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It might seem an odd choice, but after my daughter was born we needed a bigger car and were in the market for something practical and spacious, while at the same time satisfying our craving for a little fun once in a while. Having previously owned Hondas, we were keen to stick with the brand having come to take their bullet proof nature for granted. Given the higher maintenance costs and potential for things to go wrong with a high performance saloon, the Accord Type-R seemed to make a lot of sense. The only slight concern was the image of the car. Not that I didn't like it, because I did, but because it seemed like a car that could attract the wrong kind of attention. However, when comparing to other Type-Rs, I decided that, besides the gigantic rear wing, the Accord actually looked relatively tame/mature in comparison. Once I was decided in getting one, the next big challenge was finding one as in comparison to the ten-a-penny Civic Type-R, and even the less common Integra Type-R, the Accord Type-R is bordering on an endangered species; not least because the line ended in 2003. I looked at 2 or 3 cars before deciding on a silver one with relative low mileage. It was a 2001 plate, which was the year the car was face-lifted. This meant I got (what I considered) a slightly better looking front end, but the downside being that, although the car still featured a twin exhaust system, they dropped the twin chrome tips, meaning the rear profile of the car is slightly less impressive. That said, with the aforementioned rear wing, there is no chance anyone will mistake the car with any other in the Accord range. The car sits on 17" alloys, complete with low profile Bridgestone tyres, completing what is a very pleasing profile from any angle of the car. It also came with A/C, front fog lights and HID head lights, the latter of which I believe is standard trim for the car, but the others were optional extras so I was glad to find a car with these. Inside the car there are various trims available, but I was more than happy with the alcantara trim in mine, which looks very nice indeed, and not nearly as overstated as some of the other variations I'd seen (e.g. bright red). The car is kitted out with branded Recaro seats for the driver and passenger (which are very comfortable as well as practical in keeping you firmly planted), and a leather Momo steering wheel and titanium gear knob ensure you don't forget that what you're driving. The driving position is good, and there is plenty of room in both the front and back, as well as a generous boot space. So what about the drive? Well, this is where the car truly shines. As a family car, it's practical around town and comfortable on the motorway for long journeys. The ride may be too firm for some given the stiff springs and low profile tyres, but in my opinion the payoff in added stability and grip more than justifies this. If you're in the market for a Type-R you probably already know a little about Honda's VTEC engines, and that something interesting happens around 5500-6000 revs. However, the 5-speed gearbox allows you to have a perfectly fine (if somewhat subdued) driving experience without ever exceeding 4500 revs, and this will certainly give you a better return on your miles per gallon. However, this car is a Jekyll and Hyde, and you'd be completely missing the point of buying one if you don't explore its dark side on a regular basis. The first time takes a bit of courage, and a suspension of disbelief. Your natural reaction if you've never driven a Type-R before is to change up a gear long before you get anywhere near the 5800 revs. It feels unnatural, but you need to leave your foot firmly planted to the floor and wait for the fireworks. When the VTEC kicks in, you'll be forgiven for thinking there is a turbo charger under the bonnet, as you are pushed backwards into your seat. The engine note changes distinctly at the same time, and fills your ears with a sound that, if you closed your eyes (don't!), you'd swear you were in a 300BHP touring car blazing around Silverstone (the reality is a 210BHP with a 0-60 time of just over six seconds, but it feels quicker). This goes on right up to the redline around 8000 RPM, although you'll hit the rev limiter before this. If there is a criticism of this car, it's that you have to drive it on the absolute limit to get the best out of it, and you'll wish for a six speed gearbox to drop you just a little closer to the sweet spot each time you change up. As it is, the 5 speed box, while very capable and smooth, doesn't really allow you to quite do this consistently. Of course, it does mean you get to feel the kick in every gear each time you reach 5800 RPM. Of course, it's not all about straight line speed, and the Accord also has sublime handling thanks to its lowered stance on stiffer springs and low profile tyres, not to mention the limited slip differential. Going around corners doesn't seem to be a concern at any speed, and the car seems to excel in the wet also. Never once