Icon Buyer: the best Hondas in the world, CAR+ November 2015 | CAR Magazine

Icon Buyer: the best Hondas in the world, CAR+ November 2015

Published: 27 October 2015 Updated: 27 October 2015

► Civic Type R owners’ club share the love
► Stuart Pridham choses top three Type Rs
► Buying advice on DC2, EP3 and FN2 Type R

£4.5k-£6k, 1995-1998 | Integra Type R (DC2)

1797cc 4-cyl, 190bhp, 6.5sec 0-62mph, 145mph

Is this a good idea? ‘The DC2 Type R is widely regarded as the finest handling fwd car ever built. It really is that good. It was stripped of much of its sound-deadening so it was very light and it was powered by a hand-assembled engine, with hand-polished intake ports and molybdenum-coated aluminium pistons. A limited-slip differential was standard. It really is the purest of driving experiences.’

How much? ‘Due to their declining numbers the DC2 is becoming a rare and highly sought-after model. As always, the more you spend the better, and look for models that haven’t been tuned, tracked or bent. Bank on £4.5k-£6.5k to net a good one.’ 

What’s going to break? ‘Reliability has always been a Honda cornerstone, so the trick with the DC2 is look for one that has been meticulously maintained from the start. Key items to check include the following: groaning LSDs which will benefit from an oil change; blue smoke when the VTEC kicks in caused by hardened valve stem oil seals; and make sure the cambelt has been changed religiously every five years or 60,000 miles. Oh, and make sure the red ignition key is present as it houses the immobiliser.’ 

Crippling running costs? ‘Not at all. Budget on £150-£250 for the minor annual service and £500 for the major biannual service. Replacing the timing chain will cost £1000.’

£5k-£6k, 2005 Civic Type R Premier (EP3)

1998cc 4-cyl, 197bhp, 6.6sec 0-62mph, 146mph

Is this a good idea? ‘Affordable, dynamically brilliant. The best selling Type R ever, for good reason.’

How much? ‘The one to have is the 30th Anniversary Premier model. You won’t see much change out of £6k for a solid example.’ 

What’s going to break? ‘Dampers can show excessive wear, suspension geometry must be spot on, and erratic revs/iffy idle speeds means the idle control valve needs a clean.’

Crippling running costs? ‘Budget on £250-£400 a year. Excellent reliability, economy and servicing costs.’

£8k-£15k, 2009 Civic Type R Championship White (FN2)

1998cc 4-cyl, 198bhp, 6.6sec 0-62mph, 146mph

Is this a good idea? ‘Yes! Comes in Honda’s iconic race hue with standard LSD.’

How much? ‘You’ll need deeper pockets for the final-fling FN2. £8k will get you a baggy high-miler, £15k for a tasty showroom-ready example.’

What’s going to break? ‘Very little. Check for blue smoke, and rust on the top corners of the doors. Thin water-based paint chips easily – check front closely.’

Crippling running costs? ‘There are plenty of Type R specialists out there, so £250-£400 a year should cover you.’

By Ben Whitworth

Contributing editor, sartorial over-achiever, HANS device shirt collars