The king of hot hatches is finally here.
After what felt like an eternity, Honda has finally revealed the all-new 2023 Civic Type R. The world's finest hot hatch promises to be a treat for the senses, with the Japanese brand proudly boasting the latest iteration is the most powerful car to ever wear the hallowed Type R badge. We'd love to share those figures with you, but Honda is yet to share just how much muscle lives under the hood.
Honda has just said that the new Civic Type R will gain motivation from a more potent version of the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder powerplant. As a reference point, the now-discontinued FK8 generation produces 306 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. We expect the 2023 model to have slightly more impressive outputs. But mechanical brawn was of little concern when Honda was developing the Corolla GR rival.
"Type R is about more than speed, power, and handling. It's how a great car makes you feel that really matters and that's what the all-new Civic Type R is all about," said Honda America's Mike Kistemaker.
That's not just marketing babble; Honda's engineering team has gone to great lengths to ensure the Type R provides a riveting experience on the road. The body was designed to be light and rigid from the very beginning. This delivers remarkable high-speed stability and razor-sharp handling, says Honda. The 2023 model should be even more of a pleasure to pilot, thanks to an enhanced suspension setup and improved steering.
The Civic Type R's predecessor is often described as one of the finest handling front-wheel drive vehicles ever. It's clear to see that Honda is looking to improve on this reputation. With that lofty goal in mind, Honda has fitted the Type R with a revised six-speed manual gearbox and a rev-matching system.
What we've seen so far looks very promising. Honda's hot hatch recently set a lap record at the famed Suzuka Circuit in Japan. Crossing the line in 2:23.120, the Type R is not only the fastest-ever FWD car to blitz the track, but is notably quicker than some serious exotica.
We won't be surprised if the newcomer makes history at the Nurburgring, either. A teaser video showed the Civic Type R making its way around the daunting circuit at an almighty pace. In 2017, the previous generation covered the 12.9-mile track in 7:43.8 - faster than several Lamborghini and Porsche models.
A leaked image gave us an early look at the exterior styling, but there's still plenty to unpack here. The 2023 Civic Type R could never be described as subtle or understated but, for the most part, it's been significantly toned down (when compared to the old model). Lower and wider than before, the king of hot hatches has a menacing, almost sinister air about it.
The showy styling accouterments serve a purpose too. Honda says the vents and scoops are there for aerodynamic reasons and contribute to the incredible downforce and drag reduction. The bigger front fender grilles and new side sills, for example, improve airflow efficiency when on the move. Compared to a regular Civic, the burly wheel arches extend over the wide tires which are wrapped around new, lightweight wheels.
The swollen wheel arches aren't the only flourish that marks this out as a Type R. The hot hatch receives wider rear doors (a model-specific exclusive) to provide a more aggressive look. If that still doesn't clue you in to the Civic's performance potential, the prominent rear spoiler and signature tri-exhaust outlets certainly will.
As previously reported, the 2023 Civic Type R will be available in five colors. Buyers will be able to choose from Sonic Grey Pearl, Crystal Black Pearl, Racing Blue Pearl, and Rallye Red but we're guessing the Championship White (seen here) will be a firm favorite. This iconic hue remains the reserve of Type R models. The interior is just as special and boasts numerous improvements over regular Civic models.
Every detail of the cabin has been designed with performance in mind. The seats, for example, are trimmed in a "suede-like" upholstery that reduces body slippage in quick corners and during dynamic maneuvers. Of course, the racy-looking pews are finished in a dramatic red, repeated by the carpets and various trim elements.
The Honda LogR data logger will allow keen drivers to monitor and record various bits of vehicle information, such as how the vehicle reacts to driver input and more. There's also a stopwatch feature and the ability to share videos from your various track day adventures, while the new +R driving mode meter design feeds the pilot important information at a glance.
Here, you'll find the rev indicator light, gear position indicator, and a graphic engine rpm display. A secondary information display can be configured to display information selected by the driver.
"Even in this 'year of the Honda SUV,' it's great to be part of a brand that remains focused on the thrilling performance and joy of driving delivered by the all-new Civic Type R," added Kistemaker.
Further details (such as pricing and power outputs) will be announced closer to the Civic Type R's launch in the fall. With the Golf R priced at $44,090, we expect the Honda to fall between the $40,000 - $45,000 price bracket. Pricey, but it should be worth every penny.