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A serious love affair: Honda Civic Type R


Kiwis have a serious love affair with Honda’s hot hatch – the Civic Type R. Since the first Civic Type R to be sold new in New Zealand was released in late 2017, more than 200 have been sold, making it one of the bestsellers in the class and proving its sales performance is as strong as its on track performance.

 

 

To celebrate the Type R’s double century of sales success, Honda New Zealand is offering a special, New Zealand-exclusive Type R endowed with Mugen parts.

Mugen – which means ‘Without Limits’ – is the organisation responsible for manufacturing Honda’s OEM parts such as body kits and sports exhausts.

It has become an international motorsport success, with highlights including powering Formula 1 victories along with numerous other two and four wheel championships.

“The 5th Generation Type R, although solely offered with a manual transmission, has been a sales success, thanks to its perfect balance of Honda’s sporty, yet practical DNA,” Honda New Zealand Marketing and Product Manager Matt Woodburn says.

Mugen equipped Type Rs start from $64,990 – including the front underspoiler, side underspoilers, rear underspoiler and carbon fibre/FRP tailgate spoiler with Mugen emblem.

This pricing is inclusive of all related costs to sourcing, painting & fitting the parts, making this one of the most affordable Mugen packages globally.


 

A Dynamic Drive


It is really hard not to be at least a little bit impressed with the new Honda Civic RS Sensing. While the last bit of the name does seem a tad strange at first, it becomes clear the tenth generation of one of Honda’s most cherished models, makes more ‘sense’ than ever before.

 


The $39,990 RS Sensing is extraordinary value considering what you get. Under the bonnet sits a 1.5 litre Turbo VTEC four-cylinder engine mated to Honda’s seven speed CVT auto with paddle shift.

While not much to look at, you still get 127kW and 220Nm of torque, while returning 6.3L/100km respectively.

Honda has also crammed the RS Sensing into the kit too.

Settle into those leather clad sports seats and you find adaptive cruise control, auto high beam, parking sensors front and rear, reversing camera, lane keep assist, collision mitigation braking, which sends you a visual alert on your instrument cluster if you are approaching the car in front too closely, and a wing-mounted camera which allows you to monitor your blind spot while changing lanes from the infotainment screen.

Thanks to upgrades to the suspension and bushings, the Civic RS Sensing is a much more dynamic drive than before.

Steering is nicely weighted and you can coax the Sensing into the twisty stuff with little effort required.

All in all, the Civic RS Sensing is a solid effort from Honda and represents stunning value for money. This one is definitely worth a look.


 

A standout showroom: Honda Cars Christchurch


Chances are, if you have lived in Christchurch for the last 30 plus years, you have known someone who has purchased a Honda from Honda Cars Christchurch. The team has gained a sterling reputation over the last three decades and, to this day, is New Zealand’s biggest volume Honda dealer.

 

 

After battling through earthquakes and shifting across the road for a time, Honda’s iconic showroom on the corner of Montreal and St Asaph Street has been given a complete overhaul, to bring you one of the nicest new car showrooms in Canterbury. The layout would still be very familiar to loyal Honda customers. However, the similarities end there.

The first thing you notice is the sheer amount of light which illuminates the whole showroom, thanks to the dealership facing north and the size of the glass windows. A new customer waiting area and café can be found and the friendly Honda team is always on hand to help out. Around the showroom, each model, from Jazz to Civic Type R, stands out beautifully, as does a very special original 1976 Honda Civic hatch owned by Honda New Zealand.

The 12 month build process has resulted in one of the most warm and welcoming car dealerships in the country. Plus, with Honda’s friendly professional team, years of experience and some of the nicest all-round cars on sale, you would be hard pressed to find better.

 


 

The Power of Dreams


The new dealership for Honda has recently opened on the corner of St Asaph and Montreal Streets, with the ability to showcase the extensive range of cars for anybody’s need in one of Christchurch’s biggest showrooms.

 

 

From Formula 1 and Scott Dixon to the trusty Honda Jazz, Honda is an engineering company focusing on the customer needs with ease and mobility a priority; quality interiors and connectivity are at the top of their class in well-known models like the Honda Civic, CRV, HRV and my family favourite, the Jazz.

These are individual cars for individual drivers. In fact, they are the number one choice in the private market in Canterbury! With a new $7 million building to house both the service department and the premium quality vehicles we’ve come to expect from Honda, it’s worth dropping by to chat with the experts in the field, who also make a pretty good coffee while you take a browse. |

More than 80 percent of Honda buyers buy another Honda on their next purchase, so if you are one of the many loyal customers, you’ll know why you keep going back. Quality, reliability and service are always good attributes when purchasing a vehicle.

“Everyone here at Honda is so proud of our new facility,” Warren Horn from Honda says. “Its quality represents and showcases the brand so well. We welcome all Canterbury residents to view and experience our new premises, whether you’re are a Honda owner or otherwise.”

So make sure to drop into the new showroom corner of St Asaph and Montreal and enjoy The Power of Dreams.


