Review: 2018 Honda Civic Type-R (FK8R)

Discussion in 'News and Features' started by Tom, Sep 25, 2018.

  1. Tom

    Tom 15 Year | Platinum
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    Review: 2018 Honda Civic Type-R (FK8R)

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    Calm be the storm

    The new CTR is calm. Too calm. It is so calm it feels like its its never in a rush to go anywhere. It is no longer the hyperactive hooligan we used to know but has evolved into a new generation of automotive hypebeast targeted at millennials. This angered the purists as the familiar iconic Type-R signature has been completely eradicated. The very essence of what made the Type-R a Type-R, that was encapsulated in the imperfect but ultra-sweet FD2R, the last of the pure NA Type-R which:
    • Was always in a rush to go somewhere. A touch of the throttle sends it barking and pouncing instantly.
    • Entertained us all with its orgasmic VTEC zone, a right foot initiated interactive feature that mechanically changes engine behaviour at a certain RPM onwards
    • Had like the shortest gear ratios in the world, needs to rev rev rev and shift shift shift to get some speed. Forget about driving on highways
    • Only came with 2 modes which can only be accessed by your right foot. Yes, you either drive super fast or cruise unbearably slow, as factors such as noise, dramatic ride and mostly fuel cost come into play
    • Featured floor mounted throttle pedal which was a bliss and most satisfying to use.


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    Yes, they are all gone. Every discerning Type-R enthusiast who were part of the NA era would surely miss the theatrics, the sounds of music, the Avex Trax Super Eurobeat soundtrack. But it is worth praising how Honda has evolved the Type-R product from its very basic origins into the grown up, formidable global competitor it is today. It is also comforting to know these red-engined, high-revving Championship White, circuit bred touring cars for the road are still being made today, unlike the now defunct Evo, or the barely exciting new WRX.


    First Drive:




    2018 HONDA CIVIC TYPE R (FK8R) SPECIFICATIONS

    Engine: 2L Turbo 4 cylinder
    Power: 310hp
    Torque: 400nm
    Zerotohundred: 5.7 seconds
    Top Speed: 272km/h
    Transmission: 6 speed manual
    Weight: 1,380kg
    Price: RMRM 301,928.00
    Website: Honda Malaysia


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    A New Type of R

    The new FK8 CTR feels more progressive. It has grown up, it is much more approachable, not necessarily accessible, definitely more liveable with, is incredibly practical and looks super savage which I personally like a lot. It is a new Type-R candidate that can finally hang out with top European hot hatches in terms of performance and social standing, which its JDM-bred NA older brother never could.

    is so mature now, everything seems muted. There's no noise, no drama, no personality and above all, no sound. All you hear are turbo whoosh and kapishes, which is kinda nice but that's about it. What feels very different but strangely familiar is the new CTR's long 7,000rpm rev range. Different because competing rivals don't rev that far and familiar because it literally feels like a turbocharged K20A, but muffled.

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    The FK8 CTR is fast, it is very capable don't get me wrong, just a little tight if you know what I mean, even dry at time. It'd somehow inherited the calmness of the FK8 regular Civic, probably from all the magic engineering that had gone into the new body, which sort of endowed it with a heavy duty platform, and inadvertently gave it a brilliant chassis, thus causing it to feel like it could do with more power, more sound or drama, anything.

    It's not heavy, in fact the new CTR feels quite light. The weight of its doors for instance felt light when in use, a clear indication of how efficiently built this car is. By efficient I mean using just enough material. There's nothing premium about the CTR, it's just another Civic with cool red bits. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing. I like the simplicity of it in general and how it is kind of toy-like.


    Hill Drive:




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    The FK8R is no longer hardcore


    Luxury is not part of the Type-R theme. But compared to Type-R cars of before, this new FK8 CTR is world's apart in build quality and the difference is like a First Class cabin upgrade to the FD2R's premium economy seat. Maybe not First Class but Premium Business Class because you need to shift gears by hand.

