

  3. Is it really worth the price? If I'm after the most fun car possible at less than 3m, should I go for the next batch of the Type R or an MX-5 RF? I'm not after practicality btw.

  4. An honest question: What makes this car worth 2.8m pesos?

    1. Test drive one and let us know what you think.

    2. The Honda Civic Type R is manufactured in the United Kingdom by Honda UK. Obviously more expensive than other Honda Civic cars that are imported from Thailand.

      Then of course you pay for the other Type R goods like Brembo brakes and others items aforementioned

  5. Wala daw binatbat sa Mazda3. Proof, Sir?

    Honda's Civic Type R hot hatch has snatched back the fastest front-wheel drive crown at the infamous Nurburgring Nordschleife after clocking a lap time of 7:43.80 – 5.41 seconds faster than the previous Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport S title holder.

    The lap record makes the new Civic Type R faster than the BMW M4 (7:52), Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano (7:47), Pagani Zonda S (7:44) and almost as quick as the Porsche Cayman GT4 (7:42).

  6. 2.8m!? Bili na lng ako ng civic 1.8 and ricey type r kits aftermarket ayos na!

    1. ni wala ka ngang pambili ng bisikleta LOL

    2. 60k lang Type R kit dito. Walang naging mayaman na waldasin ang pera na hindi naman mo madrive ganyan kabilis dito

    3. What the fck bro haha ako kahit papano ill pick the mustang and get away with an icon. Haha

    4. The city is crawling with these already andami nang civic with type r bodykit better to buy a car with a prestigious badge like mustang or bmw if you're shelling out 3M

    5. It all depends. Form vs function.

      For sure there are body kits out there that will try to mimic the Type R...but is that any reason to get another car? I guess if you want something that looks nice or different perhaps.

      But as an enthusiast, we should go beyond mere looks and see cars for what they can do. A BMW will be a good executive sedan but it can’t be a track machine. The Mustang can be a good cruiser but it’s not good at cornering.

    6. There are only two competent racing tracks in the Philippines. Our highways are clogged and full of slow moving cars who hog the fast outer lane and deadly dilapidated trucks. You will not be able to appreciate fast cars here as any 1.8-2.0L cars are more than adequate for our road conditions.

    7. 👆 true. But it’s a free market. That’s why some like driving high powered cars while others go small. There’s no right or wrong car...only the right car for you.

    8. I feel you Sir Uly. Non-car guys can never really appreciate this kind of car, they'll just compare cars based on its SRP and not by its purpose.

      Yes you can buy a BMW or a Mustang for 3M but the question is, can it hold its own on the track? Definitely not.

    9. If I live in a country where there are a lot great tracks and autobahn woth no speed limit this would be great but we have two barely passable tracks in this country and the highways you can't speed past 100 due to traffic and moronic drivers so what's the point? A base Bmw is more than adequate and has more prestige

    10. You may have a little bit of a point but not everyone lives in Metro Manila. There are lots of roads to experience that in the provinces. And if your statement is true, then why sportscar/supercar owners regularly converge to enjoy their cars?

      And if that's your mentality, it only means one thing. You don't belong to the intended market.

    11. @ anon March 20, 2018 at 6:24 AM, I can easily reach 160km/h even with a honda city on the highway. Saang parte ka ba ng bansa?

    12. I drove 150 kmh on my civic maybe a handful of times lang. Mostly bakasyon sa probinsya pero mga twice a year lang yun. Most of the time nasa city lang o labas. Wala naman ako pupuntahan sa probinsya

    13. "A base Bmw is more than adequate and has more prestige"

      Well, it depends whom you are talking to. Siguro to a person who hasn't ridden in one, parang, wow sir B-M-W.

      But to someone a bit experienced in cars or an even a semi car enthusiast, for the same budget as a base BMW, he'd probably go with a better Japanese car or SUV for daily driving.

      I think a base Euro model especially if bought brand new is one of the worst car deals.

      But of course to each his own.

    14. I drove a friend's Porsche in the Autobahn and it does feel necessary to drive high powered cars on a free flowing highway with generally no speed limit everyday. However, if you drive a track car like that here it feels like an overkill and underused. The same applies with the Type R. Most of the time you barely make 60kmh out on the highway due to narrow roads and slow moving vehicles. It gets worse when you drive it in the City. But it does look ricey.

