Max Verstappen gets charged up for the new season

Gareth Herincx

4 days ago
Auto News

Max Verstappen with the Honda e:Ny1

Three-time Formula 1 World Champion Max Verstappen has surprised young go-kart racers near Oracle Red Bull Racing’s Milton Keynes HQ.

The 26-year-old got behind the wheel of the all-electric Honda e:Ny1 ahead of 2024 FIA Formula 1 season, which marks 20 years of Red Bull Racing, and 60 years since Honda’s first participation in F1.

Silently whisking him from the Red Bull Technologies Campus to a local indoor go-kart circuit, Verstappen watched the young racers on track, before taking the time to offer his advice and share memories from the early days of his own motorsport career.

“To be here at the kart track to see the younger kids race, and trying to get into the racing world, is really great to see,” said Verstappen. “It was great to see their smiles and it’s always great to interact with race fans.”

Max Verstappen with young racers

“It was so surprising, and just such a good experience,” added Emeli Jordan. “I kind of thought it would be someone from Red Bull, not necessarily a driver, like an engineer or someone, but not Max Verstappen. I was completely speechless; I had no idea what to say!”

Sid Smith added: “It was such a surprise to come round the corner and see Max Verstappen. It’s always been a dream to meet him. It was absolutely awesome. And I got a signed hat as well, so it was definitely a day to remember.”

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New SW-Motech Luggage For The 2023 Honda Hornet

First launched as a 600cc model in 1998 (the 1996 CB250F was Japan-only), the popular naked middleweight motorcycle has now returned as the cost effective CB750. And as a capable all-rounder, you can increase the carrying capacity and versatility with the new SW-Motech luggage for the 2023 Honda Hornet.

As a former Hornet owner, I used mine for everything from track days to touring trips. So I can appreciate the need for increasing the luggage capacity, and also anything that can be quickly and easily removed at your destination. I liked mine so much, my dad actually bought the same model (the 2007 version with the more angular nose), while friends have owned models dating back all the way to the original.

And the new model is likely to appeal to a range of riders, coming in at £6,999, less than rivals, with a 91 bhp parallel twin cylinder engine, 190kg weight and a low 795mm seat height. All of which should make it good for commuting or longer trips.

Some of the new SW-Motech luggage for the 2023 Honda Hornethere. And you can check out all our news and coverage of Honda motorcycles, here. If you can’t stretch to a new Hornet, then older models are still well worth checking out, and there’s always a wide selection for sale via eBay. I’m definitely keeping an eye out for a secondhand grey import CB250F…


Honda Civic Type R review

Honda Civic Type R review

We put the latest incarnation of Honda’s hot hatch through its paces – on the road and on track…

There are a handful of new cars worthy of a genuine fanbase, and the Honda Civic Type R is one of them.

With a pedigree stretching back to 1997, it’s become a legendary model in the automotive world – and now it’s the turn of the sixth generation Civic Type R (which is based on the 11th generation Civic).

Known as the FL5 in Honda-speak, it takes over from the FK8 (2017-22).

Honda Civic Type R review

I had high hopes for the new Civic Type R after driving the impressive family hatchback version of the now hybrid-only Civic, because it handled very well.

I praised its agile drive, adding, “it stays flat in more challenging corners, there’s good grip and the steering is nicely weighted, which all bodes well for the upcoming Type R”.

Well, I got my first taste of the new Honda Civic Type R at a wet Thruxton circuit, preceded by a varied road route on and around a sodden Salisbury Plain.

The new Type R is really a finely tuned evolution of the acclaimed outgoing model, so a tough act to follow.

Honda Civic Type R review

Already the track record holder at Suzuka, Honda reckons the FL5 “is a fitting way to celebrate 30 years of the Type R nameplate”.

Priced from £46,995, it’s the best looking Type R yet. Inheriting the standard Civic’s softer lines and good proportions. Let’s say it’s less boy racer and all grown up.

Sure, there are plenty of extra aerodynamics compared to its sensible sibling, but even the considerable rear wing seems restrained compared to previous generations.

Unlike the regular Civic, there’s no electrical assistance. Instead, there’s a more powerful-than-before 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine.

Honda Civic Type R review

It’s got 325bhp to offer up – slightly more than the 316bhp you got in the old car – as well as 420Nm of torque.

Slightly swifter than its predecessor, it can sprint to 60mph in a time of 5.2 seconds and go on to a top speed of 170mph. In terms of economy, that’s 34.4mpg and CO2 emissions of 186g/km.

Inside, it’s had a much-needed update. Not only has the overall quality improved, but there’s also a new infotainment system (lifted straight from the standard Civic).

Add red Alcantara-trimmed sports seats up front, red carpets, a brushed metal gear knob and a ‘serial plate’ with the car’s build number on the dashboard, and you know you’re driving something special.

Honda Civic Type R review

There are three drive modes (Comfort, Sport and R) and they alter the car’s engine, steering and suspension feel.

