Hardcore hot hatch gets a limited-slip differential

Our Verdict

Honda Civic Type-R
Honda's new Civic Type R is powered by a 306bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged four cylinder engine

Probably the most capable front-wheel-drive car in production today, with only limited edition specials getting close

14 November 2008

What is it?

It’s the new, even more hardcore version of Honda’s Civic Type R, a hot hatch that has split opinion with its blend of high-revving 2.0-litre VTEC engine and ultra-stiff suspension.

The Championship White edition gets a lot of white paint, harking back to the original Integra Type R, but more importantly, it also features a limited-slip front differential.

What’s it like?

The Championship White edition builds on the strengths of the regular Type R, without really broadening their range. Which is to say that it will be more awesome than ever on a smooth race circuit, where the LSD can improve traction in slower corners.

On a B-road, though, the chronic lack of suspension movement is as noticeable as ever, and the diff just results in lurching progress as the front wheels skip over the surface.

It’s ultimately frustrating, particularly since the VTEC lump and slick six-speed gearbox feel beautifully paired. At least there’s no torque steer, mind, because there’s relatively little torque.

Should I buy one?

If you already love the Type R and desperately want to shave a few tenths off your lap time at track days, go right ahead. For everyone else, we’d still say that the Renaultsport Megane R26 is a more rounded, capable option.

Join the debate

Comments
12

14 November 2008

WOW TWELVE AND A HALF GRAND!! I'm ordering one!!

14 November 2008

[quote julianphillips]

WOW TWELVE AND A HALF GRAND!! I'm ordering one!!

[/quote]

Im with you julian. I dont need one but at that money who could refuse.

14 November 2008

[quote julianphillips]WOW TWELVE AND A HALF GRAND!! I'm ordering one!![/quote]

I think John McIlroy/Honda know something about a currency revaluation but aren't telling. Darling scheduled to announce something about sterling today. 'NewPound'?, 2 old pounds to one 'NewPound', starting Monday?

14 November 2008

[quote horseandcart]Darling scheduled to announce something about sterling today.[/quote]

Is he?

As long as the word "Euro" doesn't come in to it.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

14 November 2008

I don't mind this car, but it just does not compare to the Type Rs of old. The original Integra Type R is still to this day the best front wheel drive car I have driven, and the new Civic just isn't as fun as the old model. Please let us have the Japanese model.

15 November 2008

It must be hard for Autocar to shake off that bias with the Renault Megane.If Autocar is supremely confident about the R26 -why not compare the car with the JDM Civic Type R? You have importers that stock the FD2-It's naturally aspirated has LESS torque that the R26-surely it should be a "walk in the park" for your Megane around the track? OR it could be quite embarrassing-Does Autocar have the "guts" to do such a comparision?

It's abundantly clear that Autocar dislikes the CTR FN2 -I agree that the suspension is firm but for a NA car it does very well.Obviously a turbo would increase torque but then it would be like every other "Hot" hatch on the market that depend on their turbos for performance.

16 November 2008

[quote fasthonda]It must be hard for Autocar to shake off that bias with the Renault Megane.If Autocar is supremely confident about the R26 -why not compare the car with the JDM Civic Type R? You have importers that stock the FD2-[/quote]

I completely agree, bring it on!

Autocar conveniently forget (or wish to "ignore") the woeful gearbox in the Megane (which is a joke compared to the Civic, with a loose, imprecise and long throw)... And not everyone wants an engine with a turbo! Torque is not the be all and end all factor - I would choose the high revving N/A engine anyday of the week. It is certainly no hardship to stir the fantastic rifle bolt gearchange of the Civic to put you in the VTEC zone, and so much more satisfying! So called "car enthusiasts" should appreciate that more than anyone, so why keep going on about it? Plus the character of the engine and the noise it makes is 10 times that of the turbocharged brigade from VW, Renault et al... I am definitely looking forward to trying out this LSD version of the CTR.

17 November 2008

Well, if you want an all rounder I'm afraid the Golf GTI beats the Megane easily-so what is the Megane?....... is it fast or "well rounded"...?I'm afraid it is not both!The R26 would be in front of this special edition Civic in the "twisty empty mountain road scenario" but the R26 would not easily shake it off.The regular RS Megane would have it's rear vision mirrors" filled "with the Type R.

In addition, the turbo Megane runs out of breath by about 6,500 rpms-they start sounding very strained and begin to feel like they're pinging...evidence that the engine simply lacks the engineering sophistication of the finely tuned Honda CTR engine.

The FN2 is not perfect, considering it's lack of turbo and weight, it still manages to show up some of it's turbo competitors.

17 November 2008

[quote John McIlroy]

Ah, good to see that the Type R continues to split opinion; it does that like no other hot hatch, really.

Take your point about the gearshift; the Honda's is a peach and definitely better than the Renault's. But I stand by the story; I ran a regular Type R for a year and I could count the great 'early-morning B-road' drives on one hand. You have to be seriously illegal before you're having VTEC fun in third gear, overtaking can be heart-in-your-mouth stuff and the ride quality is, well, a pain, frankly.

Show both cars a twisty empty mountain road, for example, and the Civic wouldn't see which way the R26 went, let alone an R26R. And yet in everyday use, the Megane is a darn sight easier to live with. Hence my conclusion. I appreciate that some n/a devotees will want to stick with the Honda, but that doesn't make it a more rounded option...

[/quote]

I have to agree with you John, the Euro Civic Type R is far too compromised to beat the Megan in a good old fashioned B road blat. The suspension for one is too stiff and the anaemic engine they fit to this model along with the weight of the car does make it's progress somewhat challenging.

The Megan on the other hand is slightly more compliant, hence it is easier to live with and more capable along a B road. Personally though, I do find it a little boring and no matter how good turbo's have become over the past couple of years, I detest the power delivery - dead throttle response.

On a smooth track however, you may see a difference. The JDM Civic would certainly show a clean pair of heals to a Megan, courtesy of its better development and far superior engine.

The Euro Civic is a compromised car. It has had neither the time nor the development dedication spent on it that the Megan clearly has.

As you say though, these two cars will always split opinion. It's not a bad thing though, that's what being a motoring enthusiast is all about.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

17 November 2008

As someone who would be unlikely to drive either the Megane R26 or the Type R anywhere near to their limits on the road, there is something about the Type R that appeals to me way more than the Megane does. I don't find the ride to be too bumpy - I've put up with the bumpy rides of the Nissan 350Z, Fiat Coupe 20V Turbo in the past and the Type R is like a Citroen BX in comparison! Maybe its just the design, there don't seem to be that many of them about and it really looks the business when you see it in the flesh.

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