| Week at the Wheel | Honda Civic Type-R GT (with LSD) |
Inside & Out:
Love it or loathe it, the all-white (championship white specifically) hue of the test car is the only colour scheme that comes with the limited slip differential (LSD) option as standard. Most Honda aficionados won't mind, as this used to be the case for all Type-R models in times gone by. It certainly divided opinion during our week with the car attracting praise and criticism in equal measure. For what it's worth, we like it a lot.
Inside, Honda's bold dashboard has aged relatively well and has prompted many rivals to mimic it in several ways. Criticism remains for odd bits of detailing, such as the base of the steering wheel or the light that signifies when V-TEC mode is engaged (somewhat superfluous given the changes in noise and pace), but it remains competitively spacious and the seats are well bolstered and grip you in the right places.
Engine & Transmission:
A familiar friend lurks beneath the bonnet; the 198bhp 2.0-litre four-pot is carried forward unaltered meaning a peaky nature, offset by short, closely stacked gear ratios and a rev-hungry nature that's as entertaining as it is addictive - if tiring as a companion for loping along. The main difference with this car resides in the transmission where the addition of an LSD means that all of the available power is harnessed all of the time.
Ride & Handling:
The Civic may not boast huge reserves of torque, but it still has enough to trouble the traction control on the standard car. With this car that torque is more effectively controlled and this means that just about all of it can be used all of the time and there's no fruitless spinning away of power from the unloaded inside wheel, in the wet or dry. This further enhances the Civic's rewarding nature and will continue to entice enthusiasts to the Type-R badge.
Equipment, Economy & Value for Money:
Given that it's now three years old, the Civic Type-R benefits greatly from the shot in the arm courtesy of the LSD. Rivals have now moved the goalposts, but the Civic is still competitive in the £20k price bracket. Few rivals - perhaps only Renault's outgoing Mégane R26
- offer such driver focus, with the Ford Focus RS
being circa £5k more at this time. As such the Civic still represents good value for money with sensible running costs and good residuals. A quick Internet search showed that discounts of eight percent are readily available.
The Honda Civic Type-R remains an enthusiast's choice thanks to the engaging driving experience on offer. However, it's hard to ignore just how far the game has moved on in the hot hatch sector - not least with the new Focus RS - and the Civic's relative lack of poke is brought starkly in to contrast by newer rivals. Driven in isolation it's a good car, enhanced by the LSD's assistance in utilising every last horse. One can't help but wonder how good it might be with the engine from the soon to be defunct S2000