2023 Honda Civic Type R
Hottest Hatch You Can Buy Right Now
Most folks are familiar with the practical, reliable, family-oriented side of Honda. So, they might be surprised to know that performance models, of all types, have been a part of their DNA since day one. So, what better way to get everyone up to speed than with the latest hot-rod Honda, the new Civic Type R.
If you own the typical Honda, you may not think twice about letting your neighbor’s kid take it out for a test drive. But this 2023 Honda Civic Type R is not your typical Honda, so you might want to use better judgement depending on how many wings he has on his own car, and especially if it has more inches of negative camber than inches of ground clearance.
Based on the 11th gen Civic that arrived last year, the Type R is once again hatchback only, just like last gen when it was the first Type R to officially make it here to the U.S.
It’s bigger than the last gen though, with a 1.4-inch stretched wheelbase, and a look that’s more polished and perhaps more grown up. Aerodynamics remains a priority with additional airflow up front, through the aluminum hood, and past the rear diffuser with triple exhausts. Yet it’s all done with Honda thoughtfulness like mounting the wing high on aluminum stanchions to avoid blocking your rear view.
It rides on 19-inch alloys with 265/30 high performance summer tires.
The look may be more mild-mannered, but under the hood lurks the most fury that Honda has ever unleashed in a U.S. production car, or in any car over 30-years of Type R performance. This 2.0-liter I4 gets a new turbocharger with 25.2 psi of max boost, plus improved intake and exhaust airflow and some Ilmor-like wizardry to produce 315-horsepower and 310 lb-ft. of torque. 9 more horsepower than last year and 15 additional lb-ft. of torque. It sounds fantastic at start up and only gets better from there.
Otherwise, there’s nothing earth-shattering or new added into the equation; the Type R remains front-wheel-drive with a 6-speed manual transmission; just an overall refinement of the theme, with a handful of torque steer thrown in, which we’re not complaining about.
At our Mason Dixon Dragway handling course, it seemed to respond better the harder we pushed it, feeling about as fun and capable as you can get in a front-wheel-drive economy car.
Steering was ridiculously direct, the tires gripped incredibly well, virtually no body roll at all, and seats that hold you in tight the whole time. Abilities that are borderline unbelievable for any Honda.
The shifter is so good, it makes you wish Honda would put it in every car they make, or every car everyone else makes for that matter. Updates for ’23 include a lighter flywheel and revised rev-matching.
It does come with the typical Honda-soft clutch though, so launching can be tricky, trying to find the sweet spot where aggressiveness, massive wheel hop, torque steer, and speed can all coexist.
It all came together for us with a 5.2-second 0-60. Could they improve that with some sort of dual-clutch automatic? Probably, but the overall experience is so great here, we’d change nothing about it. The engine revs freely, turbo lag is minimal, and it was just a joy to work down the track for a 13.8-second ¼-mile, ending at 105 miles-per-hour.
The Brembo brakes were more than up to the task of dealing with those speeds, stopping us from 60 in just 105-feet. Pedal feel was good, nose dive was minimal, and stops were fade free.
There are 4 Drive modes to choose from, but all offer varying shades of roughness; if you need a softer edge to your performance, we’d suggest the Acura Integra Type S.
Honda calls the Type R’s cockpit an immersion experience, one that’s loosely aligned with Touring trim; meaning 9-inch touchscreen with navigation, wireless phone charging, dual zone climate, and 12-speaker Bose premium audio are all standard. And it’s a Civic hatchback, so there’s plenty of room to share the fun.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 22-City, 28-Highway, and 24-Combined. We averaged a good 25.4 miles-per-gallon of Premium.
That’s an average Energy Impact Score, with use of 12.4-barrels of petroleum annually, while emitting 6.0-tons of CO2 emissions.
The Type R is priced at $44,890, with not much you can add on from there.
We automotive journalists love to use words like culmination, as in “this 2023 Honda Civic Type R is the culmination of 30-years of Type R performance and 50-years of Honda engineering ingenuity”. But, you don’t have to make it that complicated or lofty sounding. Simply put, the Civic Type R is the perfect sports car in a daily-driver package. If you’ve lost the joy of driving, we can’t think of a better place to get it back.
- Engine: 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbo
- Horsepower: 315
- 0-60 mph: 5.2 seconds
- 60-0 Braking (avg): 105 feet
- MW Fuel Economy: 25.4 mpg (Premium)
- Transmission: 6-speed manual
- Torque: 310 lb-ft.
- 1/4 Mile: 13.8-seconds at 105 mph
- EPA: 22 City / 28 Highway / 24 Combined