Give it a couple of years, and a hybrid model could arrive as a sweet all-rounder.
Honda is no stranger to blending performance and efficiency - just take a look at luxury arm Acura's NSX. That car showcased what was possible for an electrified sports car, and now Honda Motor Europe's technical advisor Ko Yamamoto has said that the tech could trickle down to the Honda Civic Type R. That's not necessarily anything new, as a switch to partial or full electrification is practically inevitable, but what's interesting is that Yamamoto says we could see such a thing on the recently revealed 2023 model's platform. In an interview with Autocar, the man said that "anything is possible" but ruled out a pure electric Type R for the foreseeable future.
"I wouldn't exclude electrification," said Yamamoto. "We can't do a pure electric powertrain on this platform, but I imagine it can take up to a certain level of plug-in hybrid." The Civic has a history of regular updates, and these updates are often great enough to warrant an all-new model. Perhaps the next Civic Type R will be updated to feature a hybrid powertrain, and the one after that could go pure electric. With recent legislation in Europe nudging automakers towards EVs, it's not inconceivable to imagine that the current CTR will be the last not to feature electrification, but what happens when it does finally become a reality?
We can't help but be concerned that the additional weight of a battery pack, not to mention the added complexity of such a system, will detract from the charm of the CTR, a car that has been typified by a simple yet engaging driving experience. However, Honda believes that electrification is "just another technical measure, like VTEC or a turbo, or multi-link suspension." If anyone can make a FWD hybrid hot hatch fun to drive, Honda can.
Speaking of the driven wheels, Yamamoto says, "We can do four-wheel drive, of course. This platform is also used for the four-wheel-drive CR-V. However, I think four-wheel drive doesn't really cope with the Type R principle. It's not even necessarily quicker, but it is heavier."
Honda has not lost its marbles, then, and whatever form the hybrid CTR will eventually take, it will still be plenty of fun to drive.