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Hot Hatch of the Year 2019: Honda Civic Type R

Many new contenders have arrived onto the scene to challenge the Honda Civic Type R for its crown, but none has managed to topple this Japanese giant of the performance world.

For the third year in a row the Civic Type R is our Hot hatch of the year, and the reasons why haven’t been corrupted by the passage of time. In fact, the longer the Civic is on sale and the harder its rivals push, the more the Type R’s talents shine through.

Let’s start with that engine. And what an engine. With 316bhp from a 2.0-litre turbocharged four cylinder, it has huge punch low down but loves to be revved hard, and it’s mated to one of the best manual transmissions on sale at any price. The slick, mechanical feel of the six-speed unit is refreshingly interactive in an increasingly digital age.

With driving modes that don’t overcomplicate things, the settings for this Type R address the issues with its predecessor. Now, in comfort mode the chassis feels more fluent, less fidgety and more comfortable, and easier to live with as a result. But ramp things up to +R mode and the Civic has lost none of its hardcore focus.

The grip that’s on offer outshines every other rival in its class, with a limited-slip differential that makes the most of this to find superb traction; the Civic will sprint from 0-62mph in 5.8 seconds, and it feels this ferocious.

Added: 11 July 2019

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