Honda is showing off the 2023 Civic Type R prior to its official debut on July 20th to whet global appetites.
While the manufacturer said “the camo is coming off” in its latest round teasers, the model remains heavily obscured to maintain hype before the big reveal. Though the vehicle has historically not strayed all that far from mainstream Civic variants, often adding some aerodynamic enhancements to make the Type R more stable at speed. Based on what we’ve seen of the camouflaged test mules, that looks to be the recipe once again.
Thus far, we’ve seen the high-performance compact tooling around with a body kit, sizable spoiler, and some rear fender flares. But credible rumors about the Type R’s output have encouraged the company to claim that this will be “the most powerful Honda-branded production vehicle ever offered in the U.S.”
As the 500+ horsepower Honda NSX came to our shores as an Acura product, that likely means the Civic will only have to best its predecessor’s 306 hp. But that’s still nothing to sneeze on a relatively svelte platform and Honda has historically been very good at making every pony count by focusing on offering superb handling and maximizing responsiveness. Something tells me the 2023 Civic Type R should be pretty good.
Whether it will be good enough to appease its loyal fanbase is another story, however. Despite arguably being the best front-drive vehicle to drive aggressively, some might argue that the Type R is a little pricy considering the current version retails for roughly the same price as the 450-hp Ford Mustang GT. Unless shoppers are banking on the Honda’s smaller turbocharged 2.0-liter, four-cylinder motor delivering far superior fuel economy under normal driving, it could still be a difficult sell considering the current state of the economy. Rear-drive American muscle can be had for less (especially since the Type R has a propensity to suffer from stiff dealer markups) and there’s fresh competition from the 400-horsepower Nissan Z — which retails for $39,990 before extras. Meanwhile, the brunt of Honda’s more-direct competition is slotted somewhere between the 200-horsepower Civic Si and the more-expensive Type R that’s still riding on the previous platform.
At $37,895 (again, before markups or extras) the current Civic Type R is already fairly expensive and there’s reason to believe the 2023 model year will see that number go up. We’ve heard a lot of whispering about the car going all-wheel drive and adopting a hybrid powertrain, which would help rationalize a price increase. But those rumors have been difficult to confirm and relatively easy to dismiss. Our guess is that it’ll stick with the 2.0-liter turbo and front-wheel drive. Test models would also suggest it’ll also be keeping the three-pipe central exhaust system of its predecessor, too.
We’ll learn more on July 20th when Honda yanks back the curtain. But we won’t really know if the Type R is a winner until it has been driven. As pricy as the model often looks on paper, it has historically made a solid case for itself when you start throwing gears and squealing tires.
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