When the 2023 Honda Civic Type R hits the road, let’s take a look back at where it came from and who did it best.
For decades, the Honda Civic Type R has been the darling gold standard. hot hatch segment. The Civic Type R, which started production in 1997 based on the 6th generation Honda Civic (EK9), was a high-revving bubble hatch enthusiast. His 2001 (EP3) Type R in its seventh generation offered an update that confirmed a larger 2.0L motor and near-perfect shifter position. In the next eighth generation Honda tried something different, splitting the Type R into a British hatchback (FN2) and a Japanese sedan (FD2). After a four-year hiatus, the Type R is back in his 2015 (FK2) with the first turbocharged motor pushing big numbers compared to the previous generation. But for 2017, Honda has doubled down on this formula with the new Type R (FK8) with a power bump, reworked suspension, chassis tuning and looks that will divide the entire enthusiast community.Finally, a new 2023 Civic Type R (FL5) features even more subtle styling and performance upgrades than before.
The arrival of the new FL5 generation of Type R reminded us why Honda’s wild child gets all the accolades. They have nearly perfected his FWD sports car formula in years of development and set numerous records including the Nürburgring FWD production car lap record (more than once). However, the new generation is just an update to the same critical hardware that made the FK8 generation so special. Despite its good looks, the FK8 generation has made a name for itself on the world’s enthusiast stage while consistently outperforming its rivals. Here’s why it’s the top-of-the-line Honda Civic Type R:
Civic Type R Delivers Record-Breaking Performance
The 10th generation FK8 Honda Civic Type R was a welcome entry into the hot hatch game. For the first few years, enthusiasts opted for models such as the Ford Focus RS and ST, the Volkswagen Golf GTI and the Golf R. Hyundai Veloster NThe performance and power numbers were closest to those of the Focus RS, Golf R and WRX STI. However, compared to these, the Type R was the only FWD candidate. Journalists and enthusiasts alike expected this to hold the Type R up against other models, but Honda has proven otherwise. The FK8 consistently dominated lap times around the world, setting records on both local and Grand Prix tracks.
All the magic happens under the skin of the car. Feeding the FK8 Type R beast is his K20C1 motor from Honda, a 2.0L turbo four-cylinder that puts out 306 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. Like all other Type R power, it surges through the front wheels. 300 horsepower is usually too much for his FF car to manage, so the driver falls victim to a ton of torque steer. Honda managed to mitigate this phenomenon. A helical limited-slip differential manages power through the front axle for the optimum level of grip, and a dedicated suspension setup prevents engine power from steering the front wheels. Combined, these attributes make the FK8 a precision truck weapon without compromising fun and enjoyment.
How the FK8 Civic Type R took America to a new level
In 2017 Honda announced that the FK8 Civic Type R would be making its U.S. debut for the first time in the car’s 20-year lifespan. Until then, American Civics were cheap and boring economy cars. Until then, the pinnacle of Civics was the Si, which offered enthusiasts plenty of fun and driving pleasure. But the Type R takes it to a new level.
Styling was the hottest topic of the Type R when it was first unveiled. The sharp angles, various skirts and inlets, and massive rear wing were overkill for most people, to say the least. But looks were too important to take lightly, especially here in a state where the Type R is the forbidden fruit.The looks of the Type R set the tone for what we now know as God in hatchback form. Coupled with its mass-popping performance, the FK8 Type R had to look to match. Aggressive styling and powerful performance. The FK8 Civic Type R will go down in history as the Type R that defines the Type R badge.
The Civic Type R is a family hot hatch that carves corners
While putting big numbers on stat sheets and busting track records, the Honda Civic Type R is, after all, a beefed-up four-door hatchback. With comfortable sport seats, an easy and smooth 6-speed shifter, compliant suspension, usable rear passenger space and class-leading trunk space, you’ll find everything you need for everyday use, which means FK8 Type R owners will enjoy. You succeed in everything you throw at it. On a daily basis.
As we say goodbye to the FK8 Civic Type R and open our arms to the FL5 generation, let’s remember what the FK8 means. The FK8 Honda Civic Type R may not be the high-revving VTEC-kicking sleeper it once was, but it holds its own place among the best cars ever made.