Talking Cars #001: Don’t Underestimate the CTR.

It’s a Monday afternoon. The air is crisp. My windows are down. And my girlfriend is yelling at me for doing too many car things. She’s confused because I told her I was reviewing a Honda Civic today. She just didn’t get it. Neither did I. But now I do.

I showed up to The Canyon Club with Robert right off of the tail end of a comparison review between a Euro BMW M5 Touring and a S62 powered 6spd 530i Touring. My mind was still fixated on refined german super-wagons, independent throttle bodies, the autobahn… those types of things. That 90s fog cleared the moment Alexis tossed me the keys to his beloved CTR. The Civic Type R gave me a newfound respect for modern, affordable driver’s cars. 

I’ve always been intrigued by the Civic Type R. There’s a massive following for them, to the point that the car typically commanded pretty hefty dealer markups when new. With a highly strung 4 popper producing slightly over 300hp to the front wheels, this Civic has more than enough power to have fun on a backroad, but not enough to be scary on a track. The brembo brakes are adequate and do not feel overboosted, an incredibly rare thing nowadays. This example is outfitted with some aftermarket Rays rims, which rub slightly on compression but don’t cause any major issues.

The 6 speed transmission is very direct and mechanical feeling and in R mode auto rev matches downshifts, making driving at the limit easier to handle. The steering is impressive. Extremely direct and arguably best steering feel I’ve ever experienced. The sensation absolutely embarrasses my GTI. The suspension feel is easily manipulated thanks to the toggle switch between driving modes right next to the shifter. 

Driving this CTR was incredible. We took it up and down some of our traditional test routes and the dynamics of the car really started to shine. I truly can’t get over the steering feel and directness. I’ve been in driver’s cars 5x the price that offered a less connected experience. The only downside of this car was certain parts of the interior. You can tell that Honda focused on the front passenger and driver for this car. Although the seats up front are incredibly comfortable and most of the touch points are high quality, the rear feels a bit on the cheaper side. The door panels are the hardest of plastics and the seats don’t feel like they’d be great on a long drive. I also feel that Honda should have made the rear 3 person capable rather than having a shallow storage bucket in the middle of the bench. Though not a huge problem for me personally, it does take off a couple points from the car in the practicality department. But that’s not why you’re buying a Civic Type-R anyway, is it?

At this price point, I would challenge anyone to bring forward a new driver’s car that can impress me more. Honda has done it better than the rest of them, and I now see exactly why Alexis and all of the other Honda fanatics out there adore this car so much.

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