    15. Sa Pilipinas ba talaga kayo nakatira? I can easily reach 80-120km/h within city limits and on the highway most of the time nasa 120km/h to 170km/h ako. San ba kayo at sobrang sikip ng daan niyo?

    16. Manila lang ako pare na halos 1-1/2 hours ako sa traffic everyday. Saang bansa ka ba nakatira na makadrive ka 120kmh sa city limits?

    17. Hanep naman tong iba 120 kmh city driving! Mabagal siguro na driver si Sir Uly kasi 14-28 kmh lang puro yung mga test drive nya sa city!

    18. Kaya naman pala. Manila ka pala. Dito sa mindanao kaya naming umabot 80-120kph sa city kapag hindi rush hour. Seryoso yan. Pumunta ka dito nang malaman mo.

    19. Sarap magpatakbo ng sasakyan dito. Di ka mabibitin. Pero nandyan pa din naman ang mga bobong motorsiklo, jeep, at truck.

    20. Di pa ako naka punta ng Mindanao. Sarap siguro mag drive dyan 120 kph maski city. sementado na pala dyan?

    21. Wow. Hindi pa sementado dito. Maputik ang daan at sa mga kubo lang kami lahat nakatira.

  7. Don't bother. Mazda 3 fanboys will say their car is more luxurious, more fun to drive and feature packed than any other car, including this. Sa mata nila mazda lang pinaka maganda, wala ng iba.

    1. Totally agree those mazda fanboys are dumbest around here. Haha mazda monolook disgusting

    2. The base civic starts at 1m, while this one starts at 2.8m. So are the upgrades really that expensive? You'll only pay extra to the importation tax. And why compare a 2.8m car to a 1.4m car? The mazda 3 is the best in class in terms of driving and in giving you a luxurious feel in the non luxury compact segment, that's a fact, not an opinion. Disgusting monolook? Have you seen the new mobilio? Lol. It has the same grill has your civic type r. Ayala is milking your money because you let them. Who's the real dummy here now?

  8. While I usually enjoy reading Mr. Ang's reviews, I have to say this has got to be his corniest review ever.

    1. Well sorry. I guess I could improve on my comedic timing.

  9. Sir Uly, do you think the Philippines would be a good market for Hot Hatches? I'd like to see Ford bring their Focus ST/RS here in PH to match the CTR and WRX STI.

    1. It should make business sense for the carmaker to do so.

      It’s easy to bring one car in, but for carmakers they have to make sure that they’ll be able to sustain numbers. For instance, they negotiate a price with their mother companies and the price is dictated by the volume they project. And we’re not even getting to the subject of dealer training, etc.

      It’s very sad to see Ford being overly conservative with their business here. I think the RS could have sold well in limited numbers similar to the Civic Type R. Sad to say they’re just concerned about Ecosport, Everest, and Ranger. They have all a lot of other products in their line up but they’re invisible even to themselves.

      Oh and even if Ford does decide to bring in the RS here, it’s alreany been discontinued.

    2. I could say the same thing with Nissan. I think there’s still a market for the 370Z here. Price it cheap and I think it’ll still sell in reasonable numbers.

    3. Agree, even if it's an old platform, if priced sensibly like say 2.5-3M, I'm sure it will sell as there aren't many performance choices in that price range.

      Looking at Nissan's GTR, at 7.45M last year, it was already a very good deal and a good number bought one. But with its reduced price of only 6.675M, it is even a great deal as nothing comes close to that price range in terms of performance.

  10. Type R will eat up mazda 3 alive

    1. Of course, it's double the price for starters.

  11. Sus nagkalat na mga civic na naka type r body kits. Baduy na tingnan

  12. I'm pretty sure most of the people who bash the CTR with all kinds of reasoning probably can't afford it, or at the very least won't shell that much money for it.

    Pero sa totoo lang, when cruising in a highway tapos tinabihan ka ng CTR, you'd probably drool over and look it with envy, lol.

    People who bought the CTR don't care about other people's opinion, they're more concern about the satisfaction of owning a very limited number of CTR in the country. A BMW and Mustang might have the prestige, but you would see them very often in the streets. But the real deal CTR? we'll it would hard to see them in numbers, and when you see one, you'd probably want to ride one too.

  13. I wonder, with all the implied race-y ness of this car - will your warranty be intact if you do take it to the track?

    Strange if they continue to stick the "racing, rallying or pacemaking" in the reasons for voiding warranty in such a performance vehicle.

  14. Along with free car repair manuals Honda many other maintenance related facilities are available in this online web page


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