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Clarkson hates new Civic Type R!

watto

Unloved and lacking a title
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Location
Melbourne, Australia
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2013 Holden Cruze SRi Series 2
From The Sunday Times

May 27, 2007
Honda Civic Type R
Yes, it?s a radical new concept ... the boneshaker

You might fondly imagine that the drive outside my house is full to overflowing with all the latest cars, their tanks brimmed with fuel and the insurance paid. And you?d be right.

This week it looks like the long-term car park at Heathrow out there. Under the pergola is an Audi R8 that I?d very much like to drive, but I can?t get it round my Lambo without driving over the herb garden. And I can?t move the Lambo because it?s blocked in by my Mercedes, which hasn?t been used for two months and now won?t start.

Round the back there?s a Golf GTI which arrived for no reason that I can fathom, a Vauxhall Corsa, a spare Volvo XC90, an Aston Martin Vantage ? in white, so that won?t be going anywhere ? and a perfectly hideous Mitsubishi people carrier of some kind.

But then the last Mitsubishi people carrier that came here turned out to be rather good so I?d like to take this new one for a spin, but I can?t because it?s blocked in by a Ford Ka that doesn?t seem to belong to anyone.

In fact the only car I?ve been able to use these past few days has been the new Honda Civic Type R, and if you?re a young man you?re probably salivating with envy at this point.

The old Civic Type R was the car of choice for those who listen to their stereos with the bass on 10 and the treble turned off altogether, people whose idea of facial hair is a faint earwig on their top lip.

Older people were surprised by its sudden popularity, but not me, simply because it is impossible to be surprised by anything the earwig faces do these days, from wearing their trousers in the manner of a Los Angeles inmate, to the Bacardi bruisers they buy for their girlfriends. Who say ?like? after every other word.

My daughter, who?s a bona fide young person, has taken to wearing her school summer dress as though it?s some kind of bushel, with the waistline around her chest and a belt around her bottom. And anyone who chooses to do this is plainly going to make an unusual choice when it comes to saying which car?s cool and which car?s not.

The old Civic Type R won favour not because it was the best hot hatchback but precisely because everyone?s parents ? me ? were still harping on about the brilliance of the Golf GTI and how sad it was that Peugeot had gone off the boil.

But once the youth moved into Honda-land they found that, actually, the Civic had a number of things going for it. It was relatively cheap to insure ? and thanks to a big Honda scene in Japan there were many performance and styling parts available over the internet.

There was something else, too. It was actually very good fun to drive. It wasn?t the fastest car in the world but for the money there was very little else that could put such a huge smile on your face. The way its little engine revved, and revved willingly, to 8,250 was always a rare treat.

Even today there are global websites for owners of this pocket rocket. Every night young men are rushing back from the call centres where they work to offer and discover tasty titbits about their beloved Hondas. ?Kind of like, you know like? say the forums. Over and over again.

So that?s why your kids are going to be interested this morning in what the new Civic Type R is like. You should maybe read this out to them. They may even grunt, or if you?re really lucky, shrug.

Here goes then, and first of all it looks fantastic. When Honda first showed off the basic Civic a couple of years ago we were all stunned by the detailing. The triangular exhaust pipes, the door handles that appeared to have come from a 1950s fridge and of course the Space: 1999 dashboard.

But then they put their new car on the road and oh dear. To save ?1.50 they?d all been fitted with the wheels from a baby buggy. So you had this huge, super high-tech body with its art deco detailing sitting on the foundations of a Silver Cross pram. And there?s nothing that says ?Hey, I?m not a serious player? in the car world more than a set of inappropriately small wheels. See the old Vauxhall Nova for details.

The Type R gets round this because its wheels fill the arches properly. That simple thing, all on its own, transforms the Civic into a properly exciting-looking car. The sort of thing you?d buy for your son, and then keep.

Don?t, though. Because almost everything else about it is rubbish.

First of all there?s the driver?s seat, which is adjusted with a ratchet rather than a wheel. This means you can?t fine-tune the angle of the backrest. You either sit bolt upright, like you?re at the kitchen table, or you lounge, like Sylvia Kristel in those early Emmanuelle films.

Next there?s the rear spoiler. From the outside it looks great, arching across the rear window like that, but from the inside it means you cannot see the car behind. You may as well use the rear-view mirror as a handy place to stick Postit notes for all the good it does.

And now we move into the realms of what you get for the money. I?ll save you the bother of looking it up. It?s diddly squat. Not even sat nav, which is a nuisance when you?re on that big roundabout in Rugby and all the signposts are pointing to places you?ve never heard of. Leamington or Southam? How about neither.

Engine? Well what they?ve done is taken the 198bhp unit from the old Civic and popped it, pretty much unchanged, into the new one. That, of course, would be fine if the new one weighed the same as the old one, but it doesn?t. It weighs a whole lot more.

