Honda Civic Type R takes on the Honda Fireblade in Wales


Honda. It's almost impossible not to recognise the name. With the Japanese manufacturer soon to celebrate its 70th birthday, it boasts an impressive heritage of engine manufacturing and racing prowess, both aspects it is constantly advancing.

Its multiple divisions see a combined figure of millions of engines sold across the world each year, so we decided to pit two of its products against each other. The Honda Civic Type R has won plaudits in the hot hatch world for its ferocious performance, but could it keep up with the ludicrously fast Honda Fireblade?

We sent Sophie Williamson-Stothert and Laura Thomson to Wales to find out...

Honda Civic Type R

Priced below £30,000 and pumping out more than 300bhp, this Japanese hard-core hatch is arguably a bargain – as well as completely bonkers.

Powered by an all-new 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine and driven by the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox, the Type R redlines at 7,000rpm. This sounds relatively modest but the turbocharger does make a song and dance as it climbs to the limiter – helping us to come to terms with the loss of Honda's naturally-aspirated VTEC.

You tend to stick out like a sore thumb in the Type R, whether you want to or not. It's essentially a standard Civic on steroids, and is quite frankly spewing out fancy detailing at every angle. But, then again, if you're a Type R fanatic, this is exactly the look you'll be delighted with.

I couldn't help but admire the capabilities of the bike. You don't need to be a scientist to know the Type R doesn't have the stamina to keep up with the frankly insane straight-line acceleration of the Blade. But credit where credit is due – the hot hatch can more than hold its own, especially in the bends, where it was able to close the gap between itself and the Blade.

Sophie Williamson-Stothert

Honda Civic Type R vs. Honda Fireblade

Honda Civic Type R vs. Honda Fireblade

Honda Fireblade

As a Honda rider, I had high hopes for my baby Blade's £12,799, 178bhp bigger brother.

The extra 63bhp and 36kg it had on my CBR600RR were barely noticeable, thanks to its plush suspension and revolutionary electronically-combined ABS system.

By automatically applying a small amount of rear brake as I squeezed the front lever on the way into a bend, this system made cornering a breeze, with the slipper clutch working to minimise engine braking.

Faced with an open stretch, I hung back from the Type R to see what the inline-four was really made of, and as I worked my way up the gears, the Honda delighted with plentiful power across the rev range.

Laura Thomson