    The CTR offers superb manual driving enjoyment. Shifts are short, has nice accurate throw, easy to use but is rather light, maybe a touch too light, juvenile to a certain extent. It wasn't always like that. In previous CTR iterations, shifts used to be a touch heavier, tighter and has a magnetic click to it. This new one feels like a very good Logitech racing simulator shifter. Nothing wrong with it, just saying it's not the same. Thankfully, I heard there are ways to improve the shifts via J's Racing weighted Ti shift knob and shift collar so you can check Pentagon Racing out


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    Other than that, the cockpit look and feel quite alright, better than decent I'd say. Visible areas get noticeably better build quality while areas hidden from the eyes are either more plasticky or not covered. I'm not very fond of the rather cheap power window console but that's about it.

    This FK8 CTR has the best sport seats. They feel better than they look and are incredibly comfortable, yet snug. Side bolsters are especially high, gives it a bucket seat look and feel. The red accents, red sport seats, stitches, faux carbon & red anodized trims complete the CTR interior. Conservative people might find it tacky and that's okay because it's not made for everyone.


    Auto Rev Match:




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    Suspension

    In terms of multi terrain compliance, the electric adaptive damper suspension of this new FK8 CTR excel in ways no other hot hatch can match. Ride comfort wise, it is likely the plushest hot hatch out there, running on 20 inch wheels no less, yet posses handling capabilities that are commendably high in limits.

    But because its suspension is biased towards comfort, it is no longer as hardcore as before. Even in + R mode, ride remains pliant and bearable. This is very unlike even the most luxurious of hot hatches, for example the AMG 45 army, which by default can even intimidate prepared individuals. The new CTR has lost this particular unyielding character. Nevertheless, it is good news for new adopters yearning for driving practicality, which will make up most of the FK8 CTR clientele anyway, judging from the price as well.


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    Handling

    On the road, it's not much different in calmness when compared to a regular Civic 1.5 Turbo except for the noticeable firmness, perceptible wideness and heavier steering, probably due to the wider track all round and massive 20" wheel and tyre combo. In fact the larger wheel option heightens its sense of maturity and enables the CTR to roll over road imperfections much more effortlessly.

    Like its previous, Euro oriented FK2 Type R sibling, the new CTR has adopted the use of electronic damping on all four corners, giving it multiple driving modes to suit most needs. There's really no other reason for ditching the Type-R's full mechanical shock and springs tradition for adaptive suspension other than for comfort. This e-route allows much more pliancy in managing the urban terrain as well as undulating b-roads, while being able to stiffen up in an instant to tackle the twisty hill corners or high speed circuit corners all in one package.

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    With its new electronic damping path, the CTR is very much geared towards comfort. At its firmest +R Mode setting, things do get pretty hard especially through the hills of Genting as it ever so gently hop at the limit when conquering even the gentlest bumps and dips. However, upon clocking more KMs, it becomes clear that the new CTR is more inclined to succumb to comfort and not lap times. Which is a huge revelation considering the Type-R heritage and how the recent hot hatches have favoured performance over plushness. For example, even the AMG GLA 45, a jacked up, hot hatch crossover can get unbearably dramatic, even harsh in its suspension department despite being a luxury product.

    Despite all of that, the new CTR is competitive, still carve curves like a champ and remains flat through the bends, all while retaining a calm demeanour. What's missing is the hard-as-nails, all-out, hardcore attitude which the Fd2R had plenty of. Specifically that battle-mode tactility which other, more serious European candidates now provide. On the flip side, this new CTR can now cater to a larger spectrum of drivers who prioritize daily needs over all-out touring car duties. In this regard, the new CTR excels where no other hot hatch can match.


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    Engine


    The new FK8 CTR makes even more power now, totalling 310ps from the 2L 4 Cylinder K20C1 VTEC Turbo lump. If you didn't know, every new CTR imported officially by Honda Malaysia has been adapted to Malaysian fuel quality, and can go as low as RON91. This is why the CTRs here make 310ps versus 320ps in other markets.

