In a way, it’s surprising Honda held out for so long. When the red Civic Type-R you see here was launched back in 2007, most of its rivals were already turbocharged. Take the MkV Volkswagen Golf GTI. It had the same power as the 198bhp Civic, but over 60lb ft more than the 142lb ft the Honda could muster, delivered almost 4,000rpm further down the rev range.
Photography: Mark Riccioni
This feature was originally published in issue 286 of Top Gear magazine