did I feel anywhere near the limit of grip, which inspires a huge amount of confidence. The car comes with driver and passenge airbags, but the car never leaves you feeling that you might ever need them. The steering is also very responsive, and you get just the right amount of feedback from the road. I'd sum up the driving experience in one word - addictive, and the sound of the VTEC engine in full flow is utterly exhilarating (enhanced by the fact that sound proofing in the engine bay has been removed from the Type-R Accord to keep the weight down). I should mention running costs I suppose, although I'm not sure you really buy a car like this is you are too concerned about the pounds and pence of running it. I averaged around 30MPG, driving the car in a balanced way, but you'll probably get significantly less than this is you can't stay out of the VTEC zone. The car also requires a minimum of 98 octane fuel, as a sticker next to the filler cap reminds you. Personally I always used Shell Optimax (now V-Power) which is 99 octane. Insurance was group 17, but quotes were not as steep as I expected. Recommended service interval is around 9 thousand miles, and not overly expensive. However, watch your oil levels. When I bought the car they recommended checking the oil every two fills of the petrol tank as a minimum. I thought this sounded over the top, but believe me it isn't. These cars drink oil like I drink cider and you can get into serious problems if you let them run low and drive them hard. Reliability-wise the car was as bullet proof as any other Honda I've ever owned before or since, but the pressure inside these VTEC engines is immense so you have to look after them in line with the manufacturer's guidance. The Type-R Accord is undoubtedly the dark horse of the range, and having owned a Civic Type-R since I can say hand on heart that the Accord is the superior car. That's a serious compliment as the Civic is a very capable all-rounder too, but for that raw edge, the thrill of the Accord when it's in the zone is something I can't adequately describe in words - seeing (or feeling) is believing. Obviously it's not a 911 or anything close, but I'm willing to bet you can't have this much fun in any other car in this (or any other) class for under £10k. It's the best car I've ever owned, and I wish I still had one. I sincerely hope Honda eventually get around to re-instating the Type-R or something similar to the Accord range, as it's sorely missed. If you get even half a chance, drive one. (Review also posted under the same name on another review site).
bought this as my first car, after driving a few of my parents' cars. and WHAT a first car!! this thing drives like a beast, handles amazingly, and looks awesome. One of the best things about it is that it's so rare - i've never seen another one. Not like Imprezas or Civic Type R's.only bad thing is that previous owners drive it hard, and mpg can be rubbish in city driivng. :)
Ah the type R. I was lucky enough to be given this car as a company car a year ago, when I took over the car it had 50,000 miles on the clock and was just 14months old. Exterior From the outside the car is visually impressive front rear and side skirts, 18" wheels and low profile tyres, oh yeah and a huge spoiler on the back more about that later. Plus discreet type r badging and the red Honda badge, which only comes on, type R's. The real give away are the two shiny exhaust pipes sticking out the back, which does confuse people ?is this a v6 v8?? no it's just a very powerful 4 cylinder. The headlights too hint at something more with the main lights being HID which give of a very clear blue white light (you'll get used to people flashing) Interior The first thing that hits you is the Recaro seats they seem to fill the front because they are so high, but sit down and they hug you like they were made for you personally. Both seats have adjustable squabs which are great for tall drivers like me and give the additional leg support needed a real boon on long journeys. The driver?s seat also has adjustable lumbar support, which is the blow up type, a couple of squeezes on the bulb down the side of the seat, and your lower back is perfectly aligned. Luckily you don't have to do this too much as it's a little tight down the side of the seat. The dash is simple and everything falls to hand, the heater controls are simple mine has the additional air-conditioning which helps, switchgear is a little flimsy feeling compared to the chunkiness of more modern cars but works just fine. The joy of the interior is the sports feel the steering wheel is MOMO and your hands fall naturally to the racing driver quarter past three position (don't listen to your driving instructor) and it is perfectly sized, the doors are finished in good plastics with carbon fibre detail which continues throughout the car, and the gear kn ob is fitted with a very pleasing aluminium gear knob. The drive Flick the key and the engine starts but surprisingly for a 212bhp car it is very quiet almost disappointingly so having driven