Having attended the launch of the Type R and the Honda Jazz Sport some time ago, I was quite eager to do a preview on the exceptionally racy Civic Type R. With these vehicles flying off showroom floor, the popularity of this high-performance vehicle is growing at a rapid rate.
Simon Edwards, the Dealer Principal of Imperial Honda East Rand has been with the Dealership for the past 13 years. With a further five years in the motoring industry in total, Simon feels that his experience has taught him that a team of dedicated staff members are directly proportional to the success of the Dealership, and with the matchless quality and reliability offered by the Honda brand, strives to maintain a Dealership based on honesty, integrity and fair-dealing with each client. His love for the fast-paced and kinetic world of motoring is what urged Simon to move up the ranks from his starting role as a vehicle Salesman in his younger days. Summarising his philosophy, Simon believes that every client must be listened to and taken seriously, and in this way, encourages his staff to never drop the ball when it comes to client service.
A decade into his career, Dean du Croq is the Sales Manager at the Honda East Rand dealership. He notes that seeing people improve themselves and evolve is what he enjoys most, and believes that the Dealership itself nurtures both the staff and it’s customers to grow. A sense of respect and love for his team members is obvious when he speaks, and with a background in hospitality services, it is no wonder that Dean understands the importance of putting his client’s needs first. The art of listening to the needs of the client is what Dean believes will inevitably lead to solid trust relationships, and ultimately, happy clients. So dedicated is he to this industry that Dean hopes to one day also manage his own Dealership.
Alan la Grange is driven by a great love for motorcars and is the Sales Executive for Imperial Honda (with 12 years’ experience in the motoring industry and a history of racing motorcars in the past). With a candid laugh, Alan noted that he strives to give his clients the best information that is true and accurate in order to maintain a good relationship with them. Noting that he has become friends with many of his clients based on this honest and integrous philosophy, Alan adds with humility that it is easy to sell a prestige brand such as Honda to a client because he believes fully in the capabilities of the brand and can be truthful about the quality he is offering them.
Getting to the Vin Diesel of the Honda fleet, I can in all honesty state that the Civic Type R knocked my socks off with it’s unique look alone. Looking as though it would feel a lot more at home on a racetrack that the Dealership showroom, the Type R is the new generation variant of a long line of racing-pedigree Honda models that have come before it. As such, the manufacturer has gone above and beyond to ensure that this is, indeed, the cream of the crop. Honda seems to have done something right, because this vehicle set a new record for the fastest lap time of any front-wheel drive performance vehicle at the legendary Nürburgring recently, which was more than 7-seconds faster than it’s predecessor. What does that mean? Well, it simply means that we have a real race-car on our hands here, and, we can drive it down William Nicol drive.
It’s looks are obviously one of its most striking features. With strong, angular and almost jagged lines of styling, the Type R makes it’s purpose quite clear. Add to that the tell-tale red pinstripe and there is little left to the imagination when it comes to wondering what this vehicle does. It also boasts a triple-exhaust system, with two larger outlets that increase flow-rate by as much as 10%, whilst the smaller pipe decreases cabin noise (while still keeping ardent fans happy with its external roar). It is also aerodynamically designed to promote effective downforce and thus allows for dynamic handling which is imperative when driving at high speed. Similarly, the Type R has an adaptive damping system that increase damping variability, thereby giving you a smooth ride and better handling as well. 20-inch alloy wheels are standard (often in black) and not only characterise the vehicle but also promote better traction with correctly fitted tyres.
The heart of the beast is the 2 litre VTEC DOHC 16V, 4 cylinder Direct Injection engine which is turbocharged to deliver a ridiculous 228 kw of power and 400 Nm of torque. You did read that right. This translates to it taking only 5.7 seconds to hit 100 km/h. With a top speed of 270 km/h, the Type R is bound to cost you quite a bit in traffic fines if you have a heavy foot.
The interior of the vehicle is not neglected in favour of the machinery. In fact, the cabin is still quite well laid-out, with attention given to driver comfort. With sporty upholstery and distinctive sports-seats in the front, there is nothing about the cabin that will make you feel uncomfortable, or allow you to forget that you are in a performance vehicle. It is fully specced in terms of infotainment systems, air con and a host of active and passive safety features which Honda are proud to uphold (including ABS, EBD, EBA and HSA). Agile Handling Assist and Vehicle Stability Assist are also standard features that strive to ensure passenger safety.
Starting at around R635 500 for this incredible mean machine, the Type R has clearly resonated with many South Africans as it is positively being snatched off the showroom floor. It’s not hard to see why, and I find myself quite eager to test drive one too. The team at Honda East Rand assure me that the time will come!
Journalist: Desh Bechan
Reporter: Inge Stols
Editor: Belinda Anderson