THE all-new, latest-generation Honda Civic Type R raises the bar in the highly competitive high-performance hatchback segment. Honda’s latest thoroughbred makes full use of the marque’s Type R heritage and motorsport expertise, while applying meaningful innovation and further enhancing real driver appeal.Honda South Africa used to be synonymous with sporty, fun-to-drive compact sedan and hatchbacks, but the brand is much more buttoned-up these days. It’s easy to understand why — the performance segment is but a tiny part of the market and there’s much more potential for volume sales in the entry-level budget cars and family SUVs (Honda launched the family friendly BR-V and CR-V in 2017, for example). There’s also been a new Civic launch, which saw the debut of the marque’s first turbocharged motor.As for the previous Honda Civic Type R, it offered a whirlwind drive on the track, but while we were enthralled with its circuit-cutting prowess, commuting in one was an uncomfortable affair; the ride quality was just too harsh. The timing is perfect then, for the all-new Honda Civic Type R to make an entrance. The hot hatchback market has seen some new arrivals and 2018 looks set to be a cracking year for this segment. In South Africa, the Honda Civic Type R has landed first.To be fair, the Honda Civic Type R has always been a left-field choice in the hot hatch market. After repeatedly shunning turbocharged motors in favour of high-revving naturally aspirated screamers, the previous generation Type R debuted with a rapid 2.0-litre turbo petrol motor under its bonnet. It was just a pity that even a short drive from home to the fast-food drive through tended to be a white-knuckled affair. Honda’s new Civic Type R comes packed with features, which you’d expect when buying a flagship model. The front seats are wonderfully supportive and are of the racing-bucket variety, plus the cockpit is adorned with a beautifully crafted aluminium gear knob and a thick, ultra-direct steering wheel. The dashboard features a comprehensive seven-inch set-up that displays info such as gearshift indicator, turbo-boost pressure gauge, G-force meter, and lap-time recorder. The eight-speaker sound system features USB ports and HDMI connectivity (it’s also Apple CarPlay compatible), while integrated satellite navigation, a reverse-view camera with park sensors, auto lights/wipers and the dual-zone climate control system sweeten the deal. In terms of safety, the Honda Civic Type R has an uprated Brembo braking system with ABS anti-lock control, including electronic brake force distribution (EBD) and emergency brake assist (EBA). Hill Start Assist (HSA), six air bags and Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) are also standard.The new Honda Civic Type R has addressed its previous model’s major shortcoming and expanded on its established strengths. The manual gearbox may be on borrowed time thanks to the ease of use and convenience of the dual-clutch gearbox, but when it’s mated to something properly engineered for driving fun, its demise is postponed for a while longer.Usually, hardcore track-orientated cars are one-trick ponies and almost impossible to live with on a daily basis. However, you could drive the Type R to work and back day in and day out in Comfort mode, with the engine barely boosting. Pricing is competitive too, with the newcomer just fractionally more expensive than the outgoing car, yet it offers so much more, plus you won’t need to have a chiropractor on speed dial.The new Honda Civic Type R comes in some sensational colours. We’d pick the traditional Championship White in a heartbeat. However, the Sonic Grey Pearl and Rallye Red are also beautiful on the eye.The vehicle comes with a comprehensive five-year/200 000 km warranty, as well as a five-year/90 000 km service plan and a three-year AA Roadside Assistance plan. Scheduled services are at 10 000 km intervals. The Honda Civic Type R costs R627 900. — Supplied.