a Subaru Impreza which gives a satisfying burble you get nothing, but the Japanese know that performance isn't about standing still it's about going. From the off the car feels really tight but well behaved none of the jerkiness at low speed you usually associate with performance cars, in fact around town it could be the family runabout. The steering is easy, the clutch not too heavy and the engine not really pushing to do too much. This is the joy of VTech Honda's whiz bang engine technology at low revs it uses less cam and fuel therefore making it very well behaved rev the car and all hell breaks loose. So, onto the open road push hard on the accelerator and the revs build really quickly towards 6000 rpm this is when most people start to change gear but oh no look closely at the rev counter and you will find the red line nuzzled up near 8000 revs. So hold it in gear and waaaaaaaa waaaaaaaaa he he he at 5500 revs the second stage of VTECH kicks in all cams lift the induction note changes and this thing flies. A friend of mine drove one of these for a week before realising this and came to me and said that he didn?t think it was that quick, one trip down a dual carriageway later holding the gears longer and he was hooked. This car is a little addictive, when I first took my girlfriend out in it and showed her VTECH she then proceeded to try to drive everywhere at 6000+ revs everybody does even me. The handling is razor sharp and you have to be pushing really hard to get under steer in fact lift off in a bend and the back pleasantly steps out, but as I say you have to be pushing really hard (well by my standards anyway). The driving position is excellent and you feel part of the car with the recaro?s hugging you and the steering wheel firm i n your hand, it really is one of the best driving saloon cars I?ve ever driven. The practicalities of living with a type r Fuel is the biggest issue as the car runs on 98+-octane fuel so you have to buy super unleaded or better still Shell Optimax (99 Octane). You can run on normal unleaded if stuck but be careful they have been known to hole pistons if you stick with the cheap stuff for too long. If you get too addicted to the VTECH you can expect to be visiting Mr Shell every 200 miles if you are steadier you will get around 340. Secondly oil with an engine running at this sort of power and revs these things use oil, they are meant to. Honda?s advice is that you should check the oil every time you fill up the reality is that it takes about a litre of oil (synthetic) every 1000 miles between services. Probably unsurprisingly tyres the fronts last about 12000 miles depending on how kind you are to them, and the rears about 24000. A set of four Bridgestone tyres will cost around £240, which isn?t bad. That spoiler For the first 6 weeks I had an uneasy feeling that something was following me it is big. It makes it impossible to see what?s following at a distance, which the police like to do. On the plus side on the motorway at night it blocks out a lot of the glare from the headlights of the car behind. The biggest bugbear is the ventilation system, even with fans on four and ac on it takes at least 10 minutes to clear the windscreen on a winter?s day. Turn the ac off and it will instantly fog up again. In the summer you have to have everything turned to maximum to get any sort of real cooling. Servicing and repairs Servicing is cheap £90 for an interim and £200 for a major service and the boys at Honda do a really good job. In it?s 96000 miles the only major bits we had done were a clutch £600 at 92000 and a set of rear brakes discs £400 apart from that just servicing. And now the end is near the accord has now done 96000 miles and is nearing the end of its life with us and still with that level of mileage there are no squeaks or rattles and the engine is still superb. Unfortunately Honda have brought out the new accord which although very polished just doesn?t have the grin inspiring fun of the type r. rumours are abound that they will bring one out but it seems unlikely. So, the next worthy successor to the crown is likely to be a seat Cupra R. let?s hope it?s good, as it has some really big shoes to fill.
In my persuit of the car for me I have driven the Seat Leon Cupra, (reviewed on DooYoo) the Leon Cupra R and two of the Accord Type R's. As you may note there is a great time difference between the reviews due to a short spell of unemployment (obviously stopping me from being in the market for a new car). I will try to compare between the two Honda's and then sum up between the two makes at the end. The first Accord I took out was a 2000 model in black. First impresions about the car were good, after reading reviews in magazines and listening to a work collegue talking about his Integra R I couldnt wait to get in the cockpit of this baby and put her through her paces. The sales guy on the day drove the car for about 3 mile to let her warm up before he would let me have a go, I thought this ok as if I was a sales person trying to sell a car I wouldnt want it scewred