Honda has been out to prove the performance of its Civic Type R since the feisty hatch debuted for the 2017 model year, and its yardstick has been to set the lap record for front-wheel-drive cars at famous race tracks around the globe, including the Nürburgring.
The final attempt took place recently at the Hungaroring, the home of the Formula 1 Hungarian Grand Prix, and fortunately Honda had an F1 world champion it could call on for the attempt. We're talking about Jenson Button, who drove for Honda in F1—but won his title with Brawn—and currently drives for the Japanese automaker in Super GT.
After hopping behind the wheel of the 306-horsepower Civic Type R for a hot lap of the 2.7-mile Hungaroring, Button came away with a time of 2:10.19.
What impressed him the most was how neutral the car felt, despite its engine powering the front wheels only. It's something we agree with, which is why the Civic Type R managed to take home Motor Authority's Best Car To Buy 2018 award.
Jenson Button drives the 2017 Honda Civic Type R at the Hungaroring
“The first thing I noticed when I left the pit lane was how neutral the car was,” Button explained. “I come from a background that is not front-wheel drive focused, so it was very different for me but because the Type R is so well balanced it was instantly really enjoyable and more natural.”
Button was also impressed with how late he could brake into corners, and he also praised the fact that the car comes with a manual transmission, explaining that no other transmission type lets you feel so connected with the car.
The current Civic Type R has been on sale for a couple of years and it looks like Honda is planning to expand the lineup with some new variants. Both a tamer version and another a more potent one are believed to be in the works.
Below is a list of race tracks where the Civic Type R currently holds the record for front-wheel-drive cars.
Nürburgring Nordschleife: 7:43.8
Estoril: 2:01.84 (Tiago Monteiro)
Silverstone: 2:31.32 (Matt Neal)
Spa Francorchamps: 2:53.72 (Betrand Baguette)
Magny Cours: 2:01.51 (Esteban Guerrieri)
Hungaroring: 2:10.19 (Jenson Button)