2023 Honda Civic Type R Review: Still the GOAT?

Honda first rolled the Civic Type R off the production line at Suzuka in September 1997 and has been largely unstoppable since.Since the original There are EK9s (the internal generation code that can identify all Civic Type Rs), six generations of CTRs, each chipping away at the formula and looking for a little extra edge in their quest for hot hatch supremacy. The FK8 (2017-2021) was the first American to get his hands on a Civic Type R, and it was so good that his FL5-generation car in 2023 had more cargo room than it could handle. expectations were raised.

At first glance, there is not much to get excited about. The 11th generation Civic was based on his 10th generation Civic, and the main changes from the old to the new were down to the manufacturing process, resulting in a stiffer chassis and tighter tolerances. I’m here. Almost same engine as KC201 2.0 liters The turbocharged four-cylinder, like that seen in the last Type R, has 9 horsepower and 15 lb-ft more torque than before, and a more robust cooling package. The new Type R has wheels one inch smaller in diameter but 20 mm wider than its predecessor, a longer wheelbase and wider track front and rear. Oh, it doesn’t look like Gundam gave birth to Zoid babies (search it on Google).

This kind of minutiae usually draws a yawn from connoisseurs. Perhaps more mundanely, his new CTR is routinely so calm that a regular Civic could easily be fooled into thinking he’s in a hatchback. The interior aims to be a race car, but driving around town is easy and the engine doesn’t impress much below his 3,500 rpm. A lightweight clutch and gear lever make touring a breeze, and the massive amount of space provided by the 24.5 cubic foot cargo hold allows you to haul groceries, travel long distances, or move around (like this lighter happened to do). Makes an ideal daily companion for conduct).

But the old car was comfortable on the road, and its cargo compartment was about as big. It offered similar power, weighed slightly less, and was more affordable. There’s very little clear proof of excellence on paper, which will be disappointing for some. But the new Type R knows its pedigree. It pays attention to the little things and fully believes that the devil is in the details. The results of all these small changes don’t really show up on paper or during the daily bumps and grinds. Instead, it will only make a difference when you really start paying attention.

2023 Honda Civic Type R Interior

And now is where I should clean up. The reason this review is chock-full of comparisons to an older car is because you really had it for a year.It’s a car you bought with your own money, not a car loaned by Honda for a long term test drive. I thought it was so good, I had to have it. It was 2019 (because I needed a volume knob) and it was Aegean blue (a color that I hope Honda brings back) . After swapping out the stock Continental for a set of Michelin Pilot Sport 4S (the same tires that come standard on the FL5), the idea for the perfect Hot He hatch came to me.

Then I got into a new one. It starts with her driving position and her lever with that teardrop-shaped aluminum gear. You sit hunched over the center of the car – you’re in the center of the action with its super supportive blood red suede bucket seats. Clutch action is linear and direct And so is the throw from the risque gear lever. Without exaggeration, the Type R’s gear shift is one of the cleanest and most precise on the market today. To get the same satisfaction while twirling levers from gate to gate, you’ll need to switch to a Porsche Cayman GT4.

2023 Honda Civic Type R Exterior

But the difference between the new Type R and the old Type R becomes very clear once you start pushing. Older cars may feel a little timid on the edge. Fighting for grip, skipping bumps and much more was happening. All that is gone with the new Type R. Calmness is everything now. The wide front tread and wide wheels make an immediate difference and give you even more confidence than your old car. Few cars, regardless of price, offer as much support as the new Type R.

It stops, steers and goes on unlike any other front-wheel drive vehicle in its class. The only limit is how fast you can throw his new CTR into corners. Because as far as cars are concerned, any corner can be traversed at any speed. The grips aren’t fluttering, and Honda’s clever front limited-slip differential helps drag you out of corners without spinning the front inside wheel. The rear also sticks. The last car can go into an accidental oversteer mid-corner just by hitting the brakes, but the newer cars are so planted that unless you become a real hooligan and get on the track, you’ll have to tread the tail. cannot be removed.

But there is something more than just abilities. A fast car isn’t always a compelling experience. Not here. The steering conveys the road beautifully, and the suspension (though firmer than that of previous cars) gives you a good idea of ​​what’s going on underneath.

2023 Honda Civic Type R Exterior

Thanks in part to the new lighter flywheel, the engine happily pulls to the 7,000 rpm redline. The brakes bite perfectly when you press the pedal and are unforgiving when you push deeper. Everything about the new Type R is dialed in, with the kind of refinement reserved for much more expensive machines. There is a typical Porsche relationship between throttle, brake, steering, clutch and gear lever. They don’t come together rather than stay together.

That’s the biggest difference between FK8 and FL5. It’s not the numbers, it’s not the interior space or overall capabilities (and frankly, old cars are still great). But one of the biggest differentiators is how complete new cars are when they are released. Everything from the brake pedal to the improved gearshift to the extra mechanical his grip is 10 or 15% better than the old car. If FK8 was a competent apprentice, FL5 is a master of its craft.

After some polish, tuning and late night oil burning done by our engineers, the FL5 certainly lives up to its predecessor. You can actually do more than that. Further honing the winning formula, removing rough edges and removing imperfections, he creates one of the best Hot His hatchbacks ever launched. The FL5 Civic Type R is a car that has been loved, dreamed of and sought after for something truly world-class. Unsurprisingly, that’s exactly what Honda made.

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