The new Civic Type R retains its allure despite a more mature look
After months of teasing, Honda officially introduced the 2023 Honda Civic Type R in late July in Los Angeles. Americans were previously prohibited from owning the Civic Type R, but Honda made a statement by displaying it on American territory with IndyCar driver Colton Herta at the wheel. One thing—or, rather, a few things—Honda didn’t share at first? Power figures and other mechanical details for the most powerful Civic.
After a little more than a month (and much conjecture), Honda has released the details, which you can read about in further detail here. Finally, here’s a full look at the 2023 Honda Civic Type R, which joins the Si and Sport versions in the Civic lineup and represents the peak of performance in Honda’s portfolio.
Honda suppressed power and torque data for the turbocharged engine in the Civic Type R’s spectacular debut, claiming simply that it will be more powerful than the previous-generation model. The previous Type R’s 2.0-liter turbo I-4 engine produced 306 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. Under the hood of the new Type R is an improved version of the same K20C1 engine, with a new turbocharger and exhaust piping (with a “increased air intake flow rate”) pushing the four-output cylinder’s to 315 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 310 lb-ft of torque at 2,600 rpm (that peak is spread all the way over the tach to 4,000 rpm, too).
According to Honda, these stats not only make the Civic Type R the most powerful car offered in America, but it also provides a staggering 157.8 horsepower per litre of engine, up from 153.3 in the previous Type R.
Depending on the driving mode and driver preferences, the engine breathes through a new dynamic exhaust valve, which can either muffle or uncork the violent four-scream cylinder’s at higher rpm. A larger cooling fan keeps the engine cool, and the grille between the Civic’s thin new headlights directs a lot more air into and over the turbo four.
A smaller flywheel and a retuned rev-matching mechanism for the six-speed manual transmission complement the upgraded engine. The manual gets a stronger shift lever and “an enhanced shift gate design,” something we didn’t think the Type R’s fantastic gearbox needed—but are appreciated anyway. As previously stated, a limited-slip front differential is standard.
Honda claims that driving the new Type R would be gratifying and “addictive.” The driving sensation is said to be direct and exciting, thanks to an improved suspension system and steering performance, but we won’t be able to test it until this autumn. However, with greater power, a new, lightweight chassis, increased body stiffness, and enhanced high-speed stability, the Type R appears to have everything to give an exciting driving experience.
Equally crucial, Honda ensured that the Type R would stop confidently. The 19-inch wheels are wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres, which are 20mm wider than the rubber on the previous model and should give excellent traction in corners as well as during rapid acceleration and braking. Also beneficial? The front and rear track widths increase by 1.0 inch and 0.75 inch, respectively, which, along with the 1.4-inch-longer wheelbase of the eleventh-generation Civic, should improve overall stability and handling. The Type R’s huge, red Brembo callipers up front squeezing two-piece rotors will provide adequate braking, and Honda’s bodywork tinkering has resulted in enhanced brake cooling, while a tuned brake booster increases pedal feel.
The Type R stands out in the market because to its tiny hatchback shape, plenty of power, and handling hardware. However, there will be greater competition this time. Newcomers such as the Toyota GR Corolla and Hyundai Elantra N have piqued the interest of enthusiasts, while the Volkswagen Golf R has returned for a new generation. While the GR Corolla and Golf R have all-wheel drive, the Civic Type R and Elantra N only have front-wheel drive. However, the Honda will continue to stand out with its power figures.
The Elantra N has 276 horsepower, whereas the GR Corolla has 300 horsepower. The Golf R sees its position as the most powerful of the group taken over by the Civic, which beats it with its 295 lb-ft of torque.
Despite the fact that the eleventh-generation Civic has more mature design, the Civic Type R stands out from the rest of the range. While the Civic range as a whole lost its racing boy appearance, the new model will appeal to those who believed the old design was too wild. The new Type R is 0.8-inch longer, 0.6-inch broader, and 0.5-inch lower than the previous model, and every aerodynamic feature has a purpose.
The honeycomb grille in the lower fascia gives the Type R a striking appearance from the front, and sporty components on the fascia stand out. Air vents on the bonnet and behind the front wheels are further dynamic hints. If it isn’t enough to set it out, the red Honda emblem and Type R insignia on the grille stand out. Honda claims that all bodywork front of the A-pillar is unique to the Type R, with the pumped-up fenders standing out in particular.
The side skirts assist deflect the airflow for enhanced aerodynamics, as seen from the profile. The second portion of the back doors stretch outward, unlike any other Civic, to give the Type R more hips. The rear remains the best perspective, thanks to a big wing and a reworked rear diffuser that contains the iconic three-round exhaust system.
Rallye Red, Racing Blue Pearl, Crystal Black Pearl, Sonic Grey Pearl, and Historic Championship White will be offered. The latter is unique to the Type R and is well-known among Honda aficionados.
A Recognizable Interior
The Type R’s distinctive crimson bucket seats and red carpet have returned. The suede-like seats should be able to hold the driver and front passenger close when the driving experience becomes intense. The passenger’s dash now sports a numbered Type R insignia.
The R+ driving mode will have special visuals, with engine rpms, indicator lights, and a gear position indication displayed at the top, and other information selectable by the user displayed at the bottom. The infotainment system also has a stopwatch for recording lap times and the option to share driving movies. A new Individual setting provides a customisable option for people who wish to select their own drive settings; Comfort and Sport modes reappear. The Honda LogR data-logging technology, which was specific to the Type R, also returns, but it no longer requires an associated smartphone app, so it can be accessed via a new in-car menu.
It enables drivers to capture “a wide range of performance metrics in real time while driving on the track or other closed courses.”
Civic owners will be familiar with the remainder of the cabin. The air vents are housed under a honeycomb mesh grille that spans the dashboard. The HVAC controls are illuminated for a more upscale appearance, and a digital instrument cluster is standard. The Type R, like the top-tier Civic Hatchback, has a 9.0-inch touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as three USB connections.
Is the 2023 Honda Civic Type R a good buy?
We’ll have to wait a little longer to see how the Type R drives, but based on what we’ve seen so far, Honda’s promise of offering an exhilarating driving experience appears to be fulfilled. The 2023 Honda Civic Type R will be on sale this autumn, and while Honda hasn’t announced price, we don’t expect it to be much more than the current edition, which starts at $38,910.