Fifth Gear Pits Civic Type R Against Fierce European Rivals

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Each Fifth Gear challenge in this hot-hatch comparison comes with the elimination of a competitor.

With narrow roads in the UK, car tests there are a bit different from those carried out here in the ‘States. We prefer straight-line acceleration and space, they prefer economy and nimbleness. As such, the hot hatch is a must-have for the city-dwelling gearhead.

Three other hot-hatches were tested with the Civic Type R. Audi’s 310 horsepower S3 Sportback, SEAT’s 310 horsepower Cupra R, and the 280 horsepower Renault Megane RS. The test was a gymkhana style course, with a slalom, a reverse “box” to simulate a parking space or a garage, and then a circle to show a roundabout junction.

fifth gear civic type r challenge

Starting off in the Civic, criticisms were immediately flying. Jason, the host claims “It’s not as nimble as you’d like, it’s a bit understeer-y.” The next complaint was that “it doesn’t feel very torquey” which flies right in the face of the car’s claimed output, and the findings of most other road tests.

 

ALSO SEE: Honda Civic Type R Track Tested!

 

As for the test itself, the Type R completed it in 40.73 seconds. That wasn’t the fastest time, but it also wasn’t the slowest either. Both the Audi and the Renault edged out the Type R’s performance in this particular test, and since the Renault was slowest, it has been eliminated from the next round of Fifth Gear tests.

What are those tests, you might ask? They are tests where the Civic Type R can really show its true potential. A head-to-head-to-head cornering test will show the top cornering speed of each car at one corner on the Anglesey Circuit, and then they will each perform a hot lap to see which one is fastest. This bodes well for the Type R, especially as it is the lightest car of the remaining three hot hatches. However, that will have to wait until the next installment.

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Patrick Morgan is an instructor at Chicago's Autobahn Country Club and contributes to a number of Auto sites for Internet Brands, including MB World and 6SpeedOnline.

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