BUSINESS owners with an eye for a company car with a difference should take a look at the latest version of Honda’s Civic Type-R, unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show.
The car at the show is a concept, giving clues only to the styling of the next Civic pocket rocket, but the way they are talking proves the new Type-R will be a world away from what’s gone before.
the new Type-R will form an essential part of Honda’s campaign to make its cars more appealing to younger buyers
Previous Honda Type-R models have always been muscled-up performance versions of the stock Civic hatch. But according to Honda the new version will be designed from the start as a performance machine, only maintaining the basic look of a road car.
In fact the new car’s design team, based at Swindon where the Civic is built, is going so far as to describe the new Type-R as a “racing car for the road”, and the “most extreme Type-R yet”.
Precise technical details of the new car have not yet been revealed but we are being told that it will use a 2-litre, direct injection, four-cylinder turbo petrol engine with at least 276bhp on tap – that’s nearly 80 horses more than its predecessor.
The new powerplant is the first turbo to be put in a Type-R, and with Honda’s recent advances in engine technology, you can bet the potency won’t come at too much cost of those tax-essential emissions figures.
The arrival of the new Honda Type-R will form an essential part of a Honda campaign to make its cars more appealing to younger buyers. The launch of a new NSX supercar, racing in the World Touring Car Championship and returning next year to Formula One with McLaren should also help to put the average age of a Honda buyer on the slide.
To Honda UK boss Phil Crossman, such moves are essential as he tries to boost the brand’s sales figures, but he’s confident.
“After a few challenging years we have a lot of exciting things coming up over the next year including four new models and of course the re-entry into Formula One – we will start seeing quite a buzz around Honda once again,” Crossman says.
“The Type R and NSX, as well as Formula One will get us in front of a younger audience and hopefully we can then push on for 90,000 sales a year in five years time,” he adds. Last year Honda sold 55,000 cars in the UK.
So if you are a business owner who likes something with a little pace, or if you’re fortunate enough to have a user-chooser allowance that allows you to jump in something like this, the new Honda Civic Type-R will likely fit the bill.
But you will need to be patient – it’s not expected in showrooms for at least a year.
Meanwhile for those with less exotic tastes, there’s always the more sober Honda Civic diesel with its fuel-sipping diesel engine and low company car tax. Read our review here.
See the race track development story of the Honda Civic Type-R