Honda Civic Type R 1997-2000

The original Civic Type R never came to the UK officially but it still takes 7th in our best fast Hondas list

This is the hot Civic genesis – the first family hatchback from Honda to wear the special Type R badge. It also set the philosophy from the start, with plenty of weight-saving features over the standard car. These included a hand-tuned 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine with – of course – the company’s soon-to-become famous VTEC system; a limited-slip differential; a close-ratio gearbox to make the most of the 182bhp output; and extra welding on the chassis to stiffen up the bodyshell.

On top of this, and in order to save even more weight, there was no air-conditioning or electric windows, and not even a radio. The focus was on going fast and having fun, with the same great sensory experience from behind the wheel.

• Best hot hatchbacks to buy now

The Type R EK9 came only as a three-door, and was never officially sold in the UK – although thanks to exposure on various racing games, the EK9 was a desirable and rare hot hatch so plenty of grey imports found their way over here. This generation of hot Civic was and remains so pure, with a perfect balance of power, grip and feel, that meant it was a hit straight out of the box.

Honda Civic Type R 1997-2000: key specs

Engine: 1.6-litre 4cyl
Power: 182bhp
Torque: 160Nm
Transmission: Five-speed manual, front-wheel drive
0-62mph: 6.5 seconds
Top speed: 135mph
On sale: 1997-2000

The all-time best fast Hondas

1. Honda NSX 1990-2005
2. Honda Civic Type R 2017-date
3. Honda Civic Type R 2001-2005
4. Honda S2000 1999-2009
5. Honda Integra Type R 1995-2001
6. Honda Accord Type R 1998-2002
7. Honda Civic Type R 1997-2000
8. Honda Civic Type R 2007-2010
9. Honda CR-X VTEC 1989-1992
10. Honda S800 1967-1970

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  • • WIN a Honda Civic Type R for a weekend

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