- The Civic Type R returns with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, six-speed manual transmission, and FWD.
- Smaller 19-inch wheels and wider 265-series Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires offer more sidewall and grip.
- Other highlights include the removal of fake air vents, a Porsche GT3-style rear wing, and a “very red” interior, which includes red carpeting.
- The reveal of the Civic Type R took place at an airport hangar in Los Angeles alongside a Honda Jet.
- Despite no power figures or specs, the 2023 Civic Type R media exposure was through the roof.
Over the last five years, Honda hasn’t had a problem selling its Civic Type R. The keyboard warriors are quick to discredit the hatchback for its so-called “boy racer” looks, oversized 20-inch wheels, and sporadic overheating issues on the track, none of that mattered because fanatics still purchased the CTR at any cost, with some dealer listings in Texas and Florida reaching over $70K! Even high mileage and beat-up FK8 project cars were going for a pretty penny, often reselling for more than the original owner paid.
As you can imagine, when it came time for Honda to introduce its subsequent Type R based on the 11th generation Civic, did they really need to stray far from a proven formula? Probably not, which is why we weren’t surprised when they pulled the covers off the more subdued yet similar-spec 2023 “FL5” Civic Type R.
SAME GREAT RECIPE
If I didn’t have my Toyota Supra, I’d totally be cruising around town in a Civic Type R. It’s the most agile front-wheel-drive car that doesn’t even give you the sensation that it’s even a FWD car. The steering is crisp, there’s zero torque steer, and an impeccably engineered and stiff suspension setup offers awesome cornering performance.
The CTR is also powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 306hp and 295 lb-ft of torque – far from a slug. In fact, the FK8 hatch can lap the Nürburgring faster than an Audi R8 V10 and Porsche 996 GT2. If that’s not enough power, introduce some engine management and fuel system upgrades, which bump the power to 375hp on pump gas and 415hp on ethanol.
Lastly, the Civic Type R only came in a six-speed manual, more than we can say about Toyota and its GR Supra. That is, until the 2023 model.
What’s all this have to do with the new 2023 FL5 CTR? Well, you can expect the same great recipe that made the FK8 a highly sought-after and proven performance car. According to Honda, upgrades and adjustments have been implemented to make it more powerful and faster in a straight line and around the track. But if you’re still clinging for an AWD version, new engine platform, or bigger turbos, you might be waiting for a long time as there’s no logical reason why Honda should reinvent the wheel.
BYE, BYE BOY RACER
Looks are subjective, and the previous generation Civic Type R was a love-hate relationship for many. Honda was criticized for overly aggressive design, including fake air vents, a ‘90s racer-style rear spoiler, and a center-exit exhaust. For the new Type R, you obviously have the 11th-gen Civic facelift, but you can kiss the shogun-style spoiler goodbye for a replacement wing that improves traction and looks sleek. The faux vents are also gone, and a functional hood vent with a larger front grille has been added to improve cooling performance. The signature triple-tip exhaust remains; however, the rear receives bulgier fenders and modified doors to accommodate more rubber, which brings us to what is perhaps the most important change to the new CTR…
MORE GRIP AND SIDEWALL
The FK8’s factory-issued 20×8.5-inch wheels with 245/30R20 tires never looked proportionate or performed up to the car’s highest potential. Most enthusiasts replaced the 20-inch wheels with 18s or 19s and ran a square 265-series fitment. Honda must have been secretly listening as the new FL5 will come with downsized 19-inch wheels and 265/30R19 Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires – a nice upgrade from the previous gen’s Continentals. More contact patch and better tire design equal more grip!
INTERIOR RED AS F*CK
If you don’t like red, well, there’s not much hope for you and the new Civic Type R. As of now, the racing buckets are red, the seatbelts are red, and yes, even the carpet is red! The red carpet isn’t anything new for Honda, but it’s the first time it’s coming to the U.S. market in Type R trim.
The rest of the interior mimics what you’d find in a top-of-the-line Civic hatchback with a 9-inch touchscreen, Bose audio upgrade, wireless CarPlay and Android Auto, dual-zone climate control, and digital cluster that’s complete with shift lights and fancy graphics.
THE REST IS A MYSTERY
Honda debuted the 2023 Civic Type R in extraordinary fashion at a private airport in Los Angeles while showing off its HondaJet (no other manufacturer can flex like Honda!). Unfortunately, most of the media were left hungry for more information with minimal specifications to be found. We don’t even know how much horsepower it’ll have! All we were told was that it’s “faster” and “more powerful” (surely it should be, right?). Regardless, we commend Honda for an epic car reveal that shook the internet and went viral on social media. We can’t fault them for not drastically changing their halo hatch. The CTR was already a stud. With only a handful of tweaks, yes, the 2023 Type R might only just be slightly better than the outgoing FK8, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.