2023 Honda Civic Type R has toned down looks, tuned elements

After teasing it to the point of nausea, Honda has finally unveiled the 2023 Honda Civic Type R. Well, most revealed it, anyway. We still don’t know how much horsepower it has or what has been done to its chassis, other than things that have been “upgraded”. What we do know is that the latest version of Honda’s hottest sedan would be more powerful than it’s ever been. It also looks more mature, which was an easy bar to clear as its predecessor looked like something out of the Japanese anime series. Gundam Wing.

R-acy and R-Restricted appearance

It’s no secret that the outgoing Civic Type R had a style you love or hate. For better or for worse, the new CTR doesn’t elicit such strong reactions. However, we think it looks wonderful, with just a handful of racy add-ons that don’t ruin the otherwise restrained design. Sure, there are still fake vents for vanity’s sake, but the ones behind the front wheels are now real. The rear wing remains a prominent feature, but it’s no longer a boy-racer caricature.

Like the outgoing version, the new Civic Type R has a unique body. It’s still only offered as a hatchback – as per tradition – and its flared fenders set it apart from lesser Civics. Honda also gives it wider rear doors that you won’t find on the regular hatch. The side sills are another unique touch, and at the rear is a black diffuser with the Type R’s mid-exit three-tip exhaust.

R– return from the flank

Easily overlooked, but hugely important, is the R-rated Civic’s new wheel-tire combination. The latest rolled on 20-inch rims with 245/30 summer rubber that had pancake-thin sidewalls. Fortunately, a smaller set of lightweight 19-inch rollers with thicker sidewalls are now standard. Don’t worry, though; Honda only reduces the diameter of the wheels. The CTR’s contact patch is now significantly wider thanks to its new 265/30 Michelin Pilot Sport 4S summer tyres.

Normally the big news with an all-new Civic Type R would be its performance specs. Unfortunately, these are being kept under wraps until Honda reveals them closer to the car’s launch this fall. Luckily, we have some hard facts about what’s under the hood to hold us back. Its TBD power comes from a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder. Again, the engine’s partner in lap times is a six-speed manual transmission with a rev-matching feature.

Honda says it will be the “most powerful Type R ever”. The American version previously had 306 horsepower; those in the European and Japanese markets had 316 horsepower. Is it safe to say that the 2023 Civic Type R will have at least 317? The way Honda phrased it makes us think it might be, but corporate marketing is a fickle friend, so we’ll have to wait and see. This also goes for its suspension and steering. They are somehow improved. That’s all we know for now.

R-ed Carpet treatment

Inside, the car’s Type R-specific front seats are available in any color you choose, as long as it’s bright red. We’ve been lucky enough to sit in these new buckets and can say they’re super comfortable. The US-spec model will also have red carpeting for the first time, a treatment previously only seen in other markets. At this time, we don’t know whether or not Honda will offer a black carpet.

The rest of the hot hatch interior is what you’ll find in the top trims of the regular Civic hatchback. That means a 9.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, dual-zone automatic climate control and a fully digital gauge cluster. In the Type R, the latter flaunts a unique design in the +R drive model. It includes shift lights, gear position and a race car-inspired graphic for the tachometer.

Honda hasn’t said how much the 2023 Civic Type R will cost, but it’s expected to top the price of the 2021 model, which started at $38,910.

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