There’s also a new ‘Individual’ drive setting, where the steering, adaptive dampers, rev match system and engine response can all be adjusted separately.

Comfort is just fine for long journeys and cruising motorways. Sport sharpens things up nicely, while things get hardcore when you engage the R mode.

Honda Civic Type R review

Here, the driver’s display switches to a new layout, more familiar to racing drivers. There’s a linear rev graphic flanked by a digital speed readout and 12 separate items of vehicle information, ranging from coolant temperature to steering angle and a G-meter.

The idea is to allow drivers to view their inputs and how the vehicle reacted. Ultimately, it can help you see where improvements can be made and go faster on track.

For comparison, I drove the outgoing FK8 on track before the new FL5. Overall, the FL5 is more sophisticated, forgiving and responsive. I had a couple of moments (corrected thanks to my razor-sharp reflexes!) in the FK8 on a couple of corners at soggy Thruxton, but no such drama in the FL5.

Honda Civic Type R review

I definitely felt more confident in the FL5, which ties in with the biggest gains over the old Type R, namely the improved chassis rigidity and handling performance as a result of tweaks to the steering and suspension.

Needless, to say, the new Honda Civic Type R is incredibly fast – and not just in a straight line. Its ability to corner at speed is phenomenal for a front-wheel drive car, while the traction on offer is nothing short of astonishing.

Honda Civic Type R review

The brakes deserve praise too. Not only do the Brembos (in conjunction with wider 19-inch Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres) work superbly, but Honda has made changes to the front wheel arches to aid cooling.

Tweaks have also been made to the exhaust system (there are now three pipes!), so the soundtrack is better than ever. Naturally, it’s at its loudest in the R setting, but some may also find a long trip in Sport mode tiresome, so best to stick to Comfort, which is easier on the ears and offers a more compliant ride.

Final word to the smooth and precise six-speed manual gearbox.

Honda Civic Type R review

And as if all that isn’t good enough, then the Civic Type R is a practical daily driver too. There’s ample space up front and only the tallest of rear seat passengers have reason to complain (the penalty for that swooping roofline). You also get the same 410 litres of luggage capacity as the standard Civic, expanding to a useful 1,212 litres with the back seats flipped.

So, the new Civic Type R is hard to fault. Perhaps the only fly in the ointment is its premium price and the fact that it will be offered in very limited numbers in the UK – and we’re talking hundreds, not thousands.

Verdict: The Honda Civic Type R has matured into hot hatch royalty. Remarkably good to drive, it’s an awesome blend of performance, driving engagement, technology and practicality.

Honda UK

Honda Civic Type R review

Driving home for Christmas? Survey reveals your travel plans

Gareth Herincx

2 days ago
Auto News

2022 Honda Civic e.HEV

More than three quarters of Brits will be relying on their car over the festive period, according to new research from Honda UK.

The survey of 2,000 people also revealed that the most common number of trips we’re planning on making is between four and six (35%), covering a distance of less than 50 miles (29%).

People in Northern Ireland will be most reliant on a car over the Christmas and New Year (94%), followed by folk in the East Midlands, the South West, and Yorkshire and the Humber (each 85%). Those in London are set to be the least reliant on a car, with just 28% hitting the road over the festive period.

The research suggests that people prefer to travel with company as more than two thirds (70%) are joined in the car by a partner, friend and or child/children, while just 11% of those surveyed will be travelling alone over the festive period.

Christmas and the New Year are a time for families to come together and celebrate, with presents, food and beverages. But first, you have to get it all in the car. The below table reveals the most popular things to travel with.

Travelling With: Percentage Of Surveyed Brits
Presents 64%
Food 47%
Shopping 47%
Alcohol 37%
Pets 24%

In keeping with the festive season, more than a quarter of people will be listening to a Christmas playlist (26%) while on the road. Gen Z is most likely to enjoy a festive soundtrack for their car journeys, with more than half of 18-24s (52%) listening to a Christmas playlist.

A surprising number of survey respondents (14%) admitted to arguing with family whilst travelling at Christmas time.

The top five passenger activities are as follows:

Passenger Activities Percentage Of Surveyed Brits
Listening to the radio 60%
Listening to a Christmas playlist 26%
Listening to a streaming service 24%
Arguing with the family 14%
Playing car games 9%

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Honda Civic review

Honda Civic e:HEV

We’ve been road testing the all-new Honda Civic, and it’s no surprise to us that it’s been winning awards…

The first Honda Civic was launched 50 years ago and it’s become a legendary model in the automotive world. Now it’s the turn of the 11th generation Civic, which is only available as a full hybrid, so there’s no need to plug it in.

Officially marketed as the ‘Civic e:HEV’, it’s an old school, family-friendly hatchback. Refreshing, when the market is awash with SUVs.

