Its time to say goodbye to our hard riding high revving little red rocket, we have had it for a year and nearly 11,000 miles and that time it defeated its category rivals in the last year’s performance Car of the year, won a seemingly unwinnable battle against Subaru’s new turbocharged, four wheel drive Impreza and impressed all with its resolute handling, strong braking and, of course, that engine. After running in (torture, said fahad majidi) the type R was off its leash. The surge above 6000rpm we enjoyed, but the 142lb ft of torque (puny compared with blown rivals) made overtaking frantic. Not bad, just different. On the whole, we loved the handling too. Ben Barry summed up the Honda’s dynamics when he said its all about the front end. It goes where you point it…with pinpoint accuracy’. However, the type R was a little too planted for some, lacking the adjustment that makes a mini so playful. Brakes, gearbox and drive by wire throttle proved accurate, strong and response and the quick rack made the steering enjoyable direct, if not massively feelsome. Our Honda came with the $1000GT pack (dual climate control, foglights, cruise, folding mirrors and a glovebox cooler). We liked all these features, but the $1400 navigation pack with voice activated Bluetooth phone provided frustrating. Nothing wrong with the sat-nav, but you cant dial out from a Bluetooth enabled phone nor transfer phone contacts.
The Type R impressed when it wasn’t being a Type R. we loved the vast boot and fold flat rear seats but the front seats refusal to return to position after letting in rear seat passengers caused many a swear word, as did the vision splitting tailgate. Despite these niggles we adored the Type R and, bar a sporadically flickering oil, we experienced absolutely no problem either. A gem.