After months of teasers, the wait is finally over. The 2023 Honda Civic Type R has been revealed, and unlike previous years, the performance-oriented model launched on American soil with IndyCar driver Colton Herta behind the wheel. For a long time, Americans were banned from purchasing the Civic Type R, but this time Honda is making a statement by doing the global reveal in Los Angeles.
The Type R joins the Si and Sport models in the Civic’s lineup and stands as the pinnacle of performance in Honda’s portfolio. The 2023 model will be the most powerful Honda car in America, with Honda promising more power than ever before.
While Honda is still tightlipped about its horsepower and torque numbers, we’re told it will have more power than before. That means we’ll see figures north of 306 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque—the numbers for the current Type R. The familiar 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo returns, except this time it will be mated to an improved six-speed manual transmission with rev-matching. As of this time, Honda is not planning to offer an automatic transmission in the Type R.
Honda says the new Type R will be rewarding and addictive to drive. With an enhanced suspension system and steering performance, we’re told the driving feel is direct and engaging, though we’ll have to wait until this fall to try it ourselves. But with more power, a new, lightweight chassis, more body rigidity and improved high-speed stability, it sounds like the Type R has everything to deliver a thrilling experience behind the wheel.
Just as important, Honda made sure the Type R would stop confidently. The 19-inch wheels are wrapped around Michelin Pilot Sport tires, which should provide sharp grip on the corners and under hard acceleration and stopping. While Honda didn’t reveal any specs, the big, red Brembo calipers up front will make sure the Type R brakes properly.
With its compact, hatchback body, loads of power and handling hardware, the Type R stands out in the segment. This time, however, it will have more competition. Newcomers such as the Toyota GR Corolla and Hyundai Elantra N have gotten the enthusiast’s attention, and the Volkswagen Golf R is back for a new generation. While the GR Corolla and Golf R get all-wheel drive traction, the Civic Type R and Elantra N are front-drive only. But the Honda will continue to stand out with its power numbers. The Elantra N makes 276 hp and the GR Corolla pumps 300 hp, and we expect the updated Type R’s numbers to be between 307 and 315 hp. That means the Golf R—with its 328 hp—should continue to be the most powerful of the group.
Even if the power numbers don’t increase by a lot, there will be a lot to like about the new car. The current-generation Type R continues to be among our favorite hot hatches in the market.
Despite the 11th-generation Civic gaining a more mature styling, the Civic Type R does a good job distinguishing itself from the rest of the lineup. While the entire Civic lineup lost its race boy design, the new model will be more appealing to those who thought the previous design was too wild. The new Type R is longer, wider, and lower than the outgoing model, and every aerodynamic element is there for a reason.
From the front, the honeycomb grille in the lower fascia gives the Type R a distinctive look, and sporty elements on the fascia stand out. Other dynamic cues include air vents on the hood and behind the front wheels. If that’s not enough to differentiate it from the rest, the red Honda logo and Type R badge on the grille pop out.
From the profile, the side skirts help redirect the wind for better aerodynamics. Unlike any other Civic, the second half of the rear doors expand outward to give the Type R more hips. The rear continues to be the best angle, with a massive wing that’s hard to miss and a redesigned rear diffuser that houses the signature three-round exhaust system.
There will be five different colors available—Rallye Red, Racing Blue Pearl, Crystal Black Pearl, Sonic Grey Pearl, and Historic Championship White. The latter is exclusive for Type R and one that’s famous among Honda enthusiasts.
A Familiar Interior
The red bucket seats and red carpet—two signature elements for the Type R—are back. Comfortable and supportive, the suede-like seats should be able to keep the driver and front passenger tight when the driving experience gets intensive. A numbered Type R badge is now placed on the passenger’s dash.
A new +R driving mode will show exclusive graphics with engine rpms, indicator lights and gear position indicator displayed at the top, while the bottom display will have other information selected by the driver. A stopwatch to record lap times and the ability to share driving videos is also incorporated in the infotainment system.
The rest of the cabin will be familiar to Civic drivers. A honeycomb mesh grille expands across the dashboard and houses the air vents. The HVAC controls are backlit for a premium look, and the digital instrument cluster is standard. Like the top-trim Civic Hatchback, the Type R comes with a 9.0-inch touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as three USB ports.
Is the 2023 Honda Civic Type R Worth It?
We’ll have to wait a little longer to find out the Type R’s performance figures, but from what we’ve seen so far it looks like Honda’s promise of delivering a thrilling driving experience might be fulfilled. The 2023 Honda Civic Type R will be on sale this fall, and we can’t wait to get behind the wheel. Although Honda didn’t mention pricing, we don’t expect it to increase too much from the current generation, which starts at $38,910.
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