from cold. Finally, he pulled in and we swapped places. Now on this wet day we were having trouble getting the screen to de-mist fully as the car didnt have air conditioning (and this was a nightmare) but on I went with my cockpit check before I set off. The dash looked nice everything in place not too small but not in your face. The Recaro seats gripped you like they were specifically made to fit arround your body, belt on and with a per off we went. I asked the sales guy from the start 'can I drive this how I would usually drive' and he replyed of course. I set off through town with the trafic to see how heavy the clutch and steering were, and to my delight the steering was perfect, not the usual honda feather light. The sales guy explained to me how Honda have introduced a speed sensitive power steering system and the faster you went the less the power steering worked. The clutch was also a good weight for the arround town driving. We pulled upto a set of lights and I thought I have to feel the power of the 2.2 VTEC, alas the green light came and after a small wheel spin we shot off like a rocket around to 8000 revs and the noise of that power house was 100% spectacular, we soon saw 60 MPH and hard on the brakes due to another set of red lights. Ok the drive arround town and from a standing start were good but I do a lot of motorway driving so from the lights I turned right at the next round about and joined the M60 once again I thought I goto the red line in the first 3 gears to feel that engine propell you into what seemed like nothing over 50 MPH but in reality we were neerer the 100 mark. We carried on at a good 90 (even though it was very wet, madness) and the car didnt show a sign of aqua plaining nor did it dis behave in any way. The test drive in total was about 40 mile and from the way I was driving her at times I was amased as the reletivly little fuel I had used. All in all a driving pleasure. When we arived back at the showroom we talked a few figures and I thought it cheaper to see the bank manager about a loan (as this was cheaper APR than Honda) but by the time it was approved the car was sold. My second experiance of the Accord's immense power came only two days ago and it was a 2002 model. There were a few nice extras on her for example Air conditioning, Electric rear windows and the red meshed interior, Once again the drive was a pleasure the sales man alowing me a free ride in respect to what I did with her and where I took her. For some reason this car had a better feel to her more power and I was able to feel more through the steering wheel. From the Honda Garage in Ashton Under Lyne, I took the car to the test circuit that Seat use just to feel the differences between the cars, and there were differences. From the 170 BHP of the Leon cupra to the 209 of the Accord you wouldnt have thought that much difference but my god there were. Again overtaking an artic on the same stretch of road was a doddle, come down to second and wait for th e 5500 rev kick up the ass you feel at take off from a jet plane. I have discussed the purchase of the car with my partner and if all things go well I should be the owner of this lovley red beast in about 8 week when the sale of the house is complete (no I am not selling the house to buy a car I am actually moving to a bigger house neer Hereford).
After some careful thinking and consultation of the house teenager (that’s me!) my parents decided to trade their Honda Civic in for the Honda Accord Type R. My parents hadn't a clue about the car before I told them about it. At a relatively cheap price of £22000 brand new, this car was well worth the money. From its very sporty and stylish looks on the outside to what hides beneath the bonnet of this masterpiece. We chose vesuvius red as the colour for this car. I felt it made the sports bodykit stand out in the crowd. Under the arches, a rather large set of 17-inch alloys in the design of split five spokes. On the behind of this Type R accord, a very sporty looking twin exhaust system, the tailpipes being finished off in aluminium. This car doesn’t have the Type-R sign after its name just for the sake of it. Under the bonnet is a 2.2 litre VTEC engine. Honda makes the best engines due to their ability to produce the most horsepower from the smallest engines. If I said this beast produced 220bhp at 7,200rpm you would probably think “How??” Well Honda took a look at the 2.2 litre engine they dropped in the Honda Prelude and went down to some work. They raised the compression ratio, balanced and lightened the internals of the car, and gave the ports and valves a lot more flowbench time. At around 1,400kg it isn’t exactly a light saloon, but the engine manages to shift this thing from 0-60mph in around 7.2 secs with a top speed of approximately 148mph. The thing that I love most about this car is what I call the “twin engine”. Around town, when my mother drives around like a Sunday driver :-) the engine sound is nothing dissimilar to the normal Accord. But when my Dad steps into the car….things really start to hot