 

Honda NSX

Engineering genius: Honda NSX

The Honda NSX is not everyone’s first thought when it comes to a super sports car, but for those in the know, it’s up there amongst the very best. Launched at the 1989 Chicago Motor Show, the NSX (New Sports Cars eXperimental) was Japan’s first mid-engine production supercar aimed squarely at the likes of Ferrari and Porsche.

Honda NSX

 

Combining low slung aerodynamic lines, a screaming VTEC V6 engine producing between 201kW and 216kW of power, a lightweight aluminium body and design input by the late great Ayrton Senna, the NSX appealed to the enthusiast drivers of the day, who weren’t phased about badge prestige.

This 1995 example, on loan for a day by Dutton Garage, was a rare chance to get up close and personal with a cemented member of Honda’s greatest hits album.
Get into the NSX for the first time and you quickly notice how sumptuous the cabin is. The leather clad seats offer plenty of lateral support and levels of comfort usually found on something with twice as many doors. The driving position is low slung though head room is a tad restrictive. Rear visibility is very generous, thanks to the F16 fighter jet inspired cockpit.

 

Honda NSX

 

Turn the key and the 3.2 litre VTEC V6 growls into life before purring comfortably at idle. Moving off is more of a workout than expected due to the lack of power steering and laughable turning circle. Around town the NSX is extremely usable. Once the steering lightens up, you are quickly slicing through traffic with ease.However, once you plant boot on the open road, Honda’s engineering genius becomes all too real. While not rapid and sharp by today’s standards, the NSX is still a proper giggle factory. Thanks to the blood curdling howl of that amazing V6 engine, all the way up to its 8,000 rpm redline, short shifting via the short throw bolt action rifle-esque five-speed gearbox is seldom practiced.

 

Honda NSX
YOU DON’T NEED A FLASH BADGE TO MAKE A PROPER SUPERCAR

As spine tingling its straight-line oomph and noise is, the NSX plays its ace card when those straights turn into fast, tight corners. The NSX tracks well and true, the lack of power steering means that steering feedback is quick and communicative.
Having the Senna developed chassis on hand means you can devour tight hairpins at an alarming rate. Simply stand on the anchors, down-shift to second, turn in and you rocket out of every bend grinning from ear to ear with that torrent of symphonic bliss echoing behind you.

The NSX was never a sales success for Honda, with customers rarely exceeding triple figures during each year of its 15-year life. Despite this, its exclusivity, real world practicality and thrill-a-minute driving experience, add up to one hell of a package. The Honda NSX is not perfect but shows that you don’t need a flash badge to make a proper supercar.

Honda’s new Civic Type R

All Good Things: Honda’s new Civic Type R


All good things come to those who wait. Such is the case with Honda’s new Civic Type R. Though the Civic Type R’s history dates back over two decades, the new 2018 Type R is the first to be sold new in New Zealand. Needless to say, I couldn’t sleep the night before picking it up.

Honda’s new Civic Type R

 

Like a cross between a transformer and an Imperial Stormtrooper, its striking looks are not just for show. Its spoiler, carbon splitter, rear diffuser, and air scoops are all functional, and blacked out 20-inch alloys housing those big Brembo brakes are pretty epic.
Inside, lashings of red interior trim, seatbelts and those hip hugging sports seats are a stark reminder of Honda’s Type R heritage. The driving position is spot on and, despite that gargantuan rear wing, rear visibility is just like a Civic, in other words, great.

Along with the usual infotainment accoutrements, the Type R allows you to cycle through a variety of menus depicting your boost pressure, the G-forces generated by accelerating and braking, and you can even record your lap times when on track.
Under the bonnet lies a 2.0-litre turbocharged VTEC four-cylinder engine boosting power to 228kW and 400Nm of torque. Mated to a six-speed manual gearbox, it is a real peach.
Driving through suburbia, the Type R is a doddle and has surprisingly good ride quality for a hot hatch. Plus, indicate left and you can view your blind spot on the screen via a camera hidden in the passenger wing mirror.

Type R purists more used to the screaming naturally aspirated on/off power of previous models, may scoff at the progressive power delivery of the new car, but that turbo in this writer’s opinion, is a welcome presence when commuting.
However, select R+ mode and the Type R goes completely nuts. At full throttle above 4,500rpm, you find the horizon rapidly and you will reach the national limit from a standstill in 5.7 seconds. The six-speed box is very slick and each down change is met with computer-controlled blip of the throttle, to keep the changes race car quick.
In the corners, the Type R’s Adaptive Damping System is constantly talking to the suspension, to ensure you have maximum stability, and the Limited Slip Diff means the dreaded torque steer, which plagues many FWD performance cars, is non-existent.

Add all this together and you will be devouring bits of bendy bitumen quicker than just about anything. Small wonder the Type R holds the lap record for FWD cars around the Nurburgring at 7 minutes 43 seconds.
With this new model, those smart cookies in Honda’s engineering department have created not only a worthy addition to the Type R lineage, but a driver’s dream. Plus, you still get all the real-world practicality of a Civic, and at $59,990, it undercuts its main European rivals considerably.
All in all, without doubt the most exciting FWD car I’ve ever driven.