- Honda has finally revealed power figures for the U.S.-spec 2023 Civic Type R.
- It is technically the most powerful Honda to-date, though the figures may not be what you expected.
- Naturally, the 11th-gen Honda Civic Type R gets a host of other performance and tech updates over the old car.
- Pricing is not available yet, but we will have more information prior to this fall’s launch.
Meet the most powerful Type R ever.
Honda’s been making that claim about the Type R for months, and it hypes its halo car to complete its 11th-generation Civic rollout. Now we actually have official numbers to chew on, after early leaks suggested it would bring a modest upgrade over the old car’s 306 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. Happily, I can report that the 6-speed manual transmission remains the sole option for this front-wheel drive hot hatch. However, the power figures may not quite be what you expected.
So, let’s get right to the heart of the matter: the 2023 Honda Civic Type R makes 315 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. That’s an even more modest bump than earlier JDM leaks suggested, at just 9 hp and 15 lb-ft. Engineers tweaked the K20C1 to deliver some extra grunt, but at the end of the day it’s going to be familiar to those who knew the past model well. Specific output, for what it’s worth, has gone up to 157.8 horsepower per liter, from 153.3 before the update.
Something else to keep in mind: Honda has notoriously underrated its engines in this generation, including the smaller turbocharged mill in the Civic Si. It may actually produce more power than that in the real world, and tuners will certainly boost it higher than that, warranties be damned.
Other tweaks to this new generation should make it even better to drive
While some may be dismayed by the relatively small boost, perhaps others are thinking about how much power you’d really want to shove to the front end. Granted, the 2023 Honda Civic Type R retains its helical-type limited-slip differential. It also keeps its dual axis strut front suspension and multi-link rear setup, albeit with some fettling from its engineers. You even get smaller 19-inch wheels with wider Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires, which ought to improve the ride while keeping the Type R’s remarkable handling prowess intact.
In addition to the 20-millimeter wider rubber, the new model has a 1-inch wider track in the front, and 0.75-inch wider track in the rear. The new hot Civic rides on a 107.7-inch wheelbase — the longest in its class — and is 0.8 inches longer, 0.5 inches lower and 0.6 inches wider overall than the 10th-gen car.
Have you spotted the trend yet? For this generation, think in terms of fine-tooth comb improvements, rather than volcanic performance updates.
On that basis, just about everything sees at least minor updates. Honda says it improved brake cooling and re-tuned the brake booster for better feel and control. You also get a larger grille, bigger radiator and new engine fan to improve heat dissipation. So, while you may not be able to push the new Civic Type R that much harder than the old one, you should be able to push it for longer periods on the track. The automaker also says it significantly stiffened the body (though Honda didn’t say by how much), fitted a lighter flywheel and revised the rev-match system to make better use of that manual transmission.
Naturally, you’ll see all the usual generational changes on the 2023 Honda Civic Type R as you would with any other Civic. That includes a new digital instrument cluster, a 9.0-inch infotainment screen and the honeycomb HVAC vent elements across the dashboard. Unlike the other Civics, though, you get a veritable sea of red throughout the interior.
From the lighter, heavily bolstered sport seats to the carpeting, accent stitching and (of course) the badge, there’s no mistaking this car for anything other than a Type R. The 6-speed manual keeps its cool-looking aluminum shift knob that definitely won’t feel so cool in the summer months. Speaking of which, Honda says its “optimized the shift gate pattern” and gave the transmission a “high-rigidity lever”.
Go ahead and roll your eyes, but if they made an already fantastic shifter even better, I’m all for it. As far as throws and general feel is concerned, Honda currently makes some of the best manual transmissions in the business.
Like before, the 2023 Honda Civic Type R offers up multiple drive modes, including the hardcore “+R” option. However, there’s now an “Individual” mode as well, so you can tailor certain driving dynamics to your liking. Honda’s “LogR” performance data recorder is now an onboard system too — you’re no longer required to use the smartphone app. LogR includes a stopwatch to record lap times, a tire friction circle that gives you a visual indicator of how much the tires can cope with, and a scoring function to improve your track driving skills. Not that you need it, for you are a driving god and the track is your domain.
Some nice quality of life updates
While the larger infotainment screen is definitely a welcome upgrade, Honda also brought in Qi-compatible wireless charging to the new Civic Type R. Wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are also standard, as is a Bose Centerpoint premium audio system.
When it does go on sale, the new Civic Type R will be available in five colors. Championship White returns as a flagship color, and you can also get Rallye Red (shown above), Boost Blue, Crystal Black Pearl and Sonic Grey Pearl (all shown below).
So, if you can fit comfortably into those new bucket seats — the old ones are a bit tight for larger individuals, mind you — then this updated 11th-generation hot hatch should bring the pain to its rivals, so long as Honda prices it reasonably. And dealers don’t mark it up by $20,000…but you know they will.
On the competitive front, the landscape is actually shifting a bit from what the old car faced.
The Hyundai Veloster is gone this year (RIP), but the new Civic Type R will face off against both the Elantra N sedan and the Kona N crossover. Chief rivals also include the all-wheel drive Volkswagen Golf R and the new kid on the block: the all-wheel drive Toyota GR Corolla.
The Toyota is one to watch, as it is to my mind the Civic’s closest competitor. It packs 300 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque, which isn’t as much as the Civic, but it also packs that grunt into a smaller 1.6-liter displacement (for 187.5 horsepower per liter). On paper, the Corolla has everything necessary to be a true monster of a hot hatch…and Honda may have to watch its flanks even more closely this time around, lest their fellow countrymen knock them off their performance pedestal.
Nevertheless, I absolutely can’t wait to take a spin in Honda’s latest offering.
Check out the 2023 Honda Civic Type R in more detail below!