This then is like saying, ?Hmmm. We need a new engine to power the Queen Mary. I know.

Let?s get one out of that jet ski over there.?

Yes, it is still a fine engine. I really do love the revviness of all those VTEC units. But the new Civic is bound to be slightly slower and slightly less economical than the old one. And where?s the progress in that Honda, with your Earth Car and your Power of Dreams ad campaign? The fact of the matter is that Ford, Renault, Vauxhall and Volkswagen can all sell you a hatchback with much more get up and go.

Cunningly, Honda has tried to mask this lack of oomph by fitting the new Type R with a suspension system that, plainly, is made out of bricks. Even my wife, who likes hard-riding cars and thinks the Subaru Impreza is ?a bit soft?, was alarmed by the way the Honda leapt and crashed down the road.

Me? I think it?s a disgrace. I don?t care what it?s like on a track, or when it?s doing handbrake turns in a supermarket car park: on a normal road, on a normal day, the ride quality is completely unacceptable. Anyone whose body is held together with a skeleton is going to come home every night in several agonising pieces.

And on top of all this the car I drove could not find Radio 2. It just locked on to Radio 1, which completed my discomfort as surely as if I?d slammed my head in the door.

All things considered, then, I pretty much hated it. It is nowhere near as good as a Golf GTI because, to be honest, it?s nowhere near as good as walking. This, I feel sure, will guarantee its success among the earwig boys.

Source
 
He's not really their target audience is he, so all the stuff he complained about other than the Engine being under powered dosen't really bother me.
 
Well apparently from a couple of reviews I have read some would agree with Jeremy. Wheels or Motor in Australia reviewed the car and criticized it as the ride was harsh and they weren't keen on lack of IRS on the rear end.
 
I honestly don't even like the Honda that Europe and Australia gets... it looks ugly IMO... but the Japanese Type R on the other hand looks amazing... unfortunately those will never come here.

Plus Jeremy Clarkson's review on a Honda CTR isn't the world in my books, as Lilleput said, its not the CTR's target Audience.
 
What we need is a proper new integra (not the wet crap the last generation was)
 
lol and Top Gear magazine named it the Hot Hatch of choice.

But I think I agree, I would go with the GTI too.
 
Well apparently from a couple of reviews I have read some would agree with Jeremy. Wheels or Motor in Australia reviewed the car and criticized it as the ride was harsh and they weren't keen on lack of IRS on the rear end.

The only reason Honda makes cars is because they use the money to fund the motorcycle and powersports divisions.

It's the Honda *MOTOR* Company, not the Honda Car Company.
 
I have not driven the new Civic or the new Civic Si. I do, however, own a 2004 Civic. I'm not sure I would agree about the statement that harsh suspensions are typical of Honda; I like the suspension on my car, it's responsive and communicative but certainly not harsh. I hate hitting pot-holes, but I think that's normal for anyone who owns a car. I found that for daily driving the Honda has a better feel than most cars, it's well built and feels solid an planted on the road without feeling like you are riding on solid tires.

I recently got a ride with an acquaintance who drove a Neon of about the same year as my Civic. These cars are of similar size and fairly close on the sticker price. The Neon was horrible; the entire car rattled with every bump, it leaned horribly and somehow managed to be both unresponsive and bone-jarring at the same time. I don't know how Dodge did that, but I bet it took years of work.

I know that I'm no longer talking about the current Civic, but I just wanted to point out that a harsh ride is not my experience with Honda. They certainly could have changed since mine was so expertly built, but it would surprise me if a punishing ride had suddenly become typical of the entire Honda line. It wasn't the case of the Accord V6 hybrid the dealer used to come pick me up (almost forgot about that). Now that was a nice car - great interior, wonderful ride, well designed ergonomics and comfortable even to a big guy like me.

I don't know, maybe the European models are different.
 
Well apparently from a couple of reviews I have read some would agree with Jeremy. Wheels or Motor in Australia reviewed the car and criticized it as the ride was harsh and they weren't keen on lack of IRS on the rear end.

I thought the Civic was IRS at the back? Isn't it Torsion Beams at the rear? I may be wrong.
 
I have not driven the new Civic or the new Civic Si. I do, however, own a 2004 Civic. I'm not sure I would agree about the statement that harsh suspensions are typical of Honda; I like the suspension on my car, it's responsive and communicative but certainly not harsh. I hate hitting pot-holes, but I think that's normal for anyone who owns a car. I found that for daily driving the Honda has a better feel than most cars, it's well built and feels solid an planted on the road without feeling like you are riding on solid tires.

road quality probably also plays a big part in it, my integra and my mates new gen integra (RSX to americans) jiggle all over the road and are about as harsh as you can possibly be (and the tyre roar is deafening - sound proofing in general sucks)
 
Mines the last model of civic, and to be honest, the ride is quite annoying at times. This is mainly because i spend the majority of my driving commuting to work on a concrete, bumpy motorway (Asphalt was too expensive at the time it was made). Though I have to admit, any other time, you do get a lovely feel for the road..

