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Words [g Pictures particularly lacking in feel. But the Civic had plenty of grip and a sporting ride, and when you were slotting the stubby gearlever around the gate and making that VTEC engine sing, it still had plenty going for it.

For the real hardcore driver, though, there are a number of variants worth considering. The Championship White was a special edition that arrived towards the end of 2008, boasting a mechanical limited-slip differential that really sharpened the handling and brought some genuine involvement. Equipment-wise, it was specced to the same lavish standards as the lGT' version which accounted for 90 per cent of Type-R sales.

There are also two Mugen versions that you might come across. The rarest is a full-on road-racer of which just 20 examples were built by Mugen's UK operation and cost an eye-watering £38,599. With 237bhp, it was a proper little Touring car.

Then there was the Mugen 200, which came out in Spring 2010 and effectively replaced the Championship White, having the same limited-slip diff and similar cosmetic tweaks. As the name suggests, just 200 were produced. Best of all is the Japanese-markec Civic Type-R, actually a four-door saloon, never officially imported co the UK but one of the true greats.

It was a sad day when Honda announced that it would cease production of the Civic Type-R. The engine doesn't meet the 2011 Euro5 emissions regulations and Honda didn't want to dilute the Type-R's essence to comply. You have to admire that sort of engineering purity. It also mean^j^ that if you want a Civic ^^^^ Type-R, then pre-owned is now the only , ^^ \

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