At 4,551mm long, 1,802mm wide and 1,408mm high, the substantial new Civic is the longest, widest and lowest hatchback in its class.

2022 Honda Civic e:HEV

The advantage of the increased wheelbase over the outgoing model is that it creates extra cabin space.

So, there’s plenty of room up front, while rear passengers have space to stretch their legs, and only very tall people will struggle for headroom.

The boot is a generous 410 litres, rising to 1,220 litres with the back seats flipped down, while the load space is long and wide.

The interior represents a real step up in terms of quality and functionality. There’s a solid feel overall, the seats are comfortable and there are plenty of soft-touch surfaces.

2022 Honda Civic e:HEV

The infotainment system isn’t the slickest, but does the job nicely. Most of all, the dashboard is not too minimalist – there are still dials and buttons for essentials such as climate control, radio volume, heated seats and drive mode selection.

At the heart of the latest Civic is Honda’s clever e:hev hybrid powertrain, which is a scaled up version of the system also used in the smaller Jazz and HR-V.

Unlike hybrid systems from most other car makers, the 2.0-litre engine acts as a generator to power the battery rather than the wheels for much of the time, so it runs in EV mode as much as possible.

However, at higher speeds or under heavy loads, it can send drive straight to the front wheels. What’s more, the e-CVT transmission isn’t a conventional gearbox either, but I’ll come to that later.

2022 Honda Civic e:HEV

The naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine (141bhp) is paired with two electric motors and a small 1.05kWh battery, giving a combined output of 181bhp.

Official figures tell much of the story, with a 0-62mph time of 7.8 seconds and a 111mph top speed. CO2 emissions are as low as 108g/km, while fuel economy is up to 60.1mpg.

Until the new Civic Type R hits showrooms, buyers will have to make do with just the one hybrid powertrain.

Priced from £29,595, the Civic e:HEV is offered in one of three specs – Elegance, Sport and Advance.

2022 Honda Civic e:HEV

Entry-level Elegance gets 17-inch alloy wheels, front and rear parking sensors, a reversing camera, a 7.0 digital instrument cluster, plus a 9.0-inch central touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality. Safety and driver assistance features include lane-keep assist and traffic jam assist.

Sport models boast 18-inch gloss black alloy wheels, as well as black door mirrors and window frames. Inside, there’s faux leather upholstery and sportier pedals.

The range-topping Advance is treated to 18-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels, adaptive LED headlights, a panoramic sunroof, full leather upholstery, a heated steering wheel, a larger 10.2-inch digital instrument cluster and a 12-speaker Bose sound system.

Once inside, it’s immediately clear that you’re driving a rakish, fairly wide hatchback. If you’re used to the raised seating and commanding driving position of an SUV, it may take a while to acclimatise to the new Civic.

2022 Honda Civic e:HEV

I love a low seating position. In fact, I would have preferred a little more downward adjustment, but overall, it’s a relaxed and comfortable place to be.

There’s plenty of poke, thanks to that electrical assistance, but the biggest surprise is the e-CVT gearbox.

The boffins at Honda have done their best to eradicate the sudden rise in revs you generally get when you put your foot down in a car with a conventional CVT box.

Instead, there are ‘steps’, giving the feel of conventional transmission ratios. It’s still not perfect, but it is a huge improvement.

2022 Honda Civic e:HEV

There are three drive modes (Econ, Normal and Sport). Go for Econ on motorway journeys and 50 mpg is easily achieved, Normal is just fine for everyday driving, while Sport is fun for blasts on more challenging roads. The e-CVT works best in Normal and Sport modes.

The hybrid system is efficient and smooth, while the regenerative braking can be adjusted. At its strongest setting, it’s almost at one-pedal level, slowing the car down virtually to a halt whilst charging up the battery.

The ride is on the firm side, but not uncomfortably so, but generally it’s a great all-rounder – happy cruising motorways and stretching its legs on more engaging roads.

In fact, the new Civic offers a surprisingly agile drive. When pushed, it stays flat in more challenging corners, there’s good grip and the steering is nicely weighted, which all bodes well for the upcoming Type R.

2022 Honda Civic e:HEV

Awarded a maximum five stars in Euro NCAP crash testing, the Civic is fitted with Honda Sensing (a suite of safety and driver assistance features) which includes goodies such as Traffic Sign Recognition, Lane Keep Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, Collison Mitigation Brake System, Intelligent Speed Limiter and Auto High-Beam Headlights as standard.

Rivals include the Toyota Corolla Hybrid, Kia Ceed, Ford Focus, Peugeot 308, Vauxhall Astra, Mercedes A-Class, BMW 1 Series or Audi A3 Sportback.

Verdict: The Honda Civic is a fantastic all-rounder. A family-focused hatchback that’s sleek, safe, practical, well built and economical, it’s rewarding to drive and packed with the latest tech. Add Honda’s reputation for reliability and it’s right up there with the best in its class.

Honda UK