Throughout the drive, the Civic Type R’s 6-speed manual transmission stood out as a highlight. Rarely does a gearbox steal the spotlight unless it’s particularly bad or quirky, but this one was sublime. The clutch pedal moves as fast as your foot can, but still has that resistance to communicate everything that’s happening beneath your foot, deftly avoiding being too heavy or so gossamer-like that there is no feedback whatsoever. Rowing the shifter between gears is like stirring a bowl of thick, buttery cream. It moves throughout the gate deliberately but gently in a way that’s almost uncomfortably satisfying.
This gearbox includes the on-by-default rev matching feature the previous Type R sported, though faster thanks to upgrades that include a lighter flywheel. Overall, it’s very unobtrusive, and its quickness combined with the gearbox’s smooth nature further masks its involvement, leaving you to wonder at times if you’ve been nailing a series of sweet shifts or if this smart system was carrying you all along.
Throttle is equally buttery as it isn’t dialed in so much as it’s poured, gently flowing from the front wheels and coating the road below, without any hesitation. Brakes performed similarly well, not necessitating a heavy foot while also avoiding any twitchy sensitivity. Looking back on it now, the Civic Type R felt expertly calibrated, as if the steering, suspension and drivetrain was tuned to my bespoke tastes, but of course it wasn’t, it’s just that tightly put together.