up! At 5,800rpm the VTEC engine kicks in. The induction note gets lower, and as you get to just under 7,000rpm, a racing car scream sounds from under the bonnet until you get to the 8,000rpm cut out :-( Inside the car, comfort is a top priority, something you realise when you sink into the hugging Recaro racing bucket seats. The seats also have spaces near the top to allow for full harnesses to be fitted. With a chunky Momo steering wheel, there is plenty to hold on to, essential when you’re thrashing this thing! The dials have a racing design, being white with red pointers. The handling of this car is another positive point. With the suspension uprated with shorter springs and the specially valved dampers, this car handles a dream. The thing is, if you happened to look underneath the car, you’ll find that it looks pretty bog standard. Nothing is painted or polished which is a little disappointing. The Brembo brakes on this car are excellent, with 300mm vented discs on the front and 260mm solid discs on the back. Overall, an amazing piece of machinery for the price. I highly recommend this car. Mind you…it ain’t for the faint hearted!!
It is now over a year since I last revised this review. Please see end for updates. Because of business and family demands, we run two cars. As at mid-2000, these were a Renault Espace and a Mercedes 190. In late 2000 we were looking for a further new car, something 'sporty' for Heather now that the off -spring are (mostly) away. We had test drives of the Honda Integra R, the Honda Civic VTIS, a Mazda MX5 1.8i, an Alfa Romeo 156 (2 litre Veloce and 2.5 litre V6), a Mercedes 420 SEC (second hand), the (old model) Imprezza Turbo, the Mercedes 230 SLK and our final choice, the Honda Accord Type R. Heather had previously rejected the Accord range, saying that it looked "too ordinary", but she had not seen the Type R, so when I was able to show her one (parked near to us the day after the Civic VTIS test drive), she was admitted she was 'more interested'. The rear spoiler and the twin exhaust pipes gave the 'look' that she had said she wanted, the only apparent problem being the limited colour choice. Why OH why do Honda do this ? For example, the Civic 1.8VTIS is only available in 'Pirates Black'; the Integra R was at one time only available in 'Championship White', but then later could be bought in Milano Red and Pirates Black (but in other countries, blue and yellow are available). The Accord Type R colours are solid red, silver and a pearlescent black (called 'Nighthawk Black? - black with tiny blue flecks - only really visible in direct sunlight). But why no metallic reds, or any blues - or greens - or even white ?? After all, white is the Japanese 'racing' colour and the car is sold in Japan in white (I have seen 'grey imports' in this colour). It seems perverse to have such choice limitations. In common with many women, Heather is very colour-conscious. She even went as far as to say, quite categorically, that she would not want a black car . But, gu ys ! We all know - "ALL WOMEN ARE ENTITLED TO CHANGE THEIR MINDS !!" ?unquote. We were in agreement that silver was not an option - too many about (but I do agree they do 'hide? dirt better), whatever the other attractions. Reluctantly she agreed that the red colour would be a 'possibility', so a test drive was booked. Has anyone ever carried out a survey to establish how many people have an extended test drive before buying a new car? My conversations with friends and with dealers seem to indicate that it is relatively few, which amazes me. After all, this is probably the second biggest purchase you make, and adding up the costs over the years, car ownership will probably cost more than your house. So, would you buy a house from only reading the estate agents brochure ? Admittedly, at weekends it can be difficult (but not impossible) to arrange a suitable drive. During the week, as long as you have the courtesy to telephone first, most salesmen are only too willing to have an excuse to get out of the showroom and practice their selling skills on you. A drive of at least 20 miles, with both you and the salesman driving, is essential. Indeed, have you considered why do so many people sell their cars after 6 months to a year ? I suspect that it is often due to some dissatisfaction with comfort or performance, which can easily be picked up with a test drive. So what about the Accord Type R ? Well, whilst not absolutely silent, it did have some sound insulation and we noticed it was much quieter than the Integra R and the Civic VTIS that we had test driven. The suspension is definitely slightly softer and more comfortable than those models and, on the test drive, driving it gently - out to the A1, to the east of Edinburgh, it felt almost like a very ordinary car. The rear wing (and I say that it is that - not a spoiler!) does cause a slight problem with rear view vision and it is a 'no-cost delete' option. However, the salesman kindly pointed out that it does give you a reference point when reversing, and I had to agree. This salesman