By Gerald Yuen

Can Lenspeed’s staff car survive the treacherous pockmarked tarmac around his neighbourhood?

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It’s Boxing Day, and usually busy streets make way for cleaner, emptier roads on a wet morning. From our point of view, this is, hands down, the perfect weather to hoon any member of our staff fleet, and we kick things off with the Honda Civic Type R.

The FD2R has been rather inactive the past few months, and with increasingly intense road works around my neighbourhood to accommodate a MRT station and a viaduct, it serves as a good opportunity to understand the dynamics of this car in a familiar area, yet littered with unfamiliar tarmac conditions.

Not that we must harp on this issue again, but the ride quality in the FD2R over bumps is still far from pleasant. Amplified with resurfacing works just 50m away from home, you could literally feel the suspension “working” with minimal travel before the fluids warm up, with the harsh damping always suggesting that it should best be left toiling on track. It’s a huge pity, really, because that impedes the way I want to wring its neck once the roads are patched up (hopefully by the end of 2015!).

Even when it gets a clear sighting of open roads, slight tarmac irregularities will still hamper my urge to keep the revs hovering as high as possible. The chassis is rock solid and only works well on tarmac as smooth as salt plains – no less than that. Actual fun begins on days where I actually find a clean-shaven piece of road, allowing me to utilise the K20A without fear of losing traction. Still potent and urgent, this engine, I dare say, is still one of the most flexible 2.0-litre powerplants I’ve laid my hands on – with an addictive soundtrack to match. Impressive, considering that it has now been given proper lashing well over six figures of mileage.

For now, it seems that I’ll have to live with bumpy roads for a year at least, before getting to enjoy the car right from the get go!