There aren’t many changes to the transverse-mounted, 316bhp/295lb ft, 1,996cc twin-cam engine. It still has a conventional Mitsubishi turbo, but with sodium-filled valves, oil-cooled pistons and an exhaust manifold cooling jacket. The variable exhaust valve lift mechanism and the variable camshaft timing have been recalibrated to speed exhaust gas flow and gain another 10bhp.
The engine drives the front wheels through a six-speed manual transmission and a Quaife-type, helical-cut limited-slip differential. Top speed is 169mph, 0-62mph in 5.8 seconds, with 36.7mpg in the NEDC Combined cycle (we got 21mpg) and 176g/km of CO2. It costs from £30,995 and the GT version, which comes with parking sensors, satnav, dual-zone air-conditioning, dashboard highlights and folding mirrors, costs another £2,000.
The cabin is crammed with go-faster surface changes and shouty red fabrics, inserts and lamps. It's nicely made and the fabrics are pleasant to the touch, but compared with Golf, it's as if you opened a door expecting the British Library and instead found a Little Mix encore. Standard sports seats manage the difficult trick of being supportive and comfy, though that traditional Type R aluminium-topped gear lever gets too hot to touch on a sunny afternoon. Since the new Civic's fuel tank has been moved from under the front seats to under the rears, you also sit lower at the steering wheel. There's enough space for three adults on the rear bench, though the front seats restrict legroom, and the boot is a highly respectable 420 litres.
Thankfully the driving dynamics selector is down by the gearlever, which makes it a lot simpler to adjust than negotiating your way round the centre screen, which has good graphics but completely confusing control logic.