Are you a true believer? Do you understand what summer tires can do for you, why a sunroof hurts performance and speed limits are just a starting point for negotiations? Do you feel persecuted by law enforcement because of your beliefs? Well Honda just built you a car in the new 2023 Civic Type R. Go ahead, spread the gospel of compact performance and live up to the Type R code of conduct.
I. Thou shalt not understeer
This commandment is impossible to follow for a front-wheel-drive car, or so we thought. And yet, this 11th-generation Civic follows the directive from above despite its 315bhp 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four suspended in front of the front axle and 61.4% of its weight on its nose. On the street, front-end grip seems inexhaustible as the Type R leans left and right, forcing you into the seat bolsters at its 1.02g limit.
Go ahead and dive into a pinnacle, as the steering only makes 2.1 turns lock-to-lock and the Type R glides along without any drama. Corner exits, which typically require Job’s patience in a front-wheel-drive car, are masterfully orchestrated by the Type R’s limited-slip differential. This unit, coupled with a very clever anti-torque front strut, puts engine power to Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires and lets you dump the 2.0-liter loader without widening the cornering line. Next corner. Try again. No understeer, just more exit speed. As if an invisible string held the car, preventing it from leaving the road. It doesn’t make sense that a front driver could do this, so let’s just add it to the list of things that don’t make sense in 2022.
II. You won’t hook up
Not in the carnal sense; go crazy there. Here it’s hanging on like throwing hard from a standstill. The boost comes after a beat or two, but the surge of torque at around 3000 rpm – 310 lb-ft, available from 2600 to 4000 rpm – will put you on the phone with Tire Rack. Turn the steering wheel slightly while tapping the throttle first and the front end eagerly searches for the ditch or oncoming lane as the differential tries to make the most of the available grip. The solution is to keep the wheels straight first. Get it right and you’ll move the 3183-pound Civic to 60 in 4.9 seconds, with the quarter dropping in 13.5 seconds at 106 mph.
III. You won’t miss a shift
Honda’s manual transmissions are special. Light, direct, precise and fun to use, the Type R mostly takes its predecessor and has the same tight throws and positive action. In over 500 miles of excessively fast shifts, we never heard a crackle from the synchros as we upshift just before the 7000-rpm redline. We also didn’t miss the downshifts. A lighter flywheel makes the throttle slightly more responsive than before, and a simple press of the right pedal revs the engine to match revs during downshifts. For those who want Honda to do it, there is a retuned automatic rev-matching program. It technically works but could be quicker to respond, something more noticeable on the track than on the street.
IV. Thou shalt not make fake vents
finish them old Type RFake vents and body creases out of nowhere. Function trumps form in this round. Vents in the front bumper direct more cooling to the 13.8-inch front rotors, which are unchanged from the previous Type R. Revisions to the brake booster would apparently improve feel, but the pedal feels no different. Hit the brakes hard at 70 mph and you can get out and walk 153 feet later; stopping at 100 mph only takes 308 feet. Real vents work. The only fade you’ll find in a Type R is in the driver’s hairstyle.
V. Remember the ride and keep it holy
Under the fender flares, 3.5-inch wider front and 1.9-inch wider rear tracks, 9.5-inch wide wheels, real hood vents, triple exhaust tips and a 0.3 inch lower bodywork sits a Civic Sport tailgate. Interior design and quality take a huge leap forward in this generation. Clean and functional, the dashboard is expensive. The driver can choose from two groups of gauges. The R gauges have a nonlinear tachometer that reminded a few of us of the legendary S2000s. Above the HVAC controls is a 9.0-inch touchscreen that operates quickly and intuitively and features wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
A big part of respect for motivation at work lies in the quality of conduct. Left in Comfort, the adaptive dampers are docile. Hard impacts ripple through the cabin, but the Type R soaks up smaller hits. Switch to Sport or R mode to spoil the ride with no real handling benefit. Highway commuters will find 73 decibels of wind, engine and road noise. If you’ve spent more than 50% of your life in the last century, the cabin vibe will start to annoy you in about 20 minutes. At least the rear passengers can hear conversations going up front, which wasn’t true at 70mph in the last Type R.
VI. honor your family
Commonalities with the regular Civic give the Type R great packaging and practicality. Civic Sport sedans now have 99 cubic feet of passenger space and 25 cubic feet of cargo space, just like the Type R. In EPA eyes, this is a big car. Head over to Costco and don’t be afraid to buy a second pack of 30 rolls. For even more carrying capacity, fold down the rear seats and bring home that eight-drawer dresser you spotted on Facebook Marketplace. Nothing of the Civic’s practicality is affected here. Sure, it’s got blood red carpet and front seats with big side bolsters that might make you groan when you step outside, but it’s still a Civic.
