Legend in the Making? 5 Ways the 2023 Civic Type R Will (Hopefully) Improve on the Old One
At the time of this writing, the full debut of the next-generation Honda Civic Type R is imminent. Honda has been showing off a camouflaged prototype of the car for a few months now, including to the public at last month's Tokyo Auto Salon.
And with the mid-grade 2022 Honda Civic Si now on sale in the US market, the new Type R is the only member of the 11th generation Civic lineup we haven't seen yet.
Given how great the outgoing FK8 model is, expectations for the new version are extremely high. So based on both what we've seen from the new prototype so far and feedback from owners of the old model here are five areas we are either expecting or hoping Honda will make the upcoming 2023 Civic Type R even better.
As with nearly all new cars these days, we expect the next gen Type R to be faster than the previous one, especially around a racing circuit.
While we don't expect to the new Type R's drivetrain to differ a whole lot of from the FK8's 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder, there's no doubt Honda has been honing both the powerplant and new chassis for added performance.
As a baseline, Honda released a limited production Special Edition version of the FK8 for 2021, and despite all of the main components being similar to the standard Type R, small tweaks to the suspension, software and tires allowed it to be noticeably faster, and we are hoping these improvements will be carried over to the next generation model.
Cleaner & (Slightly) More Mature
Without question, the biggest criticisms about the outgoing Civic Type R surrounded its styling. Despite its incredible performance, a fair number of buyers were put off by what they saw as its "boy racer" styling.
As is clear by the new Type R prototype, the next-gen model is going to carry over all of the functional body upgrades that improve aerodynamics, so those looking for something that really flies under the radar might not be satisfied.
However, the 11th gen base Civic hatchback the Type R is based on is sporting a much cleaner design when compared to the base 10th gen Civic hatch—and that means the new Type R should at the very least be a less busy design than the old one.
One of our biggest complaints about the outgoing FK8 is that for as great as its engine was, the car always had a slightly sterile tone to its exhaust.
When compared to something Hyundai's Veloster N or even the old Ford Focus RS with their adjustable flapped exhaust systems and addicting pops, the Type R's quieter, more generic exhaust note was never as pleasing, especially when compared with the car's otherwise loud and aggressive looks.
While we know the new Type R's powertrain won't differ a whole lot from the previous car, here's hoping Honda is able to squeeze some more character from the car's exhaust note.
One of the more questionable decisions on the FK8 Type R was Honda's decision to equip the car with massive 20-inch wheels from the factory.
While it's true they may have improved steering response, the unusually-sized, ultra low profile tires brought their problems, namely a propensity for damaging wheels on rough roads and being both expensive and hard to find when it came to replacement.
And that's why a downsize to 18" wheels and tires has become one of the most popular upgrades among FK8 owners.
On the new car it appears Honda has addressed this. While wheel and tire specs haven't been confirmed, photos and video of the prototype show wheels that look smaller than 20 inches, most likely 19s. And that should address a lot of the complaints, especially among those who daily drive their Type Rs.
Better Beyond the Numbers
More than anything else, what we are both hoping and expecting to see from the new Type R is a tangible improvement in the driving experience that goes beyond the specs and performance figures.
And the biggest reason we are confident this is going to happen is the 2022 Civic Si. On paper, the new Civic Si almost looks like a downgrade from the old version, with slightly less horsepower overall and no real performances upgrades to speak of.
Yet if you talk to anyone who has driven the new Si, they'll tell you that the car feels noticeably better from behind the wheel and is both funner and more refined even with the same raw performance figures.
If Honda can do these same improvements to the new Type R while retaining the old car's dominating performance there's no doubt the brand will have another smash hit on its hands.
We can't wait for the full reveal, which should be coming anytime now.
More From Driving Line
- This time around, the Civic Type R should have some new hot hatch rivals to go against, including a rally-bred GR Corolla that Toyota has been teasing lately. Let's get ready to rumble.