had chosen the route for the test drive with care and some expertise. Directing me out of the city, we turned off the (very busy) A 1 at the second intersection and I drove along a B road with low hedges and good visibility. This is where the 2.2 litre VTEC engine could come into its own. Beyond 5,500 rpm, it gave a real 'kick in the back', like an 'after-burner' and overtaking slower traffic was a doddle. However, if in second gear, it is so easy to 'over-rev' it so that the cut-out comes into operation and you lose your power. It really is so turbine smooth above 6,000 rpm that you don't notice, until it is too late. But all knowledge comes with experience ... It produces 209 bhp and a 0-60 time is quoted at between 6.9 and 7.5 seconds, depending on the road test. Our car continued improving up to 4,000 miles, but of course we will never see that 140+ mph maximum speed. Since then it runs effortlessly. The engines of the R series Hondas are hand-built in Japan, with only two specially trained technicians involved. The Recaro seats seemed slightly wider and more accommodating than in the Integra (and thus impressed Heather) but the gearshift perhaps initially a little less precise (and more 'clunky') than the Integra. The steering is again 'pin sharp' and the handling only marginally second best to the Integra, but the smoother ride compensated. Note I said a 'smoother ride'. It is still very firm and will skitter slightly on rough roads. The brakes were more than adequate for the task of slowing the car, and this is definitely a car that I can drive over 300 miles in without aches and stiffness. Around town, the car drives well without drama. Heath er had no difficulty getting in and out of the front seat at the end of our drive (over 45 minutes on the road) and I could tell from the look on her face that this is definitely a possible purchase. Slight criticisms of the specific car we drove: The clutch pedal squeaked badly, and I was surprised that it was let out for a test dr ive with this annoying feature - OK I know that it would be simple to fix, but why let it intrude ?; One of the silencers was well-out of true, possibly indicating a problem with reversing into something? (I suggested to the salesman); The steering wheel itself (a Momo leather-rim) was slightly disappointing, the 'feel' and the red 'H' in the centre boss rather put me off, but Heather was impressed (I would prefer a wood rim wheel, myself); Air conditioning is an expensive (dealer fitted at £950) option, and it is only a 'manual' system, rather than the 'climate control' fitted as standard to many cheaper Accord models. The magazine 'What Car' thinks highly of this model. They carried out a long-term 18,000 mile test (See their Website www.whatcar.co.uk) and sang its praises. In the March 2001 issue they have given it second place in their Car of the Year Performance car category, behind the BMW M3 (at almost twice the price), but ahead of the Imprezza Turbo (which is how I'd rate them from my test drives, including the new model Imprezza Turbo). I will continue my praise of Honda dealers. There was no pressure, only polite interest in what cars we owned and had owned, confirmation that the car market was depressed, and that "good deals" were available if we wanted one of these models. All in all a very pleasant experience that I can thoroughly recommend. The Accord Type R is little more expensive than the Integra, with the cheapest new cars being advertised at £17995 to £19995 (with a revised £21,495 list). We eventually paid a deposit in November 2000 and I collected 'our' new Honda Accord Type R on 10th January 2001. Heather made the final decision, saying that she 'could not live' with a car as ugly as the new Imprezza, and the test drive that we (finally) managed to arrange in a V6 Alfa 156 was such a disaster. We bought the car from a company near Leicester, Bob Gerrard Cars. He had 4 in stock when we went there, two in red, one silver and one in black. He also had a black car awaiting collection. This was the only time we have been able to see all 3 colours together in one showroom. We had wanted to specify red, but we then decided on the Nighthawk Black, because we agreed (a record !) that the red did not look quite right (not as good as the Milano Red on the Integra) and we don't really like silver cars, as I mentioned above. Interesting point with the new Civic Type R is that dealers find the Red cars sell slower than the Black or Silver, so they offer lower p/ex prices. The Nighthawk Black has a slight blue pearlescent tinge, and the red badges and black exhaust boxes look good with that colour. Shows that the brochure is not enough - you really do have to see the colours 'in the flesh' before you can make the decision. The price ? Well, the company gets its cars from Cyprus, and we paid £17,995. A £750 deposit was paid by credit card, and the balance was paid by 'electronic transfer' using our Debit card when we collected the car. For that we got the car WITH FACTORY-FITTED AIR-CONDITIONING (only to be anticipated for Cyprus). As already mentioned, this is an expensive (£950) dealer-fit option in the UK, and this operation also often leaves tell-tale marks on the dash (two of the three cars that I have seen at Scottish dealers have this problem). What we don't get is a radio. However the UK supplied cars only get a 'level 2' radio-cas sette player, which we would have 'discarded' in favour of a radio/mini disc/multi-CD player, so that makes no difference. The UK dealer price would be : Car ..................