I hate electronics in cars tbh, but i really do want my next car to have the option between comfort and sport.
 
I've just read a road test in a Spanish magazine and they seem to agree with Clarkson. They didn't like the harshness of the suspension, and they also mention that, given the competence in its segment (which they tested head to head in April), the Type-R is completely outclassed. They also complain about it being too understeery.

Personally, I think the most balanced in this "super-hot hatch" category is probably the Golf R32, even though the one I'd go for is the Focus ST.
 
I have not driven the new Civic or the new Civic Si. I do, however, own a 2004 Civic. I'm not sure I would agree about the statement that harsh suspensions are typical of Honda; I like the suspension on my car, it's responsive and communicative but certainly not harsh. I hate hitting pot-holes, but I think that's normal for anyone who owns a car. I found that for daily driving the Honda has a better feel than most cars, it's well built and feels solid an planted on the road without feeling like you are riding on solid tires.

I recently got a ride with an acquaintance who drove a Neon of about the same year as my Civic. These cars are of similar size and fairly close on the sticker price. The Neon was horrible; the entire car rattled with every bump, it leaned horribly and somehow managed to be both unresponsive and bone-jarring at the same time. I don't know how Dodge did that, but I bet it took years of work.

I know that I'm no longer talking about the current Civic, but I just wanted to point out that a harsh ride is not my experience with Honda. They certainly could have changed since mine was so expertly built, but it would surprise me if a punishing ride had suddenly become typical of the entire Honda line. It wasn't the case of the Accord V6 hybrid the dealer used to come pick me up (almost forgot about that). Now that was a nice car - great interior, wonderful ride, well designed ergonomics and comfortable even to a big guy like me.

I don't know, maybe the European models are different.


The American Civic and the European Civic are indeed different cars all together. And I for some reason prefer the look and ride of the American Civics over the European ones. (The new Euro Civic looks good, but thats about it.)
 
You might fondly imagine that the drive outside my house is full to overflowing with all the latest cars, their tanks brimmed with fuel and the insurance paid. And you?d be right.

:lol:

This week it looks like the long-term car park at Heathrow out there. Under the pergola is an Audi R8 that I?d very much like to drive, but I can?t get it round my Lambo without driving over the herb garden. And I can?t move the Lambo because it?s blocked in by my Mercedes, which hasn?t been used for two months and now won?t start.

Round the back there?s a Golf GTI which arrived for no reason that I can fathom, a Vauxhall Corsa, a spare Volvo XC90, an Aston Martin Vantage ? in white, so that won?t be going anywhere ? and a perfectly hideous Mitsubishi people carrier of some kind.

just wow.... thats insane, he just walks out of his front door and theres an Audi R8, his lambo, his merc and shit load of other nice rides. man id be physically pushing that merc out the way to get at the R8!
 
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Bad back+hard Honda ride=Bad car? No.

I wasn't a fan until I actually saw one. Loved it. If you have a bad back, get a Type-S. Still powerful enough, the current one looks seriously cool too.
 
I'll say from the start, I'm a die-hard Honda fan. I drive a '98 Integra, lowered over rock-hard coilovers, with a chassis that has more braces than my kid sister's mouth. My car handles like a touring car, 24/7, but you do pay for that: it will beat the living shit out of you over bumps. Some of the harshness comes from low-profile tires, but most of it is my suspension. I've driven plenty of stock Integras and Civics also, and their ride and handling are both pretty decent. The Civic tends to be balanced more towards ride quality, and the Integra towards handling. I recently drove an '06 Civic Si, and I'll be honest with you, I hated it. I hate the huge dash that makes you feel like you're at the bow of a ship, I hate the engine that feels painfully slow, I hate the fact that to get ANY power in any gear above 2nd, you have to be going liscence-risking speeds, I hate the stupid fiddly dashboard with it's sea of tiny, unfathomable buttons. I loved the gearbox, but I even disliked the handling and ride. I prefer the way my freind's '98 Civic drives, to be honest. I was horribly disappointed with Honda's newest offering...
:edit: On a side note, later that day I also drove a MazdaSpeed3, and fell head over heels in love with it. A week later I got to thrash a Mk. IV GTI through some corners, and I loved it too, even it's flappy paddle gearbox. Honda let me down with the new Civic...and Mazda and Volkswagen beat even my highest expectations by a long shot.
 
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