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Honda Civic Type R 2023: Test Drive of the Week



When I was a teenager, I used to dream of having a Ford Mustang while all my friends were obsessed with one particular car, the famous Honda Civic. I couldn't really understand why, but I never truly appreciated that car until I became an automotive journalist and could study it in-depth. Today, I completely understand why the Honda Civic has been one of the best-selling cars in the country for so many years and especially why young performance enthusiasts appreciate it across generations.


The only version I hadn't yet had the chance to try was the ultimate alteration of the Japanese sports car. So, you can imagine how thrilled I was when Honda told me I would finally get to take the wheel of the legendary Civic Type R. Thus, with my Pit Viper sunglasses, backwards cap, and a head full of biases (just for humor's sake), I put this mythical car to the test. I want to emphasize that it's all in good humor. On a more serious note, my expectations were quite high since I had only heard praises for this sports car since its introduction to the market. Let me tell you, I wasn't disappointed. In fact, the Honda Civic Type R left such an impression on me that I'm now considering getting one myself.


The Driving Experience


The 2023 Honda Civic Type R is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine. This engine produces 315 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. That's a lot, especially for a front-wheel-drive car that's only available with a 6-speed manual transmission. Or, at least, that's what I thought until I started to tap into the potential of this engine. The engineers at the brand have done a remarkable job on all fronts. The suspension, the steering—absolutely everything has been calibrated to make sure the Civic Type R can handle all that power. In fact, this Japanese manufacturer's sports car sticks to the road as if it were a 4-wheel-drive vehicle. I was highly impressed by its road behavior, and I can certainly understand why it holds so many track records.


The Honda Civic Type R offers several driving modes, and it's clear that my initial hours behind its wheel were well spent with the +R mode. However, I have to admit that the Comfort mode is surprisingly effective. The car is definitely more docile, and one could almost forget that it's such a radical model if not for the seats. Speaking of which, that's another aspect I really liked. The Honda Civic Type R comes with racing-style bucket seats. Let me tell you that I made a face when I saw them for the first time, as I have a larger build and I'm rarely comfortable in these types of seats. However, I was perfectly comfortable throughout my week of testing with the Civic Type R.


Finally, I can tell you that it's a delightfully enjoyable car to drive without exceeding limits, which is quite rare today, once again. The 6-speed manual transmission is very effective, and the clutch is rather light, which is a good thing. The driving modes affect various aspects of the car, and the differences are noticeable. Ultimately, the Japanese sports car benefits from a powerful Brembo braking system. In fact, the system might even be effective for regular road use, but I can assure you that it's what will instill confidence on the track and allow you to overtake much more powerful cars.


Price and Equipment


The 2023 Honda Civic Type R starts at a price of $51,945. This might seem high for a mainstream car, but it's important to remember that we're not dealing with an ordinary Civic, quite the opposite. In my opinion, the Civic Type R positions itself very well within this price range, considering that you're getting a sharp and finely-tuned car, comparable to a razor's edge, for the price of an entry-level luxury sedan or close to it. Moreover, it's worth considering that the Honda Civic Type R is a rare car and is likely to retain excellent resale value. The toughest part is getting your hands on an available unit.


Design and Interior


In my view, Honda went a bit overboard with the previous generation in terms of aesthetics. The new Honda Civic Type R strikes the right balance. Its front end is more aggressive with angular bumpers and a hood scoop. At the back, there's a more imposing spoiler and three exhaust pipes. The improvements made to this new Civic Type R truly give the impression that it's been designed as a racing car, and that's what makes it so attractive.


Inside, the red seats and red floor mats catch the eye. Of course, these are signature elements for the model, and Honda made the right choices. The rest of the cabin features a mix of raw materials and sporty elements. There aren't many luxurious features, and that's just fine. The best part is that despite its sports car orientation, the Honda Civic Type R remains a highly functional vehicle.




Despite its seemingly rudimentary appearance, the 2023 Honda Civic Type R is packed with technologies, which is a good thing since it's one of the reasons it's such a pleasure to drive. Each driving mode has been carefully refined, and the safety technologies aren't overly intrusive. The multimedia system isn't perfect, but you get accustomed to its operation quite quickly.




The 2023 Honda Civic Type R is undoubtedly one of the best compact sports cars currently available on the market. It's a model I recommend not only to brand enthusiasts but to all performance enthusiasts who want a sports car capable of meeting all their needs.


Jean-Sébastien Poudrier

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