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Life with a Honda Civic Type R: the pothole diaries
Our Type R’s been in the wars – and come out fighting. Your move, Highways Agency
As ever, the pictures only tell half the story. Here, it looks like the Type R chased our Fiesta ST along its 2,220-mile test, as seen in issue 309 of Top Gear magazine, saddled with camera gear, spare walkie-talkies and dubious protein-infused flapjacks, and had a lovely, incident-free time in the sunshine. Actually, it nearly didn’t happen. The Civic’s been in the wars.
The first clue something was awry was m’colleague Mr. Punctual, Tom Harrison, being uncharacteristically late to the rendezvous point on the A1 before both cars convoyed north on a bright Saturday morning. He’d been at the Civic’s wheel when it was wounded by the Marianas Trench of potholes. Unavoidable, smack in the middle of a 70mph carriageway.
“The Civic thumped through it with the sharpest, most violent crack I’ve ever experienced in a car”, he reported. “I was surprised the windscreen didn’t crack, and the tyre didn’t burst. I rolled into a layby half a mile up the road and inspected the damage to the alloy. There wasn’t anything visible though. Four other cars were there in the same layby, their drivers on their hands and knees examining the fronts of their cars.”
However, an excruciating metal-on-metal knocking noise once back underway proved the Civic was not well.
More out of hope than expectation, Tom limped the car to Marshall Honda Peterborough, who had their techie jack up the Type R. I was astounded to learn the diagnosis was the front-left damper itself had been bent out of whack, causing a dislodged suspension link to bang against the inside of the front wing. I was even more astonished when the Type R was back on the road an hour later, suspension reconnected.
“At no point did I tell them I was a journalist, or who the car belonged to, which makes the level of service we were given all the more impressive,” Tom recalled. “Didn’t even charge us.”
The Type R has just flashed up its Service A notification, and it’s booked for its check-up in the next fortnight. The damper, plus the squeaky brakes, will get the once-over then. Otherwise, I’m happy with the Civic’s health – it’s not using oil, tyre wear looks respectable, and fuel consumption is improving as the miles rack up (28-32mpg day-to-day, with 38-40mpg on a motorway run doable). The pothole incident still smarts, though.
Our nation’s roads, after the Beast from the East cold snap, are no longer a joke, or a hashtag VeryBritishProblem. They’re a bloody scandal. If a pothole can wreck the suspension of a ‘Ring-honed superhatch, imagine what they’d do to a motorcyclist, or an older, more worn car. Be careful out there, until the government pulls its finger out and repairs the network we all pay a small fortune for the privilege of using…