2023 Honda Civic Type R: A hot hatch with a cool outlook

Honda Civic Type R competes with Hyundai Veloster N, Toyota GR Corolla, and Volkswagen Golf GTI
An undated image of the Honda Civic Type R. — Honda
An undated image of the Honda Civic Type R. — Honda

The Honda Civic Type R is one of the most popular and acclaimed sport compact cars in the world. It combines the practicality and reliability of the Honda Civic with the performance and excitement of a high-performance hatchback.

The 2023 model year marks the debut of the 11th generation of the Civic Type R, which promises to be more powerful, more refined, and more fun to drive than ever before.

2023 Honda Civic Type R overview

The 2023 Honda Civic Type R’s styling is dialled back compared to its thoughtfully designed predecessor, but that doesn’t keep it from being more exciting to drive. Offered as a hatchback only, the Civic Type R is built from the more civilised 11th-generation Civic.

The new-generation Civic Type R uses the same turbocharged four-cylinder as the last model, but alongside an output dialled up to 315 horsepower and 310 pound feet torque.

The Type R’s speed manual transmission has also been upgraded to handle the power surge, while Honda has also improved brake cooling to help handle track-day punishment. The new CTR is built in Japan with a powertrain from Ohio, but it’s fun to drive everywhere in between.

Specification  Value
Engine 2.0L Turbocharged VTEC
Horsepower 315 hp @ 6,500 rpm
Torque 310 lb-ft @ 2,600-4,000 rpm
Transmission 6-Speed Manual with Rev-Match Control
Fuel Economy 22/28/24 mpg (City/Highway/Combined)
Suspension Adaptive Damper System with Dual-Axis MacPherson Strut Front and Multi-Link Rear
Brakes Brembo® 4-Piston Aluminum Front Brake Calipers with 13.8 in. Two-Piece Front Rotors
Wheels 19 x 9.5J Matte Black Wheels with 265/30 R19 Michelin Pilot Sport 4S Tires
Dimensions 180.9 in. (Length) x 74.4 in. (Width) x 55.4 in. (Height)
Curb Weight 3,188 lbs
Starting Price $43,795

For 2023, Honda offers a Limited Edition Honda Civic Type R that lives up to its name, as only 1,000 units of this model will be built. Out of which 600 of which are designated for US-based customers.

This model will only come in Phoenix Yellow Pearl paint. It will feature a gloss-black roof panel, exterior mirrors, and hood scoop. Most importantly, the Limited Edition is intended to increase the Type R’s performance by shedding 38 pounds and adopting stickier Michelin Sport Cup 2 tyres.

Honda further said that it has returned steering and damper characteristics to work with the specific wheel-and-tyre combination.

Honda Civic Type R vs. other sport compact competitors

The Civic Type R’s main competitors are the Hyundai Veloster N, the Toyota GR Corolla, and the Volkswagen Golf GTI. The Hyundai is down on power compared to the R, and its odd three-door configuration compromises its practicality.

However, both sport compacts are currently the only front-drive hatchbacks that have similarly stellar performance. While everyone has an opinion about the Honda’s styling, and the Veloster N’s exhaust sounds significantly better, the Type R would be our preferred choice. Customers also liked the improvements promised by the Limited Edition.

The Toyota GR Corolla is a newcomer to the segment, but it has already made a strong impression with its rally-inspired design and performance.

The GR Corolla uses a turbocharged three-cylinder engine that makes 257 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque, paired with a six-speed manual transmission and an all-wheel-drive system.

The GR Corolla also features a torque-vectoring rear differential, adaptive dampers, and Brembo brakes. The GR Corolla is expected to be priced at around $37,1954, making it slightly cheaper than the Honda Civic Type R.

The Volkswagen Golf GTI is one of the most iconic and well-rounded hot hatches in history.

The latest generation of the GTI features a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 241 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque, mated to either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

The GTI also boasts a sophisticated chassis with adaptive dampers, an electronically controlled limited-slip differential, and larger brakes. The GTI’s interior is more upscale and spacious than the Civic Type R’s, but it lacks some of the flair and excitement that make the Honda so appealing.

2023 Honda Civic Type R price

The Honda Civic Type R’s starting price is as competitive as its performance. With few options to tack on beyond its initial MSRP, the CTR is not only cheaper than the Volkswagen Golf R, but it’s also nearly at the price of the entry-level Toyota Supra.

While personal preference will define if two seats are better than four, the most powerful Civic Type R is ultimately an affordable sports car with five doors. The Civic Type R’s price varies depending on the market and currency exchange rates.

DISCLAIMER: The prices have been taken as of Nov 13, 2023, and are subject to change over time.