Honda Civic Type-R (EP3)
The engine is insane – easily the most impressive four-cylinder normally-aspirated production engine at the time, alongside Honda’s other high-revving motor in the S2000.
It is like an effusive, bubbly, fun child – brilliant when you are in the mood, but a pain when you are not, and incapable of doing anything other than play the madman. From memory the VTEC power-burst arrives at around 5,500rpm, but it is as if the whole car’s DNA had been configured around this point, that it didn’t want to work below it, in the dull zone.
Manic engine dominates the Type R.
So you won’t need persuading on the engine. Nor the brilliant gearbox and its dash-mounted lever. This car has the specification from the gods, struts at the front and double wishbones at the rear at a time when its rivals dragged torsion beams under their backsides.
The thing builds speed like no hot hatch has done before. You feel trapped with the obligation to drive the Type-R like a mentalist – it is pretty horrid going slow anyway, and it just feels criminal to have a motor that sounds like a BDA on acid and not wring its neck. Self-control is necessary though and at Keith Michaels we welcome good drivers onto our Honda Civic Type R insurance schemes.
The EP3 CTR deserves the massive sales on the back of the powertrain alone. And its replacement is in many ways far less special.