2023 Honda Civic Type R Refines The Art Of Brawn, Comes Packed With New Technology

It’s not often that we get the chance to see a new chapter in the history of the Type R. While the model is technically in its sixth generation, here in the U.S. it’s serving as a sequel to the last iteration of the Type R which introduced the R model to U.S. buyers and finally brought an enviable slice of forbidden fruit to our shores. But the outgoing model was too brash and too crude in some regards for its won good. Honda is out to change that with the 2023 Civic Type R which aims to be a more complete package.


Greater Maturity Highlights Type R’s Radical Redesign

To say that the outgoing Type R was a bold styling exercise is not an understatement with many of the angles producing a distinctive in your face look. This time around, Honda has dialed back the car’s attention grabbing ways and has sculpted the Type R into a more mature looking offering. The core design is based off of the standard Civic but these models get a reworked front bumper with reworked intakes for more air flow as well as functional side skirts and fender vents.

The rear of the Type R features a larger rear wing as well as the trademark triple mounted exhaust tips but here s where the styling stumbles a bit with the hatchback’s rather bland rear design doing little to further the Type R’s case as a performance offering. On that note, the Type R will continue to be a hatchback only offering with Honda once again not offering a sedan option. When compared with some of its rivals, the Type R has the potential to draw in more buyers, the Veloster N is going out of production, and when you combine that with recent missteps in the styling department for the Subaru WRX and the Volkswagen GTI it all helps build the scene perfectly.


Interior Returns To Form

Slip inside the cabin and it’s largely a return to form for the Type R. The bright red front sport seats return along with the metal shift knob for the manual transmission (no automatic is planned.) The Civic’s interior design bleeds over to the Type R with the full width unified air vent complimenting a tidy set of controls as well as a fully digital instrument cluster. This cluster will also house the lone major change that will be exclusive to the Type R for 2023, a separate gauge readout for R+ mode. Drivers that switch the car into this mode will be greeted with a larger rev counter as well as rev indicator lights to assist with upshifting. The gears themselves will now be prominently displayed in the driver’s line of sight which will eliminate the need to look down at the gear map on the shifter when engaging in spirited driving.

Rounding out things is a serialized plaque which will denote the car’s place in the production order and it also manages to look very snazzy too.


Type R Performance Still Under Wraps, Honda Promises Segment Busting Numbers

At this point, we would tell you what kind of performance that the Civic Type R will bring to the weekend track day, but in this case, it’s what we don;t know that defines this particular category. We do know that the Type R will still be powered by a 2.0 liter turbocharged four cylinder, but Honda is not revealing final horsepower or torque numbers just yet. More importantly it’s neither confirming or denying that there’s some form of hybrid powertrain that’s lurking under the hood.


Regardless of how you look at it, it’s shaping up to be a segment buster especially if Honda’s claims of it being the most powerful Type R ever built are to be believed. For reference, Type R’s in Europe and Japan made 316 hp (U.S. models made do with 306) so it’s safe to assume that we could be potentially looking at an engine that makes close to 330 to 350 hp.

As mentioned a six-speed manual will be the lone transmission available and while this will please loyalists, in our opinion it also represents another missed opportunity for more sales. It’s no secret that the Type R and the Civic Si are both targeted towards younger buyers and that represents a double edged sword since more and more of these buyers are embracing automatic transmissions instead of manuals. Some of these buyers will learn the art before buying one (and we’ll give them a pat on the back for that) but that select few is dwindling and it might morph into a long term problem for Honda if that starts to adversely affect sales.


When Can You Buy One?

Keeping with the theme, Honda also chose to keep final pricing and other details about distribution close to the vest at the Type R’s unveiling. The lone exception was a core timeline, with the Japanese auto giant confirming that it would go on sale this fall.