Honda Civic Type R hatchback - Interior & comfort (2017-2021)
The latest Honda Civic Type R is far more comfortable than overly firm previous model
There’s no doubt about it, compared to the previous model, the latest Type R is a far better car to travel in when you’re not trying to set lap records. A new Comfort mode serves up a smooth ride when you have motorway miles to cover, but even without turning to technology, the suspension is far better at absorbing bumps than once was the case. There's a Sport Line version with smaller 19-inch alloy wheels for buyers who want an even more comfortable ride.
You’ll feel very few vibrations through the seats, gearlever or steering wheel, and noise is well contained, too. That racy engine is only loud when you want it to be – there’s far less of the tiresome boom that would accompany high-speed cruising trips in the previous model. A system called 'Active Sound Control' helps reduce engine sound using the car's speakers while in Comfort mode, then amplifies it for added excitement in Sport and +R modes. We aren't always convinced by these systems but this one works well. The Sport Line car also has some of the standard car's sound deadening, improving refinement a touch.
The latest interior is also a very pleasant environment in which to spend time. Just as the latest Honda Civic hatchback has made a big leap forwards over the previous model, the Type R version has followed suit in this regard. Quality is far higher and – although the inside look is less dramatic than before – it’s far easier to understand and more befitting of such a focused, performance-orientated car.
Honda Civic Type R dashboard
Although its outlandish looks – inside and out – confirmed that you were in a Type R, the interior of the previous model was always a little gimmicky. It was far from matching the standards of the Volkswagen Golf GTI for simplicity of layout and visual appeal. Happily, the current model gets a crisp touchscreen, which shows vital, driver-selected information in a clear, immediate way. It’s just a shame that you have to upgrade to the GT to get sat nav. It’s not the most easy-to-use system either, but it does have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto if you want to use your phone’s interface on the screen instead. After customer feedback, hot-key buttons have been added in the facelifted car to make the system easier to navigate more quickly.
A carefully designed steering wheel means you have an uninterrupted view of the dashboard and the seats are superb – comfortable and with support in all the right places. In the Sport Line, their bright red upholstery is swapped for black, in keeping with its more restrained character. The previous Type R driving position always felt a little too high, but the lower, sportier driving position of the latest model means you feel far more involved with what’s going on. With the snug seats and low driving position, it almost feels like you’re behind the wheel of a touring car.
The overall impression is far more upmarket than it was before and most of the materials you touch and see are tactile and attractive. If you allow your fingertips to roam, though, you’ll find that less prominent surfaces don’t quite match the same standards. When it comes to standards of hot-hatch interior design and quality, the Golf GTI still wears the crown.
When deciding on a Type R, you can pick between two main versions, plus two new models that were introduced in 2020. There’s the regular model, or a more expensive GT. The latter replaces the air-conditioning with a dual-zone climate control system, and adds an auto-dimming rear view mirror, front and rear parking sensors, high-powered audio system, LED front fog lights and a wireless phone charging point.
The GT also adds the Honda Connect infotainment system, which incorporates Garmin sat nav. This system now looks far more integrated than in previous versions, although the graphics and screen resolution can’t match the excellent display in the Golf.
Honda added a new Sport Line trim to the Civic Type R range in early 2020. With a smaller spoiler and slightly softer suspension, it looks slightly more subtle than the regular model. It has 19-inch alloy wheels, black bucket seats, more insulation and all the kit from the standard Type R. There’s also a lightweight Limited Edition model that goes without the infotainment and air conditioning systems, and much of the sound deadening.