    While engine response is superb and very NA-like, power however lies way up high the rev range, requiring one to really wring it to build good pace. This approach is quite the opposite of how today's European hot hatches behave, which usually dishes out as much power as it could, as early as possible.


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    This is where I think the CTR's power delivery strategy loses out to most, if not all similar classed hot hatches. At best, it feels like a boosted K20A from the last of the NA Type-R that revs high and is paired with a fat mid-range torque. At worst, it passes off as a really powerful regular Civic. Reality is, there's very little engine character to be savoured in the new turbocharged CTR. If anything, it reminds me of what the Evo 7,8,9 felt like. Even the MK3 Megane RS 250, despite being more mundane in music, has more attitude and makes better sound.

    Well it still is to me a high revving engine and being a turbo, makes it even more enticing. Although this K20C doesn't talk much, it does like to rev so if you're the progressive sort then the new turbo CTR is for you. It is the most linear among all hot hatches out there.


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    Verdict

    All in all the new CTR is the fastest CTR Honda has ever made and by quite a margin. The 300 plus hp engine makes sure of this and new chassis delivers it effortlessly. I am certain the new CTR is right up there with the best of the best whilst doing it in extreme comfort. It's hard to believe but the new CTR is by far the easiest, most submissive Type-R to live with.

    It seems the Europeans have a tendency to soften every Type-R that go through their hands. This is ever since the triangle-everything FN2, then the FK2 and now the FK8. If only the original Japanese Type-R team were responsible for the entire thing, such as currently lead by Hideki Kakinuma, I bet the FK8 CTR would have been a blockbuster, like how they did with the FD2R.


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    As a FF 2L Turbo contender, the FK8 CTR will never match touge kings such as the Megane RS in outright talent, even with more power. It just isn't as hardcore or as thoroughbred by nature. RenaultSport nailed it with the brilliant chassis even if it meant running on rock hard suspension. Drivers are expected to adapt to the "Cup Chassis" and the inconveniences that came with it.


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    It is obvious they wanted to make the new CTR more mature, more premium, more able to drive at speed on the Autobahn and so on. Which explains the massive wheels, adaptive suspension, aerodynamics and even sound damping tri-piped exhaust. It all works, a bit too well perhaps. They've ground off the sharp edges and sterilised the new CTR. Now, it will suit just about anyone who can operate a stick, even if barely so.

    Continue reading the Post.
     
  2. Izso

    Izso Boooooossst
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    It may not be a purists car - but it works as great car. So for 300k people will have to think whether to get a Merc or a Honda.... hmm...
     
  3. Tom

    Tom 15 Year | Platinum
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    If manual is not an issue, they technically could consider the R
     
  4. Izso

    Izso Boooooossst
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    Personally I feel this new type-R is neither here nor there. If I were seriously in the market for a 300k+ car, I honestly doubt I'd look at this type-R unless I've been eye-ing since day 1. But then again I'd probably already have a FD2R at home already if I had that much spare change for a new car.

    So perhaps it boils down to how much of an enthusiastic driver I am or want to be?
     
  5. 6UE5t

    6UE5t Senior Member
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    It seems this CTR transformation is like when Evo went from the IX to the X, trying to appeal to larger and more mature market by making it less hardcore despite such hard core race boy look, is it?

    IMHO the only good thing about this car is the manual gearbox. I'm not much of a fan of the previous CTR look and this is even worse in my eyes. The other thing is, it's still a FWD car. It would have been better if it's AWD. If I were to spend on rm300+k on such hyper hatch, I'd buy the A45 despite it being harsher. If only the A45 available in manual, then that would be perfect.

    I have also seen and read rumors about Nissan's entry into this segment by resurrecting the Pulsar GTI-R which based on the concept photos so far looks much better than this CTR and also AWD. I certainly hope Nissan will go ahead with it to make the hyper hatch competition even more exciting.
     
