Honda Civic Type R 2.0 i-VTEC, Renault Clio Renault F1 Team R27 2.0 (M) Review
Pocket rocket

Story by C.K Lim, pictures by Azfar Hashim
11 Aug 2009

Looking for a hot hatch that reacts instantaneously to your every input? Look no further than the Clio R27 and Civic Type R - we see which one is the better pocket rocket

Honda Civic Type-R, Renault Clio R27

The term "hot hatch" - short for hot hatchback - was coined back in the 1970s when car makers fitted uprated engines and sporty suspension to hatchbacks (a popular body style then), instantly transforming these family-oriented models into high performance vehicles.

Thought by many to be the one which started it all, the original Golf GTI was born in 1974 when Volkswagen equipped the standard Golf with a more powerful 1.6-litre fuel-injected engine, and then sharpened the handling. It proved to be a huge success, achieving unprecedented sales.

Not wanting to miss out on the action, other car manufacturers also came onto the scene shortly with their own hot hatch derivatives.

Fast forward to the present day, there are plenty of hot hatches in our market to suit all budgets and preferences. For the enthusiasts on a budget, there is the affordable Suzuki Swift Sport. For the more well-heeled hot hatch lovers, they can choose from the iconic MINI Cooper S, premium BMW 130i or subtle Audi S3.

But if you have about $100,000 to splurge on a hot hatch, there are a handful of models to choose from. Narrow the search down further by insisting on a naturally aspirated engine, and what you're left with are the Honda Civic Type R and the Renault Clio Renault F1 Team R27 (let's just call it the CTR and R27 from now on, lest The Ed accuses me of using it to plump up the word count).

There are several uncanny similarities between them, besides their engines - both are three-door hatchbacks with list prices of around $100,000, they both come with 2.0-litre engines that produce 100bhp per litre and power goes to their front wheels via 6-speed manual gearboxes. How much closer can we get?

The inside story

The interiors of these two hatches could not be any more different. While the Civic's cabin architecture is no less boldly styled than its exterior, the Clio's less extravagant and more down-to-earth.

Bright red "Start Engine" button, innovative two-level instrument layout, loud red carpeting and black-and-red upholstery for the door cards and sport seats - they are all here in the CTR. The driving position is comfortable, albeit a tad tall, and the fabric/Alcantara seats are snug and supportive.

In comparison, the R27's cabin seems cold, sparse and less inviting. You start up the engine using the age-old method of turning the key, and get all information about the car via a conventional instrument cluster. In fact, it looks almost the same as its lesser sibling, with the only exceptions being the high-backed Recaro folding bucket seats (which are slightly too firm) and alloy pedals.

Four full-sized adults fit into the CTR with ease - even a 1.8m-tall person will have no issue with the rear head and knee room. However, in the R27, the rear head room is more generous, but due to its shorter wheelbase, the knee room gets a little lacking for taller occupants.

Both cars have decently large boots for hatchbacks, with 60:40 split-folding rear seats creating much space as and when you need it to.

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Engine Capacity 1998cc
Engine Type Inline 4
Compression Ratio 11.0:1
Bore x Stroke (86.0 x 86.0)mm
Power 201bhp @ 7800rpm
Torque 193Nm @ 5600rpm
Power to Weight 149.4 bhp per ton


Acceleration 7s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 231 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 11.0 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 6 -speed Manual
Drive Type FF


Body Type 3 Door Hatch
(L x W x H)
(4265 x 1785 x 1445) mm
Wheelbase 2620 mm
Kerb Weight 1345 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity 50 L


Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Discs


Engine Capacity 1998cc
Engine Type Inline 4
Power 200bhp @ 7250rpm
Torque 215Nm @ 5550rpm
Power to Weight 161.3 bhp per ton


Acceleration 6.9s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 223 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 11.9 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 6 -speed Manual
Drive Type FF


Body Type 3 Door Hatch
(L x W x H)
(3991 x 2025 x 1484) mm
Wheelbase 2585 mm
Turning Circle 5.5 metres
Kerb Weight 1240 kg
Boot Capacity 606 L
Fuel Tank Capacity 55 L


Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Discs