£21,495 Air-con ............£950 Metallic paint.........£245 A discount of £1,000 was the maximum that could be obtained, which seemed madness. Indeed, I had hoped that showing the Bob Gerard advert (in 'The Times') would have been sufficient for the dealer to persuade Honda to allow it to offer a bigger discount. (I would even have paid up to a £500 premium to get it locally). Thus, it is a very useful saving, and in fact cheaper (and less of a problem) than getting it in Belgium or Holland as a personal import. We had covered over 4000 miles, running it in. We have had a Toad Cat 1 alarm fitted (£220); fog lights (£212), centre armrest (£85); and a Sony radio/minidisc/CD changer has been fitted (£250 in the Argos sale, including fitting, plus electric aerial and speakers £110!!!). A ?reversing aid? has also been fitted (£250). Problems so far ? Slight crease in passenger seat upholstery; Slight squeak from engine when starting up was diagnosed as a slipping air conditioner drive belt fixed under warranty by a local Honda dealer on 6 February. Dislikes : Very few. No light for the rear interior; No outside temperature gauge; Tyre noise; I understood that tyres would be expensive to replace, but the £140 each quoted locally is not so bad). Some roughness at low speeds from brakes rubbing. The discs have developed some rust because of salt on the roads, but this has now been 'cleaned off' and painted at the edges and in the centre. The paintwork gets faint surface scratches easily. A Ziebart Diamond Coating treatment is still to be arranged (£100). Likes : Looks good (aggressive, similar to Mitsubishi EVO 6 at over £25,000 ); Sounds sooooo good; Really goes like a bat out of hell (the real ?shove in the back? when you exceed 5,000 rpm must be experienced to be believed); Stops well; Seats (Recaro) very comfortable. Drove from Leicester to Edinburgh non-stop (350 miles) with no back-ache. Gas-Discharge headlights on our car (not charged extra). These weren' ;t on the car we test drove and when available as an extra on other makes cost £600 +. Our son changed the oil and oil filter at 2,100 miles. Have used Mobil 1 oil (fully synthetic) dosed with 5% ZX1, an anti-friction treatment (seemingly known only to engineers ...). Service every 9,000 miles. This has made the engine even better. Smoother, and more responsive. The effect of the variable valve timing has impressed all who have ridden in her. Now the 'kick in the back' has got even better. Have to watch it in the wet though ..... I can definitely recommend anyone wanting a performance saloon to wait for the next modifications, which are bound to include a 6 speed gearbox. It certainly needs the extra ratio to get the very best out of this engine. Heather just thinks it is sooo cooool. UPDATE April 2003 So, the car is now a little over 2 years' old and has covered a modest 15,230 miles. Bad news and dislikes? The front tyres only last about 8,000 miles before the centre part of the tread disappears entirely, so we are coming up to our second replacements. I reckon the rears will last until about 30,000 (but probably replace at the same time as the fronts are replaced for the third time). The gearbox has not totally lost its slight notchiness, and I STILL try to change up to (non-existent) 6th gear .... However, the brakes are now smooth. The Alcantera (suede-like) trim marks easily, particularly if white plastic shopping bags come into contact with it (so a boot tidy has had to be installed to keep shopping in order). The paintwork continues to mark easily and is the greatest disappointment. Black really is not a good colour for this with any manufacturer. The alloy wheels require great care with kerbs. So far only two minor scrapes, but the low profile tyres make it very difficult to avoid damage (as I have seen with most other Type R's). Good news? Utterley reliable. No other problem since that belt squeak (apart from the battery going flat for no apparent reason about two months ago. Possibly the central locking had frozen up. Servicing costs unbelievabley low. The last two (annual) dealer services cost under £90 each. The next service will cost a bit more (about £200). I replaced the disc pads myself last week (cost £55). Neighbours with similarly aged Audi A6 and Merc C class have each paid three times this. That engine !!!! Continues to enthrall. No nasty noises, leaks or oil loss. When will Heather want to change? Perhaps in a year? And if Honda goes ahead with a Type R version of the new model (rumoured to be 240 BHP and with a 6 speed gearbox). © Sidneygee 2001/2/3