I’m not sure Jeremy would agree with Honda’s strategy after he was none too positive about the Civic Type R, but it’s just been made even more focussed. Honda has added a Championship White edition to coincide with the face-lift the rangeis getting, and the key thing is that it gets a limited-slip differential.
These things are becoming de rigeur on hot hatches these days – there’s going to be one in the next Focus RS, and even somethingas lowly as the 500 Abarth getsan electronic version. You can understand why. What they do is limit the amount of slip that you get when you accelerate hard, so both front wheels pull together truer.
An LSD on the Civic is only available in the Championship White car, but it doesn’t transform the car as much as you’d imagine, and nowhere near as much as it did with the Renault Megane. But that’s because the basic Type R is a sound car, whereas the Megane 225 was a dog. As a result, the White tracks maybe a fraction straighter when you plant your foot out of a corner, but even on a wet road there isn’t much between it and the standard R.
However, the LSD has made the White slightly pointier. The steering feels that little bit sharper; the back end, more responsive. I had a go on a wet Silverstone, and the car felt much more balanced around the mid-point – there was understeer, but the rear was also lively. On the road, you don’t notice this because grip levels are higher, but the LSD car does feel more poised. It’s less like a nose-heavy front-wheel-driver.
The relatively low power of the Type R means the LSD has less work to do, of course. And the face-lift hasn’t added anything extra, so you’ve still got 201bhp and 142lb ft.
The most obvious difference with this Championship White edition is the paint. White might be a Honda colour, but the last car offered in this shade was the Integra Type R in 1998. There was a Civic show car at the 2006 London motor show, but it’s taken until now to actually be able to buy one. Which seems a bizarre delay, especially when so many people were crying out for it. Perhaps this new-found receptiveness to people’s demands will also mean more power for the Type R. Now that Jeremy would approve of.