Honda says there has never been a Type R quite like the subject of this road test: the fifth-generation Civic Type R, which might be a little more helpfully classified as the performance version of the 10th-generation Civic hatchback.
Introduced to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the original Japanese-market NSX Type R, Honda's customary red-badged go-faster hatchback has turned up only a couple of years after the previous one. It has a broadly similar front-wheel-drive mechanical make-up to the previous version and a closely related engine – all of which might suggest, on paper at least, that it hasn’t changed a great deal.
In fact, the differences between this car and the 2015 Type R are many and varied, among them an all-new platform and chassis, new suspension and steering technology, a revised transmission and a completely different interior.
Unlike any of its predecessors, this Type R is a truly global car. It has also been designed and developed from the ground up as a performance machine instead of being adapted from an existing model.
This, it could be argued, is the first fully realised Honda Type R there has been; in theory, a car ready to present stiffer competition to its VW Golf GTI, Audi RS3, Skoda Octavia vRS, Seat Leon Cupra and N-suffixed i30 competition than any of its predecessors have.