In back, the Civic’s 107.7-inch wheelbase adds 1.4 inches of legroom and makes the 60/40 split-bench as Uber-friendly as the base 158. horses. One downside to sharing so much with a half-powerful sibling is that Honda hasn’t enlarged the fuel tank for the Type R, so drive it as intended and you’ll be lucky to get over 250 miles from the 12.4 – gallon tank.
VII. You won’t covet your neighbor’s Toyota GR Corolla
Eyes are unlikely to wander since the new Type R looks great on its 19-inch wheels and lowered stance. We don’t know what happened with the previous Type R, but one of our theories is that the multimedia sculpture of an art student was replaced by the 10th Gen Civic design proposal and the project of the student went into production. The real Civic design? It received an A– in Applied Mixed Media 401.
VIII. You won’t overheat
Breaking in the latest-generation Type R on the track several times resulted in heat-related issues that sent the powertrain into limp mode. To solve this problem, the Type R now has a 48% larger grille opening that directs air through a larger radiator and 10-row intercooler (instead of nine). You will have to wait a bit for her Lightning Round Resultsbut we didn’t experience any thermal issues with the Type R.
IX. You won’t overpay
What dealerships will charge for the Type R remains to be seen, but Honda is setting the price at $43,990, and the only factory extras are paint colors and forged alloy wheels. Of course, dealers will offer a seemingly endless selection of accessories. Avoid them all, except maybe the $1780 Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 track tires.
X. Thou shalt not bear false enthusiasm
Buyers looking to pass themselves off as car enthusiasts won’t want to own this one. It only comes with a manual transmission, you can’t get leather seats and Honda won’t sell you a sunroof. The Type R has all the anti-collision nannies the unqualified and NHTSA dream of, but its buyers aren’t the type to cause crashes by texting in traffic. This is a car designed, tuned and built for true believers.
It’s called a spoiler because it spoils the look of the car – only, on the Type R, it looks great: a fun surprise, an embroidered tiger on the back of a denim jacket. I liked the gruff design of the previous model, but some people prefer to drive a car that doesn’t look like a 12-year-old scribbled it down in a math notebook. More importantly, while the sporty Civic has put on work-appropriate clothes, it’s still an absolute party animal underneath. —Elana Scherr
Speaking in the Honda language is like spitting alphabet soup. See, you have your EP3s and DC5s, but the B18C never came in those – they have the humble K20A3 here in the States. Rolling on an FL5 chassis, the all-new CTR is far wilder than the FE1 Civic Si sedan. That said, it won’t take more than a dollop of the upgraded 315hp K20C1 to get your HR up. —Austin Irwin
Not a Hand-Me-Down, K?
To get an additional nine horsepower from the K20C1 engine, Honda made a number of improvements including switching from a nine-channel air-to-air intercooler to a 10-channel air-to-air intercooler and reducing inertia of the turbocharger by 14 percent while increasing intake flow by 10 percent and exhaust flow by 13 percent.
2023 Honda Civic Type R
Vehicle type: front engine, front wheel drive, 4 seater, 4 door hatchback
Base/as tested: $43,990/$44,385
Options: Championship White paint, $395
turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve inline-4, aluminum block and cylinder head, direct fuel injection
Power: 315 hp at 6,500 rpm
Torque: 310 lb-ft at 2,600 rpm
Suspension, front/rear: struts/multi-link
Brakes, front/rear: 13.8″ vented disc/12.0″ disc
Tyres: Michelin Pilot Sport 4S
Size: 265/30ZR-19 (93Y) DT1
Passenger volume: 99 feet3
Cargo volume: 25 feet3
Empty weight: 3183 lbs.
CD TEST RESULTS
100 km/h: 4.9 sec
100 mph: 12.1 sec
1/4 mile: 13.5 sec at 106 mph
140 mph: 28.3 sec
Results above omitted 1 foot deployment of 0.3 sec.
Rolling start, 5-100 mph: 5.9 sec
Top speed, 30-50 mph: 9.4 sec
Top speed, 50-70 mph: 6.4 sec
Top speed (manufacturer claim): 169 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 153 ft
Braking, 100–0 mph: 308 ft
Handling, Skidpad 300 ft: 1.02 g
CD FUEL ECONOMY
Observed: 20 mpg
Highway driving at 75 mph: 30 mpg
75 mph highway range: 370 mi
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/City/Highway: 24/22/28 mpg
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