Honda Civic Type R LSD (2009) review

Published:30 December 2008

Honda Civic Type R LSD (2009) CAR review
  • At a glance
  • 4 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5
  • 3 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5

By Ben Barry

Contributing editor, sideways merchant, tyre disintegrator

By Ben Barry

Contributing editor, sideways merchant, tyre disintegrator

We like the Civic Type R here at CAR. Really like it. But there’s always been one thing that’s bothered us: the colour choices. Let me explain. The brilliant driver’s car that was the ’90s Integra Type R wore an iconic white colour scheme. When Honda farewelled the NSX with a Type R special edition? Also white. Even the last generation (known by its EP codename to the anoraks) was available in white – yet only in Japan, despite being built in Swindon! The latest model came only in red, silver, black and a weird bronzy hue that you never, ever see. But no white. Until now!

Okay, okay, you’re excited about the racy white paintjob on the Honda Civic Type R. BIG deal!

That’s Championship White. But there’s a little more to it than that. Championship White isn’t just a paint code, it’s a model in its own right. Order a white Civic Type R and you’ll automatically get white alloys, some insubstantial exterior trim flourishes, the top-level GT trim, and, more intriguingly, a proper mechanical limited slip differential. Yours for £19,565.

Compared like-for-like with a regular GT-spec Type R, that’s a £925 premium. Presumably the white paint doesn’t up manufacturing costs, so that’s a pretty pricey LSD – you’d buy one for your regular Civic for about £550 without Honda’s bulk-buying clout.

At least it’s exclusive, though. How many units is this limited edition limited too?

Only as limited as the order list, but, to look on the bright side, at least you’ll be able to lay your hands on one.

Click 'Next' below to read more of our Honda Civic Type R LSD first drive

How does it drive?

It’s as brilliant as ever. We tested this car both on tricky back roads and on a very slippery Silverstone circuit. Crucially, there are no downsides, so the LSD doesn’t lend the Civic the kind of frenzied, wheel-tugging histrionics that characterised the Mk1 Focus RS. In fact, you’ll be hard pushed to notice it under most conditions.

What it does lend is ferocious grip out of junctions, and a more positive sense of grip when you’re committed through the bends.

The rest is business as usual: a firecracker engine (as close as hot hatches come to BMW M cars); a super-slick gear change; a harsh ride; and an agile, nose-led chassis.

Verdict

With its weedy 142lb ft torque output, this high-revving hot Civic was never in need of an LSD – and this car sticks with the same 2.0-litre 16-valver as the rest of the range. As a road car, the Championship White Type-R doesn’t make a hugely compelling case for itself – it’s not actually a limited edition and you’ll rarely notice the LSD, so you could say you’re paying a large premium for the most basic of paintjobs.

However, if you do trackdays, plan on upgrading your Type-R with a supercharger (after all, the Type R-powered Ariel Atom can be had with a supercharger). Or if you can honestly say you spend a substantial amount of your time driving like you’re on Police, Camera, Action!, the Championship White is an extra £925 well spent.

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Specs

Price when new: £19,716
On sale in the UK: Now
Engine: 1998cc 16v 4-cyl, 198bhp @ 7800rpm, 142lb ft @ 5600rpm
Transmission: Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Performance: 6.6sec 0-62mph, 146mph, 31mpg, 215g/km
Weight / material: 1267kg/steel
Dimensions (length/width/height in mm): 4276/1785/1445

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  • Honda Civic Type R LSD (2009) CAR review
  • Honda Civic Type R LSD (2009) CAR review
  • Honda Civic Type R LSD (2009) CAR review
  • Honda Civic Type R LSD (2009) CAR review
  • Honda Civic Type R LSD (2009) CAR review

By Ben Barry

Contributing editor, sideways merchant, tyre disintegrator

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