  6. Tom

    Tom 15 Year | Platinum
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    Yes, one needs to be in the market for a hot hatch, he / she like manual cars, want something not mainstream like AMG / VW GTIR. Heritage and outright performance secondary.

    To be honest, less hardcore drivers would appreciate the Type-R's calmness, comfort and practicality. Every other hot hatch out there doesn't offer these
     
  7. Tom

    Tom 15 Year | Platinum
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    I think the CTR would have been perfect if they hadn't sprinkled it with premium features. If it was still relatively down to earth, it would have mechanical suspension, less tinkering with the exhaust noise and perhaps less muted all-round as well.
     
  8. 6UE5t

    6UE5t Senior Member
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    Hmm I wouldn't call the AMG A45 mainstream too because of its super fast and hardcore suspension, I don't think it's suitable for just anyone. Maybe golf R but not AMG.

    Meaning staying true to its roots and be more hardcore to match the manual gearbox. In essence I agree with Izso, this CTR is neither there nor here kinda thing. It looks so hardcore, it has manual gearbox so less practical than Golf R, yet it's not super fast like the AMG and less hardcore too.
    For me also tone down the appearance, just too overkill IMHO.
     
  9. Tom

    Tom 15 Year | Platinum
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    Mainstream because there are more AMG 45s out there than the Golf R. Ironic isn't it, considering it's more hardcore and more expensive.
     
  10. 6UE5t

    6UE5t Senior Member
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    Coz Golf R is a VW and the price is not so attractive for a VW or that level of car, that's why. The AMG even though more expensive but it's an AMG! And the actual competition for it is not the Golf R but the Audi RS3 and BMW M2, both are way more expensive, so the A45 is a the better value for money. So the A45 is like the Evo and GTR, the best bang for the buck for their respective class.
     
  11. vr2turbo

    vr2turbo 5 Year | Silver
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    That is why you also eyeing one.....
     
  12. 6UE5t

    6UE5t Senior Member
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    Yeah, I like things which are best value for money. :biggrin:
     
  13. Tom

    Tom 15 Year | Platinum
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    I think the the Megane RS250 is a good value for money now at RM100K and below, give it a try
     
  14. 6UE5t

    6UE5t Senior Member
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    Hmm it's a good car but I'm not interested in FWD anymore for now. I want an AWD now since I already have RWD.
     
  15. Tom

    Tom 15 Year | Platinum
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    For that, perhaps when the new A comes out this week, you can expect current AMG 45 cars to drop in price further in the coming months. Under 200K could be a sweet deal
     
  16. 6UE5t

    6UE5t Senior Member
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    Actually if want the first version of the A45 (year 2013), can already get just below rm200k, but I think better aim for the face lifted version (2016) coz that one already has improved suspension, transmission, and more power. Hopefully that one can drop below rm200k. But this FL version is not as many on sale also. Anyway we'll see.
     
  17. f8.

    f8. Senior Member
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    Something about modern cars which make ol'skool ones highlight something: honesty.

    Wasn't too long ago to earn a 325i badge would require no less than a 6cylinder and 2.5L.

    And today we have 330i/e with 4banger 2.0. Some even go further by piping in synthetic engine sounds via speakers.

    Design language of Type22 STI or E30 M3 with the flared arches and the driving dynamics that resonates with it.

    So for all the loud wings and exterior design that appeals to the younger crowd, how is it that the actual driving dynamics is so mature and grown up?

    Something seems disjointed somewhere. Bring back coherent and honest cars. Enough with artificial compensations. Choose shapeful naturals in place of oversized silicone.
     
    Izso and 6UE5t like this.
  18. 6UE5t

    6UE5t Senior Member
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    Well said!
     
  19. gunnerzz

    gunnerzz Well-Known Member

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    Exactly.

    May i say bike are spare from this 'transformation'? Yes its getting high tech but it does not rob that honesty and most of all the thrill.
     

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